5 comments
SuperSmartGuy
SuperSmartGuy

Webmd is a corp shill site. Everyone knows that !!!

Noah
Noah

As to the above comment: Mayo Clinic is a non profit.

Cote Baker
Cote Baker

The sentence that caught my attention was "...the real issue is how the sites practice what they preach." I believe that Mayo claims to put the needs of their patients first; however, in reality, the physicians put their own needs before those of the patients. This practice of putting the physicians interests before the patients is enforced by their Office of Patient Affairs, and the Mayo's own Legal Department. Patients end up losing (their lives).

Mike S
Mike S

Ms Heffernan’s column in the NYT is a fluff piece about how WebMD's site is bad because it "looks" more commercial, and describing the same advertisements that appear on Mayo's site as somehow sinister and corrupt when used on a for-profit website. Her use of the term clickthrough is especially revealing, as she uses this term incorrectly to describe a user's behavior on the same site (clicking from a landing or topic page to a specific article on WebMD) rather than the correct use of the term which is a link from an outside source (such as a search engine listing or advertisement), that delivers traffic to a target site. WebMD doesn't pay for advertising (you may have noticed a few TV ads on Fox due to a media exchange) so their only coinage is the trust of their users. Creating a content farm like DemandMedia runs counter to their business model. As narrowcast advertising becomes the norm, we'll get a lot of chicken-littles like Ms Heffernan, slyly implying that something sinister is afoot when you are targeted a migrane drug after visiting a web forum on Migrane Pain Management or Chronic Headaches. I would argue this is much better than the current norm of blasting dozens of Rx drug ads via TV commercials during the evening news.

Joe Saling
Joe Saling

The discussion of what constitutes reliable and quality health information on the Web generated by Ms Heffernan's opinion piece is certainly one that needs to be ongoing. But it's also important to note that Ms Heffernan's column ijn the New York Times Magazine is little more than an op ed piece or a spotlighted blog entry. It certainly is not journalistic. (See the post on Time Magazine's Heartland for another perspective: http://healthland.time.com/2011/02/07/mayo-clinic-vs-webmd-another-perspective/) What is surprising is that the New York Times should allow its name to be used as a authoratative platform for such a biased, unsupported, and at least partially inacccurate evaluation of the media.

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