Is AOL’s local news network Patch closing down, or not? No one, not even AOL’s CEO, Tim Armstrong, seems to know the answer to that question.
Armstrong said the concept of Patch had worked in some neighborhoods, but not others. Over the summer, scores of Patch sites closed, incurring hundreds of job losses.
“At the end of the day, could Patch have been run better? We don’t know,” Armstrong told the New York Times‘s David Carr. “We were doing this while we navigated turning around the rest of the company. Patch was one of the big bets that we made, among others, and I still believe local will be a big opportunity whether it is Patch or someone else.”
Hyperlocal news has been thought of as a multi-billion-dollar industry for some years now, but the ker-ching has been slow to sound. The latest firm to give it a go is Google, Armstrong’s former employer, which added a local news card to its Google Now feature earlier this year, the idea supposedly being that it will work on Google Glass headsets.