It seems to have been Netscape which first started to apply this word to a Web site that is the first point of access on the World Wide Web, usually the site associated with the Home button on the user’s browser. As the Web has become not only more complex and harder to navigate, but has also turned into a commercial battleground, whoever controls the portal sites can gain substantial financial advantage from advertising and other services. Such sites also become honeypots, attracting all sorts of other facilities and becoming a focus around which online communities can form. They act not only as gateways to other sites, as several search engines such as Yahoo! already do, but provide an experience in themselves. So it is not surprising that users are being targeted heavily by a number of the big firms in the online business, including Netscape and Microsoft, which are developing or buying into such sites.
A $900 million deal with search engine company Infoseek will allow the Walt Disney Company to construct an Internet “gateway” or “portal” site that customers can select to be their entry point for exploring the World Wide Web.
Edupage, June 1998
The company is betting that portal sites will become as important for the corporate market as they have for consumers.
Computing, June 1998