AOL Patch Problem #3 – Botched Rollout
Perhaps AOL CEO Tim Armstrong’s biggest blunder was the actual roll-out of Patch. In 2009, there were three Patch websites. A year later, the AOL Patch venture had expanded to 100 sites … and now there are more than 800.
That kind of expansion is head-scratching. Why was Armstrong in such a rush to expand the AOL Patch footprint, when he had not yet figured out of the business was sustainable?
Sure, Armstrong recently vowed that the AOL Patch business would be profitable by the end of the year. But it shouldn’t have taken this long for that to be the end game.
Meanwhile, Armstrong also announced plans in August to try finding partners for the one-third or so Patch websites AOL couldn’t see ever making money. But why Gannett (GCI), the New York Times (NYT) or another publisher would be tempted to buy a money-losing site is beyond me. They have enough headaches.