Enterprises are launching “corporate portals,” gateway sites that act as an entryway to both a company’s Web presence and its intranet. In this column, Web consultant Kelly McKnight gives his opinion on a corporate portal, highlighting strengths and weaknesses that may translate to your company’s Web presence. The following index provides an objective look at the site’s features.
Kelly’s thoughts on the E*TRADE Web site
I like E*TRADE’s name. I like E*TRADE’s approach to advertising and promotion. So it should come as no surprise to you that I like E*TRADE Security, Inc.’s Web site.

From your e-mails to me, I know you think that I’m sometimes too harsh in my criticism. Well, surprise, surprise! I find very little to knock—and a whole lot to praise—at E*TRADE.
This is the second in a series called “Playing the Market.” I have also reviewed the Charles Schwab Web site, and, next week, I will review the Ameritrade Web site.
It’s funny that I was scheduled to review their site this week, because E*TRADE was already on the top of my mind. Last weekend, I went to a Tina Turner concert, which, I noticed was sponsored by E*TRADE. Also last weekend, I watched the MTV “Road Rules vs. Real World Challenge,” which was rewarding the winning teams with “E*TRADE dollars.” Mere luck or chance? I think not. It was more like E*TRADE’s good targeting of their market audience.

The E*TRADE site matches up well with their smart media planning. The site is fast, fun, full of information, and interactive. Everywhere you go, they hit you with a promotion.

Right on the home page, you’re hit with a “3-minute IRA” promotion, a $75 sign-up bonus, and the opportunity to play an online trading game. Of course, I headed right to the game. Not only do they let you play, but you can win prizes.

Is there a cost to all this? Sure! You have to give them your e-mail address and some demographic information. It was a price I happily paid.

Kelly’s verdict
Listen, I could go on and on about E*TRADE’s Web site, but go there yourself and see what I mean. Even if you know nothing about stocks and investments, E*TRADE makes it easy to learn more. And I put my money where my mouth is: I gave E*TRADE my business.

Kelly McKnight is a principal of Via Internet Studio , a consulting firm that specializes in corporate Web site design, Internet marketing, and e-commerce.

Now it’s your turn to review the E*TRADE Web site. Just click on the Rate this Site! button and you can help separate the good from the bad from the ugly. It only takes a minute or two to complete your rating, so don’t waste any more time—rate this site now! For Kelly’s rating, scroll below.