AOL Enters Crowded Georgetown Market

More Coverage of Thomas Sweet's Ice-Cream Menu

By Michael E. Grass - City Desk
|  Friday, Sep 10, 2010  |  Updated 1:15 PM EDT
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AOL Enters Crowded Georgetown Market

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Attention, Georgetowners! There's about to be an old-fashioned newspaper war in your old-fashioned neighborhood.

OK, maybe not a newspaper war. But the market for online scoops about Jack Evans' electoral ambitions, Thomas Sweet's ice-cream menu, and NIMBYish complaints about those slovenly Georgetown University student group houses is about to get a lot more competitive.

Now joining the fray: AOL's Patch, part of a growing national family of online-only news sites covering small and mid-size neighborhoods, mainly in suburban communities. (They've been multiplying like "gremlins," according to the Business Insider.) AOL has been gearing p to launch Patch sites in D.C.'s suburbs, but Georgetown Patch is the first such site in the District. Beyond neighborhood news, Patch is building non-news components, including directory and listings.

Its already-established competition: The online-only Georgetown Dish and Georgetown Metropolitan, the print-only Georgetown Current, the print and online Georgetowner, and Georgetown University's Hoya, Voice, and Independent, among others.

The big question: Can Georgetown support such a vibrant media scene? Business-wise, will there be enough people clicking to generate the necessary pageviews to create a sustainable operation? Will there be a media bloodbath in the wake of the coming Georgetown media war?

Most crucial: Which news operation will win over the loyalty of Sally Quinn? Our bet is on the TBD-affiliated Dish, whose party at Billy Martin's Tavern was recently graced by the fabled Georgetown hostess.

(One tiny point of disclosure: Back in January, AOL's corporate recruiters approached me about interviewing for a position with the Patch family.)

AOL Enters Crowded Georgetown Market was originally published by Washington City Paper on Sep 10, 2010.

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