Saturday, March 3, 2007

Pharma Blogosphere Survey Results - Who and Why?

Last month,The Pharma Blogosphere Blog, in association with Pharma Marketing Blog and the help of other blogs in this space, hosted and promoted the First Ever Pharma Blogosphere Survey. The survey ran from 3 February 207 through 28 February 2007.

The purpose of this survey was to provide a baseline rating of readability, credibility, usefulness, and bias of 22 blogs that focus on the pharmaceutical industry. The blogs included in the survey were:

  1. BrandweekNRX
  2. Clin Psych Blog
  3. Dr. Peter Rost
  4. Drug Injury Watch
  5. Drug Wonks
  6. eDrugSearch Blog
  7. EyeOnFDA
  8. HealthcareVOX
  9. impactiviti
  10. In the Pipeline
  11. On Pharma
  12. OnThePharm
  13. Pharma Giles
  14. Pharma Gazette
  15. Pharma Marketing Blog
  16. Pharma Rag
  17. Pharma Watch
  18. PharmaEdge
  19. PharmaGossip
  20. Pharmalot
  21. Rx Daily Dose
  22. World of DTC Marketing
Two of the above blogs (Dr. Peter Rost and Pharma Watch) have since either ceased operations or become unavailable to the general public. Some blogs (eg, Pharmalot and Pharma Rag) have just recently entered this space.

Just a few results of the survey concerning who responded and why they read blogs are presented below. This information may help all of us understand our readers a bit more. The full results will be published in the April issue of Pharma Marketing News and released at the upcoming Healthcare Blogging Summit on April 30, 2007, in Las Vegas.

Who Participated?
More than 150 people participated in the survey, but not all completed the survey or answered the most important questions. Some respondents also indicated that they never read ANY of the blogs! Obviously, these responses were discarded and we were left with 144 valid responses.

Who were these respondents? The survey asked each respondent to choose a principal affiliation from among a list provided. The following chart shows the affiliations of respondents.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Interestingly, the largest group of respondents are affiliated with drug, biotech, or medical device companies. The survey did not ask respondents for other information about themselves such as job title, so we cannot say much about what functional areas within these companies are interested in blogs. Next time, we may ask for that kind of information.

The survey did ask, however, if the respondent currently published or contributed to a blog about the pharmaceutical industry. Obviously, we all rated our own blogs and it was necessary to take that into account when presenting the results. This can influence the results of those that received relatively few ratings a few ratings.

Not surprising was that fact that 18% of respondents answered "Yes" and provided the URLs of the blogs they were associated with. Some of these blogs are included in the survey:
  • BrandweekNRX
  • Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry: A Closer Look
  • eDrugSearch Blog
  • impactiviti
  • Peter Rost
  • Pharma Gazette
  • Pharma Marketing Blog
  • PharmaEdge
  • PharmaGossip
  • World of DTC Marketing
These were the people honest enough to indicate their blog affiliations. I suspect a few other bloggers were not so honest. But that's life!

Other respondents were affiliated with blogs that were not included in the survey:
  • Cafe Pharma
  • Clinical Trials Today
  • CME Linkages
  • Healthy Skepticism
  • Honest Medicine: My Dream for the Future
  • IgniteBLOG
  • InnerCityMedicine Networks
  • Pharm House
  • Pharma Jobs Help
  • Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare
  • Pharma's Cutting Edge
  • Ryan TrueHealth
  • Trusted.MD Network
Some of these are not true blogs (eg, Cafe Pharma), some are not focused on the pharmaceutical industry exclusively (eg, Trusted.MD Network), and some are corporate blogs or web site (eg, Ryan TrueHealth).

Why Do We Read Blogs?
The survey asked repsondents to check off the reasons why they read blogs about the pharmaceutical industry. The choices were:
  • To see what bloggers may be saying about MY company or blog
  • To be entertained
  • To learn more about industry business practices, regulations, etc.
  • To keep up to date with industry news and gossip
  • Other
Respondents could check more than one answer. The results are presented in the following chart:
Click on image for an enlarged view.

"Other" reasons included:
  • Documenting Big Pharma's excesses
  • Don't know why
  • Follow competition
  • For patient safety info
  • I am interested in eDetail online programmes
  • Looking for specifics
  • Peter Rost posts some hot chicks!
  • To contribute to the conversation
  • To find story leads and comments
  • To join discussion, push debate forward
  • To learn broadly about the industry
  • To see who is influencing whom
  • Want to help demistify their dark side and change it if we can to the better
Obviously, some one needs to take up the sex appeal mantle that Peter Rost has worn until he pulled out! Maybe "Jack Friday" over at PharmaGossip will take it up?

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