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A healthy market

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Friday August 3, 2007 )

Searches relating to health care information have become more common over the past 12 months according to Harris Interactive; leading the company to dub those who regularly look for health information as “cyberchondriacs”.

The Harris Interactive survey of over 1000 USA online adults found that the number of people who have searched for resources for health issues has grown from 53% in 2005 to 71% this year.

Other key findings:

– Two thirds of adults online state they search for information about health topics often

– A “cyberchondriac” searches the Internet for related material almost six times per month

– 88% report success in searching for health information online

– 86% of cyberchondriacs say the information they located online was reliable (26% “very reliable” and 60% “somewhat reliable”)

– 58% who have obtained health information online have discussed the data with their doctors at least once in the last year.

I can just imagine thousands of doctors around the world tensing up when their patients say “Doc, I was searching the Internet last night….”

But seriously, it is a good thing that people are trying to educate themselves on health conditions and not necessarily taking their doctor’s word as gospel. It would certainly help keep doctors on their toes a little, knowing that the texts and information mostly only readily available to the medical profession just a decade ago are now out there for everyone to review.

Anyway, the point of me reporting this is to make mention if you’re looking for ideas for a content site; perhaps one related to health might be a good way to go – particularly if you focus on a specific aspect or condition. These can be good money spinners if you incorporate contextual advertising such as AdSense as they tend to attract reasonable click prices.

The challenge is incorporating good information on the site; so maybe stick with conditions/products/services that you or a family member have had experience with as it will help you to filter content for accuracy. Also check out what sort of competition is around first, because some diseases have more coverage out here than Paris Hilton :).

For example, a condition called Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is mostly caused by exposure to asbestos. There is a *huge* amount of money in this disease (I know that sounds awful) because of the sufferers being able to take legal action against the company/entity that exposed them to asbestos. Law fiirms will pay big bucks for client leads. Click prices for related terms can be $50, $60 even $80 – per click. But before you go racing off to build a site on Mesothelioma:

a) There’s stiff competition – some of the worlds best black hat/white hat optimizers work to get top rankings for terms related to this topic.

b) Those massive click prices are usually for sponsor ads running on SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), not on the engine’s content network; i.e. publisher sites. Publishers earn significantly less per click.

Still, health is such a huge area, I’m sure with a little thought and research you could turn up a nice little niche somewhere :)

Read more of the Harris Interactive Report


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