“AOL has a huge bet on local and Patch in particular,” said Mark Josephson, senior vice president of revenue at AOL Local during our afternoon session at ILM East. Patch hyperlocal sites reach 865 communities that Josephson describes as “under served” by traditional media. Patch’s business model operates at local, regional and national levels. At the local level, Josephson says Patch’s 17,000 bloggers, 1000 editors and 300-person sales teams are engaged with the community and main street businesses. In addition, AOL works with several agencies at the regional level. “We have a bias towards local and regional advertisers,” Josephson said.
At the national level, Patch has partnered with big brands to generate buzz and sales for SMBs. For example, Patch partnered with national brand American Express for Small Business Saturday. AmEx underwrote ads for local advertising. Patch made nearly 100,000 sales calls to get small businesses online with Patch and to partner with AmEx.
Josephson shrugged off questions of profitability, high-level departures, budget strains and speculation of layoffs. “Our growth metrics are strong,” Josephson said. We’ll keep our eyes are on the numbers of both people and profits as we head into Q2 2012.