AOL (AOL) was doomed from the start with Patch — the network of hyper-local news site it acquired in 2009 from a group of investors including CEO Tim Armstrong. Though Armstrong recused himself from the discussions surrounding the AOL Patch acquisition, he soon became Patch’s biggest defender … which in turn was a recipe for disaster.
According to a recent piece by New York Times columnist David Carr, Armstrong argues that he gave the AOL Patch venture his best shot in terms of profitability. Carr, meanwhile, added that Armstrong “reluctantly throwing the towel.”
Of course, AOL responded by continuing to deny that it’s winding down the batch of Patch websites, and has said is trying to save the sites by pursuing partnerships for the few Patch sites that make money. But regardless, Tim Armstrong is still clueless about Patch.
“At the end of the day, could Patch have been run better? We don’t know,” Armstrong is quoted as saying in the NYT column.
But in reality, the AOL Patch endeavor was as predictable as a bad movie. Heck, I bet it will be studied by future business students as an example of how executive hubris can trump common sense. That’s because AOL Patch was on the fast track to failure from the get-go; let’s take a look at five of the many reasons why.