Posted August 12, 2013 8:13 am by with 24 comments

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We used to write about Patch from time to time in the past when it looked like there might be something to patch-logoall of the bluster that AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, would generate around it. It looked like AOL had found the holy grail of the hyper local space (if you believed their hype that is) and the idea of true local reporting being both scalable and profitable was finally within reach.

Fast forward to the end of last week and the news reported by fellow AOL owned entity, TechCrunch, is not so good.

We reported yesterday that AOL’s hyper-local news service would lose hundreds of employees today, and now we have confirmation from a well-placed Patcher privy to the call that AOL CEO Tim Armstrong did indeed confirm to employees that hundreds would be laid off, with notifications of who will be let go coming throughout the coming week. (Disclosure: AOL owns TechCrunch).

In a call Armstrong held with the Patch team today, he explained that “AOL is going to be running the show” at the restructured Patch along with new CEO Bud Rosenthal. Rosenthal replaces outgoing CEO Steve Kalin, who was reported to be getting the boot earlier this week.

In addition 400 Patch sites will be closed or merged with other sites.

All in all it looks like the great Patch experiment (at one point, there was talk of a myriad of these sites sprouting up everywhere) is changing into, well, who knows?

That’s not to say that Patch is a complete failure. Some of the hyper local sites are doing well. It’s the love affair that businesses have with rapid growth that appears to have been the Achilles heel of the Patch effort.

Our source isn’t very convinced by the bluster around the new direction put forth by Armstrong. They suggest that this new strategy is really a “correction of a bad idea” that involved scaling far too fast without proper thought and planning, and notes that original Patch sites are still among the most successful. Focusing on those regions that actually do drive good revenue and traffic is probably the only way to save Patch at this point, however, so big cuts are probably unavoidable.

I wish that at some point the world would take a more realistic approach to business and how success is measured. More and more good ideas may see larger audiences if they were afforded the time to grow in a reasonable and rational manner. The world’s obsession with ‘scale’ has created more fantastic flops than it has anything else. In the wake of these ‘sure fire hits’ are lost jobs, disarray, discouragement and more ‘not so good’ stuff.

In the world of ‘go big or go home’ this will be more the norm moving forward. I don’t write that with any great sense of it getting any better either. So be careful who you attach yourself to. Most people only have so many flameouts in them.

Your thoughts?

  • Former Intern

    Patch is unfair and it has wronged a lot of innocent people who were defame and discredited by unethical Politicians who paid into AOL PATCH advertising with high amounts of cash and eventually bought a patch site so they could pay off a patch reporter with kickbacks, trips to trump hotel and places around the world and a job promotion to another news outlet after the reporter completed his damaging, defaming stories that were designed to destroy the politicians competition.
    The community news stories were bogus and sensationalized to make the person look really bad. It was so dirty. This is how patch abused and misused their power and showed a total disregard for people in the community that they viciously wrote about because some rich political machine with influence and money owned a Patch Franchise and wanted to protect his political puppet, so the influencer would have a story designed and written to defame and destroy that person. Patch would not take down the horrible comments that were posted even though they were probably lies and many of them very harsh language. The political influencer was behind the dirty scheme and patch play along with it because they got paid and rewarded for defaming this person which is a cyber crime. They didn’t care if the story was fake, they wanted to make that person look bad and then they used ex googlers that work for patch to make sure the story was back linked with loads of content to keep it at the top of the first page of google. It was organized crime and an abusive way of reporting fake news to the community. It destroyed reputations and put people in a very disheartening situation. Greedy dirty politicians and a negative defaming media outlet (PATCH)

    Patch is an embarrassment to the American Public and should be ashamed of their practices and decisions to get in bed with dirty unethical politicians and political machine influencers who break the laws by using the social media to create fake sensationalized stories, violate the color of law within their community to intentionally discredit and destroy a person because a current elected official is threatened by a person who could potentially beat them in an upcoming election and to get even and seek vengeance because they have deeply rooted hatred in their heart. Patch fueled those negative opportunities for these disgusting politicians and criminal Political Machines who own these patch sites.

    I sincerely hope, the President of the United States has laws written against social media sites like AOL Patch. Patch has destroyed so many people. They are careless and reckless in reporting journalism. The greedy writers that already left, made it hard on the good writers who care. I feel every Patch site should be shut down immediately and all content should be removed.

    Patch is a liability that is going to go into negative numbers when the amount of class action lawsuits hit. Patch writers have even irresponsibly written stories about homeless shelters for women and used one women’s story that mentions her name and her childrens name and location. This is still online. Patch is one Train Wreck after another and INVESTORS should demand a complete shut down of all 900 sites. Allowing Politicians and political machines the opportunity to own these social media sites is like giving a terrorist a bomb. They will use these sites to destroy and manipulate stories to their advantage. They will kill a persons character and destroy a persons life in the making. AOL will always be responsible for ever being attached to the name Patch and it will begin to drive the AOL stock down if all Patch sites are not removed and shut down immediately. These politicians found a way of using this a campaign smear tactic and means to get even. Federal laws and regulations should be enforced and defamation laws should be applied to these highly damaging stories.

