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Patch to close as many as 300 sites, layoff 200-500

Patch, the hyper local chain of websites owned by AOL, will be firing 200 to 550 of its employees and shutting down hundreds of its websites, according to TechCrunch, which is owned by AOL.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is avoiding the word “layoffs” and calling those being shown the door “impacts.”

Armstrong said he is hoping to salvage some of Patch’s websites by finding “partners” in their communities.

Jim Romenesko said his sources say that up to 300 of Patch’s nearly 1,000 websites will close.

Today (Aug. 9) Armstrong said in a conference call with all employees that the site closings will happen over the next seven days, according to Romenesko.

Just three minutes into the call, Armstrong fired an employee, creative director Abel Lenz, who started taking pictures of the meeting, Romenesko reported.

“Something at Patch has been missing and missing for some time and that’s leadership – leadership with a capital L,” Armstrong was quoted as saying.

Selling ads on the hyperlocal websites has apparently been an uphill battle. Romenesko quoted one insider as saying that managers in some markets celebrated $150 sales each day while paying the rep $200 a day to sell these deals.

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