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Type Private
Industry Healthcare, Internet
Founded Los Angeles, California, USA (July 26, 1998)
Headquarters El Segundo, California, USA
Key people

Charles Simmons, Founder and President (1998-2011)

Robert Brisco, President and CEO, Internet Brands

HealthBoards[1] is a long-running social networking support group website. It consists of over 280 Internet message boards for patient to patient health support (also referred to as a virtual community or an online health community). HealthBoards was one of the first stand alone health community websites. Health communities prior to it had generally been part of large web portals (WebMD, Yahoo, iVillage, etc.). The HealthBoards members post messages to share information and support on a wide range of health issues such as Cancer, Back Pain, Autism, and Women’s Health. As of October 2013 the site had over 1 million registered members, 5 million posted messages, and over 10 million monthly visitors.


HealthBoards was founded in 1998 by Charles Simmons, a Software Engineer in Los Angeles, California. In 1997, after experiencing a variety of symptoms for which doctors had no explanation, Simmons turned to the Web for answers and support. When he did not find online support groups in the areas he needed, he realized that there was a need for a health support website covering a wide range of health topics. After a year of development, HealthBoards was launched on July 26, 1998 with 70 message boards. The original site was developed using custom Perl software written by Simmons. HealthBoards quickly gained popularity. In January 2001 the site began using an internet forum software package called UBB. By November 2003 HealthBoards had reached 100,000 members. Due to considerable growth in traffic and problems with UBB, the site was transitioned to VBulletin 3.0, a more robust internet forum software system. After 2003 HealthBoards experienced its most rapid growth and became one of the largest health communities on the Web. In 2005 HealthBoards was rated as one of the top 20 health websites by Consumer Reports Health WebWatch. [2] In 2011 the site was acquired by Internet Brands.


On HealthBoards, health topics are given individual message boards. Each message board typically contains thousands of discussion threads, each relating to a specific question, comment, or response initiated by a HealthBoards member. Participation on HealthBoards requires free membership registration. Users who register must supply an email address and an anonymous login name. Users who are not registered may still view and search all the contents of the message boards, but cannot post messages.

The boards are moderated to keep the posts free of spam and unsupportive or hostile posts. Users who violate the posting policy may be temporarily banned from using the site. Repeat violations usually result in a permanent ban.

Revenue model[edit]

HealthBoards’s business model is advertisement based. Advertisers buy ads directly from HealthBoards or through partners such as Google.

See also[edit]



  1. ^
  2. ^ Consumer Reports Top 20 Health Information Websites."", June 10, 2005

External links[edit]