Today AOL will reintroduce their City’s Best catalogues in 25 major U.S. markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, and Seattle. Each local channel will review area restaurants, bars, and entertainment and all guides will be available online at citysbest.com
The project is similar to AOL’s Digital Cities franchise from the 1990s, however the competitive landscape is much more crowded now than it was over a decade ago. With Citysearch, Yelp, Chowhound, UrbanSpoon, and countless local blogs covering regional dining and entertainment scenes, AOL is relying on the promotional efforts of their Mapquest and Patch platforms to set City’s Best apart from the crowd.
According to a Mediaweek report, president of AOL Ventures, Local and Mapping, Jon Brod views City’s Best as “the third leg of [AOL’s] local stool.” Some material from Patch, Mapquest, and City’s Best is interchangeable and will often appear on multiple sites in AOL’s network. Brod added that City’s Best has hired five regional editors to manage five markets each and infuse original content into the community they cover.
City’s Best editors will build user participation by polling fans on their favorite local foods and restaurants. Voting will be done online or through City’s Best smartphone apps. AOL plans to expand City’s Best to at least 40 markets including some international locations.