We don’t really go on web portals nowadays, do we? For the kids (I mean adults) who were born in the 90s, you probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about unless you’re an I.T. major or something (which I was but was born before the 90s). Before Google was used as a search engine, there was Yahoo as the top search engine provider, along with AOL and MSN (which my mom still uses). Although Yahoo did have a search engine (which was actually from Google… hah!), it was mostly an online portal with categories to different websites. These portals were hot in the 90s but died down during the dot com boom in the early 2000s.
Online portals that a lot of people think of now aren’t technically portals but are retailers or distributors of brands. For instance, Amazon is the giant online retailer for virtually any brand I can think of. In the online fashion retail arena, there is Net-a-Porter and Shopbop (which also happens to be under Amazon).
Because web portals are a thing of the past, I decided to see if there were any fashion web portals around. So far and sadly, I found only two— Fashion Net and Layla’s Look. These two sites fall in the category of a vertical online portal, or a vortal. As opposed to the more boring horizontal kind, which lists companies of the same manufacturers, this type of portal targets specific niches or interests, which in this case is fashion. Fashion Net and Layla’s Look may not have the look and feel other well known but washed up web portals with directories and such, but they do have the same basic structure. They are online hubs that go to an outside website completely without forcing you to stay on their site.
It was nice when we didn’t have to always come up with the search words on our own to find a website that was interesting (Google) or to be forced to only recognize the heavily sponsored websites with their ads or presence popping up everywhere (Google ads, social media status, etc.). That’s just like payola, literally “bribing” to get you on top of the search listings. Web portals let me just browse my category of choice freely and discover the interesting underdogs of the WWW.
Although web portals may have died down because they aren’t really needed much now, I kind of miss it. Do you?