On Friday afternoon, AOL president Tim Armstrong announced that Patch was restructuring and laying off some employees. (Bloomberg reports 40 people were let go.) CEO Jon Brod is returning to AOL Ventures and COO Steve Kalin is moving up to chief executive, Armstrong said.
The changes were discussed during an all-company conference call that started at 6 p.m. ET Friday (when most media reporters were already in bars or headed home).
I asked one of my Patch sources to brief Romenesko readers on the call. Here’s his report:
1. Jon Brod started to tell everyone he was “sleeping easy” about his transfer out of the CEO position. He seemed to catch himself as he said this (perhaps realizing how out of touch it would sound from an executive after layoffs) and awkwardly interjected “while, you know, you never sleep easy with lay-offs… I have been sleeping easy about my move” out of Patch. Note I am paraphrasing from memory so these aren’t exact quotes, but everyone on the call heard it and it was poorly received. Like, oh, phew, at least the CEO is okay.
2. They said, as they do every quarter, that we are going to begin “really emphasizing local content.” When someone asked how that would work, given the doubling of all of our workloads, they told us it would be through “localizing” what is essentially SEO-spam/advertiser-bait: articles like “What will be your next car?” or “What do you pay for lawn service?” “Where can I get a mammogram in PATCH TOWN?” They even added our readers were “greatly interested” in these kinds of articles. Not sure how they determined that, but we all doubt this very much./CONTINUES Read More