Rating and review sites for things like dining, nail salons and events (i.e., Yelp) are inevitably going to battle it out with Google. CityGrid Media’s Insider Pages wants to go in a different direction.
Since last year, the site has steered most of its energies into building up a health specialty, with deep ratings and reviews and other aggregated information. Along the way, it has learned that the value of health-related advertising (i.e., pharmaceuticals) grows astronomically as it gets more specialized and targeted. Now, the San Francisco-based site is prepared to launch up to 30 unique URLs for specialized health communities, starting in a few months.
GM Eric Peacock said it looked like a fairly dim future for review sites like his in 2009, as Google “got more and more aggressive in the local space.” Traffic was flat that year. But “we’ve been clawing back a generation of new content, more reviews” from Insider Pages, Citysearch and other sources, and a new focus on health and medical in general, he says. The emphasis on health is something that is also being pursued by Angie’s List, Avvo and others.
Early last year, Insider Pages launched Doctor Finder as a partnership with HealthGrades.com, which provides detailed provider information. The result has been growth in page views from 14 million last January to 18 million page views in December.
“We’ve scratched an itch with local search around health,” says Peacock. “It is information that is hard to find and not always available.” With virtually no marketing, Doctor Finder has especially engaged people, he says.
Instead of going to Google and leaving with a single phone number, Doctor Finder users study profiles and other information for anywhere from five to 10 doctors, averaging 12 pages per visit. “The potential is to get very, very targeted,” says Peacock. Top categories include pediatricians, OB/GYN, family practice and dentists. Meanwhile, top specialty searches include allergists and cardiologists.
For Insider Pages, the next step is to “take this and go more vertical” by zeroing in on specific medical conditions and diseases. Members of these communities will all go through the classic stages of grief, shock and acceptance. But at the same time, they won’t just be getting a doctor; they’ll be assembling a whole team of providers to help them recover and cope. Eight-five percent of the information types will work with multiple diseases, says Peacock.