Before I get to the list, let me explain what went into creating it.
First, the basic definition of a web portal would include most of the web, so I used the criteria of being a portal to either specific or general information. I also included any portals to services or products that were not specifically sold by the website. (In other words, Amazon would not be counted because they sell the products they list. A best deal website, on the other hand, would fit the criteria.)
Second, I used Alexa as an index to the website's popularity. Alexa ranks websites through data retrieved by those who use the Alexa toolbar. In many ways, Alexa is the Nielson ratings of the web.
And, with that said, here is the list:
10. MySpaceOnce the most popular social network, MySpace still brings in enough traffic to make this list. With free form profiles that allow users to create their own custom look and an emphasis on music and entertainment, MySpace is still one of the leaders in the social networking space.
9. BaiduBaidu is the leading Chinese search engine with an emphasis on multimedia content like movies and MP3s. It was the first to offer WAP and mobile search in China.
The quickest source of basic information on anything from Roman history to cellular mitosis to Harrison Ford, Wikipedia has redefined how people share information. This community-driven wiki is run by the non-profit Wikipedia Foundation and provides a wealth of information on almost any subject.
7. BloggerThe most popular blogging platform is also one of the most popular destinations on the web. Blogger is a free service that allows anyone to quickly and easily start their own blog and even put Google ads on it to make money.
Originally developed to compete with American Online, MSN is slowly being phased out to make way for Microsoft's Live service. But, as you can see from it being so highly ranked, it is still one of the most popular search portals.
5. Windows Live
Microsoft's answer to Google, Microsoft Live combines the web search features of MSN with a host of web-based applications like mail and instant messaging.
4. FacebookFacebook swept past MySpace in the past year to become not only the most popular social network in the world, but one of the most popular web destinations. The Facebook development platform played a key role in the expansion of Facebook, allowing it to become more than just a social network by integrating apps and games.
YouTube has taken viral videos to a new level by making it so easy to share video footage. While certainly entertaining, YouTube can also be instructional for those wishing to find free tutorial videos.
Do you Yahoo? If so, then you are hitting the second most popular destination on the web. Combining search features with a host of services ranging from Internet mail to your own personalized radio station, Yahoo is the busiest web portal.
Designed around the concept of just giving people a search box and a button to click, Google's immense popularity is best shown by how the name has become a synonym for search. By the end of the decade, people will be talking about how they googled their car keys but couldn't find them.