Too Many Content Plays = Unsustainable

by | Apr 23, 2009

Here at the Health 2.0 conference and have heard far too many demos (really just pitches) from a multitude of Health 2.0 companies that are really nothing more than some form of glorified search engine.  It is clear that very few, if any, of these companies will be around in five years as there is simply not enough differentiation between what they are offering the market, and what the established brands (WebMD, EveryDay Health, Google, etc.) already offer.

Probably the most frustrating aspect of the Health 2.0 event, of which more will be discussed later is a lack of transparency on the part of these Health 2.0 vendors to tell the audience how they are growing, where they are seeing traction and why we should even care.  Please folks, you want someone to remember you?  Give them numbers that substantiate your reason for existance.

Did a quick comparison of two of the demo Health 2.0 companies with the 800lb gorilla of health content on the Web, WebMD.  Not a pretty picture.  One Health 2.0 company has seen a slide in the past year of over 40% and the other, while seeing good growth, is but a gnat on the big gorilla’s arse.



  1. Alexandra

    Hi John,
    Thanks so much for the question! Since CureTogether was one of the demos at Health 2.0, I wanted to respond to your concern about a lack of transparency. In 3 1/2 minutes there wasn’t much time to get into a lot of numbers, but here are our answers:

    Traction? CureTogether has 3000 members. The biggest growth areas are women’s health and chronic conditions – depression, migraine, endometriosis, vulvodynia, anxiety.

    Why you should care? Collaborative research projects on 250 conditions happening right now. Anyone can contribute, anyone can see the live results anytime. I haven’t seen any of the big companies offer this kind of quantitative collaboration.

    I’d love to answer any other questions anyone has. Thanks!
    Alexandra Carmichael

  2. Dr. John Grohol

    ComScore also has something to say about this, since that is the standard on which all ad money is distributed on the Web. (Like it, hate it, whatever, it’s the standard.), which has been around for 4 years(?), has 108,000 uniques per month. ComScore doesn’t even track a site like because it is too new/traffic too small.

    I’ve been hearing about the health search engines for at least 5 years now too (since I was consulting with Revolution Health), and have to say that they have made very little inroads or impact in the consumer realm. Most people still start their health search at Google and that simply isn’t going to change anytime soon (no matter how mediocre some *specific* health search results are at Google — the overall picture is much better).

    Some of these tools and communities may offer something very interesting for specific niches. But you’re right to ask whether any of these sites will be around 5 years from now. I suppose until the investor money runs out and they figure, “Hey, we need an actual business model here!”

    Thinking that millions will automatically flock to your tool/search engine/community is not a very good or thoughtful business model. In fact, it is the epitome of the naivety characterizing some startups.

  3. John Lynn

    Chilmark is everywhere!!

    More to the point, I don’t think we’re seeing major traction on most Health 2.0 sites, and so that’s why you’re not hearing much. I don’t think anyone has found the secret sauce that will encourage broad adoption.

    I do give major props to CureTogether for listening to the blogosphere and commenting on your blog. Collaborative research sounds like an interesting concept that should leverage well on the web.

  4. John

    Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. Yes, O realize the format o the Health 2.0 event left you little time to dig-in to what you are doing beyond a quick elevator pitch. Sincerely hope that the Health 2.0 folks take a close look at that model/agenda format and restructure to allow the interesting stories to be fully explored.

    Keep up the good work and let’s follow-up in the future.

    Adoption is occurring here and there, you just have to look for it. My main issue is that I want to hear how these companies are actually growing and plan to continue growing in the future and truly engage the broader population. Little, if any of that, was presented at the Health 2.0 event. Quite frustrating.

    Do believe that over time, we will see consumers engage in various online tools to facilitate their care and care of loved ones when interacting with the broader healthcare system. Traditional models of care and support are dissolving and we need something to fill the void.



  1. ICMCC Website - Blog » Blog Archive » Observations from a distance - Health 2.0 Conference Part 1 - [...] But still, Brian Klepper was overwhelmed: A Breathtaking Display of Possibilities, and so was Chilmark Research’s John Moore albeit…
  2. Health 2.0: A lot of Hot Air in This Balloon « Chilmark Research - [...] allowing those chosen to go into greater depth (why are they different, where will they succeed, how they differentiate…
  3. ICMCC Website - Bibliography » Blog Archive » Observations from a distance - Health 2.0 Conference Part 2 - [...] “consumers are simply not that engaged, yet“, John Moore remarked. They are not ready because we did not tell…
  4. Media Coverage of Ix-Health 2.0 Conference | Information Therapy (Ix) Blog - [...] Too Many Content Plays = Unsustainable by John Moore [...]
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