December 10th, 2006

Platforms Are The New Portals

by

We’ve all become so enamored with the increasingly distributed nature of the web — or the de-portalization as Keith Teare of Edgeio puts it — and the success of user-centric platforms like YouTube and MySpace. But we seem to be forgetting that the most successful platforms are acting just like portals — the “one stop shop” to find everything you want or a system that channels all of the value. Yahoo doesn’t create most of the content it aggregates — it’s an old school portal because it aggregates it by hand, so it’s a closed system and therefore less efficient than the platforms. But even a platform like YouTube that embraces the distributed nature of the web is still acting like a portal because YouTube is THE place to upload your videos and THE place to find your videos.

I hate to break it to Keith, but Edgeio aspires to be a portal for listings — just because you can publish the listings anywhere, doesn’t change the portal nature of the platform play. Platforms like YouTube, MySpace, and Edgeio are indeed a sea change because anyone can participate, unlike the old portals, where your content had to be selected for aggregation. But these platforms still want all of the value to pass through them, which is the essential nature of portals and mass media.

What I don’t understand about the face-off between YouTube and the TV networks is that everyone is still looking at it through the portal/mass media lens. Why is it YouTube vs. a YouTube killer created jointly by the networks? Why can’t video content owners follow the path of blogs and publish their content through whatever platform they want? The only missing ingredient is search — people come to YouTube to search for music videos or the latest Comedy Central clip. Once you can search for video from a third party search engine, it won’t matter where the video is hosted (putting aside for a moment the still substantial bandwidth costs).

The challenge for any company that wants to scale in the distributed age is to create a platform that acts as a distributed portal — still a de facto gateway, but one that exists across the web.

Comments (30 Responses so far)

  1. of user-centric platforms like YouTube and MySpace. But we seem to be forgetting that the most successful platforms are acting just like portals — the “one stop shop” to find everything you want or a system that channels all of the value. [Scott Karp

  2. is if it’s not the portals where people are going to get what they want, then will a new mass market vehicle emerge to supplant them, or will the audience disintegrate much like the TV universe has splintered in 500+ channels? For more, check out Scott Karp (who’s back in the blogging saddle after being strangely quiet for awhile) and Mathew Ingram.

  3. by enabling its distribution. (b) help users find content that is widely dispersed by providing great search. (c) help the publishers in the rising foothills maximize the value of their publications. A few interesting follow-ups from: Scott Karp: Platforms are the new portals Matthew Ingram: What the heck is a portal anyway?

  4. about Yahoo and “de-portalization” here).……James Kim Found Deceased That’s the news according to CNET and the……Business 2.0 has a profile about the Palo Alto, Ca.……But at the same time, he says, “even a platform like YouTube that……from the Prairie Wranglers has challenged me to a debate on whether or not tuition for post secondary……Are The New Portals, Scott discusses Edgeio and a post

  5. [IMG] Platforms Are The New Portals

  6. Scott Karp confirms : “The challenge for any company that wants to scale in the distributed age is to create a platform that acts as a distributed portal — still a de facto gateway, but one that exists across the web.”

  7. .” In Scott’s view, Yahoo is a portal but YouTube is a platform, in that it allows people to upload things (VC Fred Wilson has written about Yahoo and “de-portalization” here). But at the same time, he says, “even a platform like YouTube that embraces the distributed nature of the web is still acting like a portal, because YouTube is THE place to upload your videos and THE place to find your videos.” Scott asks why video content owners can’t do what blogs

  8. — “Platforms Are The New Portals” そう、YouTube

  9. ◇参考 ・De-portalization and Internet revenues(edgeio) ・Platforms Are The New Portals(Publishing 2.0) ・巨大ポータルサイトが頭打ちで,ユーザー参加型サイトが急成長(メディア・パブ) ・The De-Portalization of the Internet (aka What I Would Do If I Were Running Yahoo!)

  10. In other words, the phenomena is not so much de-portalization but a re-assessment of what makes up a portal.  Those who first referred to the phenomena agree that the term is not appropriate, while others say that whatever the term implies, it’s nothing new. After all, MySpace was referred to as a “lifestyle portal” a month ago by News Corp.  This month, a report comes out saying that social networks like MySpace

  11. [IMG] Platforms Are The New Portals

  12. Platforms Are The New Portals: “The challenge for any company that wants to scale in the distributed age is to create a platform that acts as a distributed portal — still a de facto gateway, but one that exists across the web.”

  13. like a portal. This is because YouTube is function by users upload and watch their videos. The challenge for any company that wants to scale in the distributed age is to create a platform that acts as a distributed portal and exists across the web. Platforms Are The New Portals [IMG]

  14. In other words, the phenomena is not so much de-portalization but a re-assessment of what makes up a portal.  Those who first referred to the phenomena agree that the term is not appropriate, while others say that whatever the term implies, it’s nothing new. After all, MySpace was referred to as a “lifestyle portal” a month ago by News Corp.  This month, a report comes out saying that social networks like MySpace

  15. Platforms Are The New Portals

  16. Hey Scott

    Actually we agree. In my post I emphasise the continuing importance of search (or discovery) in a distributed world. To this extent a central place remains important. I dont question this, although I do see a relative increase in the importance of the distributed network and a relative decline in the importance of the center.

    edgeio.com is definitely open on both the in and the out side but yes, we are a destination for those who want a comprehensive search of our real estate, job, auto or other listings.

