The Times piece today adds a nice narrative flourish,keying off AOL’s results, on the idea I’ve been talking about for some time now: That a new form of media is rising, and it’s one that the portals are not quite sure how to deal with. (For more on conversational media, see these posts).
As advertising is moving from offline media to the Internet at a rapid clip, portals, which command some of the biggest audiences online, should be among the top beneficiaries. Instead, the travails of the mass market portals like AOL, as well as Yahoo and Microsoft, indicate a decline in power….
…Part of the challenge for portals is that people are starting to approach the Internet in a different way. A new generation of Web users has grown increasingly adept at finding what it wants online and is less reliant on portals for guidance. What is more, younger audiences are spending more time on social networking sites and less time on traditional Internet portals.
…Social networking sites are not the only culprits. Thousands of smaller Web sites, like blogs, news collectors and niche content sites, are also attracting growing numbers of Internet users and advertisers.