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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

 is a network of local news sites with a of staff-produced and community-contributed material. It is , with former owner AOL retaining a small stake.

The company, which focuses exclusively on local news, began with a and is now in . It had an as of May 2014.

The company was founded by . Armstrong, who would become AOL’s CEO just before the company bought Patch, was also one of Patch’s .

AOL in 2009 for $7 million and announced in early 2010 that it would from 30 sites to “hundreds” by the end of the year, into the company in the process. AOL putting $75 million into Patch in 2010 and . It expected Patch to lose money in 2011, and other reports confirmed this, with one  at more than $100 million and another as $13 million against expenses of $160 million.

AOL did not give overall Patch profit figures, but reported that at the end of 2012. Patch’s revenues increased in 2012 to , but it also  and consolidated its geographic regions in May 2012 and in May 2013. Patch at the end of 2012, and AOL to have it profitable by the end of 2013.

In mid-2013, AOL reported that about had a “viable business model,” and said it would try to that it said were not on track to profitability. It reportedly nearly 500 of its employees and into staffed (for its highest-traffic sites), lightly staffed, and unstaffed operations. AOL was reported later that year to be , though AOL executives . AOL to the investment company Hale Global, which took over operation of Patch. AOL and Hale both initially said all of Patch’s sites would remain open, but two weeks after the sale, hundreds of Patch staffers were reportedly . The network was in early 2014, on pace for $21 million in revenue in its first year.

Patch has been met with various criticism over its staffing, revenue model and ability to reach local audiences. Incidents of and concerns about the led some to question the experience of staff writers as well as the those journalists face and the they are given, as well as their to produce quantifiable results. Several critics have said Patch without determining a , and some wondered at the time if Patch would be able to secure the amount of necessary to sustain sites and pay reporters. One result of the expansion of Patch sites nationally has been the from newspapers.

After AOL acquired The Huffington Post in 2011, Arianna Huffington, who became editor in chief for all AOL media properties, announced the company would be investing more in Patch and hiring as many as . In May 2011 the company launched the , a blogging initiative that would invite community members to blog on various topics for their Patch site. The model is similar to the blogging platform used by The Huffington Post.

In July 2012, Armstrong that Patch would be moving toward a model based on classified-type listings and commerce. Its began rolling out in September 2012 and had by May 2013. Patch also launched a daily-deals project called .

AOL at one point announced plans to for local-media investments.

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Patch is launching paid, “ad-lite” memberships — A profile of hyperlocal news site Patch pops up once a year or so, and here’s the latest one, from Recode’s Peter Kafka. A few tidbits: — Patch is profitable (and has been for a few years — the company al...
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Here are the local news organizations boosted in Facebook’s membership accelerator — After leading a cohort of metropolitan newspapers through a subscriptions accelerator this year, Facebook is now kicking off its next round, focused this time on membership in nonprofit and digital-only local news organi...
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Coconuts, a fast-growing, cities-focused network of sites in Asia, takes a hard right into paid memberships — Coconuts, born as a network of city-focused sites centered around English-language audiences in Southeast Asia, has now been around for seven years. Its content, often irreverent, often derived from trending topics on so...
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Grown from Patch: A crop of new hyperlocal news sites has sprung up from AOL’s failed platform — The general conception of Patch, AOL’s failed local news platform, is that it was, well, just that: a failure. Patch ultimately laid off hundreds of employees in 2013 and, after a change in ownership, lives on only...
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Primary author: Justin Ellis. Main text last updated: May 22, 2014.
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