RealTime IT News

AOL Plans Major Digital City Expansion

The success of its city guides in 60 metro areas around the country prompted America Online Inc. Monday to extend its Digital City local content sites to more than 200 cities over the next few months.

The markets have not yet been determined, the company said, but will be chosen based on population size and rankings as travel destinations. The new sites are slated to launch in spring 2000.

Like the current Digital City properties, content will include entertainment and tourism information, personal ads, auctions, yellow pages, classified ads and local news, as well as a guide to the area's dining spots, movie times, sporting events and children's activities.

"Local is one of the fastest-growing uses of the Internet," said Ted Leonsis, president of AOL (AOL) Interactive Properties, which oversees Digital City. "Our expansion into 200 markets nationwide will bring Digital City's award-winning local content and services to more people than ever before -- helping them save time and get the most out of the communities they live in, visit and are passionate about."

Digital City goes up against some heavy hitters in the local content sector. Microsoft's (MSFT) Sidewalk hosts localized content for a variety of cities, as does CitySearch, which last year merged with Ticketmaster (TMCS) to be a power player in the industry.