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A business‐revenue model for horizontal portals

Stephen Burgess (School of Information Systems, Centre for International Corporate Governance Research, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Arthur Tatnall (Graduate School of Business, Centre for International Corporate Governance Research, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

Business Process Management Journal

ISSN: 1463-7154

Article publication date: 18 September 2007




Horizontal web portals fill an important place in the operation of the internet and this paper seeks to look at how these portals may become profitable. A portal is simply a gateway, and a web portal can thus be seen as a gateway to content and services on the internet, or on a corporate intranet. This paper aims to compare several different views of what constitutes a portal, and to offer a specific definition. The main focus of the paper is on general horizontal (or public) portals and the relationship between their business‐revenue models and the content they provide. This paper aims to briefly review the relevant literature before describing a revenue model consisting of players, strategies and content. This is then examined and synthesised to match various revenue models and content.


After proposing the model, the paper tests how the matches proposed between revenue and content in the model compare with two currently operating popular horizontal portals.


An examination of two popular portals (one world‐wide and one based in Australia) has provided typical examples of how the advertising/revenue can be employed by horizontal portals and shown that they appear to match fairly closely with the proposed revenue/content model. After having examined the content of these two well‐known portals, it appears at this early stage that the revenue‐content model may show some promise.

Research limitations/implications

While the paper cannot claim complete generalisability of a model based on a comparison of only two horizontal portals, the results are promising and should be useful for horizontal portal managers looking for how to balance the revenue of their portal with the content that they generate and the services they offer.

Practical implications

When fully tested, the model will provide horizontal portal operators assistance with the process of determining suitable content for their portals to match their chosen revenue strategies.


It is believed that this model is one of the few revenue/content matching models developed for horizontal portals.



Burgess, S. and Tatnall, A. (2007), "A business‐revenue model for horizontal portals", Business Process Management Journal, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 662-676.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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