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AOL to Shutter or Sell Unprofitable Patch Sites

While some at AOL were likely excited about the news of its purchase announced this morning, the same can’t be said about those working for Patch, AOL’s network of hyperlocal news sites.

According to Forbes, Tim Armstrong — AOL’s CEO — maintained that he wanted Patch to be profitable by the end of 2013, and any sites that didn’t help the bottom line would be in for changes:

Armstrong finally revealed how he plans to keep his promise to make the network of local news websites profitable by the end of 2013: by closing, selling or finding partners for the 300 or so Patch sites that, in the company’s estimation, aren’t on a course to break even anytime soon.

Just how much would a Patch site cost? Armstrong wouldn’t provide a specific number, but said it was “much, much lower” than $150,000, which is what they were estimated at in 2011. We’re thinking that means you could get one for like $15.83 and a candy bar. King sized, of course.

Update (August 8):
Various reports today – including this one from AOL owned TechCrunch – indicate that hundreds of Patch employees will be laid off Friday morning. The reports also hint that the plan mentioned above is being accelerated and that those 300 Patch sites will simply be turned off as part of the Patch downsizing.

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