Tuesday, June 28, 2011
"Whether in the U.S. or elsewhere around the world, people are essentially the same. They all want to know what is going on in their town, or village. OurTown will fill that gap left by other news sources as we expand our reach across the United States and through Europe during 2012," said Carol Meinhardt, OurTown COO.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Listeners of the World,
Traditional news had transformed over the past decade from local and national newspapers / magazines to online / hyper local and global news sites! With this transition local newspapers are dying out while the national papers are making huge cut backs and scrambling to get their news online. This has lead to many different online news sources that take a different approach to local news. Many are taking a hyper local approach to give their viewers true local news that won’t be covered by the bigger news sources. Because of this, sites like OurTown, Topix, Americantowns, Everyblock, and others have become very popular and are now trying to take over the whole hyper local space which most experts value in the billions!
Since there are so many different online news options in today’s world I decided to look over many of the sites to see how they are planning to take over the space, and one stood out from the rest…….Patch.com. Patch is an up incoming hyper local website that is now in about 24 states covering over 100 cites which seems very impressive, but how did they manage to accomplish this? Well from what I have read and research about Patch it is a interesting and bumpy ride…..so hang on!
Patch started as a small hyper local news start up in California founded by Tim Armstrong (Now CEO of AOL) which was sold to AOL in June of 2009 for $7M. Of course this was after Mr. Armstrong became the CEO of AOL (which gave him a nice early payday I might add). After the purchase AOL then decided to pour $50M into Patch that same year.
Then AOL went on a “buying spree” of online news sources like Techcrunch, and HuffingtonPost trying to strengthen their online news site – Patch.com. Once they purchased these sites they started having their articles appear on patch and then made Arianna Huffington the in charge to oversee Patch.com.
Now will all this money / purchases being poured and combined into Patch it is hard to say how one competes with them in this space, but you also have to ask – how long can they keep this up? The amount of money they are spending eclipses almost all of the other hyper local sites budgets combined! Many experts and Ex-Patch employees say the business model isn’t sustainable and that as of right now they can’t understand how they will recoup all this money they are pouring into it.
Patch boasts about their sales force of over 100 people to help sell advertising on their sites, but when you go to a Patch site…..you don’t see too much advertising on it! Also they boast about their great updated business directory that in reality leaves out a lot of newer small business and is obtained in a “not so upfront” way. I have talked many business owners and ex-directory employees from Patch and have learned about many unsavory techniques that they use to get the business information and pictures! I have also talked some individuals about their local editors and journalism staff who they call ruthless and disrespectful when it comes to not wanting to cooperate with giving them information on a story (which a lot of their articles aren’t news at all).
Overall Patch.com has a good strong base of local sites and viewers, but at the cost of over $100M! They don’t seem to be generating a lot of local ad sales and their stories are becoming less and less news breaking. Patch is in the lead for obtaining the online hyper local space, but at what cost…….
Your OurTown Superhero,