For articles on the topic of search engine offering portal features from SEPTEMBER 2004 onward, see the Portal Features category of Search Topics in Search Engine Watch.

NOTE: Article links often change, especially the older an article is. In case of a bad link, use the publication’s search facility, which most have, and search for the headline. Also, some very old articles flagged “no longer online” might indeed be online — but the former URL no longer resolves, and it’s not worth the time investment for me to try and personally track down these down versus spending time producing new content.

Return To The Sad Days Of More Than A Search Engine?
SearchDay, May 14, 2004

After all the recent attention on search — and the improvement in search quality that has come with it — can it be that the major search players are about to make the same portal mistakes of the late 1990s? Those portal mistakes, a desire to be more than a search engine, allowed “pure search” Google to blossom. The difference is that this time, Google itself may be making the same mistakes.

The End For Search Engines?
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 6, 2001

Looks at the demise of Go after its failed portal attempt and recaps why so many search engine went down the portal path and why sponsored listings helped new ones avoid the same mistake.

NBCi Unveils Personalized Portal Service
InternetNews.com, Sept. 25, 2000

Covers the transition of Snap into NBCi. I’ll also be looking at these changes more in a future issue.

Disney’s Go.com Changes Direction With Web Site
San Francisco Chronicle, Sept. 15, 2000

Details about business motives behind changes at Go.com, the backing away from being an all-purpose portal.

ISP’s free service never existed
BBC, Aug. 21, 2000

Earlier this year, AltaVista announced it was bringing low-cost Internet access to the United Kingdom. In AltaVista’s plan, you would call a toll-free number, eliminating the per minute phone charges UK residents have been subjected to. Within a few short months, AltaVista’s action revolutionized the country’s Internet access, as competitors rolled their own plans. Meanwhile, AltaVista service was continually delayed. Finally, the company said the service had launched — but no subscribers could be found. It then admitted the service never went live and that it was uncertain when, or if, it would. A bad stumble for the company’s attempt to build its brand in the UK.

Lycos, Yahoo step back from ambitious broadband plans
News.com, May 1, 2000

Some portals see broadband as the future, but for Lycos and Yahoo, it’s not an immediate priority.

Are “registered user” figures worth anything?
News.com, Aug. 16, 1999

A look at how much you can trust the registered user numbers quoted by portals.

Excite Does a Little Portal Trendsetting
Industry Standard, May 7, 1999
— no longer online —

Excite’s cut a deal with a company that helps you share data files like spreadsheets across the web. Will it be the next big portal thing?

Snap Previews High-Speed Portal
InternetNews.com, March 22, 1999

Details on Snap releasing a high-bandwidth version of its portal site.

Infoseek latest portal to plan frequent-use rewards
News.com, Feb. 25, 1999

“Visit our site, register and get frequent browsing points good toward valuable prizes!” The Go Network is considering it.

Hi-tech rivals search for sticky Web sites
Wall St. Journal, Feb. 1999
— no longer online —

You’ve probably read this stuff before about how portal sites are trying to make themselves “sticky” with features that keep users around. If not, here’s a recap with some fresh stats, such as average user sessions at Yahoo having gone up from 41 minutes to an hour between September and December 1998 thanks to sticky services.

“Destination” site is new buzz word
News.com, Jan. 8, 1999

See what executives had to say about winning in the portal wars at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Portals: the new desktop?
News.com, Jan. 20, 1999

Are portals becoming the new portable computers? Why not? They make your address book, calendar, email and other applications normally tied to the desktop available anywhere in the world.

Hotmail membership swells to 30 million
News.com, Dec. 1, 1998

Just what counts as a “member”? At AOL, it’s those who pay their bills. At HotMail, it’s anyone that looks at their account in the past 120 days.

A Tale of Two Years’ Manias Shows a Medium’s Evolution
Wall St. Journal, Dec. 7, 1998

An interesting recap article that compares how and why portals have become the darlings of the Internet for advertisers looking for audience consistency, while push has all but disappeared as a proposed solution.

Portal Sites Reap the Rewards Of Strategies for Getting ‘Sticky’
Wall St. Journal, Dec. 7, 1998

A review of how search sites have increasingly turned themselves into “sticky” portals that capture and retain visitors.

Netscape Bets Portal Users Will Pay to Play
Industry Standard, Oct. 8, 1998
— no longer online —

Netscape is planning to charge for extra services offered through its portal. Will it work, and might others follow? Certainly, if successful. That remains to be seen. Article provides some details of Netscape’s plans.

Portal Features Chart
Search Engine Watch, Sept. 21, 1998

A summary of major major portal features such as free email and when various features were added.

In the Web’s ‘Portal’ Industry, A Search for a Better Word
Wall Street Journal, Sept. 17, 1998

Portal has been so overused, and misused, that those that run portals are trying to get away from the word. An excellent article on current attitudes, with some fun facts at the end.

Web Portals: Home On The Web
PC Magazine, Sept. 1998
— no longer online —

A review of sites primarily for their portal features, such as free email and home pages, chat, ability to personalize, etc. Excite gets Editor’s Choice, and honorable mentions go to Yahoo and Microsoft Start. For searchers, of interest are the specific “Directory Search” rankings. These evaluate the hand picked selections at each service. Here, Excite and Yahoo get top marks, with Infoseek, Lycos and AltaVista taking second place. However, since AltaVista’s directory is powered by LookSmart, that gives HotBot’s LookSmart powered directory and LookSmart itself second place scores, though they weren’t included in the review.

Excite, Yahoo Debut Community Areas

The Search Engine Report, Sept. 2, 1998

In community areas, users can create mini-sites within the portals that offer special features such as discussion areas.

Home Pages and Portals

FamilyPC, July 21, 1998
— no longer online —

Why do Netscape and Microsoft even have a shot in the portal wars? Because they have built in start up pages, which many people never change. FamilyPC found 49 percent of its survey respondees still use the browser’s default page. That’s a huge advantage, but it makes even more impressive the fact that people are actively choosing players like Yahoo and Excite despite this. Imagine when they start giving out their own branded browsers.

Portals as Net’s TV stations

News.com, July 21, 1998

The Garner Group unveils research saying that portals are here to stay, and that sites better consider partnering with them. This was obvious a year ago, so why has it taken them until now to figure it out? After all, Excite launched its “channels” strategy in March 1997, and heavy-duty commerce partnerships have continued on from last year.

Going Portal in Europe

NY Times, July 14, 1998

Discusses how old media is behind many of the top portal contenders in Europe, as opposed to new media companies that dominate them in the US. The Jupiter Communications-provided chart will please those who’ve been looking for stats about top search and navigation sites in Europe.

Racing to the start line

News.com, May 14, 1998

A series of articles examining how everyone from search services to Disney are trying to position themselves as a key “portal” to the Internet. The idea is that Internet users start browsing from these portals, and thus they can command high ad rates or partnership fees by funneling traffic.

Turning Users Into Members
The Search Engine Report, Feb. 3, 1998

A look at why Internet access deals might be significant for the various services.

Welcome To SearchEngineLand
The Search Engine Report, Nov. 5, 1997

A look at how search engines have added new features such as email and chat in hopes of becoming destinations, rather than transit points.

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