Nicholas Carlson of Silcon Alley Business Insider has posted a scathing column about Patch.com, the chain of hyperlocal websites. From Carlson’s column:
- AOL now has about 800 Patch editors nationwide. The number is supposed to swell to 1,000 by year end. Each editors makes $40,000 to $50,000 per year. Add in payroll taxes and some benefits and you have to figure Patch’s people alone cost AOL around $50 million each year.
- What is AOL getting for this money? About 3 million unique visitors per month, according to the New York Times.
- That is an absurdly small number.
- By contrast, Gawker Media, with a headcount around 120, reaches around 30 million people each month, according to Quantcast. ComScore says the Huffington Post has 25 million unique visitors each month.
- The question that must be driving Armstrong and Patch boss Warren Webster nuts is: Why is Patch’s traffic so low?
- Critics attack Patch’s content as “piffle,” too boosterish, irrelevant, or amateurish.
- All of that may be true, but it’s not the real problem. The real problem with Patch is that no one needs it.
Carlson goes on to question the wisdom of Tim Armstrong, the chief executive of Patch’s parent company AOL.