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Nov 9th 2012

AOLers Respond to Sandy

From helping impacted communities, to offering a hand for colleagues in need, when Super Storm Sandy hit, AOL employees responded immediately. Employees packed over two tractor trailers worth of food, water and supplies in Dulles, VA, and Baltimore and donations were sent to ravaged areas in New Jersey and Long Island. When the power went out, AOL connected New Yorkers with one another by partnering with Boingo to provide free wifi throughout Manhattan and north of 34th street. Less than 48 hours after the storm, an internal message board was created where employees could offer resources, including food, water, and electricity, or ask for help. Within hours the message board was flooded with comments such as "I live Uptown and have power, water and everything is normal up here. Email me if you need a place to go. "

AOL continues its relief efforts, as thousands are still without power. AOL.com is featuring an ongoing Red Cross module encouraging users to click-to-donate. The module alone has currently raised over $35K and counting. To date, 94 AOLers have donated nearly $12,000 to Hurricane Sandy disaster relief effort. AOL has committed to match another $10,000 to The Red Cross because of these efforts.

Below is a gallery of AOLers in action as they help our communities. To make a donation visit: https://donate.networkforgood.org/aol.

Nov 8th 2012

Working at AOL...From Your Upper East Side Apartment

Given the catastrophic events that took place this past week during and following historic Hurricane Sandy, it seemed fitting to reflect on some of the things I learned while working from home (in my case, my Upper East Side studio apartment). Our offices were in the "dead" zone of Manhattan, and with that said, most of us with power and Internet remained holed up for the week in our homes, doing our absolute bests to keep business going as usual. Inspired by a Gawker post, I have decided to put together a list of a few things I learned while working from home (known as WFH) this week:

1. Mayor Bloomberg needs to take a Spanish refresher course -- Oh El Bloombito
2. Going to the gym twice (once to run, once to spin) saves you from complete and total isolation. While most of NYC shut down, Equinox remained open throughout the storm (minus downtown locations) with a normal class schedule in effect. And yes, people were there in full force.
3. Living on the Upper East Side during a downtown blackout meant the renaissance of uptown life...84th and 2nd, anyone?
4. When the news got repetitive the new "Pandora" became NetFlix. Saved by the Bell, The Hills, The Wonder Years, Dawson's Creek...never looked so good. This was, of course, once Full House and Boy Meets World morning reruns were over.
5. Once they resumed from being preempted by storm coverage, we quickly saw that no one on our favorite soap opera had aged a day since we watched it 5 years ago. Something's never do change.
6. Peanut butter and fluff is no longer something only kindergarteners can get away with eating. With two-hour wait times on Seamless Web, anything goes.
7. Getting dressed and putting on makeup after six days in pajamas is an incredibly difficult task.
8. Going back to a daily commute and being in an office never sounded so good. But, when you're almost at the subway, and you get an email about no heat or hot water at the office, It's back to pajamas you go, at least for another day.
9. While it's been a relaxing six days, I am seriously hoping WFH/WFA does not become the new normal.
10. We remain very glad our boyfriends have returned to Wall Street even if we were the only ones here on the UES that never lost power, and our friends who live on Wall Street still remain hurricane refugees.

Most importantly (with all kidding aside), I learned that I work for a company that truly appreciates each and every one of its employees and takes our values to heart – specifically when it comes to helping our fellow peers. While I heard talks of people potentially having to use their vacation days for the week they were unable to work, or having to walk 90 blocks in the cold as they had already waited an hour to squeeze on a bus just to get to their offices, we were told to work from our homes or wherever we could get things done and not be inconvenienced with the hour long commutes others were forced to endure, which continued into the week following power restoration. I don't know too many people who would tell you their CEO sent a company wide email offering impacted employees the ability to book transportation and hotels to areas that were not as burdened by disaster as the tri-state area was. All of this, in addition to our colleagues in Dulles and Baltimore rallying together to get supplies and necessities to the areas hit by this mass destruction, allowed me to emphatically say I have never been so proud to be an AOL employee - we truly are in the business of helping people, period, now more than ever in most of our lifetimes – helping ourselves.

Furthermore, our CEO and many of our executives organized tractors overflowing with donations from fellow AOLers to Long Island and New Jersey. Along with the tractors, large vans filled with AOLer's came along to help hand out the supplies.

Click here for more from our hyper local news source Patch.

Oct 22nd 2012

Welcome to the Patch Community: Leigh Zarelli Lewis and Jim Lipuma

We are excited to share the news of two recent additions to the Patch community, Leigh Zarelli Lewis, who will join us as our new Head of Strategy and Business Development, and Jim Lipuma, who joins the team as our Head of U.S. Sales.

Leigh brings to Patch over 20 years of experience in media, strategy consulting and corporate development and an impressive career in digital product development and management. She most recently served as Vice President of Emerging Businesses at The Walt Disney Company. Prior to that, Leigh worked at IAC in Interactive Development where she founded Gifts.com, and oversaw its consumer operations, including merchandising, content and user experience. At Patch, Leigh will lead the strategy and business development functions, focusing on strategic partnerships and new revenue initiatives.

Jim brings more than 25 years of scaled, local sales and management experience to Patch. Jim recently served as Chief Sales Officer at Restaurant.com as well as Vice President of Sales at Monster.com, where he led the Central Enterprise Sales Division. Jim began his career at R.H. Donnelley where he led a comprehensive, top-performing local sales force. At Patch, Jim will lead our U.S. Sales team, continuing to serve our local, regional and national advertisers with innovative marketing solutions.

As Patch continues to grow with new partners and advertisers, the additions of Leigh and Jim couldn't have come at a better time. Our path forward is clear, as we strive to make Patch the best site to learn about – and engage in – the communities that impact your life.

Haven't found your Patch? Visit Patch.com!

Oct 4th 2012

AOL's Global to Local Experiences for the 2012 Presidential Debates


AOL made news last week with Google and Yahoo! when the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the three Internet giants would combine forces to reach a massive audience with a digital initiative, "The Voice Of," an online destination for the presidential debates.

Last night, teams across AOL also collaborated to demonstrate the editorial and distribution force that AOL's combined brands can deliver. AOL.com and HuffPost Live streamed the presidential debate, providing unique coverage, commentary, analysis and opinion across AOL.com, the Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, Patch, DailyFinance and other AOL sites. More than 20 AOL brands joined this unprecedented effort, which also included more than 30 Patch live viewing parties across key battleground states, four live chatrooms on HuffPost Live with specific focus areas - Inside Politics, Comedy, Young Voters and En Español - and an undecided voter focus group with Luntz Worldwide in our AOL Studio at 770 Broadway.


Over 400,000 engaged viewers watched the livestream, and we received over 33,000 comments on The Huffington Post and HuffPost Live. We had an estimated 240 million impressions total on Twitter, where more than 30 editors shared updates from 11 different AOL and Huffington Post Twitter accounts.*

Didn't hear about the topic you care about last night? Starting Friday at 9am, you can submit your questions through AOL, Google and Yahoo for the chance to hear the answer at the 2nd Presidential debate on October 16th.

*Source: AOL Internal Data

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