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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Death and Rise of the Web Portal (and Web Site)

3:10:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , No comments
Many web portal and web site initiatives have started out with a vision that the intended users should use the portal or site on a daily basis, encouraging the users to make it to their browser home page. This might have sounded like a good idea a few years ago, but how absurd isn’t that idea today.

I can only look at myself. I don’t use any web portal or web site (other than some news and community sites) on a daily or even frequent basis. Even if I find a web portal to point me to attractive content and services, I tend to forget about it after some time and get reminded about it only when I happen to browse through my bookmarks. If I bookmark it at all in the first place.

No, I rather prefer to collect services and content that I find usable and bring them home – to my own portal (currently IGoogle). I just regret that some of the services I encounter on other web sites are not available as gadgets.

Don’t get me wrong. Web portals will still exist in similar shape as today. The big players like MSN, Yahoo and AOL will be around for quite some time. But, they will also need to grow tentacles and stretch them out to the locations where I and other consumers like to hang around, be it IGoogle, Facebook, Myspace or wherever.

"Don't come to us, we'll come to you" should be the mindset of anyone that is about to develop a web site (or rather online services and content) today. If the user won’t come to your site, you should bring your content and services to the user.

I guess that I am not much different from people in general in my longing for a good video on demand service. With such a service, I would not have to go to the video rental store to rent a movie I didn’t really want to see in the first place (all the copies of the one I wanted to see was already rented) and then worry about returning the movie in time before I get fined for returning it late. With video on demand, I could sit in my sofa and browse through the movie assortment on the TV with the remove, pick a movie I want to see and see it whenever I want to see it, not wondering if there is still a copy left of the movie that I want to see, or worrying about not returning the movie in time to the video rental store. And since no physical copies would need to be produced and I would pay myself for the distribution of the movie, I should have to pay less for watching a movie (that's what I expect, anyway).

Web 1.0 was about companies creating video rental stores on the web, but without the videos or any other rich content. Instead, what they offered to us was free content and they were happy as long as we paid them a visit once in a while. Web 2.0 is about enabling us to create our own stores, sharing and discussing our favorite movies with others and even creating and sharing our own movies. And bringing the content we like to consume home, on our own conditions.

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