Patch, the hyperlocal news experiment that launched in 2007, laid off as many as two thirds of its staff on Wednesday, reports Jim Romenesko. The venture, which was bought by Hale Global earlier this month, has been plagued with problems for nearly its entire existence.
Patch never made money. Even after it was bought by AOL in 2009, it didn't make money. When AOL finally realized it was never going to make money, it first shuttered a bunch of Patch sites and then decided to get rid of it entirely. In a continuation of the pattern, Patch's new owners also realize it's not making money and decided to lay off a ton of staffers via conference call. You can listen to it below:
Here's a partial transcript:
Hi everyone, it's [Patch COO] Leigh Zarelli Lewis. Patch is being restructured in connection with the creation of the joint venture with Hale Global. Hale Global has decided which Patch employees will receive an offer of employment to move forward in accordance with their vision for Patch and which will not. Unfortunately, your role has been eliminated and you will no longer have a role at Patch and today will be your last day of employment with the company.
Lewis goes on to describe various severance benefits the company offers, ending cordially, "Thank you again and best of luck." It's unclear at this point exactly how many staffers were laid off, but one of Romenesko's tipsters claims it's as many as "80 to 90 percent of Patchers."