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MARKETER: Kellogg Co.

WHERE TO FIND IT: www.smartstart.com

CRITIQUE: Pick a portal. Any portal. Because for the most part, they're all the same. As if the search engine wars, community site wars and chat site wars weren't bad enough on their own, now they've converged.

Why any marketer would want to get into this business is a wonder. Yet that's exactly what Kellogg Co. is doing with its Smart Start site. The tie-in to the breakfast cereal is not a bad one -- start your day with Kellogg's both in your bowl and on your screen. Yada Yada.

But the site itself lacks many of the features found on the major portal sites, nee search engines, (Yahoo!, Excite, Lycos, etc) while delivering much of the same content.

Granted, it will display your horoscope, which puts it ahead of My Yahoo! if you don't mind having a Web site ask "What's your sign?"

Smart Start doesn't have anything else to offer, though. Maybe it assumes that consumers don't need chat first thing in the morning. Fair enough, but many seem to chat later in the day, and when all the other portals are full-serve, this site needs some major incentive to convince users to sign up for yet another personalized service.

One thing is clear in the portal wars: Either get a multimillion-dollar marketing budget and enough capital to buy all the companies you need to get started or don't bother with a general-audience site.

WHO CREATED IT: Magnet Interactive Communications, Washington

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