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AOL to Shut Down About 300 Websites
AOL plans to close, sell or find partners for nearly a third of its local news sites, the company’s chief executive said Wednesday. Of the roughly 900 hyperlocal editions nationwide, nearly 300 are not successful and not likely to attract enough traffic or revenue, Tim Armstrong said in AOL’s second-quarter earnings call with analysts. Forbes / Mixed Media Armstrong suggested that AOL may be able to find willing partners for many of the sites in the numerous struggling metropolitan daily newspapers that have been unable to invest as much as they’d like in their own digital and local operations. Poynter / MediaWire Several Patch employees tell Poynter that on a phone call with site editors Wednesday afternoon, Armstrong said that there was zero probability that Patch would shut down, that the initiative enjoyed support on AOL’s board and that Patch is worth fighting for. FishbowlNY 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. BuzzMachine / Jeff Jarvis I have a fourth option, Tim: Invest. Set up independent entrepreneurs — your employees, my entrepreneurial graduates, unemployed newspaper folks — to take over the sites. Offer them the benefit of continued network ad sales — that’s enlightened self-interest for Patch and AOL. Offer them training. Offer them technology. And even offer them some startup capital. Forbes AOL also announced it will buy video platform for $405 million, a reflection of the Internet company’s push to develop its online-advertising business. The cash-and-stock deal will make, a video-ad platform that provides AOL access to the ad technology that the world’s largest companies use, an independent part of AOL’s video unit.

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