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AOL resurrects City’s Best to offer local info

Struggling online portal AOL is continuing it drive to garner Internet users’ eyeballs—and advertisers’ dollars—by focusing on locally-relevant content—and, to that end, it has revived City’s Best, a guide to top-rated businesses, entertainment venues, and food in 25 large U.S. cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, and Miami. The goal is to help users find high quality, relevant information for their particular location, whether it’s their home or they’re just visiting.

“Simply put, City’s Best is the easiest way to find and engage with what’s best in our cities,” said president of AOL Ventures, Local, and Mapping Jon Brod, in a statement. “We are tapping into professional editors and writers, in addition to community members through their participation in the voting process to find and share the best in our cities.”

From October 13 through November 30, AOL will be hosting City’s Best voting, enabling site visitors to “vote” [sic] for their favorite locations from a list of top businesses in predefined categories, including Cheap Eats, Work Bar, Sports Bar, Salon, Live Music, and more. AOL will then tally up winners for all 25 City’s Best markets and announce winners on December 14.

City’s Best also plans to help businesses promote themselves through special QR Codes stickers that can be placed in windows: customers can take pictures of the code stickers with their cell phones to get more information about the business, or vote for it. AOL hopes to engage users through a set of mobile applications, localized content—AOL is hiring freelance experts to enhance City’s Best overall content—as well as sharing tools, tips and opinions, and—of course—online voting. City’s Best will be competing with the likes of efforts like Yelp and FourSquare, which aim to provide similar localized information.

City’s Best originally launched in 1999, but was shut down in 2008 back before AOL was spun out of Time Warner. Cities included in the City’s Best revival are Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C.