By Spencer Osborne
We are now entering a phase where Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA) and VIVUS Inc. (NASDAQ:VVUS) are going head to head with the goal of trimming pounds off of the citizens of the United States. Both drugs are now on the market, and things will get interesting from here on out
My intent is to update this saga weekly as long as the information remains relevant from an investment perspective. Right now I feel it is relevant as it gives investors an idea of consumer traction. The biggest question out there from an investment perspective is whether or not enough of these prescriptions can sell in order to deliver profits. That requires traction and consumer attention. I am tracking web trends on Alexa and Google. Bear in mind that a good goal on Alexa data is to be in the top 100,000 sites globally.
Last week we saw the global rank for Belviq.com was 1,989,359. Because the site is new we expect the traction to build and to see improvement in this number each week for several weeks. This week the global rank is 1,313,462
The U.S. rank last week was 145,677. This week that metric improved to 93,809
Time on site fell from 2:24 last week to 2:17 this week
Average pageviews remained steady at 1.7 pages per visit
The most important category is reach. This number represents the percentage of the web using population that sees the site. Last week Belviq was at 0.000053%. This week the reach is at 0.000087%.
The Qsymia site is more established and generates more data. Traffic rank improved from 288,736 to 284,636.
The U.S. rank lost a bit and went from 50,900 to 51,495.
Time spent on the site improved from 3:48 to 3:44.
Pageviews fell from 2.8 to 2.6.
The reach for the Qsymia site shows a slight decline from 0.00047% to 0.00044%.
Google Trends gives data on how active a particular search term is. By using Google Trends we can see what type of buzz is surrounding these drugs. As you can see in the 90-day chart below, Qsymia has had more web traction all the way until Belviq launched on June 7th. Upon launch Belviq spiked above Qsymia. The two are about identical a few weeks after launch.
What we are seeing in the trends is that Qsymia and Belviq are virtually neck and neck in web searches. You can see the spike in the term “obesity,” which coincides with the AMA vote to classify it as a disease. You can also see the spike relating to the Belviq launch, and the fact that both Qsymia and Belviq have gained web traction since that event. In theory you want to see the trend increasing over time.
In summary, tracking web data can be a valuable tool for investors. It is easy to do, and the data does not spin anything. The results are there in a chart right in front of you. I will be reporting on web traffic data here on Market Playground each week.
Spencer Osborne is a partner in SiriusBuzz.com and SiriusBuzz Premium, a website dedicated to discussion about SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He also writes exclusive articles for Seeking Alpha on a wide range of companies. Osborne brings researched based facets of companies to light that investors may want to consider.