Patch Editor in Chief: ‘We’re The Grateful Dead of the Internet’

By Richard Horgan -
February 3, 2016

An ironic element of Jack Marshall’s thorough Wall Street Journal look at the resurgence of Patch is the mention of the number of sites currently operating within the hyperlocal network. The Hale Global tally sits at 900+.

That’s the same number Tim Armstrong once feverishly raced past, on his way to a forced turnover of his pet project at the turn of 2014. It’s all about how you scale.

Hale has stated previously that 2014 was a profitable year. Not surprising given how lean the machine was. But the fact that Hale has been able to, according to Marshall, continue that track in 2015 and into this year as it expands is duly impressive.

Another interesting aspect of the WSJ article is that it once again raises the issue of comScore accuracy. The New York Times has been quick to point out the same in the face of much ballyhooed Washington Post U.S. monthly stats:
Patch’s internal traffic numbers don’t tally with those of comScore, however. The measurement specialist estimates around 7 million users visited the network in December 2015, compared with nearly 15 million in December of 2013. According to Mr. St John, the discrepancy [Patch claims via Google Analytics some 23 million plus uniques in January 2016] can be explained by comScore’s panel-based methodology, which fails to accurately reflect traffic to hyperlocal sites.
We always thought email and smartphone notifications would need to be a critical component of a successful Patch. St. John echoes that idea in the piece. Marshall also got some interesting quotes from Armstrong.

As far as the great quote used for our headline, you’ll have to read the WSJ item to understand why St. John makes that colorful comparison. This past Monday, the new Patch added sites catering to Boston and Chicago.

Write to Mike Shields at