AOL already operates a portal at www.netscape.com.
It gets very little traffic. What's going to be different about the new AOL.com portal? Are they going to advertise it more? Is the AOL proprietary content so compelling that people are going to start visiting AOL?
Personally, I have little use for portals, but there are a lot of people who use yahoo.com and myway.com, for instance. I guess they are attracted to them by e-mail and customized news and weather and financial portfolio tracking, and maybe a few other things. AOL will have to offer similar features.
I have a feeling there are people walking around their offices saying: "We have all the resources of Time Warner, the biggest entertainment company in the world behind us, with a big music publisher, movie studio, book publisher, CNN, the Time family of magazines. We can produce a better portal than anybody." And maybe they can. I just don't see a big market for portals in the long run. But Yahoo continues to thrive, so who knows?