MEDgle: Symptoms Ending In 'gle' - InformationWeek

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5/29/2008
09:03 PM
Fritz Nelson
Fritz Nelson
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MEDgle: Symptoms Ending In 'gle'

You know that rash, that one you don't want to talk about but that you keep scratching and wondering about but you're afraid to go to the doctor and get it checked out? I'm kidding -- but seriously, if you did, you could go to MEDgle first and find out how seriously to take it. This self-funded startup is yet another interesting way to exploit the expansiveness of the Web to create a new business opportunity.

You know that rash, that one you don't want to talk about but that you keep scratching and wondering about but you're afraid to go to the doctor and get it checked out? I'm kidding -- but seriously, if you did, you could go to MEDgle first and find out how seriously to take it. This self-funded startup is yet another interesting way to exploit the expansiveness of the Web to create a new business opportunity.CEO Ash Damle calls it personalized medical search, a way to combine a search for diagnosis, procedures, drugs, and doctors. The results come back with a score value and are listed in the most likely order of occurrence. As of last month, the site included 10,000 symptoms and more than 2,200 diagnoses.

The site is pretty slick. You can choose a set of symptoms by body part, type of symptom, or how the symptom is manifested (that nasty rash, or those frightening sores). You can craft multiple symptoms and then specify gender and age, all of which helps narrow down the list of possible results.

MEDgle has five employees, but three of them are physicians. So while many of the listings are coming from places like Wikipedia, internal staff provides some of them. Then there are links to drill further into things like diagnoses.

The site has seen six-fold growth since last August, with up to 300,000 page views today and designs on hitting the magical million mark. The business model is, not surprisingly, ad-driven (using Google Ads, which Damle says are getting between 1% to 3% click through). There is a lead-generation component also (with physicians and other medical providers), and an affiliate product program (for things like Preparation H coupons).

There's not much community aspect to the site, which is probably a good thing initially; if you want to be a more serious resource, trust the doctors, I suppose. But over time, I'd expect there to be some user-generated content around symptoms and treatment experiences; privacy around medical health is, however, of great concern, so perhaps that's just wishful thinking.

I know I'm not going to talk about my open sores with just anyone!

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