For anyone who was wondering why Lycos has been slowly declining in performance in recent years.
It used to be that about.com and imdb were just sidetracks for Lycos' UK sales offering. They now seem to account for more than three quarters of Lycos' traffic. Although Lycos is beginning to focus a little more on providing content, it is starting to struggle.
My own opinion is that portals will become less relevant in the future. As more offline content providers begin to move online, people will seek out better content from them. Once people know where they can receive the news \ information they want, the only portal they need to visit will be their search engine.
The growth among portals is relatively static at the moment. This graph shows where they are:
Microsoft did something to messenger in January that I think has something to do with the spike in traffic. It also did some suspicious things to their daily visits.
I think that within a year we'll begin to see the larger portals start to show signs of decline. You can't be all things to all people, and the social networks will replace the portals as the homepage of choice.