DMer Acquires DrKoop.com For $186,000

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A direct marketer has acquired the assets of once high-flying health Web site DrKoop.com for a measly $186,000.


Vitacost.com, a direct-to-consumer marketer of so-called nutraceuticals or nutritional supplements, said yesterday that it has acquired DrKoop.com's brand name, trademarks, domain names, its Web site and the e-mail addresses of 2 million registered users. The e-mail addresses, however, did not have personal information such as medical and purchase histories, names or phone numbers attached, according to a statement.


The company once claimed to have data on about 1 million consumers, including private medical histories. That information was reportedly destroyed before the transfer in accordance with DrKoop.com's privacy policy.


DrKoop.com attracts more than 900,000 visitors per month, the statement said.


Vitacost.com also said it plans to update the mainstream medical information on the site and add information about natural and alternative medicines.


The DrKoop.com home page yesterday was already in hard-pitch mode for Boynton Beach, FL-based wholesaler Vitacost.com's offerings with a banner exclaiming: "Vitamin shopping 101. Don't Pay Full Price!," and two above-the-fold pitches for products from the "Nutraceuticals Sciences Institute."


"Consumers are increasingly hungry to educate themselves about how both mainstream and natural or complementary medical practices can enhance their personal health and wellness," Allen Josephs, president of Vitacost.com, said in a statement. "We intend to build on the trust people hold for DrKoop.com by making it a single source for scientifically sound information about all aspects of medicine."


Vitacost was founded in 1996 as a mail-order marketer and claims it is profitable. Josephs said in the statement that Vitacost.com is "using internally generated profits to acquire well-known brands like DrKoop.com and make good on the value promises sites like these made long ago to their customers and investors."


Co-founded by former U.S. surgeon general C. Everett Koop, DrKoop.com went public June 8, 1999. Its stock rose to $45 per share and the company reached a market capitalization of $1 billion. But ad revenue from pharmaceutical companies failed to materialize according to the company's plans. The company declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December


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