As AOL (NYSE: AOL) prepares to “quintuple” the number of hyperlocal blogs in its Patch network, the company is bringing back its City’s Best lifestyle and dining guide across 25 metro areas. The original City’s Best was introduced under the old regime at AOL over a decade ago, but the company abandoned it two years ago.
Given AOL’s desire to dominate local, it can’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 Comcast’s Daily Candy. Among the 25 cities featured in the City’s Best network are Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.
With its new version of City’s Best, not much appears to have changed, although this one does have apps for the the iPhone and Android. The other difference is that City’s Best will be tied closely to MapQuest and Patch, which will promote listings on the site. As part of a promotional gimmick, AOL is allowing City’s Best users to vote on their favorite spots starting now through November 30. Winners in categories such as “best” burgers, cheap eats, after work bar, sports bar, romantic restaurant, pizza, etc., will be announced December 14.
As AOL noted its release, the old City’s Best generated 10 million votes from users. It’ll be interesting to see how many it gets in this month-long voting window and how it will keep its expected momentum going.