e-business: jargon buster: Internet Service Provider

An ISP is the company that provides you with access to the Internet. The ISP is always connected to the Internet and users dial up and piggy-back their ISP’s connection. The largest ISP in the UK is Freeserve, which pioneered free Internet access last year.


Online services The line between these and ISPs is increasingly blurred. On-line service companies, such as AOL, Compuserve and the Microsoft Network (MSN) have created their own tailored network or universe of sites and services. The major travel site Expedia, for instance, began life as a travel channel within MSN.


Portal This is a site which aims to offer everything you want and expect from the Internet such as e-mail access, shops and services, a long list of sites and a search engine. By various methods such as personalisation of pages (for instance in Yahoo, you can set up My Yahoo), you are encouraged to stay in that portal.


Vortal A vertical portal bringing together sites focusing on a particular area. For instance, Stepstone describes itself as a jobs and career portal. Portals can be effective advertising mediums because they are entirely focused.

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