AOL's Patch plans 500 local sites by end of year

August 17, 2010 By RACHEL METZ , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- AOL intends to grow its Patch network of community news sites to include more than 500 neighborhoods by the end of December - a move the struggling Internet company hopes will strengthen its online advertising business.

AOL Inc. announced the expansion plan Tuesday for , which it bought last June for $7 million in cash as part of its yearslong effort to reinvent itself as a content provider reliant on online ads as its legacy dial-up Internet access business fades. AOL, which split from . in late 2009, said in a March regulatory filing that it expects to invest as much as $50 million in Patch this year alone.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong came up with the idea for Patch in 2007, while he was still an executive at Inc., and was an early stakeholder in the company through his private investment company, Polar Capital. When AOL bought Patch, Armstrong said that he wouldn't take a profit from the deal and instead his initial investment would be repaid in AOL stock once AOL became independent of Time Warner.

Patch launched its first three websites in early 2009. Since then, the company has been rolling out more sites at a rapid clip: AOL also said Tuesday that it launched Morristown Patch, which focuses on Morristown, N.J., bringing its current stable of Patch sites to 100.

Patch sites now serve communities in eight states, including Skokie, Ill. and Mill Valley, Ca.; by the end of the year, AOL plans to have Patch sites in 20 states.

Patch builds its websites in communities with 15,000-75,000 residents, and each site is staffed by a full-time editor who works with an average of 11 local freelancers to create and produce site content. Content ranges from news stories to events listings to classified ads.

Like other AOL websites such as gadget blog Engadget and video search engine Truveo, Patch sites make money from running ads. In an interview, Patch CEO Jon Brod said sees local websites as the "largest commercial opportunity online that's yet to be won."

Explore further: AOL buys two Web startups

0 shares

Related Stories

AOL buys two Web startups

June 12, 2009

Internet pioneer AOL, which Time Warner plans to spin off into an independent company later this year, announced on Thursday that it had bought two small Web startups focused on local content.

AOL finally regains independence from Time Warner

December 10, 2009

(AP) -- AOL resumed life as an independent Internet company Thursday as it completed its spinoff from Time Warner Inc. and closed the book on one of the most disastrous business combinations in history.

AOL buys online video company StudioNow for $36.5M

January 25, 2010

(AP) -- AOL Inc. said Monday that it is boosting its ability to create Web videos by paying $36.5 million for StudioNow Inc., a Web site that lets companies buy custom-made online videos from a network of freelance filmmakers.

AOL CEO turns down $1.5M 2009 bonus

February 3, 2010

(AP) -- AOL Inc. CEO Tim Armstrong has turned down a bonus of at least $1.5 million in 2009, the company reported in a filing Tuesday.

Focus on content as AOL marks 25th birthday

May 24, 2010

AOL marked its 25th birthday Monday with chief executive Tim Armstrong saying the once high-flying Web company would focus on creating quality content and advertising as it maps out its future.

Recommended for you

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.