D-Day at Patch as AOL lays off 40% of staff, up to 400 employees
The reports are coming in and it appears that AOL will be eliminating up to 400 positions at Patch today as the company comes to terms with its failed hyperlocal news effort. The company will trim back or consolidate a large percentage of its websites, as well.
Word will be leaking out all day on this one because of the size of the layoffs.
For an operation so large, with so many different local news websites, it is amazing just how invisible Patch is to most of the country. With apparently no marketing budget at all, AOL has managed to spend a tremendous amount of money to build a brand without actually trying to build a brand – something that I might add is typical of media companies who somehow believe that being in the media business does not require marketing.
A better strategy for AOL might have been to surrender half its ownership in Patch early on to an investment company who could invest money that would have been used both for the roll out as well as a national marketing campaign. After all, the idea was to attract national ad dollars for local news sites, convincing advertisers that Patch had the national reach to justify the ad spending.
As one TechCrunch reader put when learning of the layoffs “What’s Patch? I actually clicked on the article because I have never heard of it. I guess that’s part of the problem eh?”