If you operate a business website, especially one that updates regularly, then essentially you run an online publishing operation.
That’s one reason news breaking over the weekend that AOL plans to shed about 400 of its Patch local news sites by either closing them or merging them with other sites, is so important.
Media blogger Jim Romenesko reports the company plans to focus on a core 500 of nearly 1,000 Patch sites and make them profitable.
Patch’s business model targets local advertising sales in the communities its sites cover. Venture Beat reports that strategy hasn’t been working so far.
Impact on Local Business
Techcrunch, also an AOL owned website, reported hundreds of employees will be laid off as a result of the decision to close so many Patch news sites.
But the decision is also likely to affect local businesses that use the sites as a way to promote themselves to local customers.
Patch’s advertising page states 87 percent of the websites’ visitors are local and that 77 percent of the local community a Patch site covers visits monthly.
A testimonial page displays videos representing what the company says are thousands of local businesses that advertise with the network. Patch also lets businesses sign up for local listings free. See the video below.
Of course, those businesses have many other choices for online marketing including their own business websites, social media and evolving services from sites like Yelp.