Web Site to Offer Health Advice, - 10-07-2010, 04:25 AM
By STUART ELLIOTT
THE expression “sharing is caring” was coined long before the Internet and social media like Facebook and Twitter made it easier for information, opinions and advertising to be shared among multitudes.
Starting on Thursday, the Web site Sharecare.com is to arrive, offering what its proprietors call an interactive social Q.& A. platform to provide consumers with what they want to know on health and wellness subjects — with the A’s being contributed by, among others, marketers.
Those behind Sharecare, a company formed last year to operate Sharecare.com, hope its features will enable the new Web site to thrive in a crowded field. Others in the online health care category include About.com, AOL, CNN, eHow, Everyday Health, Health.com, MSN, WebMD and Yahoo.
Sharecare.com will begin with content contributed by organizations like AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins and the National Academy of Sports Medicine, along with medical professionals like Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Those contributors are to be known as experts on the site. There is another label, knowledge partners, for marketers that are paying an estimated $1 million to $7 million to become sponsors of Sharecare.com. The initial roster is composed of Colgate-Palmolive, for Colgate oral care products; the Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals division of Johnson & Johnson; the Medicines Company, a drug maker; Pfizer; Unilever, for Dove skin-care products; UnitedHealthcare, the health insurer; and Walgreen, for its Walgreens drug stores.
Plans call for the content provided by the sponsors to be labeled, bearing their names and logos, so that visitors to Sharecare.com can distinguish their contributions from those of other sources.
Still, some visitors looking for objective answers to questions on health matters may raise their eyebrows at the presence of marketers. For instance, in a demonstration of the Web site on Wednesday, a reporter saw that among the questions being answered by Dove, on topics like treating varicose veins and the effects of tanning beds, was one asking why good skin care is important.
“I’m sure there will be people who do that,” Jeff Arnold, chairman and chief architect at Sharecare in Atlanta, said of potential eyebrow-lifters. But in tests of the Web site in the last year, “the brand answers were read as much as the expert answers,” he added.
“It’s interesting to see how seriously the brands are taking their answers,” Mr. Arnold said, because they know their replies will not be far from those of the experts. There are more than 100,000 answers to questions on Sharecare.com, he added, with a goal of “a million by the end of the year.”
Paul Ewing, senior director for patient marketing at the United States primary-care business unit of Pfizer in New York, said his company would provide answers to questions “in the areas of fibromyalgia and smoking cessation” but “not around any products we offer” in those areas, which are, respectively, the prescription drugs Lyrica and Chantix.
Anyone who reads content on Sharecare.com, whatever the source, will “have to work with their health care providers to make sure they’re making the best decisions about what the next steps would be” for any condition they want treated, Mr. Ewing said.
Pfizer’s interest in taking part in the Web site stems from a belief that “informed people make better decisions about their health,” he added, “and have better interactions with their health care providers.”
Christine Kubisztal, director for media services at Walgreen in Deerfield, Ill., said she would “be curious to see if” users of Sharecare.com perceived the answers from sponsors differently from the others.
“Yes, we are a retail place to go to,” she said of the Walgreens stores, “but we are also a brand trusted for 109 years.”
People are looking to “consume health care online in a much more user-friendly way,” Ms. Kubisztal said, and the “very individualized, very localized” answers to be provided by Sharecare.com are part of how Walgreen wants to demonstrate that its pharmacists “can be experts, providing answers and advice beyond 30 pills in a bottle.”
Sharecare was formed by a consortium that includes Mr. Arnold, who founded WebMD and later was chief executive of HowStuffWorks.com when it was sold to Discovery Communications; Dr. Oz, whose career as a health care arbiter was made by Oprah Winfrey; Harpo Productions, Ms. Winfrey’s company; Sony Pictures Television, a unit of the Sony Corporation that co-owns “The Dr. Oz Show” with Ms. Winfrey; and Discovery, a partner with Ms. Winfrey in OWN: the Oprah Winfrey Network, a cable channel to be introduced in January.
In a sort of soft debut for Sharecare.com, the Q.& A. section of Dr. Oz’s Web site (doctoroz.com) bears the words “powered by Sharecare.”
Sony Pictures Television is handling the search for sponsors for Sharecare.com. “Their answers are never ‘This dental floss brand is better than that dental floss brand,’ ” said Amy Carney, president for advertising sales at Sony Pictures Television in New York.
“When the answers are as high quality as they will be,” she added, “if there is an initial skepticism on the part of the consumer it will quickly go away.”
According to comScore, the top health information Web site in the United States in August was Everydayhealth.com, with 25.7 million unique visitors, followed by WebMD, with 23.3 million. Of the total American Internet audience that month of 212.6 million, comScore reported, 96.6 million, or 45.4 percent, sought health information.
10-07-2010, 01:17 PM
A line[Durrand line] of hatred that raised a wall between the two brothers -Hamid Karzai
The men of Kábul and Khilj also went home; and whenever they were questioned about the Musulmáns of the Kohistán (the mountains), and how matters stood there, they said, "Don't call it Kohistán, but Afghánistán; for there is nothing there but Afgháns and disturbances." Thus it is clear that for this reason the people of the country call their home in their own language Afghánistán, and themselves Afgháns. The people of India call them Patán; but the reason for this is not known. But it occurs to me, that when, under the rule of Muhammadan sovereigns, Musulmáns first came to the city of Patná, and dwelt there, the people of India (for that reason) called them Patáns—but God knows!
10-07-2010, 11:20 PM
drug abusers shouldn't be called victims. if you choose to **** your life, you **** it. the first good thing you do for yourself after that is to stand up and take responsibility for it. there is some glory in deliberate negligence. none in being a coward even after you have faced the worst of the worse.
I am no bird, and no nest ensnares me.
non commercial would cost less if he was in charge himself which he plans on doing. right now it's n herat but soon it will be in qanadahar.
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