    Best
    Keith Teare
    ceo/founder/edgeio

  17. [...] Among other things, a post today by my friend Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 has helped crystallized for me just how inadequate a lot of the terminology is that we’re using for Web services and communities — and not just the obvious kind of cringe-inducing terms like “user-generated content.” In his post, entitled Platforms Are The New Portals, Scott discusses Edgeio and a post that Keith Teare has written about the “de-portalization of the Internet.” [...]

  18. It is all about what I call custom portals. An example is my personalized google page. That is my portal to the internet now. It’s where I can see my latest emails, latest feeds, news items, follow my stock porfolio, flickr tags, youtube, even my weight, etc etc.

    I wonder where a service like Pluggd, which I really like fits into this discussion?

  19. [...] The Poor Prognosis for Portals by Mark Evans on Sun 10 Dec 2006 04:19 PM EST  |  Permanent Link  |  Cosmos Edgeio has one of those blogs posts that forces you to take some time todigest it. It’s a post based on the idea the gap between the giant portals (Yahoo, AOL, et al) and the rest of the world will shrink/has been shrinking – and we’re entering an era of de-portalization (a term coined by Fred Wilson). For bloggers and blog networks, it’s a thought-provoking thesis because it suggests that people will consume information in different ways and go to different places to do it. The question is if it’s not the portals where people are going to get what they want, then will a new mass market vehicle emerge to supplant them, or will the audience disintegrate much like the TV universe has splintered in 500+ channels? For more, check out Scott Karp (who’s back in the blogging saddle after being strangely quiet for awhile) and Mathew Ingram. [...]

  20. [...] I. Couldn’t. Agree. More. [...]

  21. [...] Platforms Are The New Portals (Scott Karp/Publishing 2.0): “Platforms Are The New Portals‘ —’ We’ve all become so enamored with the increasingly distributed nature of the web — or the de-portalization as Keith Teare of Edgeio puts it — and the success of user-centric platforms like YouTube and MySpace.’ But we seem to be forgetting … Source: ‘ Publishing 2.0 Author: ‘ Scott Karp Link: ‘ http://publishing2.com/2006/12/10/platforms-are-the… Techmeme permalink“ [...]

  22. [...] Today, the blogosphere is exploding with a discussion about the platforms are the new portals, and the de-portalizaiton of the web. I don’t think this reflects a new phenomena, but rather an acknowledgment of something we’ve been observing for a couple of years now. The sites growing the fastest seem to feed the inner ADD in all of us. So, how do you use the web? [...]

  23. platforms as distributed portals makes a ton of sense. but i still think that the reported demise of yahoo is greatly exaggerated. yahoo doesn’t have an identity crisis, it’s just failing to integrate overture well. that’s operational underperformance, not a strategic dilemma.

    btw, in the context of its senior counterparts (aol + msn), i’d say yahoo is certainly moving in the right direction…

  24. [...] Platforms Are The New Portals The challenge for any company that wants to scale in the distributed age is to create a platform that acts as a distributed portal — still a de facto gateway, but one that exists across the web. (tags: publicmedia portals platforms) [...]

  25. [...] Interesting Finds: December 10, 2006 Interesting FindsThe sparkline is for the findings since Thanksgiving. I’m still working on how to chart the findings compared to how many total items it took to get to this number. Problem is if I put them both on the same chart it needs to be too big to read… Finance stuff +Seeking Alpha – 10 Most Popular Stocks, Sectors and Themes This Week +Chris Donnan – Automated Trader, The Journal of Automated and Algorithmic Trading Other stuff +via Dzone – Oleg Dulin – Code ownership by developers is bad for business pschneider – Get-DocProps Cmdlet for Powershell … a neat little script to get the properties from an office document. +Scott Karp – Platforms Are The New Portals Career stuff +stevecla01 – How To Network: For Introverts +Lifehacker – The hidden causes of worker burnout [...]

  26. [...] Scott Karp, who wrote something similar a week ago, believes platforms are the new portals. [...]

  27. [...] It appears that being a platform is the new goal of Web 2.0. So now everyone will rush to proclaim themselves a platform, until the word has no meaning. Actually we’ve always thought Grazr was a platform, but we didn’t know that was a desirable buzzword, so we’ve been calling it an application development system for feeds. I’ll have to rewrite my Powerpoint slides. Being a dinosaur, I thought platform already had a specific meaning. It’s supposed to be a collection of software tools that allows others to build applications. That makes Windows and LAMP platforms, but is MySpace a platform as Scott claims? I guess it is if you broaden the definition to mean any site that allows others to add functionality. The problem with this step is that with the use of widgets any site can then be a platform. So we’re all platforms. In that case, does the word have any meaning? [...]

  28. [...] Platforms are the new portals. Buzzword alert: Deportalization. And the post that started the whole discussion. [...]

