The Growth of Industry Web Portals: Framework and Guidelines

The Growth of Industry Web Portals: Framework and Guidelines

Duanning Zhou (Department of Accounting and Information Systems, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA, USA), Arsen Djatej (Department of Accounting & Information Systems, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA, USA), Robert Sarikas (School of Accountancy, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA) and David Senteney (School of Accountancy, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/ijec.2014100102

Abstract

This article proposes a growth framework for industry web portals which present a new opportunity in the Internet business. The proposed framework contains five stages: business plan stage, website development stage, attraction stage, entrenchment stage, and defense stage. The actions to be taken and strategies to be applied in each stage are set out. Two industry web portals are investigated in detail. The two examples illustrate the applicability of the proposed growth framework to the real world. The combination of a conceptual growth framework and the application of this conceptual framework to two real world examples yields a set of guidelines based in large part on lessons learned from the two examples. Thus, this paper provides a concept-based growth framework and a set of real world-based guidelines that will very possibly provide a practical benefit to industry web portal business practitioners.
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Literature Review

Damsgaad (2002) presents a portal life cycle model for web portal management. The life cycle model contains four phases: attraction phase, contagion phase, entrenchment phase, and defense phase, in which practitioners at each phase face the necessity to overcome certain challenges to advance to the next phase. The attraction phase of a web portal begins from the launching of the web portal with some unique/innovative features that existing web portals do not provide. The primary objectives of practitioners in the attraction stage of the process involve on attracting visitors and keeping them coming back to the portal, with eventually visitors becoming recurring users. Practitioners in the contagion phase seek to “infect” the recurring users so that they can help spread the portal. Practitioners find themselves in the entrenchment phase comes when the number of users of the portal reaches a “critical mass”. The web portal at this phase can then “tax” users by providing upgraded/enhanced services and accepting advertisements. Once the portal is well established, practitioners then must defend the successful position they have achieved by carefully monitoring the challenges from new entrants. The primary goal of these practitioners in each of these four phases is to “lock-in” users, so that they do not switch to competitors (Damsgaad, 2002).

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