What is Patch? .... 

How to Beat Patch

And Drive AOL Out of Your Town

#1 - Simply Ask Them to Leave

The Patch editor, Patch reporters and "free bloggers" may be willing to quit if you ask them, especially if they are locals you know, and aren't aware of the type of corporation they're working for.

AOL has invested a lot into recruiting and training help, getting the editor to quit will slow them down considerably.

The problem is, being a Patch editor is a paid job, and with high unemployment, they may need the job even if they don't like the company.

Focus on the free bloggers and frequent commenters first -- they are the backbone of Patch -- AOL's business model banks on getting free content -- taking it away is a good start.

#2 - Post "anything" on Patch --- it's quick and easy!

Every Patch home page has a comment box with the heading "What do you have to say?". It's usually located on the righthand side of the page. You will be required to register, but Patch does NOT verify new users -- what you post will appear immediately after supplying an email address and password.

You can use a throwaway email address from any of the free email services, (gmail, hotmail, even AOL!).

In-fact, once you "register" you are free to comment on articles, blog posts, etc.

NOTE: if what you "have to say" is totally irrelavent, or off topic, (like WikiPedia snippets about shoe laces or 70's tv shows, etc), it may have negative SEO implications for Patch, (now wouldn't that be terrible?)

If the Patch editor doesn't like what you post s/he will have to spend time deleting it leaving them less time to add their own content.

Do NOT post sexually explicit material, copyrighted work or anything "illegal".

If what you have to say is about fish tacos, or Kuala Lumpur, (or AOL lawsuits) you will not risk legal trouble. (Although having AOL/Patch attempt to sue you would be great advertising for your site!)

#3 - Flag As Innapropriate

You do not have to be logged in to "flag" items on Patch. If you feel that every bit of content on the Patch site is inappropriate, be sure to let them know. Be aware that the editor needs to review these reports, so while they are, again, it's all the less time the have to create new innapropriate content. Frequent "flagging" also will make it difficult for the editor to screen out other people's reports of innapropriate content...

#4 - Hit 'Em Where it hurts -- in the wallet!

1). If you operate a competing website, and find local businesses advertising on Patch, contact the owner of the business and let them know they are hurting the local economy. Ask what they paid and what they got for their money, then offer them a generous discount if they discontinue their Patch ads.

2). Patch's business listings are free, but their "Premium Videos Listings" are paid, (and key piece of Patch's marketing efforts). Offer local business free link's their YouTube videos from your site. Or, if you are equipped to handle video directly on your site, let them upload it -- and make sure to add .htaccess rules or MS-Win permissions to dissallow the video from being linked to by Patch.

Got Other Ideas?

Please let me know if you have other ideas about how to hurry along Patch's demise so I can share them here with others. AOL and Patch are a pariah in the online and news communities -- the sooner they are gone, the better off the web will be.

Patch.com is focused on destroying local news in the same way Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other national big box retailers destroyed local small businesses in their markets.

Patch's business model is simple: they overpay editors, reporters and photographers to get each town off the ground, then once users start posting and commenting, Patch fires the reporters and photographers (or moves them to another town), and make the editor help spin up surrounding towns' Patch.com sites.

99% of the first few weeks comments and posts will be from other Patch employees -- make sure to point out to real locals that they are being snookered.

In the end, nothing is local, and more jobs are lost from the economy than gained -- news consumers are the biggest losers in the end.

Please test #2 and #3 tactics on the Patch in My Town! Then let me know so I can help you rid your town of Patch!