Patch.com was launched in 2007 when Tim Armstrong, the man who turned Google into an advertising company, noticed his very wealthy Connecticut bedroom community lacked a local paper with an events calendar. When Armstrong became head of AOL in 2009 with the mission of transforming the company from a fading dial-up service to a media brand, he sold Patch to his new employers. There are 850 Patch sites, supposedly hyperlocal news operations run by modestly paid newspaper journalists and supposedly supported by neighborhood advertising.
Because the Internet is mostly a garbage factory and AOL produces a great deal of Internet content, it stands to reason that much of AOL's content [...]
I left the corporate world in 2008 to write about music and entertainment because I wanted to work from bed, only leaving to maybe smoke joints with Kid Cudi while asking him pretentious questions about string arrangements. I don’t ask for much! During this time, my main gig has been permalancing for AOL Music. There, I aggregated content about hip-hop and indie rock, with a stray shot at actual journalism—attempts which were usually trumped by stories about Rihanna deboarding a plane or Jay-Z making funny faces at Madison Square Garden.
And then, in early February, AOL purchased the Huffington Post and handed over its editorial keys to Arianna Huffington. [...]
"Arianna Huffington has, for the second time in her career, found a big payout at the end of an implausible-seeming relationship." —Oh gosh.
AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post for $315 million is fascinating. It comes directly on the heels, for one thing, of a Goldman Sachs assessment issued last week, with a "neutral" rating and the headline "still waiting for the promised turnaround." (It notes that AOL's ad revenue was down 27% and 29% from the previous year in quarters three and four.) You spoke a little soon, Goldman Sachs! Now AOL has inventory to sell! And HuffPo has content from elsewhere to suck in to sell against! What a morning—Arianna Huffington and AOL honcho Tim Armstrong are touching each other! AOL's publicist and Arianna's publicist are integrating! [...]
The most painful line of the day: "To most everyone, AOL was the company that mailed you all those CDs so you could get on a 56K modem when you were in grade school." Most everyone! Grade school! OMG I'm going back to bed!
An item today on Silicon Alley Insider suggesting that this very website is a possible purchase platform for AOL's growing portfolio of blogs has resulted in a flurry of speculation and what can only be characterized as a number of desperate counter-offers* from companies both large and small who have suddenly realized that our demographics and scalability offer an extremely cost-efficient revenue-positive traffic enhancer in an increasingly fragmented marketspace.