Enterprises are launching “corporate portals,” gateway sites that act as entryways 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 GoTo Web site
No bones about it, I like GoTo. It does what I think a search engine should do—it finds things.

Every time I turn on my TV, I see new ads about search engines. This is a clear indicator to me that the field is heating up. While some of the ads do a good job, a couple of them are downright foolish. The one with the elderly woman crashing into the wall falls into this category. I would no more use that site than, well, crash my car into a wall.

GoTo’s tagline is “Search made simple,” and it lives up to it. There are no flashing banners on the homepage. No “My GoTo.” No stock tips or sports scores. Just a plain, old simple search. I like it!

As a guy who makes his living creating sticky Web sites and then being responsible for driving traffic to them, search engines play a key role in what I do. GoTo scores high with Web developers like me because their ranking system makes a whole lot of sense.

With GoTo, you buy your ranking. Want to be first? Ante up! Second? Third? Place your bid. And you only pay for the click through.

This differs from other search engines where your placement depends on critical factors like keyword density, meta/alt tags, title page copy, separate page insertions, and black magic. And even after you go through all of this, you still aren’t guaranteed anything.

On the other hand, clients pay GoTo, and the traffic starts flowing. Maybe the site doesn’t generate the traffic flow of a Yahoo or Alta Vista, but it does generate traffic, nonetheless.

The verdict
GoTo is a great concept that I hope catches on. It’s a search engine, pure and simple. And not only do I use their site to search, but I’m sending my clients over to them on an ever-increasing basis—so I’m putting my money where my mouth is.

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 GoTo 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.