Websites Ally Against Google to Sell Local-Business Ads

A band of Internet rivals is joining together in hopes of jump-starting sales of online ads to local businesses, and of defending their turf in the emerging local market from Google Inc.

Using technology developed by New York-based start-up Yext Inc., some of the Web’s top locally oriented sites, such as AOL Inc.’s MapQuest and Yelp Inc., are testing out a new way to attract ad dollars from local businesses ranging from veterinary clinics to gyms to restaurants.

The sites are offering a $99-a-month service that allows businesses to add a marketing message, such as a special offer, to the basic phone-and-address information that appears about them in local search results or map listings. The message tag would appear with the company’s listing across more than a dozen local websites, including MapQuest, IAC/InterActive Corp.’s CityGrid, Yelp and Yellowbook.

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