Hyperlocal Media: Patch’s Future in Question?

As an observer and participant in the evolution of local media, we were interested to see this tidbit near the end of yesterday’s New York Times article about AOL’s continuing struggle to remake itself as a journalistic powerhouse that investors can learn to love:

Other ideas include closing Patch, AOL’s local news initiative that has reporters in 850 towns. Eliminating the money-losing service would free $160 million and lift AOL into profitability.

If you live in one of the neighborhoods that has its own Patch (like Bed Stuy, Carroll Gardens or Park Slope), what do you make of it so far? Is it filling a need that wasn’t already being met? And speaking of local media, based on the last few weeks of archives, it looks like OTBKB (which we hadn’t looked at in months) has all but stopped publishing. What’s up with that?

17 Comment

  • Blayze11

    I liked Patch, and it often competed with more “well-known” news blogs like Fort Greene/Clinton Hill’s ‘The Local’ NYT-powered news source.

    But AOL is evil and will do anything to turn a profit so, best of luck patch.

  • Patch is the Applebee’s of neighborhood blogs.

    Sites already exist for neighborhoods I care about, and Patch forces all of their sites to fit into the same bland template. Yawn. AOL keeps trying to buy themselves relevancy, but their star has been waning for years now.

  • Patch is the Applebee’s of neighborhood blogs.

    Sites already exist for neighborhoods I care about, and Patch forces all of their sites to fit into the same bland template. Yawn. AOL keeps trying to buy themselves relevancy, but their star has been waning for years now.

  • Snark is right about them all looking alike, but sometimes, you have to eat at Applebees because there are no other restaurants in town. Bed Stuy Patch (and there’s a fledgling Crown Heights Patch, too) provides news and information that the Times’ blog never even hears about, and is a good source for hyper local stuff. They have local bloggers, some of them Brownstoner commenters, who articulate local issues really well, and on the whole, I find it useful. Same with CH Patch.

    It would be a shame for AOL to close these down if there is nothing in place to replace them. True, both neighborhoods have other local blogs who do a good job. But it never hurts to have more than one source of local information, delivered by different people with perhaps, different outlooks.

  • Snark is right about them all looking alike, but sometimes, you have to eat at Applebees because there are no other restaurants in town. Bed Stuy Patch (and there’s a fledgling Crown Heights Patch, too) provides news and information that the Times’ blog never even hears about, and is a good source for hyper local stuff. They have local bloggers, some of them Brownstoner commenters, who articulate local issues really well, and on the whole, I find it useful. Same with CH Patch.

    It would be a shame for AOL to close these down if there is nothing in place to replace them. True, both neighborhoods have other local blogs who do a good job. But it never hurts to have more than one source of local information, delivered by different people with perhaps, different outlooks.

  • For Park Slope, Patch is pretty worthless, it seems.

    http://www.heresparkslope.com is the best neighborhood blog around, I think but obviously specific to Park Slope. I read it to check out what’s going on over there in terms of new restaurants and shops. The person writing is very informative and thorough.

  • For Park Slope, Patch is pretty worthless, it seems.

    http://www.heresparkslope.com is the best neighborhood blog around, I think but obviously specific to Park Slope. I read it to check out what’s going on over there in terms of new restaurants and shops. The person writing is very informative and thorough.

  • Having Patch is ultimately a good thing for the neighborhoods they support. it’s one more place for people to go to learn more about what’s happening in their area. The fact that AOL is behind it is irrelevant.

    per snarks comment, Applebee’s while not someplace I dine, does have customers, otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

  • Having Patch is ultimately a good thing for the neighborhoods they support. it’s one more place for people to go to learn more about what’s happening in their area. The fact that AOL is behind it is irrelevant.

    per snarks comment, Applebee’s while not someplace I dine, does have customers, otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

  • I like Patch, but something is not working. Maybe the expansion was too fast and maybe they tried to scale the whole model when the right way to go could have been to scale tools and support and leverage homegrown entrepreneurs.

    That said, Patch wishes it were Applebee’s – they make bank! And their walls are literally covered with interesting local content.

  • dittoburg

    My local Patch in Westchester is the only way I have of keeping up with the local news about lost cats being found, an unclaimed kayak at the village lost property shed and the story about the lady who reported her laptop had been stolen which was updated the next day to say that she had found it in her kitchen.

    I’ll be sorry to see it go.

  • callalily

    I like the one in Bed Stuy a lot. But I think the problem with all these hyperlocal sites is they can’t attract enough eyeballs. Or maybe the trick with local is you have to scatter print papers about the neighborhood, not search engine optimization.

    How about combining coupons and daily deals with local? Think of how the vcs will salivate.

  • callalily

    I like the one in Bed Stuy a lot. But I think the problem with all these hyperlocal sites is they can’t attract enough eyeballs. Or maybe the trick with local is you have to scatter print papers about the neighborhood, not search engine optimization.

    How about combining coupons and daily deals with local? Think of how the vcs will salivate.

  • In an over-blogged, over-news’d area like PS, Patch is redundant and much worse than my small-town weekly on Long Island ever was, or my college newspaper for that matter. Wouldn’t be much of a loss in this area. As for OTBKB, good riddance to bad rubbish. The blog peaked several years ago, and hit its nadir with the Absolut scandal two years back. Fresher voices in PS have prevailed.

  • In an over-blogged, over-news’d area like PS, Patch is redundant and much worse than my small-town weekly on Long Island ever was, or my college newspaper for that matter. Wouldn’t be much of a loss in this area. As for OTBKB, good riddance to bad rubbish. The blog peaked several years ago, and hit its nadir with the Absolut scandal two years back. Fresher voices in PS have prevailed.