Tim Armstrong, the horse-jawed CEO of AOL, pulled the ultimate business ‘prestige’ in 2011 when he had AOL purchase his old company, the hyper-local news network Patch. Rather than shuttering the failing websites, he committed to investing over $160 million in 2011, and has thrown as much as $500 million into the project over the past three years, according to Business Insider.
Armstrong has silenced a lot of naysayers by leading AOL to decent quarterly earnings — and managing to keep at least a semblance of control over Arianna Huffington — but his skills as a product visionary are, quite frankly, dubious. Patch sites received over 12 million unique visitors last month, growing exactly 0% since May 2012.
Granted, 12 million visitors ain’t exactly shabby, but many believe that the sites juice views through the SEO content machine-gun tactics used across all of AOL and perfected by The Huffington Post — not because of customer engagement. The sites produce a mind-boggling 1.3 million pieces of content per month.
Last month, Patch laid off about 3% of the 1,400 person staff, and consolidated over 20 regional offices into 9, according to AllThingsD.
Anybody use Patch? Hate it? Love it? Shoot us an e-mail with anecdotes!