If you need some support to lose weight, yet you're not really one for face-to-face meetings (or more likely, don't have any time for them), you may think of turning to the Internet. There are now places where people can get together (virtually) and talk to one another, helping each other attain their goals.
Cincinnati-based SparkPeople is one such site. The company, which was backed by AOL founder Steve Case, now has 11.5 million members worldwide, has released two bestselling books and has two highly popular mobile apps. Its Web sites receive eight million unique visitors each month. This year, it hopes to become a household name, in the same manner as Weight Watchers or Atkins.
“The mission is to spark millions of people to reach their goals,” says Sean McCosh, SparkPeople’s vice president of sales and marketing. “We’re an aspirational brand that can stretch far beyond (the mission of) Weight Watchers.”
Cincinnati.com reports that SparkPeople.com is the single most trafficked Web site based in Cincinnati. And it's also a good time to be talking weight loss, while everyone is armed with New Year's resolutions: the company has seen its Web traffic double during the first week of 2012.
How does it work? It's a “sticky” Web site, with users who spend a significant amount of time accessing tips and articles about nutrition and fitness by SparkPeople writers and experts. Users can set and track their weight loss goals, research healthy recipes and interact with members of community groups. Some members have begun to pay a $12.99 monthly membership fee for exclusive live webinars and video content from SparkPeople super-users and experts, says Cincinnati.com.
The company hopes to grow in 2012 through a number of marketing strategies, most notably a pending major national media partnership.
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Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for HealthTechZone. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Jennifer Russell