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Subject: Re: UKNM: Re: Portals? (Buzzword Bingo)
From: Sajid Mohammed
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 1998 11:48:09 +0100

---Ray Taylor <tayloratbizbiz [dot] com> wrote:
> What I meant was that the biggest _growth_ would be in original content at
> the expense of content aggregation. The problem with discussing "portals" is
> that it is not clear what their purpose is. And of course there are some
> many services that could be described as "portals".

I have to agree with Ray. There are many services (Netscape Netcenter,
Deja News etc.) that have 'retrofitted' themselves to become portals.
However, the notion that one site can provide a comprehensive on-ramp
to the net is flawed IMHO because net users are so diverse in their
needs and habits.

There is a place perhaps for extensible portals, but research seems to
indicate that most users do not want to customise portals (eg My
Yahoo!) and prefer just to use what is there.

The factors that could alter this paradigm are the new methods of
delivery such as set-top boxes and digital TV. There will be a whole
new audience of people who are unfamiliar with the browser, the
client/server model, hyperlinking etc. At the very least, digital TV
users will need an EPG (electronic programme guide) and the revenue
opportunites for advertisers will push development in generating
content and services.

What better way would there be for advertisers to model their audience
than to compel users in their first session to go through a simple
survey, asking them about their job, earnings, leisure activities,
interest etc. with the intention of creating a personalised portal
that allows them access to services targeted at consumers like them?

This would allow advertisers unprecedented opportunities to
micro-target* audiences and track instantly the reactions of the
target consumer. Reading the figures recently on audience reaction to
the World Cup sponsors and advertisers made for depressing reading (we
still don't know which 10% of advertising is effective).

This to me is the most exciting aspect of digital media and marketing.
Imagine being able to test creative (such as a SMIL composite of
streamed video and Flash) out on a variety of targeted audiences and
gauging reaction instantly. I'm drooling as I type...

The web, in the meantime, offers us an opportunity to prototype
front-ends and get some measure of the potential pitfalls of trying to
shepherd users down specific paths. Pseudo-portals like Deja News will
need to work hard not to appear like yesterdays leftovers warmed up.

Sajid Mohammed

P.S. If anyone has read today's Guardian, you may have seen an article
about 'Buzzword Bingo'. For those of you who haven't seen said
article, it's a popular game in the US tech community where you play
with cards marked up with terms such as 'add value', 'leverage',
'paradigm', and you sit in meetings etc. marking off words when they
are used. It could work for this list and we could open a pot, make it
worth a few bob...

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