Revolution Health Buys Stakes in Two Web Sites

By Thomas Heath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Revolution Health Network has invested in two new Web sites, expanding its Internet audience to 12 million unique visitors a month as it seeks to challenge WebMD.

Revolution said it acquired HealthTalk, a site devoted to patients with chronic conditions, and invested in SparkPeople, which offers diet ideas, exercise plans and advice. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"We are building a platform that reaches the largest possible audience, and in the process want to build the largest health brand from a consumer standpoint," said Revolution founder Steve Case. "Consumerism is going to become a driver in health care, which represents $2 trillion, or one-sixth of the economy. That segment is ripe for disruption, and the key disrupting force is consumers."

Case, who was a founder of AOL, has pumped millions of his own fortune into his basket of Revolution companies, which includes the financial firm Revolution Money and Revolution Places, a network of luxury resorts.

Revolution Health spokesman Brad Burns said based on October data compiled by comScore, an Internet market research firm, Revolution Health drew 105 million page views, while SparkPeople had 84 million and HealthTalk had 8 million, for a total of 197 million.

Revolution Health Networks is a division of Revolution Health Group, which is a privately held District firm. Founded in 2005, the company runs three other online properties, including, a comprehensive health Web site;, a social site for people dealing with illness or injury; and, which allows users to purchase health-related items.

Revolution recently laid off 60 employees as part of a broad restructuring at the health-care business aimed at reducing costs to match lower-than-expected revenue, according to sources close to the company who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not designated to speak for the firm.

The acquisition of HealthTalk will add 50 new employees.

Case was inspired to launch the business after his brother's battle with brain cancer. Case has received backing from several prominent figures, including former Fortune 500 chief executives Franklin D. Raines and Carly Fiorina and former secretary of state Colin L. Powell.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company