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USA Today Looks at Health .Com Survivors

by John Moore | February 19, 2008

USA Today had a brief article in today’s edition looking at why some health-centric Web companies survived the dot com bust and are thriving today.

Unlike most USA Today articles, this article was not superficial and the reporter did his homework. My only major quibble is with the companies (well one of them) that were profiled. Article profiles WebMD (logically), BabyCenter (yes, they fit as well) and About.com (how did they ever chose About.com?) as examples of those that have made it. Would have also been nice to see some coverage of PHRs, but maybe they are saving that for another story.

Here are a few of things I liked about the article:

  • Comment by BabyCenter CEO that GenY are much more comfortable sharing information online (they grew up with MySpace and Facebook afterall) than previous generations. This is giving BabyCenter a nice up-tick in traffic and thus advertising revenue. Might this portend that a PHR like VitalChart, which has strong interaction/social tools, will take-off in the future? If this is indeed an important trend, which I believe it is among this next generation, other PHR companies need to get busy.
  • Persistence pays along with a parent with deep pockets and patience. All of these companies have public companies as parents: WebMD has Healtheon, BabyCenter is owned by J&J, and About.com has the NY Times for a parent.
  • Substantiated my previous post that RevolutionHealth, in spite of its massive marketing push is still well behind WebMD, despite its claims stating otherwise.

Good job USA Today and reporter Jon Swartz, you surprised me today.

Stay up to the minute.

“As biometric data becomes cheaper and easier to collect through smart sensors, devices, and mobile apps, expect to see more innovations in consumer health.”

-Alicia Vergaras