Does Anyone Care About Their Broadband Portal?

from the there's-a-world-wide-web-out-there... dept

How many people really care about the “portal” offering their broadband provider gives them? Admittedly, it’s probably a much lower number among more techie aware people, but the whole idea of the broadband portal seems a bit pointless. Having broadband means you have an entire web out there to go to. I had Comcast service for many years and the only time I went to their “portal” was when service was down and I was using dialup to try to find out what the problem was. So, finding out that Comcast has “upgraded” their portal makes you wonder who really cares? In the meantime, while both SBC and Verizon have done deals with Yahoo to provide a portal for them, you have to wonder how much those kinds of deals are really worth. All you’re really doing is giving people an initial homepage to use when they set up their browsers. While it’s true that plenty of people are lazy enough not to change it, it’s still not at all clear what the real value is of a broadband provider having a portal. Part of the reason people get broadband in the first place is so that they can go out and surf anywhere. The whole portal concept seems almost… claustrophobic.

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Comments on “Does Anyone Care About Their Broadband Portal?”

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David P says:

Broadband portals

I would definitely consider myself one of the more “techie aware” internet users out there, and I use MyYahoo portal as my homepage by choice, not default. I like having a snapshot of my email (being forwarded to Yahoo Mail), stock portfolio, sports and the news on one (fairly) well organized page. My second stop is usually BlogLines to catch up on my RSS feeds, but if Yahoo improved their RSS aggregation, I would probably use that there too. These customizable portals (whether it be Comcast, Yahoo, or Verizon) are really not much different than the RSS aggregators that are all the rage these days, and arguably better in that they can format different sources of information in ways that make most sense for the content, as opposed to everything as feeds.

Paul (user link) says:

David P is right on target

David’s comment about having one place to see snapshots and dig deeper is right on target. That is exactly what we are seeing with Capango. Not only can you get RSS integrated with electronic mail, you can add other types of items and format as you want, not what some portal wants you to look at.

I don’t think the main “portal” sites will grow too much once tools like Capango continue to evolve. We package together the plug-and-play tools (that simply require a web browser) that you use to make your own view of the world. We are not interested in the content or advertising. And that is exactly why our membership has grown by more than 1,000% in the past year.

So, media-centric portals are dead. Long live person-centric portals.

Hersh says:

Broadband portals

I use the SBC-Yahoo portal as my homepage. It’s nice to have a calendar, weather report, news, and email all right there when you open your browser.
My browser is the first thing I open when I boot up my machine in the morning. Outlook used to be that app, but during my last machine upgrade I never bothered to setup Outlook, and I haven’t missed it at all.
I suspect Outlook (or similar office application) users probably wouldn’t be heavy users of portals.
– Hersh

David P says:

Re: Re: Broadband portals

since you can choose any one you want, what’s the benefit of a broadband provider offering one?

For the “provider”, the advantage is to keep users on their sites for longer. For the “subscriber”, less ads than the free alternatives (at least for SBC/Yahoo’s) and better integration into my account with them. For example, if I chose to used MSN’s portal, I wouldn’t be able to bring up my SBC mail or calendar (at least not easily).

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