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New details about what AOL (NYSE: AOL) has in store for its Patch network of hyperlocal sites in the wake of its purchase of the Huffington Post: The company tells Bloomberg that Patch sites will soon become “a lot more social.”
Asked to elaborate, a Patch spokeswoman told us there was “nothing to announce on the social media initiative at this point” but said new features would include “aggregation and blogging tools,” which she described as being “additive to our current model of original content creation and community engagement and contribution.”
That makes it sound as though the sites will become a bit more like the Huffington Post itself, which has embraced social media tie-ins and which features a mix of its own professionally-produced original content, along with aggregated stories and visitor-contributed articles.
AOL had already signaled it was interested in expanding Patch into aggregating news in March when it purchased Outside.in, which aggregates blog and mainstream media content corresponding to specific neighborhoods in the U.S. AOL does not, however, appear to have yet folded any of that site’s features into its Patch sites.
Patch is aiming to have more than 1,000 sites by the end of the year, double the total it had in 2010, and says it is “hiring with that goal in mind.” (A spokeswoman says it is not, however, about to hire 800 local editors, as the Bloomberg story suggests). As of last month, the network was already in 800 locations across the U.S. — each of which is staffed by a local editor.