The news first reported this morning by Business Insider, states that AOL doled out less than $10 million for the startup, which is backed by the likes of Union Square Ventures, Milestone Venture Partners, Betaworks and CNN.
According to technology site TechCrunch, which confirmed with Patch's president Warren Webster that Outside.in will be incorporated with Patch, but specifics of the deal are not known. “More details in the coming weeks, but we are very excited about the addition of Mark and his team,” she wrote.
According to multiple reports, Outside.in will evidently be incorporated with AOL's existing Patch network of 800 local blogs -- although how that integration will manifest itself is vague at present. Outside.In aggregates headlines and blog posts at the hyperlocal level, as well as links to events, local venues, etc.
However, Outside.in, which has witnessed huge decline in traffic in recent months, but AOL has been trying to expand the number of areas Patch covers, considering hyper-local is what Outside.in is all about.
Outside.In pitches itself as a prominent provider of hyperlocal business solutions for:
Publishers to easily integrate hyperlocal news and information into sites and apps with Outside.in for Publishers.
Bloggers to get traffic from Outside.in and our growing network of partner sites with Outside.in for Bloggers.
Advertisers to reach local audiences in every neighborhood in the UnitedStates.
Developers to innovate tomorrow’s local news experiences with our Hyperlocal API.
The acquisition follows AOL's pattern of buying up content-related sites. Outside.in, a startup that has accumulated $14.4 million to date, rounds up all the news and blog posts related to a particular neighborhood. To discover news relevant to your area, simply type in your zip code, neighborhood or address, and it pulls up all related news. Outside.In, which currently serves around 60,000 neighborhoods, puts more of its weight on local bloggers and publications, rather than large news organizations.
The two services are complimentary -- Patch is a network of local news site run by local reporters; Outside.in aggregates local bloggers and has strong ties with CNN. Moreover, the capabilities of Outside.In corresponds well with Patch's goal of creating local news, something the company believes is the future of journalism. And Patch could do well to incorporate Outside.In, which has witnessed a drop in traffic recently, to only about 317,000 visitors during the month of January.
AOL-owned Patch, which was itself a startup before being bought by AOL in 2009 for a staggering sum of $120 million, calls itself as “a community-specific news and information platform dedicated to providing comprehensive and trusted local coverage for individual towns and communities”. It includes original reporting on local news matters, whereas Outside.In claims it “organizes news and information around more than 57,830 neighborhoods across the United States”.
AOL faces big competition in the space, however, as popular search engines, including Yahoo and Google, offer their own local-news aggregation services.
Nevertheless, other publishers have the same belief that this model will deliver. One example is The New York Times and its partnership with NYU's journalism students and professors to launch a new local news site covering the East Village on NYTimes.com. Called the Local East Village, it will feature reporting from Arthur L. Carter journalism students.