By Spencer Osborne
Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) and VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) both make an anti-obesity product that is on the market. Vivus launched its drug Qsymia last Fall, while Arena launched its drug, Belviq, on June 7th. Both companies have flagship websites to their respective drugs — Vivus has Qsymia.com and Arena has Belviq.com.
I have stated many times that the success of these drugs boils down to consumer acceptance, insurance coverage, and results. There are certainly many ways to lose weight. There is not one single catch all solution. Ultimately, what investors are looking for is a distinct advantage in their investment in order to make the right play. While I am a long term investor, I tend to write toward more near term events and trends.
One way to see if Belviq and Qsymia are gaining consumer traction is to see how well their websites are performing. Certainly this is not an exact science, but there is a good deal of information an investor can use to see trends developing. With that in mind, I thought I would look at some data and share it with you the reader. Before diving in it should be established that Belviq.com is a very new website and because of that the data could have some skew. It will take some time to see the data reflect the performance of the site better.
While there is no real way to measure web traffic unless you own the server the website is on, there are services like Alexa that collect information and extrapolate it into usable data.
According to Alexa the global rank of the Belviq website is 2,837,267
The rank in the United States is 230,662
The average person spends 2 minutes and 17 seconds on the site
The 3 month reach of Belviq.com is 0.000035%
The average visitor looks at 1.6 pages
As I stated, because the website is very new, there is less data. As time passes, the data will improve and we will be able to garner even more information. By example, look at the information on Vivus’ Qsymia website below.
The global rank is 298,888
The United States rank is 50,502
The average person spends 3 minutes and 40 seconds on the site
The 3 month reach of the site is 0.00051%
The average visitor looks at 2.7 pages
62% of users get to the site using the search term Qsymia
11% of users get to the site using a misspelled form of the word
Visitors are categorized in the following manner:
As you can see, the site is most popular with women that are over 55, have college education, and are visiting the site from work. Men are not well represented, nor are younger people between the ages of 18 and 24. Further data points to most visitors already having children. On the income front, the most popular visitors have a household income of over $100,000 per year. Lastly, on race the predominant group visiting the site is Caucasian, with people of Asian decent being very under represented.
Most people that visit the site get there from Google. The second biggest source is Yahoo. When leaving the site, 6% visit a sister site related to the Qsymia app called qandme.com.
There is also a social media aspect to an Internet presence that is worth tracking and beginning to understand, but that is an article for another day. For reference, I have a website that made the top 75,000 globally according to Alexa, and it is no easy task. What we want to see is these two anti-obesity sites get in the 100,000 or better range. Even without getting there, we can track some data that could help us in our investment research. Traction on the web for consumer products usually translates to traction at the pharmacy. This is particularly true when substantial discounts are offered on both of these sites. Updated data will be published next week.
Disclosure: Long ARNA
Spencer Osborne is a partner in SiriusBuzz.com and SiriusBuzz Premium, a website dedicated to discussion about SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He also writes exclusive artcles for Seeking Alpha on a wide range of companies. Osborne brings researched based facets of companies to light that investors may want to consider.