Med Site Hopes Straight Talk Sells

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Newly launched is hoping that no-nonsense, no-jargon talk about tough medical issues will attract an untapped audience of young people to its healthcare site.

By tackling health issues of interest to young people in a frank way, the site hopes to attract people ages 16 to 30, with an emphasis on college students, said Cliff Woodhall, operations manager at CoolMD, Cape Coral, FL.

The site doesn't hesitate to deliver racy health information, which has given more than one potential sponsor the jitters, Woodhall said. One of the random facts listed atop the site's home page tells readers that research has shown that loud music above 90 decibels may be unhealthy for your ears but "may stimulate a craving for sex."

"They think we talk about some hard-core stuff," Woodhall said of some corporate sponsors. "They think the uncensored approach doesn't fit the corporate world."

But the site also tackles more serious issues, including cancer, stress and anxiety, Woodhall said. An upcoming story will deal with suicide.

CoolMD feels it can succeed despite young people's feelings of immortality and their lack of concern about healthcare, Woodhall said. The site's founders, a group of Florida doctors, believe there is a lack of plain-English health information aimed at young folks on the Internet.

Besides getting answers to health questions, college students can go to CoolMD for information related to their studies, Woodhall said. Also, because of their computer savvy, college students are often the ones asked by older relatives to get health information online.

The site launched Aug. 15 and has received about 10,000 page views.

The site's posted ad rates are $28 per 1,000 impressions, but hefty discounts of as much as half off are being offered to sponsors that come aboard in the first few months after the launch, Woodhall said. The average ad banner cost per thousand at the end of the second quarter of this year was $34.06, according to AdKnowledge, Palo Alto, CA.

To attract more users, CoolMD is hitting the college campuses with ads in 50 campus newspapers and 5,000 posters at 100 universities and colleges, Woodhall said. CoolMD also is considering a print newsletter for free distribution on campuses to raise awareness of the site.

But the site hopes that by offering more than just health information, such as an online mall featuring clothes and CDs, a job database and movie reviews, it will be able to bring young folks back after they get bored with the medical content. Users can win prize give aways in a weekly college football pool.

"We want to keep it so it's fun as well," Woodhall said. "Medical issues tend to get really dry. They don't tend to be something a person comes back to."

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