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Yesterday’s Online Portals Re-Strategize

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As the online audience becomes more fragmented the major Internet portals are purchasing advertising companies to extend their networks and are aggressively attempting to follow Web surfers in order to deliver advertising to them.

Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Time Warner’s AOL have all together spent $10 billion on purchasing companies and technologies to expand their online advertising networks.

"We’re not interested in building yesterday’s portal," said Ron Grant, AOL’s president and chief operating officer told the AP. "Consumers are finding what they are looking for is coming from more and more fragmented places. We need a way for advertisers to take advantage of that fragmentation."

In the U.S. the four major Internet brands grew over the past year, according to comScore Media Metrix. The downside is the total time spent at Yahoo and AOL fell about 10 percent and Microsoft’s Windows Live services dropped 8 percent. The sites are attracting more visitors but they are staying for shorter periods of time.

Google went against the trend and had a 57 percent increase in total time spent but the company acknowledges that no single property will have all the products and features a user may want.

"The Internet is basically being built and scaling (faster) than any one property on the Internet is," said Tim Armstrong, Google’s head of North American ad sales. "Companies in the Internet space are changing their business models to have models which are consumer driven, not property driven."

As audiences have become more fragmented, advertisers have become wary of focusing all their spending on a traditional portal.

"Advertisers are going to need to start to use the Internet the way people always use the Internet, spreading out in hot pursuit of the things they need and want," said Jarvis Coffin, chief executive of Burst Media Corp., an independent ad network. "It’s much easier to fish where the fish are."

Yesterday’s Online Portals Re-Strategize
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