AOL has needed to do something special, something different.Â With the popularity dwindling in the shadows of other email services, they needed something to set them apart — enter Patch.com.
Patch.com is a series of news sites that offer nationwide coverage of local events and stories.Â Set up in 800 towns so far, Patch.com seeks to bring back the idea of community to what is sometimes a cold setting for innovation — the Internet.Â As of December 2010, Patch.com had over three million unique visitors, which is eighty times what it had the year before.
Not an inexpensive venture, AOL has spent up to $50M to create the Patch.com system.Â But local newspapers aren't as concerned as AOL thinks they should be.Â Many local publishers think that Patch.com will go the way of other news sites, dwindling in popularity, or just becoming ventures for more advertising space.
Examiner.com is the largest competition for Patch.com at the present time, offering the same local news stories by local writers, though these writers are paid on the traffic they receive to their articles.Â Patch.com offers a more diverse set of articles in each city page, while also offering their writers a substantial amount more for writing and organizing the pages.
What does this mean?Â No one is quite sure.Â With all of the information sites available online, it seems that the more information available, the harder it will become to find what you need to find.Â Information overload is a threat, to be sure.
However, with more people being interested in what's happening in their local economy, perhaps more local news is warranted.
Now, people just have to find the time to read it.