A web site that acts as a gateway to information and services available on the Internet by providing search engines, directories and other services such as personalised news or free e-mail.
An Internet portal is a web site that acts as a gateway to information and services available on the Internet. Essentially, it is an alternative term for online intermediary, but the main emphasis is on providing access to information on the portal site and other sites.
Portals are important to Internet marketers since portals are where users spend the bulk of their time online when they are not on merchant or brand sites. Situation analysis involves assessing which portals target customers with different demographics and psychographics use. It also relates to competitor benchmarking, since the sponsorship deals and co-branding arrangements set up by competitors should also be reviewed.
For marketers to extend the visibility or reach of their company online, they need to be well represented on a range of portals through using sponsorships, online adverts and search marketing, as explained in Chapter 8. Portals also enable targeted communications. Specialist portals enable markets to target a particular audience through advertising, sponsorship and PR while general portals often have sections or 'channels' which indicate a particular product interest. For example, financial services provider Alliance and Leicester uses a Loan calculator to sponsor the Money, Loans channel on ISP portal Wanadoo (www.wanadoo.com.uk) and web measurement company NetlQ sponsors the relevant channel on ClickZ (www.clickz.com) to reach their target audiences. Main portals such as newspapers and trade magazines also have registration, so can provide options for delivering messages via e-mail also.
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