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I am trying to go more toward content marketing as well. In my banner ad packages, including a gallery and/or press release. What are you charging, ballpark, for a sponsored post?

wow, forgot about this feed. yes, i think its still a good idea. 

Love this idea. Not so much that this tied to the business directory, as that would mean an addition subscription. But Patch, that beacon of journalism, did a bunch of "best of" series that drove a lot of business traffic.
Just like Yelp, one can click the amount of "stars" it wants to give a restaurant. It can take place 2 ways: one application can allow the author to do it, like the New York Times. another application can be to allow users to do it almost like a poll application, and the data is aggregated as more readers vote.
I agree with a few of the suggestions. It would help to be able to block particular IP addresses of commenters that are an issue. I also think people being able to click "like" or "dislike" on a comment will help it more be self-policing.