New NYC Guide Sets Stage for Ad War

The New York Times Electronic Media Co. launched its city guide site, New York Today, setting the stage for a knock-down drag-out fight for online ad dollars in the Big Apple.

Nearly 300 local advertisers are on board at launch, the company said.

Competition includes New York Sidewalk from Microsoft, Digital Cities New York from America Online and Citysearch New York from Citysearch.

The new site is intended to complement The New York Times on the Web. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Co. and publisher of the newspaper, called New York Today “an exciting and essential component of The Times’s digital strategy and an indispensable tool that will help New Yorkers, or anyone for that matter, take advantage of all that our complex and vibrant city has to offer.”

New York Today contains a searchable database of information about New York City events, arts and entertainment, restaurants, shopping, sports, leisure and practical information. The site also integrates a full Yellow Pages for the tri-state region, metropolitan news, sports, weather and even traffic conditions. The site’s classified section covers real estate, jobs and autos.

The site’s home page features a daily calendar of recommended city activities and events. The calendar displays one day at a time, but can capture attractions going out weeks, as available. Furthermore, it can be personalized to deliver only that information that is of interest to the user.

For the community information, New York Today developed an exclusive tool that allows local non-profit organizations and civic groups to communicate with their members about upcoming events. Each group is provided remote publishing tools to develop and manage its own online calendar within New York Today. Thus far, some 20 local organizations including the American Museum of Natural History and the Wildlife Conservation Society are participating in this “Community Pilot Program.”

The site’s technology was developed by Zip2 Corp. of Mountain View, CA. i/o 360 digital design inc. of New York City served as New York Today’s site designers.

Businesses are being offered “microsites” built and hosted by New York Today and linked to its Yellow Pages directory. In addition, advertisers are offered banner advertisements and prominent tile ads adjacent to relevant content. Advertisers can also post sales and event information in their own sales calendar in New York Today. This information can then be accessed by users searching for sales in the site’s Shopping section.

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