Type of site
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, U.S.|
|Area served||California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin|
|Key people||Charles C. Hale, Chairman; Warren St. John, CEO and Executive Editor|
|Services||Online news and opinion|
|Alexa rank||114 (U.S.)|
Patch is an independent U.S. local news and information platform, primarily owned by Hale Global. As of May 2014, Patch operated some 906 local and hyperlocal news websites in 23 U.S. states. Patch Media Corporation is the operator of the service.
Patch was founded by Tim Armstrong, Warren Webster and Jon Brod in 2007 after Armstrong said he found a dearth of online information on his hometown of Riverside, Connecticut. The company was acquired by AOL in 2009 shortly after Armstrong became AOL's CEO. Armstrong told AOL staffers that he recused himself from negotiations to acquire the company and did not directly profit from his seed investment. He instead asked that his seed money be returned to him in the form of AOL stock when it split from Time Warner.
The acquisition occurred on June 11, 2009. AOL paid an estimated $7 million in cash for the news platform as part of its effort to reinvent itself as a content provider beyond its legacy dial-up Internet business. AOL, which split from Time Warner in late 2009, announced in 2010 it would be investing $50 million or more into the startup of the Patch.com network. As part of the acquisition Brod became President of AOL Ventures, Local & Mapping, and Warren Webster became president of Patch.
On August 9, 2013, AOL announced it would be laying off staff at all levels. On an all-staff conference call, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong announced that the number of staffed Patch sites will be reduced from 900 to 600. Creative Director Abel Lenz was also publicly fired by Tim Armstrong at that time.
On January 15, 2014, AOL spun off Patch and sold majority ownership to Hale Global. With the sale's closure, AOL laid off several hundred more staffers before turning control of Patch over to Hale. In May 2014, the company announced the first profitable quarter in its history.
In February 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that Patch had 23 million users, was profitable and expanding into new territories.
Patch sites contain news and human interest stories reported locally. In 2010, the company expected to be the largest hirer of full-time journalists in the United States. Each site contains a mixture of local and national advertising.
Patch Media has come under scrutiny from individuals and the media. Articles in the Los Angeles Times, Business Insider, Forbes and online bloggers point out apparent flaws in its business model. According to several sources that were published from 2010 to 2012, some of which quoted former employees, working conditions within the organization deteriorated and the company entered a period of consolidation. The sites are also facing increased competition from independent blogs.
Tim Armstrong told the Columbia Journalism Review in March 2012 that he still believed in the company. When Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham resigned in April 2012, Farnham said "I've never worked for a company that has been as scrutinized, criticized, and coal-raked as this one ... You’d think we were creating toxic waste, instead of, you know, free useful information."
- "Patch.com site info". Alexa.com. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
- Kaufman, Leslie (January 15, 2014). "AOL Finds a Partner to Run Its Troubled Patch Division". New York Times.
- Keith, Tamara (17 August 2010). "AOL Aims High With Hyperlocal Journalism Project". NPR.com. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
- Hardy, Quentin (17 August 2010). "AOL's plan to own your neighborhood". Forbes.com. Retrieved 17 August 2010.
- Chandler, Michele (9 December 2010). "Local News Becomes Web's New Boom". NetNewsCheck. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- Cain Miller, Claire; Stone, Brad (April 12, 2009). ""Hyperlocal" web sites deliver news without newspapers". The New York Times.
- Schonfeld, Erick (June 11, 2009). "AOL Buys Local Startups Going And Patch (And CEO Tim Armstrong Brings an Investment In-House)". TechCrunch.
- "About Us". Patch. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- Savarese, Chris (June 11, 2009). "AOL Acquires Two Local Services, Patch and Going". AOL.com. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- McCarthy, Caroline (June 11, 2009). "AOL thinks local, acquires Patch and Going". CNET.com. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "AOL's Patch plans 500 local sites by end of 2010". Associated Press. August 16, 2010.
- "Jon Brod". AOL.com. May 12, 2010. Archived from the original on June 1, 2010. Retrieved February 11, 2010.
- "AOL To 'Impact' Hundreds Of Patch Employees Friday In A Bid For Hyper Local Profits". Retrieved 2013-08-09.
- Nicholas Carlson, provided by (2013-08-09). "AOL CEO Tim Armstrong Fired Patch's Creative Director In Front Of 1,000 Coworkers (AOL)". SFGate. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- "Opinion: AOL boss blew it in public firing". CNN.com. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-17.
- Burns, Matt. "Patch Hit With Sweeping Layoffs As New Owner Hale Global Restructures". TechCrunch. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
- Kaufman, Leslie (May 18, 2014). "Patch Sites Turn Corner After Sale and Big Cuts". The New York Times. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
- Clabaugh, Jeff (August 17, 2010). "AOL is hiring hundreds of journalists". San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
- Rainey, James (24 April 2010). "On the Media: Trying to Patch into the hyper-local news market: The AOL franchise comes to Manhattan Beach. Can it succeed?". Los Angeles Times.
- Carlson, Nicholas (23 September 2011). "'A Bridge Too Far': AOL Requires Patch Editors To Drum Up Ad Sales Leads". Business Insider.
- Carlson, Nicholas (23 February 2012). "Leaked Documents Reveal Exactly How Much Ads Cost On Patch". Business Insider.
- Bercovici, Jeff (6 October 2011). "Is AOL Trimming Its Patch? Year-End Goal Now In Doubt". Forbes. Retrieved 13 April 2012.
- Gaffin, Adam (16 April 2010). "Thank God Needham is a three-site town". Universal Hub.
- Safran, Steve (May 21, 2010). "Is the Patch revenue model sustainable?". Lost Remote.
- Hirschman, David (19 April 2011). "Baristanet's Debra Galant: How Patch Is Like Wal-Mart (interview)". Street Fight: Inside the Business of Hyperlocal.
- Kennedy, Dan (August 5, 2010). "Hard times working the Patch". Media Nation.
- Del Rey, Jason (9 December 2011). "AOL's Patch Gets a Little Less Hyper-Local: Consolidates Sites in New Jersey, California". Ad Age.
- Roach, Sean (March–April 2012). "The Constant Gardener: My two years tending AOL's hyperlocal experiment". Columbia Journalism Review.
- Kennedy, Dan (May 13, 2011). "Indies fight back against Patch". Media Nation.
- "Tim Armstrong Still Believes: The AOL CEO tells why he's still betting on Patch". Columbia Journalism Review. March–April 2012.
- Faircloth, Kelly. "AOL's Patch Editor-In-Chief Leaves, Does Not Go Scorched Earth". Shakeups. Betabeat. Retrieved 13 April 2012.