How To Beat AOL's Patch


First, this is not a bash Patch post. I have friends who work for Patch. I think they’re doing some good things.  If time proves me wrong about the advantage of local news site ownership, a Patch victory would be better than the alternative (which is the death of local news, or a win by a soulless aggregator).

Here’s a few of things I like about Patch:

  • They have a strong grasp of what the cost structure needs to be to win at this stage of local online news development. (By this stage, I mean, the current need to minimize costs won’t always be that way.) 
  • Related, Patch leadership gets that you can do a lot more coverage with a smaller staff when you’re strictly online.
  • Patch is putting the coverage emphasis on local original content rather than aggregation (though they do aggregation). They hire people to live and work in the communities they cover.  This is smart.
  • Giving away business directory listing to local businesses is a smart way to start building relationships with local business owners.

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