CNET announced today that AOL has purchased two local-oriented sites: Patch and Going.com. As CNET pointed out, the acquisition of Patch isn’t a big surprise, as newly appointed AOL CEO Tim Armstrong founded and invested in Patch while working as Google’s sales chief. Armstrong believes that “Local remains one of the most disaggregated experiences on the Web today—there’s a lot of information out there but simply no way for consumers to find it quickly and easily.”
He’s hoping that Going.com will give AOL another way to capitalize on that market. Going.com offers event and invitation services, along with ticketing and ways for locals to connect with one another. The goal of the acquisition is to build out AOL’s local services, but is it also insight into AOL’s new market strategy?
I agree with Armstrong that the local market will only continue to expand, and we should all expect to see some great developments in that market. Still, it will be very interesting to see if AOL shifts its focus in an attempt to become a major player in what is and should continue to be a booming market.