portal

a.k.a. cyberstation -or- hub -or- Web portal -or- personal portal -or- business portal

A Web site that serves as a starting point to other destinations or activities on the Web. Initially thought of as a home base with links to other sites in the same subject area, portals now attempt to provide all of a user's Internet needs, in one location.

For example, portals commonly provide services such as e-mail, online chat rooms, games, shopping, searching, content, newsfeeds, travel information, stock quotes, horoscopes, weather, and so on. Portals grew out of the technology inherent with the Internet and are an excellent example of how to take advantage of "user loyalty" via sticky content.

Additional definitions include personal portal and business portals:

A personal portal is a website that typically provides personalized capabilities to its visitors, providing a pathway to other content (such as Investor's Business Daily). It is designed to use distributed applications, different numbers and types of middleware and hardware to provide services from a number of different sources.

Business portals  are designed to share collaboration in workplaces (for example SharePoint). A business-driven requirement of portals is that the content be able to work on multiple platforms such as personal computers, PDAs, and cell phones.

Historical perspective: Pioneered by Yahoo!, portals aggregate other people's content. MSN and AOL were also popular Web portals. America Online became the world's leader in interactive services by building alliances with technology companies, and ultimately merging with media giant Time Warner on Jan. 10, 2000 which was considered the largest deal in history. As of 2014, AOL content sites and products served more than 250 million visitors around the world. On June 23, 2015, AOL was acquired by Verizon Communications for $4.4 billion.

NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon
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