The AOL Patch platform has just contracted. AOL on Friday announced that it was closing hundreds of locations while firing workers in those areas.
AOL CEO Tim Armstrong confirmed news of the closure and said many Patch writers would be notified about their areas closures in the coming week.
According to Armstrong: “AOL is going to be running the show” at the restructured Patch. CEO Bud Rosenthal replaces CEO Steve Kalin who was reported earlier this week to be getting the pink slip.
Four hundred AOL Patch sites are going to be closed or partnered with outside websites that will provide them with content.
Armstrong said on a call to employees that AOL still stands behind the Patch network but will refocus its efforts to turn the platform profitable. Armstrong told Patch staff not to “worry about what [they] read in the press,” calling it “bullsh*t.”
In a strongly worded message to employees, Armstrong told anyone who doesn’t believe in Patch to “get out now.”
A source tells TechCrunch: “They suggest that this new strategy is really a ‘correction of a bad idea‘ that involved scaling far too fast without proper thought and planning, and notes that original Patch sites are still among the most successful. Focusing on those regions that actually do drive good revenue and traffic is probably the only way to save Patch at this point, however, so big cuts are probably unavoidable.”
It should be noted that it was Tim Armstrong who appointed the very people he has decided to remove from the AOL Patch network.
AOL’s board of directors have promised to turn a profit by the end of the year, and killing off Patch’s dead weight should at least partially help with that effort.
Perhaps Armstrong and company should go back and watch this video:
Do you think firing 400 Patch workers and scaling down the hyper-local news network is a smart decision for AOL?