Nicholas Carlson | Sep. 21, 2011
Patch, AOL’s very expensive bet on local news blogs, lost its director of sales today – a month after AOL’s SVP of local ad sales also bolted.
Scott Colontonio quit today for a job at Google’s New York office, where he’ll be joining commerce field sales team, a source familiar with the situation tells us.
Colontonio announced his departure during a conference call today, another source says.
AOL still depends on its declining Internet access for almost all of its profits, and Patch is one of its biggest bets. It is said to be investing $160 million in the division just this year. Patch has more than 840 editors and a few hundred sales people around the country. It isn’t close to profitable. (More on this tomorrow.)
In June, we talked to a self-described “disgruntled” Patch ad sales person, who told us the project has been a “disaster.”
He blamed two things. The product – “they’re selling a branding advertising campaign to small businesses that should never put their first dollar in that bucket – and Patch sales leadership.
“It’s leadership, or lack thereof. They have the wrong people in leadership capacities, partly because they were so hasty in building the model and trying to be first to market that they forgot that quality people are essential to getting anything off the ground.”
Briefed on the details of this story, a Patch PR person stalled for hours.