Waterfront Unveils Health Network

Aiming to expand beyond niche self-help sites, Waterfront Media on Wednesday formally launched EverydayHealth.com, a broad-based health site built around 40 "condition centers" covering everything from diabetes to schizophrenia.

"What we're trying to do is help consumers manage their health online, not just by giving them a bunch of definitions, but providing good community and interactive tools," said Waterfront Media CEO Ben Wolin. In particular, the site is geared toward helping consumers deal with medical conditions after being diagnosed.

The site has also enlisted 14 specialists from top medical institutions to oversee relevant centers and interact with members through blogs, online chats and by answering health questions online. Until now, the company has mainly been known for creating online extensions of books such as the "South Beach Diet" and "8 Weeks to Optimum Health."

Waterfront launched a beta version of EverydayHealth this summer, and has pre-registered 3 million users so far. Last month, Waterfront Media sites drew 3.9 million unique visitors--ranking sixth behind the likes of WebMD, MSN Health and Yahoo Health, according to comScore Media Metrix. Wolin's goal is to become the second-ranked health site by next year behind WebMD, which had 14.2 million visitors last month.

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That would likely help to attract even more health-focused marketers to EverydayHealth, which already counts six of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies among its advertisers. In addition to the value of being associated with the site's high-quality editorial content, Wolin said it offers the advertisers the ability to target consumers narrowly by the conditions they're researching. "They can reach them throughout the site, no matter where they are," said Wolin.

Of course, that type of tracking of consumers' health conditions raises privacy concerns. To safeguard members' medical privacy, Wolin said third parties aren't allowed access to users' health profiles unless they grant access--to another member, for example. He also said that none of the tracking data that advertisers use is personally identifiable, and that consumers can also control privacy settings for the site.

For now, the site features mostly banner ads but is expanding into pre-roll video advertising, particularly through its video library section. The library offers short informational videos on health conditions and success stories. About 70% of the site's ad inventory is already sold because Waterfront began drumming up interest among marketers and agencies during its soft launch over the summer, said Wolin.

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