Ebola is a hot topic in the news today. According to exit polls, it was even on the minds of American voters.
The West African epidemic is also one of the reasons, along with recent media coverage, that Baltimore’s Sickweather is seeing higher traffic.
The iOS and Android app uses social media to map the spread of diseases, and not just the rare ones, but fever, common cold and other ailments.
In October, Sickweather was twice the top trending search in the iOS App Store, according to founder Graham Dodge.
Though there are many Tweeting about Ebola or about the flu, not all of them may necessarily have those ailments.
“Our process is finely tuned to weed out a lot of noise,” Dodge said. “We haven’t had a problem, in other words, in terms of tracking how prevalent flu season might be.”
Dodge also pointed to a 2011 Johns Hopkins University white paper (authored by a Sickweather advisor) that found a 96.6 percent correlation between tweets about the flu and reported cases.
Dodge said that thanks to media reports on the app in October — one specifically related to the Ebola scare — Sickweather saw more than 10,000 downloads on two separate days last month.
The downside to this attention? Imitation, the highest form of flattery.
Dodge said the company is pursuing a Japanese firm selling a “Sickweather Pro” app on the App Store for $2.99 (the real Sickweather app is free) and using the app’s logo with a developer website link that takes users to Moviefone’s website.
“It’s totally erroneous and blatant violation of copyright and trademarks,” he said.
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