Portals? Haven't We Seen This Movie Before?

During the internet bubble years, the biggest thing that a bunch of over-funded VC-backed startups did was to throw millions upon millions of dollars to (oh, look at that!) other over-funded VC-backed “portals” to try to drive more traffic (remember when they were called eyeballs?) to their sites. After the bubble burst, these deals were laughed at, and in some cases, investigated for basically being money shifting scams for the sake of revenue generation. In the end, what people discovered was that, while portal deals might help get you some attention, people could go wherever they wanted online, and the real trick to getting traffic was having a good service and a good marketing effort. That, combined with better search (thank you, Google) meant that successful companies didn’t have to hand over their A through C rounds to a Yahoo or an AOL just get some attention. Apparently, many content producers didn’t actually pay attention or learn this lesson, because an identical situation seems to be happening in the mobile world, with TV content producers jockeying for position on various mobile portals. Obviously, navigating around mobile data isn’t quite as easy as on a full computer and the web — but it still seems like many of these content providers are focusing too much on the portal and not enough on actually making sure their content is relevant for a mobile audience.

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