“Sales have dropped dramatically so there’s a tremendous morale problem within Patch,” said one of the hyperlocal website’s sales people told BusinessInsider.com. “The editorial staff has been worked to death and they’ve already changed it over once, effectively. The same thing is going on the with sales force.”
BusinessInsider didn’t name the sales rep who spoke out about Patch.com. The anonymous rep is also quoted as saying:
- • “When it gets down to paying the editors, paying the sales staff, paying the management and the requisite expenses that go along with that, the numbers just do not compute. The advertising cannot support the local Patch model the way it stands. From a dollar standpoint, it simply will not add up.”
- • “The problem with Patch is that if you really look at the model, banner ads have been around for 15-20 years online, and it’s essentially an old product with a new twist on it from a local news standpoint.”
- • Patch.com wants to launch a Groupon-like product but hasn’t been able to figure out the phone app part.
The anonymous rep blamed a lack of leadership for Patch’s problems, saying the company was so hasty in trying to be the first to market in the hyperlocal segment that they “forgot that quality people are essential to getting anything off the ground.”
“I’ve never seen anything as bad as Patch, ever,” the rep said.
Patch declined to comment to BusinessInsider.
Jim Romenesko of Poynter has postedM an e-mail from Patch communications vp Jannie Iamunno that gives the company’s point of view. Major points include:
- • “Patch is filling the gaps in local journalism. In analyzing study findings for your readers, I hope you’ll consider the below facts on Patch’s growth, commitment to providing hyperlocal news coverage in a prolific and consistent way, and editorial accomplishments via its nearly 1,000 professional journalists.”
- • “Patch currently publishes nearly 5,000 articles per day across its 827 sites, and posts new content every 12 seconds.”
- • “Last week, Patch broke the story of Gov. Chris Christie’s use of a state-funded helicopter to attend his son’s high school baseball game; national outlets including the NYT, WSJ, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, Fox News picked up the story and credited Patch.”