Home Will AOL Use Seed to Fuel Its Hyperlocal News Site?

Will AOL Use Seed to Fuel Its Hyperlocal News Site?

AOL is continuing with its push to create content on a massive local scale, according to a story by the Silicon Valley Insider. The story says that AOL is looking to “expand Patch, its network of local news blogs, from 30 sites to ‘hundreds’, by the end of 2010.”

AOL recently announced a similar 0-to-60 sort of initiative with its attempt to cover every single band at this year’s South By Southwest festival with its content distribution project Seed.

The article quotes an internal communication, saying that AOL is looking “to be leaders in one of the most promising ‘white spaces’ on the Internet” as well as “in sourcing, creating, producing and delivering high quality content”.

Patch is a “hyperlocal” website that offers news, photos and videos, discussions and information about local businesses. It is run by “professional editors, writers, photographers and videographers who live in or near the communities [they] serve”. As such, Patch seems like a perfect candidate for the type of service offered by another arm of AOL, crowdsourced content provider Seed.

While the article declares the intention to go from 30 sites to hundreds “quite the ambitious goal,” we wonder if having a system like Seed already in place wouldn’t make an otherwise potentially daunting task a bit easier. Actually, the SXSW coverage seems like a good testing ground for doing the same sort of coverage in hundreds of locations throughout the country.

As Paid Content wrote last month, Saul Hansell left the New York Times’ Bits Blog in December to join Seed, with the purpose of “leveraging Seed across all of AOL’s platforms”.

Looking at the site, it would seem that the only issue in growing from 30 to hundreds would be general scalability, as each location is identical, but with different content. With an army of content providers at your fingertips, it would seem that the expansion is the obvious next step more than anything else.

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