Let’s not be loose with web portals

Here’s good news for web portal aficionados. ‘Web portal’ (the term) is now part of the elite ‘loose use’ list, where it’s rubbing shoulders with heavy weights like ‘friend’ and ‘love’.

This means that inappropriate (or should we say loose use) of the term ‘web portal’ is a common phenomenon. Very much like the practice of referring to an acquaintance as ‘friend’ or expressing love for something that is mildly pleasing (e.g. I love that shirt you are wearing).

The term ‘web portal’ is typically loose-used as a synonym for ‘website’. Now, this isn’t altogether wrong because a web portal is a website, but then not every website is a web portal.

Sounds confusing? Let’s take a closer look.

On the internet there are millions of websites and they predominantly fall into following 3 categories:

A website typically provides information about a specific company, organization or individual. Corporate / enterprise websites are the most common type of websites on the internet, and they provide information about the company / organization, its product and services, clients, projects and so on.

Web Apps
Web apps are websites that enable you to do something. For example, Pixlr is a web app that enables online image editing, Asana is a collaboration tool that allows team members to work together and Evernote is a web app that lets you capture and manage your notes.

Web Portals
Web portals are vast websites that provide information on a wide range of subjects. Yahoo for instance, is a web portal that features content on everything from news, lifestyle and entertainment to user generated content such as photos and answers.

There are many different types of web portals, for example: The New York Times is a news portal, Amazon is a shopping portal, and Oodle is a classifieds portal.

Why are we telling you all this?

We believe that web portals are an important part of our life, they enable us to follow our interests, keep us updated about the weather, and even help us decide which restaurant to go to.

Human courtesy calls for gratitude, and for all the convenience that we owe to web portals – we should at least have some reverence for them. And, the best we can do is stop being loose with term ‘web portal’.

End Joke

If you’ve ever confused a corporate website for a web portal, then you’re like a saint in front of a murderer, because Ford’s former CEO Jacques Nasser holds the record for being outrageously loose with web portals.

At the Detroit Auto Show in the year 2000, Jacques Nasser made the following statement:

‘”We will do nothing short of transforming our cars and trucks into a portal for the internet.”

Now, this is called loose talk!!!