Return of the portal? Not exactly

Post ImageOm Malik’s latest column in Business 2.0 deals with the topic of “hyperaggregation” – which is a fancy way of saying “aggregating the aggregators”. Basically, there is too much content available on the web from sites like YouTube and Flickr, and web software is evolving to help us consume it all. Om says:

Since the dawn of the Web, we’ve been plagued by too much information and too little time to consume it. It’s impossible to keep up with dozens of social networks, millions of videos, and thousands of blogs. Hyperaggregation is simply a way to do in the new-media world what old media has done for centuries: neatly package information.

Sounds a heck of a lot like the “portal” of the late 90s to me.

At least, that’s the first thing that came to mind. I thought about it a bit more though, and realized that hyperaggregation != portal. The main difference is that with hyperaggregation, you have control in most cases. Either explicit control, by entering tags or topics that you are interested in, or indirect control, by making a certain video the most popular. In the portal world, it was the portal alone that decided what content made it to the front page.

My gut “portal” thought wasn’t too far off though, as even Om admits:

Perhaps the biggest opportunity in hyperaggregation is for the biggest traditional Internet companies – the AOLs, Yahoos, and MSNs of the world.

I have to agree with Om. MSN shouldn’t be building their own video hosting service, they should be building the best video aggregator instead. Increasingly it will be the aggregator that people turn to first when looking for content.

Read: Business 2.0

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