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Macaroni Kid vs. Patch
Macaroni Kid vs. Patch
The challenge: How do you compete with the 500-pound gorilla of the Internet?

What they did: Like many moms, Joyce Shulman, 46, turned to online event listings to find weekend activities for her kids. But she discovered that those directories missed a lot. The attorney saw a niche for local-listings sites aimed at families who want to know about every kid-oriented adventure in town. Along with her advertising executive husband, Eric Cohen, 48, and friend Nicki Hembi, 39, she created Macaroni Kid, a platform for such sites, in 2009. Cohen projects $1.2 million in revenue for 2012, about double that of 2011. How does it work? In exchange for a $59-a-month fee, the company's 402 licensees get the right to compile listings for a single town on a Macaroni Kid-branded website and e-newsletter. They make money by selling ads to local merchants.

Note: Patch is an AOL-owned chain of local news sites

This story is from the May 21, 2012 issue of Fortune.
By Elaine Pofeldt, contributor @FortuneMagazine - Last updated May 21 2012: 6:29 AM ET
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