About.com upped the ante on its health offering, bringing on Marjorie Martin from archrival WebMD to head About Health.com.
Martin, who spent eight years at WebMD, most recently as vice president and managing director, is charged with adding features and plotting strategy to expand and differentiate the site. She reports to COO Andrew Pancer.
With 4.9 million visitors per month, according to Nielsen Net Ratings, About Health.com lags behind WebMD, With 22.6 million, and MSN Health, with 5.7 million, but outpaces AOL Health, with 4 million, and Yahoo! Health, with 2.8 million. About.com president and CEO Scott Meyer said the site is the strongest of the About.com properties, recently bought by The New York Times, and that the company sought to leverage its expertise and original content to pull ahead of the portals. “What we really have is two sites [About and WebMD] publishing quality original content, and the portals are really just aggregating content from elsewhere,” said Meyer. About Health, he said, projects the “voice of reason,” with credentialed expert guides trained by the company and paid based on the traffic their sites generate.
The move comes amid an explosive growth in online advertising in the health sector. “What we’re seeing is tremendous growth in advertising spend from pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers as well as the consumer packaged goods sector,” said Meyer.