Will WebMD Lose Its Stranglehold Over Health Information?

Revolution Health

Rumors are back suggesting Revolution Health is looking to merge with another company. Only this time, it’s with another health information portal: Everyday Health. And together, the companies believe they can finally supplant WebMD as the most trafficked site in that space.

According to the Washington Post, the companies are still engaging in negotiations and no firm plans have been agreed upon yet. But if an agreement is struck, they will move fast to get the deal done.

Revolution Health Network, which was founded by former AOL Chairman Steve Case, is currently the third-most popular health portal, according to the latest comScore numbers. The company serviced about 11 million visitors in July, while Everyday Health had 14.7 million visitors and WebMD had 17.2 million visitors during the same period.

If Revolution Health and Everyday Health merge, best estimates suggest the combined firm would surpass WebMD’s monthly visitors mark and supplant the well-known company as the leader in health information.

At the very least, the fact that its two main competitors are even talking should put WebMD on notice. In the past year alone, the online health information sector grew by 21 percent — more than four times as fast as the rest of the Web. Realizing that, there are more money-making opportunities than ever before for these companies and WebMD needs to ensure that it’s in a prime position to capitalize on that growth.

But how can it do that? Assuming Revolution Health and Everyday Health merge, WebMD doesn’t have too many options available if it wants to acquire another service and increase its presence online. The only other relevant sites in the space are AOL Health, About.com Health, and Yahoo Health, and there’s little doubt that WebMD wouldn’t be able to acquire any of those. It looks like it will need to “go it alone” if it wants to stay number one.

WebMD has yet to comment on the possibility of its two main competitors merging, but you can bet that it’s not happy to hear the news.