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 Lycos Web site
Right away—from the first page upload—I liked the Lycos site better than I did Yahoo. (You can read my review of Yahoo here.) Lycos was cleaner and less cluttered than Yahoo. It’s like choosing between the library and a three-ring circus. Personally, I’d rather get my info at a library.

Let’s not forget that most people go to search engines to find something. Isn’t that why they call them search engines? But search engines also have to make a living—and the longer they can keep you on their site, the more advertising they can expose you to and the more they can charge for a banner.

Hey, it’s just like TV! The more popular a show is, the larger audience it attracts and the more they can charge for commercials. The same formula applies to search engines. But in the end, the customer still wants to be able to find what they’re looking for. Speaking of TV, Lycos is running some pretty cute commercials featuring a dog delivering things people need at critical times. I like the spots; they reinforce what I think a search engine should do. What the Lycos site doesn’t do is tie into the TV spots very well on their site. Yeah, there’s a small illustration of a dog, but that’s it. Lycos should be using the TV ads to drive traffic to the Web site, and then pay off those customers with a similar thread on their site. “Search For A Million Bucks on Lycos” is what they should be pushing, but advertising agencies haven’t quite caught on to dealing with the Web yet.

Back to the site. Banner placement was good and unobtrusive. They didn’t get in the way, and I like that. I also found Lycos’ search capabilities more intuitive than Yahoo’s. Lycos just seemed to find more of the relevant sites I was searching for.

I also liked the “Find it,” “Talk About It,” and “Shop For It” features along the top nameplate on the homepage, which showed some nice organization know-how on Lycos’ part.

The “My Lycos” signup was fast and easy, but I wondered whether that name might be a direct lift from “My Yahoo?”

The verdict
Right now, this is the way I have segmented the two: Yahoo for fun, Lycos for business. Next week I’ll take a shot at Alta Vista.

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 Lycos Web site. Just click on Rate this Site!, 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 and click to page two.