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AOL thinks local, acquires Patch and Going

The purchase of the two companies--one of which was founded by new AOL CEO Tim Armstrong--aims to beef up the conglomerate's offering of local services.

A nice little summer shopping spree for AOL: Under the auspices of new CEO Tim Armstrong, the company has acquired "hyperlocal" news site Patch and hipster-oriented events listing site Going.com.

The acquisition of Patch isn't too much of a surprise. Armstrong founded and invested in Patch while at his former gig as Google sales chief. The start-up offers a model for local news on the Web and plans to have launched in a dozen cities by the end of 2009. Going, meanwhile, has been around since 2006 and offers event and invitation services along with ticketing. It's likely that AOL will use its technology to take the service beyond its party-friendly current target demographic.

"Local remains one of the most disaggregated experiences on the Web today--there's a lot of information out there but simply no way for consumers to find it quickly and easily," Armstrong said in a release. "Going forward, local will be a core area of focus and investment for AOL. The acquisitions of Patch and Going will help us build out our local network further with excellent local services that enable people to stay better informed about what's going on in their neighborhood."

He's not the only new-media executive thinking local: in his keynote address at the Advertising 2.0 conference on Wednesday, IAC/InterActiveCorp CEO Barry Diller called local "one of the few areas that hasn't been colonized" on the Web. IAC owns Citysearch, with which AOL has partnered in syndication deals.