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YAHOO OFFERS FREE WEB SITES FOR SMALL, LOCAL BUSINESSES

Yahoo! Inc. said Wednesday it will help small, local businesses from diners to plumbers set up Web sites of up to five pages for free using a Yahoo template.

Yahoo will include advertisements for its own products on the sites, said spokeswoman Diana Vincent.

More than half of the nation's 20 million small businesses don't have Web sites, Yahoo said, citing consulting firm the Kelsey Group. The free Web sites will be included in the local-listings area of Yahoo, the company said.

Yahoo will sell other services to small businesses that sign up, such as local advertisements for $9.95 a month or online stores for $39.95 a month, the company said.

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