  29. [...] Scott Karp has a fascinating post about portals vs. platforms on his Publishing 2.0 blog. “We’ve all become so enamored with the increasingly distributed nature of the web (…) and the success of user-centric platforms like YouTube and MySpace. But we seem to be forgetting that the most successful platforms are acting just like portals — the “one stop shop” to find everything you want or a system that channels all of the value. Yahoo doesn’t create most of the content it aggregates — it’s an old school portal because it aggregates it by hand, so it’s a closed system and therefore less efficient than the platforms. But even a platform like YouTube that embraces the distributed nature of the web is still acting like a portal because YouTube is THE place to upload your videos and THE place to find your videos. “”Platforms (…) are indeed a sea change because anyone can participate, unlike the old portals, where your content had to be selected for aggregation. But these platforms still want all of the value to pass through them, which is the essential nature of portals and mass media. What I don’t understand about the face-off between YouTube and the TV networks is that everyone is still looking at it through the portal/mass media lens. Why is it YouTube vs. a YouTube killer created jointly by the networks? Why can’t video content owners follow the path of blogs and publish their content through whatever platform they want? The only missing ingredient is search — people come to YouTube to search for music videos or the latest Comedy Central clip. Once you can search for video from a third party search engine, it won’t matter where the video is hosted…” [...]

  30. [...] Posted: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 2:00 PM by Will Femia I finally took the time to read into the “de-portalization of the Internet” discussion.  What I clicked: Buzzword alert: De-portalization De-portalization and Internet revenues Platforms are the new portals What the heck is a portal? What drew me to the discussion is that I had understood the opposite to be happening.  My reading led me to understand that with so many individual content creators out there, we’d see a new importance placed on aggregators to gather up the good stuff.  If you click through the links above you’ll see that what I was thinking and what “de-portalization” is really about is in the same family but really different topics, confused by a poorly defined set of terms.  The issue is that the really big companies who used to do it all, now have to figure out a way to also include the independent little guys (bloggers, indie sites, user generated content, etc.) and more importantly to some people, figure out how to keep making money. The news that the New York Times is offering new social site sharing tools on its articles has been interpreted as a vindication for the social Web in every analysis I’ve read.  One remark (sorry I lost track of the link) pointed to the Alexa traffic graph of the Times versus Digg as reason enough why the Times should be courting Digg users. But while the graph does show that Digg gets more traffic than the Times, what it doesn’t show (yet) is that the Times has seen a jump in traffic as the result of making it easier for users to submit their stories to Digg.  Clicking on the Page Views tab shows quite the opposite, in fact. If you work for a news outlet with very little offered on its pages for sharing on social sites and you want to encourage your dev team to come up with more options for readers, not being able to show a return in page views for sites already doing it is not very helpful. P.S.  I wonder if the new permalink feature will render the NYTimes link generator obsolete. For a nice concise splash of cold water on this whole idea: If You Think The NY Times ‘Gets’ Social Media, Digg This! Speaking of social sites not paying off, Why digg is destined for failure – I understand the arguments made here but I’m not sure the perspective is right.  Digg wasn’t created so that the referral traffic would be valuable, it was build for the community using it.  And judging by the size and success of that community, they like the site just fine. Speaking of taking the shine off a site that receives a lot of positive press, Clay Shirky says Second Life is built on sand.  “Like video phones, which have been just one technological revolution away from mass adoption since 1964, virtual reality is so appealingly simple that its persistent failure to be a good idea, as measured by user adoption, has done little to dampen enthusiasm for the coming day of Keanu Reeves interfaces and Snow Crash interactions.” I admit that once the “cool, I can fly” euphoria wore off I lost my zeal for Second Life.  I’m glad I’ve familiarized myself with it and it wouldn’t take much to draw me back with a news event or special performance or meeting, but as a regular form of recreation, what I’ve found so far doesn’t hold my interest. Where families lived in 1920 This scientist in this story draws a conclusion from pretty much nowhere that car drivers assume cyclists with helmets are more experienced and therefore can give them less space on the road.  My own unqualified conclusion from what’s reported in the article is that a human with a helmet seems less human and is therefore regarded with less caution. The history of the button 33 Names of Things You Never Knew had Names Short stroll in a Chinese national park – I’m thinking this is what parks look like in places where there are no law suits. In case you have or are a smart ass kid who thinks your generation invented headbanging, check out the bass player at 1:09 in this video. Who has the power to arrest the president? Lifestyles of the Rich and Fascist Speaking of fashion, the reporting on Al Gore’s wardrobe over more substantive matters in the 2000 election is still a sore spot for many liberal bloggers.  Seeing a similar tactic adopted in Obama coverage (and leading it to an association with Iran’s president) has set off online alarm bells. “Many of us would like to believe that different types of alcohol can produce very different effects. If only it were that simple.”  It totally makes sense to me that alcohol is alcohol as far as the body is concerned, but for some reason I want to cling to the idea that different liquors produce different “kinds of drunk.” Christmas 2.0: Subverting the Holidays With Re-dubbing – Still more mashed up children’s holiday specials. “The Nietzsche Family Circus pairs a randomized Family Circus cartoon with a randomized Friedrich Nietzsche quote.” Giant knitting [...]

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