AOL buys HuffPost, Arianna in charge

Armstrong and Huffington Tim Armstrong’s AOL is paying $315 million to buy Arianna Huffington’s Huffington Post, and she will be in charge of all of AOL’s digital offerings including TechCrunch, Engadget, MovieFone and Mapquest and the growing number of Patch local news websites. Bloomberg quotes analyst Shahid Kahn of Morph Media as saying: With this acquisition, Tim Armstrong is well on his way to transforming AOL into an online editorial-based content company … HuffPost gives AOL a very compelling, affluent,

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Columnist questions Patch.com’s purpose

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

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Patch says freelancer lifted copy from VentureBeat

Patch, the chain of online local news sites funded by AOL, has posted an apology on its Palo Alto site for lifting copy from the VentureBeat technology site. The apology said the plagiarism was committed by a freelancer, who wasn’t identified. The freelancer apparently wasn’t fired, either. The apology stated, “The writer has been told that taking work of other writers or news organizations without attribution is absolutely not acceptable.” Patch said it has also apologized to VentureBeat. No word

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Patch plans to be in 500 cities by year’s end

The AOL-backed chain of hyper-local news sites, including several that are operating or planned in the Bay Area, is on a hiring spree, according to the Newark (N.J.) Star Ledger, where Patch just opened its 100th site in Morristown, N.J. Upstart hyperlocal ventures are increasingly vying for a piece of what they say is an untapped gold mine in local advertising dollars. Yet to be seen, though, is evidence that the sites can develop long-term, sustainable business models. “Something like

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Debate erupts over Patch working conditions

Joe Pompeo of BusinessInsider.com has a couple of interesting columns (Aug. 5 and Aug. 6) about whether the new chain of AOL “hyper local” Patch websites are sweatshops. Patch hires reporters/editors who cover news in one specific community, and the job can be pretty demanding. The pay is about $40,000 a year, according to Pompeo. Patch started on the East Coast, but this year has opened sites serving Albany, Danville, Mill Valley, Pleasanton, San Anselmo-Fairfax, San Rafael, San Ramon and

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