Friday, January 28, 2011

Columnist questions's purpose

Nicholas Carlson of Silcon Alley Business Insider has posted a scathing column about, the chain of hyperlocal websites. From Carlson's column:
    AOL now has about 800 Patch editors nationwide. The number is supposed to swell to 1,000 by year end. Each editors makes $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Add in payroll taxes and some benefits and you have to figure Patch's people alone cost AOL around $50 million each year. 
    That is an absurdly small number. 
    By contrast, Gawker Media, with a headcount around 120, reaches around 30 million people each month, according to Quantcast. ComScore says the Huffington Post has 25 million unique visitors each month. 
    The question that must be driving Armstrong and Patch boss Warren Webster nuts is: Why is Patch's traffic so low? 
    Critics attack Patch's content as "piffle," too boosterish, irrelevant, or amateurish. 
    All of that may be true, but it's not the real problem. The real problem with Patch is that no one needs it.
Carlson goes on to question the wisdom of Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of Patch's parent company AOL.


Anonymous said...

Not only not needed but obviously not well read; very few people have heard of
What a waste of money; I'd say talent but there is little of that in Patch.

Anonymous said...

Few ventures make money the first year. The main problem is PR. No one knows Patch exists, except for places where it has been around for a bit. I attended an event in Foster City, which has had a Patch for a while, and almost every younger person I talked with knew about it. Other towns on the Peninsula, not so much.
The New Yorker piece said Patch was aiming at a younger, female demographic. That's where the trouble started for newspapers. Don't let the business side drive news policy. News is what's important in the North East West South. Patch should bring news that no one else does. If it does that, it will do well. I've seen some - say Foster City's piece on the founder's son or Redwood City's cemetery vandalism. But not enough. As for "boosterism," so what? Some stories seem like they are being pushed because no one else covers them. Anyway, what is a sports or entertainment page but boosterism?