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Yahoo Local tests community suggestion board feature

The company launches a trial of "Neighbors" feature for people to discuss local issues.

Yahoo is testing a community suggestion board feature on its Local site for two California cities where people can discuss local issues.

For instance, on the Sacramento "Neighbors" site, people have suggested that the city needs more downtown gas stations, more urban farms, and a dog park. It turns out the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen is seeking volunteers and a group is volunteering to help with painting projects.

People can vote the suggestions or posts up or down, comment on them, and subscribe to posts about particular issues.

The pilot test is also running for San Carlos, south of San Francisco. Following a three- to six-month trial, Yahoo will determine whether to roll the feature out more broadly.

"We're providing a forum for the community to air considerations," which ideally will lead to action, Frazier Miller, general manager of Yahoo Local, said on Wednesday. "We think people are very passionate about their local community. This is a Web 2.0 site for people to talk about local community issues."

Yahoo Local also allows people to provide ratings and reviews of businesses and offers a directory of businesses. A recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive for Yahoo Local found that 98 percent of more than 2,800 respondents said they have been influenced by an online review and nearly 30 percent said they have written an online review of a business.

Yahoo Local Neighbors is testing in Sacramento and San Carlos, Calif. Yahoo