A portal (or web portal) is a website that serves as a point of access to a digital environment by offering aggregated information and links to other websites from diverse sources in a unified way.1) 2)
A digital environment can be the internet in general or a specific section of it (for example concerning a specific subject matter or language), a company intranet or others.
According to current statistics the five most frequented websites are:
Out of the 25 most frequented websites 9 are Google and Yahoo! domains (seven country versions of Google, two of Yahoo!). Together with MSN, Russian Yandex, Chinese Baidu and QQ internet portals make up more than half of the world’s 25 most frequented websites.7)
Google is the most frequented internet portal. By mid 2009 it accounted for 81% of all internet searches worldwide.8) Established as a company in 1998 Google developed around a new search engine algorithm first made available in 1995 under the name BackRub.9) While the search engine is still central to Google’s identity, the company has developed numerous and extensive other functions and applications.
Google supports more than 104 languages and dialects and offers a special country version for more than 115 countries. Fortune Magazine listed Google as #2 of its The World's Most Admired Companies ranking of 2011, topped only by Apple.10)
For the fiscal year of 2010 Google reported a total revenue of 29,321 million USD. More then 96% of this revenue is derived from Google's advertising programs.11) 12) Google's major advertising programs are the keyword-advertising Google AdWords and the ad-placement-network Google AdSense.13)
Established as a company in 1995 Yahoo! developed around a structured list of web links started by two Stanford students as a navigation tool for the internet. The company quickly became one of the worlds most recognized internet brands.14)
Yahoo! established a major following by offering useful and free-of-charge services to its users. Yahoo! Mail, launched in 1997, is the second biggest online email provider with approximately 310 million users. 15) Further services include Yahoo! Messenger and the photo sharing side Flickr with approximately 51 million registered members.16)
For the fiscal year of 2010 Yahoo! reported a total revenue of 6,324 million USD. 84% of this is derived from advertising income, which can be separated in display advertising on Yahoo! network pages (34% of total revenue) and search advertising on Yahoo! network pages (50% of total revenue).17)
Portals are central to how the internet is being conceived by users today. In a vast and ever growing jungle of content they offer a point of reference, guidance and prioritization. This applies particularly to the major internet portals such as Google and Yahoo!, which have developed into economic giants. 18) In 2011 Google and Yahoo! took a combined share of 52% of all money spend on online advertising in the US, while Facebook accounted for only 7%.19)