OKC on AOL
DULLES, Va. (Bloomberg) -- America Online has added Oklahoma City
and 11 other areas to its Digital City guides, bringing the number of
its online guidebooks to 50, as the No. 1 online service more seeks
regional advertisers to boost its revenue.
Digital City is a free guide on the World Wide Web that provides
movie times, local news and other services for cities from New York
to Salt Lake City. America Online is competing for consumer
attention and advertising dollars with Microsoft's Sidewalk city
guides and CitySearch, which has filed with U.S. securities
regulators for an initial public offering. Dulles, Va.-based AOL has
expanded into more cities than its competitors and now is branching
into smaller urban areas such as Albany, N.Y., and Grand Rapids,
"The local advertising market is a huge market, and AOL's
advertising is now pretty much national," said CIBC Oppenheimer
analyst Henry Blodget, who has a "strong buy" rating on AOL.
Besides Oklahoma City, the new Digital City guides include
Harrisburg/York, Pa.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Jacksonville, Fla.; San Antonio;
Albuquerque/Santa Fe, N.M.; Richmond, Va.; Columbus, Ohio; Milwaukee;
and Nashville, Tenn.
A dilapidated rock landmark
ASBURY PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Bruce Springsteen immortalized the 103-
year-old Palace Amusements in his 1975 song Born to Run. Now city
officials say it's time for the endearing and dilapidated Asbury Park
icon to come down. City code enforcers condemned the building after
its floor partially collapsed.
The Palace, with its peeling green facade and painted clown faces,
has been vacant since 1988. For many years, the block-long building
was home to a Ferris wheel, carousel and shooting gallery. From
1986-88, it housed a rock `n' roll museum, which celebrated local
musicians such as Springsteen, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes.
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Lance Yost spent years as a Baptist
minister, working with bereaved families shellshocked at the steep
cost of funerals. Their anger gave him an idea: Start a consulting
company to cut the high cost of dying. So Yost founded Eulogy
International last year to help befuddled and grieving people
navigate their way through the often confusing pricing systems and
steep markups charged by the funeral industry. "It's sort of like a
travel agent who helps them put the different pieces of the puzzle
together and how much each part will cost them," said Yost, who has
also worked as a sales manager for a cemetery company.
For an up-front $300 fee, Eulogy sends out a consultant to meet
with clients and provides price lists and other information about
arranging a funeral. "We feel you can get a traditional service that
is meaningful and dignified without having to pay an exorbitant price
for it," he said.
Eulogy began advertising in January and Yost said his company,
which employs 22 people around the state, has consulted on nine
funerals. He hopes to break even by next year. So far Eulogy is
active only in Virginia, but Yost hopes to eventually take his
The National Funeral Directors Association says the average
funeral runs $4,700, not counting the monument and cemetery expenses,
so there is plenty of room for savings. Yost said his company has
saved grieving clients from $700 to $5,000 each. But his idea has
raised hackles in both the funeral industry and among funeral
consumer groups. Their biggest complaint is that the information
Yost's company sells can easily be found for free or for a small fee.
"They're basically charging $300 for information that our societies
give out for free," said Lisa Carlson, executive director of the non-
profit group Funeral and Memorial Societies of America, based in
Hinesburg, Vt. "Finding a local low-cost provider is a very real
problem. It's the kind of thing our society will tell you for a $25
lifetime membership. …