Patch Gets Big Traffic Bump From Hurricane Irene

AOL’s hyper-local site network, Patch, is all about what happens close to home. That’s its draw. And since we always report about it — with plenty of not-so-great-news — we figured we’d pass along this: The sites collectively experienced a 75 percent traffic increase over the weekend as a result of Hurricane Irene coverage. Not only that, according to Patch, the sites that cover the areas that were impacted by Irene saw five times more traffic than usual.

Brian Farnham, Editor-in-Chief of Patch, told FishbowlNY that the nature of Patch helped it win people’s attention.

“With wall-to-wall storm coverage on seemingly every channel, it may seem odd that Patch, too, proved to be so necessary to communities affected by Irene,” said Farnham. “But over and over again we heard the same thing from our users in these regions: ‘Patch was our essential source for information during the hurricane.’ After all, whether winds added up to Cat 1 or Cat 2 or ‘just’ a tropical storm doesn’t matter as much to people as whether their town is flooded or when their power will come back on.”

Moments like Irene are when Patch should thrive, and this must give those behind the site a bit of hope going forward. If more people start considering their local Patch site before CNN or somewhere else, that’s a big win for the network.