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Is Patch Closing Down? AOL CEO Says "Yes," AOL Says "No"

AOL is rushing to reassure that Patch is sticking around, despite conflicting messages from CEO Tim Armstrong.

Is Patch Closing Down? AOL CEO Says "Yes," AOL Says "No"

[Image: Flickr user amber e/ Love Nest]

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.

Recent comments from Armstrong seem to suggest that, without partnerships with other entities, the network's future was limited, but AOL this morning said the story was "factually inaccurate."

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.