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Armstrong's Folly: A Patch of Weeds?





What happens when you take a highly successful businessman, add a big dose of hubris and combine it with apparently blind loyalty to what many see as a horrible idea? In media circles, they call it Patch.

Patch is the seemingly disastrous attempt to dominate the hyperlocal market by AOL, the oft perceived "has-been" of Internet giants. Others call it Tim Armstrong's Folly, the embattled CEO of AOL who some say embarrassingly clings to the deck of this titanic wreck of a money losing ship.

Some Internet reports have pegged losses at $200-$300 million dollars in just a few short years.

If the pundits are correct, Patch proves one thing, other than appearing to be one heck of a bad investment, is that larger companies still run around clueless about hyperlocal markets while believing they are smarter than everyone around them despite growing choruses that claim otherwise.

It wasn't all that long ago that large media companies claimed Craiglist wasn't a threat even as they watched in disbelief at the decimation of their classifieds.

Tim Armstrong could have taken the millions of AOL's money he tossed overboard on Patch and done one simple thing to have a profitable hyperlocal business across the United States with instant profits.

While Patch may soon go the way of those AOL disks of yesteryear, shareholders seem to be quiet of late as AOL has participated in the stock market rally during 2013.

Despite massive layoffs at Patch and story after story of bad news, Armstrong remains steadfast the Patch isn't closing, the pundits are wrong, and 2013 will be profitable one for Patch.

Time will tell if the Patch goes green or simply dries up and withers away.