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Posts Tagged ‘Jon Brod’

Patch Names Steven Kalin President and COO

Patch, the hyper-local network from AOL, has named Steven Kalin its president and chief operating officer. In the newly created role, Kalin will be overseeing day-to-day editorial and sales operations. Kalin comes to Patch from Westwood One, where he served as COO. Prior to that he was COO and a board member at Rodale.

“Steve brings to Patch deep and relevant online and offline operating experience and a proven track record of effectively scaling advertising and content businesses within local media companies,” said Jon Brod, CEO and co-founder of Patch, in a statement. “Patch has momentum in 2012 and with revenue up over 100 percent and usage up 40 percent versus last year, Patch is on pace to achieve 2013 run-rate profitability. Steve is a great addition to our leadership team as Patch continues to grow.”

Kalin will report to Brod.

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Patch Launches A More Social, More Mobile Site

In recent months, there’s been much talk of the booming New York tech scene. The city has the fastest growing tech sector in the nation, helped along by Mayor Bloomberg’s pitch to entrepreneurs and his Made in NY Digital Map. In Q2 of 2012, Internet accounted for 82 percent of VC investment, and total VC funding continues to rise.

One of NYC’s tech properties, Patch, is unveiling a new site today. I got a preview of the new site at Patch’s Chelsea offices, which puts heavy emphasis on social and mobile. Read more

Patch Sets Records for Traffic and Revenue

Patch, AOL’s network of hyper local news sites, enjoyed May quite a bit. According to a press release, last month brought record amounts of traffic and revenue to the venture. A quick breakdown of Patch’s May numbers:

  • ComScore says 11.7 million people visited Patch during the month, an 11 percent increase over its previous high of 10.6 million
  • Total revenue was 14 percent higher than the previous record, set in November of 2011
  • The traffic boost marked a 14 percent increase from April

“We are extremely gratified to see these measures of the traction we have gained in our communities and in our business since our launch just over 3 years ago,” said Jon Brod, CEO and co-founder of Patch. “We are laser-focused on continuing to serve our users and advertisers with high-quality content and impactful products, and building upon our success to date in innovative and engaging ways.”

Patch Cuts 20 Managers, Restructures

AOL’s Patch is cutting 20 managers as it folds its South “zone” into its East zone. The Wall Street Journal reports that the restructuring will allow the hyperlocal news network to dump those staffers, yet keep every one of its 850-plus sites up and running. Jon Brod, CEO of Patch, announced the changes this morning in a memo, which was obtained by the Journal.

“After implementing a more efficient field structure earlier this year, we have seen an impressive boost in both traffic and revenue,” Brod explained in the note. “With an eye on our overarching business goals, streamlining our field management structure not only gives us additional operating leverage, but also allows us to better serve our users and out communities. This is the next step in Patch’s strategy to win.”

You have to admire his optimism, but with the collection of sites currently hemorrhaging about $100 million a year, maybe it’s time to start considering that there is no winning with Patch, no matter how much “streamlining” AOL does.

Patch Editor Brian Farnham Resigns

The editor-in-chief of Patch, Brian Farnham,  has just resigned in a company-wide conference call with Patch staffers, FishbowlNY has learned.

Update: Farnham has posted on Patch’s blog to explain his decision:

I’m leaving for an assortment of reasons, but I’m glad to be able to say that none of them is negative. I love Patch, and I plan on staying very connected as an active alum, most specifically as a member of the advisory board we’re continuing to build. I feel incredibly lucky and grateful that I can maintain this connection, and I’ll be there anytime Patch calls on me.

Farnham’s last day with Patch is May 4, he says he plans on going into the field to give as many personal goodbyes as he can.

In February, Patch hired Rachel Fishman Feddeson as its chief content officer, with Farnham becoming essentially the number two person in the editorial team. The company has been the subject of intense media scrutiny over the last few months, much of it negative. Nevertheless, AOL says it remains committed to the company and its mission.

