How not to pitch David on a post topic

I get email all the time from people who would like me to post about a site. I know that these get sent to a lot of bloggers in health care because I frequently see these sites mentioned on other blogs with 24 hours of receiving the email. I ignore 90% of these either because I think they won’t be of interest to those who read this blog or because I think they’re just lousy sites. I thought it might be fun to look at a recent example of an email I received and how I made the decision to not post about the site (except to write this post).

I’ve removed the sender’s email address (as a courtesy to protect him from spambots) and the hyperlink (to refrain from lending the site any Google Juice).

from: Dixon, Bill < [xxxxxxx]>
to: David Rothman
date: Wed, Aug 13, 2008 at 10:53 AM
subject: A new interactive healthcare site

Hi David,

I’m writing on behalf of Cephalon, the manufacturer of PROVIGIL.

Just one sentence in and I know this doesn’t look good. It is never a good sign when I get an email from a PR firm instead of from a site’s owner/developer. It is also immediately clear that this email is going to be about a site sponsored by a phamaceutical company that exists solely for the purpose of promoting their drug. Still, I’ll happily promote a commercial site that is really useful (MerckMedicus is a good example of that), so I keep reading to see if this might fall into that category.

I thought you might be interested in letting readers of your blog know about [hyperlink removed- David] – a site recently launched for people who continue to experience excessive sleepiness even after being treated for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Note: The hyperlink to the site he’s plugging was bungled and directed me to his company’s OWA login. Clumsy.

The sites’ two key components are:

Still Sleepy Tracker – an interactive tool that allows patients to track their sleepiness and print the results to share with their health care provider; this tool can be downloaded to a personal homepage such as iGoogle or Netvibes for users to continually track their sleepiness.

I’m not an expert in sleep medicine, but this seems nowhere near as complete as the diary formats (1 and 2) created by the National Sleep Foundation or this one from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. A site that allowed the patient to keep a useful diary to share with a doctor (like SugarStats or FertilityFriend do) might be cool- but this is nowhere near as detailed or useful as those sites.

Video diaries – a patient (who is also a physician) shares his experiences living with the disorder and what it’s like to be still sleepy even after treating his OSA.

A new video diary episode has just been posted and new diary entries will continue to be posted over the next several months, so the site will continue to be updated with fresh content.

Let me get this straight: I can come to your site and watch someone else (an internist who does not specialize in sleep medicine) talk on video about how sleepy he has been and how unpleasant it is to have a sleep disorder…and watch him plug Provigil? (Okay, I admit I didn’t even bother watching past the first 30 seconds of the first video, but what a dreadfully dull concept!)

Given your blog’s coverage of healthcare 2.0 sites, I think would be a great resource for your readers. Feel free to post a link to the site on your blog. I will follow up with you to provide more insight, in the mean time, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.

I dunno’. I think (hope) most of this blog’s readers would see through pharma marketing schtick and would notice pretty quickly that it isn’t at all useful.

6 thoughts on “How not to pitch David on a post topic

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