    AOL IS RESPONSIBLE for ever creating this social media Filth. Tim Armstrong is running around like a crazy man because he allowed PATCH to go Wild and politicians to discredit him and the people the set out to destroy. This is what happens Tim when you allow dirty political investors in advertising and purchasing to buy patch sites. It will be a horrible mistake if you sell patch to them. If you want AOL to grow, you need to shut down patch, all 900 sites today. NOT FOR SALE. PATCH IS CLOSED FOR GOOD.

    • Former Patch Editor

      Clearly you are not a former Patch intern like your name implies.

      While Patch’s business model is clearly flawed, your accustation in the above comment clearly have nothing to do with why the business model is failing. Patch is not a franchise, first off. I never once in my time at the company saw any political influence coming from anyone inside the company. The advertising (what little there was) and editorial sides of the business were completely separated during my two years at the company.

      Point is, your comment is not even worth the server space it takes up.

      • Former Intern

        Then you didn’t know what I knew. This is why patch is suffer now and Tim is in Panic mode.

        • Currently employee

          I find it hard to believe any journalistic company would hire someone who can’t even form sentences correctly.

          In addition, what your say is absolute garbage.

          • Paul Barstow

            Maybe you should read your own sentences and spell correctly

            Currently employee said “In addition, what your say is absolute garbage”

            This is why Patch has problems now. Bad stories and terrible spelling.
            I’m not a journalist, but I can spell

            “In addition, what you say, not what your say.

          • former intern

            I was an intern, you were a journalist. I never agreed with the practices of Patch. They were unethical. Patch hired inexperienced so called journalist who wrote what they were told to write and never bothered to check for truths. They rewarded those lying journalist with trips, cash and promotions. They either played the game or they were Fired, just like Abel.

          • ANDY

            well, i think they were right current employee who is now FIRED with the rest of his PATCH editors who got PINK SLIPS. HAHAHAHAHA

      • Mike Vinnie

        The “Former Intern” guy is a tinfoil hat-wearing nut from New Jersey who is obsessed with one Patch site in his area, for some reason. He posts similar bizarre, paranoid rantings about Patch and its involvement in so-called “political machines” after every article that turns up on the Internet that references the company. Either a Patch editor ran over his dog at some point or they’ve recently closed some insane asylums in his area. I’m going with the latter.

        As a Patch employee (in the same state), I’ve never once seen any e-mail from the company that was politically motivated in any way come from any supervisor. In fact, most Patch editors are frustrated at the lack of meaningful support for actual hard news coverage.

        • ANDY

          hey mike did tim armstrong fire you yet. watch the news, nj is corrupt. duh

      • ANDY

        watch the news bozo, looks like the intern was right. nj does have a dirty political boss and a screwed up corrupt state.

    • nellybly


      • ANDY

        nellybly, did patch fire you too? bet it’s not lies now lol

    • ANDY

      patch is scum

  • Paul Barstow

    Funny how Armstrong talks about firing Abel like a Donald Trump. Isn’t this the same Trump that Armstrong rewarded his Reckless Journalist to fly to relax and enjoy a hotel and nights of luxury. And this former Patch Editor says “never once in his or her time at the company saw any political influence. Trump is totally political and he is driven by political influence, most of his friends are dirty politicians and dirty political influencers. Did you stay at his digs too. Thank you former intern for bringing the truth to light. I hope the entire company shuts down. It’s useless and obviously reckless. SHAME ON AOL PATCH.

    • Mike Vinnie

      The diagnosis is in. Multiple personality disorder.

      • Rhonda


      • ANDY

        distressed babies and firing people armstrong is smoking something with clouds

  • GoBirdGo

    There is hope for Patch. It’s going to be a different path, but if the politics of business allows for it, they will figure it out.

    • Rhonda

      AOL Patch is it’s own worse enemy. I don’t suspect this will get much better. This is another example of manipulation, corruption and perpetrating a fraud when it comes to reporting social media news. Patch is fake

      • Mike Vinnie

        I guess the intern guy changed his user name.

        • ANDY

          did they fire you guy with the two first names? mike vinnie, which is it?

    • ANDY

      Patch and that crazy owner are stupid

  • willow grove resident

    former intern hit on one of the primary problems of patch reporting. The Willow Grove (PA)patch was polluted with one sided political influence, Sorry but it was very one sided!!!.

  • ANDY