Patch.com, the venture-capitalized, Google-zillionaire-backed startup that recently launched town-specific news and information websites in Maplewood, South Orange and Millburn, today announced plans to expand into an additional three nearby communities.
The newest Patches are slated to open in May in Summit, Westfield and Scotch Plains (including Fanwood), all in Union County. Summit is contiguous with Millburn in Essex County, but Westfield and Scotch Plains/Fanwood are further south, separated from the other Patches by Route 22 and by the towns of Springfield and Mountainside.
In a world-exclusive interview (OK, he replied to my email), Patch Editor-in-Chief Brian Farnham told A.T.I.N. that Googliath has “no specific rollout plans beyond these next three, or hard target figure to hit by end of year. I can say we remain bullish about expanding Patch as quickly as is prudent and in as many communities as can use us (which we think is a lot).”
Each of the new Patch towns are served by local newspapers, and Summit even has SummitNJ.net, a sister site of the venerable Maplewood Online. Even after the new sites open, however, none of the towns will have an online presence to rival the Maplewood BlogolopolisTM, which is served by five separate, general-interest websites.
Kirk, I responded with a rather long commentary that now seems to have gotten lost. I’m too tired to repeat it, but in a nutshell, I’m worried about the future of small little ventures like my friends are trying to startup in Metuchen (MetuchenMatters.com). They’re working very hard, for no money, and doing a good job of covering what the local press ignores. I’d hate to see them have to face Googliath!
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