When it comes to running a hyperlocal news site, Patch co-founder Warren Webster said it’s best for business to keep the locals in charge. In a Fireside Chat panel with interviewer

Patch co-founder describes success factors in hyperlocal profitability

When it comes to running a hyperlocal news site, Patch co-founder Warren Webster said it’s best for business to keep the locals in charge.

In a Fireside Chat panel with interviewer Jeff Bercovici from Forbes at the Street Fight Summit in New York, Webster explained that at the AOL-owned network of hyperlocal sites there’s “less decision-making in New York, but more decisions made in towns across America.”

Now at 903 sites, Patch.com with AOL is growing, and at an incredible rate. In his chat with Bercovici, Webster revealed that 100 sites for Patch are profitable, and seemed pleased with that number.

“We couldn’t be happier with the trajectory,” said Webster.

Webster explained that for the sites that are profitable, “a major factor is tenure.”

He described how many of the longest-running Patch sites have proven to be the most profitable. Other success factors include a stronger staff in certain Patch communities, the difference in the type of community offering coverage, and the size and health of the community within a Patch location.

“The most encouraging sign is tenure,” said Webster. “Most have gone on to profitability.”

Webster revealed that national advertising played a small part in Patch’s success. Instead, Webster credits the regional sales reps for the site’s achievements.

“It’s really just local supporting local,” said Webster.

Webster went on to say that Patch has merged about 25 of the Patch sites, but the decisions were made by the people who live in those regions.

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