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BioMedNet (, Bethesda, Md., published by Elsevier Science, is the Web portal most frequently used by life scientists according to new market research from BioInformatics, Inc. (

The new study also found that Science Online (, ranked second in terms of the number of respondents claiming to visit the site "frequently." However, when the number of "frequently" and "occasionally" responses were combined, Science Online vaulted to the number one position, followed by the electronic version of another prestigious journal, Nature Online (

The study is based upon a 30-question online survey completed by 575 life scientists in late November 1999. The study, Online Advertising @ Biotech Portals, is designed to help marketers make informed ad placement decisions by assessing the value of a portal using the same criteria as their scientific customers, rather than on the basis of "hits" and "CPM".

The study was conducted by means of BioInformatics' unique online market research capabilities. Data was collected at a Website where BioInformatics, Inc. has formed a vibrant online community of 4,900 scientific and medical professionals. Known as The Science Advisory Board (, members electronically convene to participate in online surveys, focus groups and other market research activities.

Web portals such as BioMedNet, Science, and Nature help life scientists navigate the Web by offering a wide array of original content, exclusive access to specialized information, links, and other features designed to encourage repeat usage. Like traditional distributors, these advertising-supported portals serve as "middlemen", bringing content and audiences together.

"Marketers in the lab supply and research products industries increasingly use the Web to reach their customers," says Bill Kelly, President of BioInformatics, Inc. "The best place to advertise has always been where potential customers congregate. With so many Web sites creating focused, online communities and competing for advertising dollars and sponsorships, online placement decisions are more problematic than in traditional media."

The report stresses the importance of vendors discriminating in their spending online advertising budgets - otherwise they risk being associated with sites that disappoint, lead astray, or misinform. "Brand perceptions are formed extremely quickly online, and can be damaged with equal speed," according to Kelly.

"It's interesting to note how successful the leading scientific journals have been in transferring their brand equity to the Web," observes Kelly. "They've been able to include substantial amounts of commercial product information on their Web sites in a way that does not appear to have detracted from the respect they enjoy in the print world." In fact, a large majority of the respondents feel that the inclusion of product information at a biotechnology portal is "somewhat" (66%) or "very" (14%) valuable.

The results of the survey also illustrate the speed at which new companies can firmly establish themselves in the scientific marketplace. "BioMedNet didn't even exist a few years ago, and today it represents a benchmark of quality in terms of content and the kinds of tools that scientists are looking for online," says Kelly. "The same can be said for the new breed of e-commerce distributors such as which ranked 5th in frequency of use by the scientists surveyed."

"The value of a portal is in the 'eye of the beholder' - or in this case, the scientific customer," comments Kelly. "Ultimately, the most successful portals, and therefore the most effective advertising venues, will be those that provide the greatest value to their online communities."

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, BioInformatics, Inc. is an innovative market research and consulting firm supporting marketing and sales executives in the life science and medical industries.

For more information, call 301-961-1985.
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Title Annotation:Internet/Web/Online Service Information; results of a BioInformatics survey of life science web sites
Publication:Worldwide Videotex Update
Date:Mar 1, 2000

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