Yet internally, AOL is in the process of figuring out just how small (or large) a Patch should be, a calculation that includes available readership and just how “hyper” local advertisers want to go. In the fall, Patch editors had their freelance budgets slashed as executives pushed to make the business more financially sustainable. In the past month, a slew of national advertisers have been spotted on Patch sites, including Target, LL Bean, and AT&T to name a few. But in a recent interview, Jon Brod, president of AOL Ventures, Local & Mapping, said that the focus is still on what the company calls “local-local” advertisers as well as “regional-local” advertisers, with whom Patch has yet to have much success. Mr. Brod said that Patch will continue to roll out a new assisted self-service ad platform to help better monetize the local advertising markets. The platform consists of three segments of tools for local advertisers: one to generate leads, one to build brand awareness, and one to offer deals, he said.

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