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Digital City rolls out WebGuide

Digital City announces the launch of WebGuide, a listing of local links to guide Netizens around major U.S. cities.

To mark its coming-out party on the Web, Digital City today announced the launch of WebGuide, a listing of local links to guide Netizens around major U.S. cities.

The announcement is the latest example of the rush to create city guides on the Web and generate money from national and local advertisers. The market is quickly becoming saturated with big players such as Yahoo, CitySearch, and Microsoft's Sidewalk, as well as metropolitan daily newspapers.

The company describes WebGuide as "a local links service and search engine that combines expert reviews, handy categories, white and yellow pages directories, and a seven-day events calendar to help you turn the Internet into a tool for better living."

In coming months, Digital City will roll out a MovieGuide, DiningGuide, and full, comprehensive Digital City sites. It boasts more than 300 local and national advertisers, including the Gap and Bank of America.

The full-fledged Web guide will be launched for one city by year's end, John Borthwick, director of Digital City Studio, said today. The rest will roll out by the second quarter of next year, he added.

Borthwick called WebGuide an "initial offering." The map lists 21 cities or regions: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Houston, Chicago Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Orlando, South Florida, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Tampa Bay, Florida, Las Vegas, Nevada, and Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Users click on a city and see a list of links organized into categories such as "arts and culture," "entertainment," "real estate," "travel," "shopping," and "sports and recreation."

Clicking on "sports and recreation," for instance, shows the Web sites for the city's professional sports teams. The entertainment category shows restaurant dining guides. It also features the AOLNetFind directory.

Founded in 1995, Digital City is jointly owned by America Online and the Tribune Company. The Tribune staff has produced Web sites for Chicago, Orlando, South Florida, and Hampton Roads, Virginia.