Memo: ‘Regretfully, a number of Patches will have to be closed’

Bud Rosenthal, the new CEO of AOL’s Patch, told employees in a memo sent at 6:14 p.m.patch ET Friday that “we have believed strongly in the value of a connected local community. However this commitment has not translated into success in every town we serve; therefore, regretfully, a number of Patches will have to be closed. …A handful of sites will close on Oct. 7.”

One of my tipsters writes: “We don’t know which sites will have an Oct. 7 blackout date.”

Rosenthal‘s memo:

All – as promised, we’d like to provide you with an update as we head into the coming weeks.

We have had – and continue to have — many productive conversations with potential partners who have positive feedback about Patch. In addition, we have made great strides in strengthening the product, including:

* Enhanced navigation design
* Social sharing features
* Enhanced publishing tools
* Updated news consumption layouts; and
* Increased content production, accelerated blogger recruitment and a significant growth in user contributions in our higher performing DMAs.

Rosenthal

Rosenthal

While product improvements and partnership discussions continue, we also need to move forward with the other components of our previously announced plans.

As you all know, since day one, we have believed strongly in the value of a connected local community. However this commitment has not translated into success in every town we serve; therefore, regretfully, a number of Patches will have to be closed. The following is an overview of the changes we’ll be making in order to direct our resources to other towns, so that we can continue to develop a better platform and meet our goals for profitability.

A handful of sites will close on Oct. 7 to optimize our closing procedures. We are continuing to develop our strategy for handling additional sites in the lower performing DMAs that might need to be closed in the near future per our previous conversations. Patches that are closed will still be available to our employees behind a firewall, but unavailable to the general public and former employees. People who try to access their town’s homepage will be redirected to a page explaining the changes. Our users in these affected towns will be notified a week in advance of the closures via an email (for registered users) and an article on the site (for all users).

Thanks to everyone for their diligence and patience as we work on restructuring our model. AOL remains committed to local and committed to Patch, and we are confident that the changes being made will enhance the user experience and value of Patch in the local communities it serves.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thx.

Bud

* From August: Staffers will be laid off and Patch sites closed over the next 7 days (jimromenesko.com)


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