A little sneak-preview today of something I'm very excited about: for quite a while now, I've obviously been following all sorts of interactive "Health 2.0" sites for people with diabetes. On top of that, I've been mulling over how to build out my setup here at DiabetesMine.com to allow for more community conversation. Another message board or chat forum just didn't seem to be the answer.
Today I happily announce a partnership with a brand new group on the block, Alliance Health. These good folks, based in Salt Lake City, UT, have engaged me to help them create a new kind of online community for people with diabetes, which we're calling Diabetic Connect.
Shhh, the site is still in private beta testing mode -- but I can tell you that the Alliance team is committed to providing the kind of stuff that we, the PWD community, really want and need. One major reason I chose to partner with them is that they're listening. So far, cool features on the docket include a Book Club, an area to search and sign up for clinical trials, and spots for clear and easy sharing of videos, product reviews, recipes and more. If you'd like to be included as a beta tester, please sign up HERE. The company will be adding new beta users gradually over the next couple of weeks. I'll be beta testing myself as well during this period. We'd love your feedback to make this site as valuable as possible!
I imagine you have lots of questions, so here's a quick FAQ:
* When will the site go live for everybody?
In a few weeks. I promise to make a big announcement. Stay tuned.
* Will this relationship change DiabetesMine at all?
From a content perspective, not at all. I'll just keep doing my own thing. The sites will just be cross-linked. We do hope to port this blog over to Wordpress soon, however, which will hopefully make it much more easily searchable, with different tabbed pages for each category of content. (You know, like over at In Search of Balance and Health's Poked and Prodded). We'll also be adding a "Marketplace" tab which will feature little ads from hand-picked providers who offer high-quality products to this community. That page will look sort of like a Classified Ads section.
* Who the heck is Alliance Health again?
Alliance is a healthcare marketing group founded in 2002. (You will notice that their home website is very marketing-oriented.) A big part of their original mission was to develop a new model of online advertising that was more targeted and consumer-friendly, i.e. a "pull" model that allowed readers to opt in to ads that interested them rather than the traditional "push" model of banners that pop up everywhere. This is an important point, because now that the company is turning its attention to building online "homes" for people with specific diseases and conditions, they know how to monetize the sites without bombarding readers with a bunch of unwanted ads. All advertising on Diabetic Connect will appear on separate pages, and it will be entirely up to the reader/visitor to "click in" to those tabs if and when they're actually interested in the offers.
* Do these guys really care about people with diabetes?
Integrity is my No. 1 priority, so I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe the project had our best interests at heart. As far as the people behind Alliance go, the director of online content has a teenage son living with Type 1 diabetes, and one of the developers (ironically) was diagnosed just a few days ago. As noted, I've spent a great deal of time talking with the team about what the PWD community might really want and need, and they've been very responsive. As an example, they've built a very prominent widget into the sidebar of the new site that asks for your feedback, i.e. "What is this community missing?" They really hope to do it right, and that includes a giving component: I've suggested a combination of donating funds towards research and donating supplies to some D-communities in need. More on all this TBA (to be announced) very soon.