in The Guardian says AOL was doomed from the start “AOL was a training ground: an introduction to the internet for people who didn’t know how to deal with FTP. None of us thought it could last, because once the technological barriers to entry for the internet had been lowered, no one would need AOL’s simplistic interface or it’s child-safe, digital content wading pools. People would want to get on the “real” internet, using real browsers and email programs. ”
Looking at the prospects for electronic commerce a few years ago, I agreed, citing “a bleak outlook for the owners of portals and search engines. Portal services are of most benefit to ‘newbies’ (new users). They rely on the fact that because of inertia, people are slow to change their start page. Eventually, though most people stop surfing the Web and go directly to the sites that interest them. The whole idea of a portal as a ‘one-stop shop’ is the antithesis of the limitless variety that makes the Internet so appealing.”
But it’s really taken the rise of blogging to spell the final doom of portals. Who wants their internet experience selected by some sort of one-size-fits-all CMS software when like-minded (or opposite-minded) people are daily trawling the Web for interesting titbits. The imminent closure of Yahoo Internet Life is, I think, a sign of the times.