They’re not calling it “Best Of,” but AOL’s decision to bring back their City’s Best network of websites will throw another player into the already crowded field of city guides.
The websites, which feature “Best Of” common staple such as “Best Dive Bars” and “Best Romantic Restaurants,” cover 25 U.S. cities and encourage users to vote from a pre-selected list of businesses within each category. AOL’s press release touts accompanying iPhone and Android apps, but as of this writing, those apps are nowhere to be found.
Combined with its planned expansion of Patch, AOL is pushing into two areas — heavy focus on local news and “Best of the City” guides — that are alt-weekly mainstays.
The original Cityâ€™s Best was introduced under the old regime at AOL over a decade ago, but the company abandoned it two years ago.
Given AOLâ€™s desire to dominate local, it canâ€™t rely solely on Patch for ad revenues and audience share. It also has to take aim at the current leaders in the space such as Yelp and CitySearch as well as the more narrowly targeted e-newsletters Thrillist and Comcastâ€™s Daily Candy.