Patch founder and president Jon Brod released a statement of his own regarding Farnham’s departure:

“Brian is part of Patch’s DNA, which makes his decision to leave bittersweet for all of us. We’re going to miss him, but it goes without saying that we wish him well and that we’re excited to see what new opportunities await him post-Patch. We are grateful for his contributions to our company, and to all of us as colleagues and friends. He leaves Patch in a great place: proud of how far we’ve come and more committed than ever to continuing to grow and prosper.”

Patch Hires First CCO, Defends Performance

Patch announced the appointment of its first chief content officer. Rachel Fishman Feddersen will oversee the Patch consumer strategy and create scaled content and product initiatives to help enhance the user experience across the Patch platform. She will work closely with national, regional and local editorial leadership, Patch’s product and engineering teams, and AOL and Huffington Post Media Group.

“Rachel is a world-class expert at engaging online audiences and connecting communities with the information they care most about – which is the foundation of Patch’s mission,” said Jon Brod, president of AOL Local, Mapping and Ventures and a founder of Patch.

Fishman Feddersen joins Patch from The Parenting Group, where she most recently served as editorial director, digital content, strategy and design, overseeing digital development of the Parenting, Babytalk and Conceive brands and their online extensions.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to join Patch,” said Fishman Feddersen.  ”Patch has an enormous opportunity to change the way people consume and share information on a local level, and I am very much looking forward to working with the residents of Patch communities, our editors, and the rest of the team to create the type of experiences that will engage and delight the Patch audience.”

The announcement comes on the heels of Patch’s most recent earnings call for investors where AOL CEO Tim Armstrong defended the company he cofounded, which according to some experts and insiders,  is experiencing estimated losses of $150 million, investor frustration, and overall underperformance.

Here’s some of what he had to say:

Read more

Arianna Maps Out Her Plans for MapQuest

In honor of MapQuest’s 15th birthday and move to brand new office space in Denver, Arianna Huffington flew in to the mile-high city Monday night for a party. Denver Business Journal reporter Greg Avery got the lowdown on what she and her COO Jon Brod plan to do with the web’s original A-to-B web app.

The president and editor-in-chief of AOL’s Huffington Post Media Group actually deems Mapquest a “great comeback story,” which surprises FishbowlLA, as we never realized the service was in danger of going away. She plans to embed MapQuest within her 800 or so Patch sites, as well as use it to support other AOL content areas. Per Avery:

AOL just hired a blogger to write about architectural attractions and other off-the-beaten track destinations for travelers — something that will make good use of MapQuest, she said. The company plans to use MapQuest as a the technology behind a new, nationwide traffic service, and MapQuest will start developing microsites to help people find destinations and experiences connected to various popular past times and passions.

Read more

AOL Relaunching City’s Best Guides

Today AOL will reintroduce their City’s Best catalogues in 25 major U.S. markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Houston, and Seattle.  Each local channel will review area restaurants, bars, and entertainment and all guides will be available online at citysbest.com

The project is similar to AOL’s Digital Cities franchise from the 1990s, however the competitive landscape is much more crowded now than it was over a decade ago.  With Citysearch, Yelp, Chowhound, UrbanSpoon, and countless local blogs covering regional dining and entertainment scenes, AOL is relying on the promotional efforts of their Mapquest and Patch platforms to set City’s Best apart from the crowd. 

According to a Mediaweek report, president of AOL Ventures, Local and Mapping, Jon Brod views City’s Best as “the third leg of [AOL's] local stool.”  Some material from Patch, Mapquest, and City’s Best is interchangeable and will often appear on multiple sites in AOL’s network.  Brod added that City’s Best has hired five regional editors to manage five markets each and infuse original content into the community they cover. 

City’s Best editors will build user participation by polling fans on their favorite local foods and restaurants.  Voting will be done online or through City’s Best smartphone apps.  AOL plans to expand City’s Best to at least 40 markets including some international locations.