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New York fitness encouragement startup Fitocracy launches new group service — and opens the door to a revenue flood

Com­mu­ni­ty man­agers who prize user engage­ment might do well to take a good look at New York-based fit­ness and gam­i­fi­ca­tion start­up Fitoc­ra­cy, whose com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven engage­ment plat­form has secured greater user engage­ment than Twit­ter since its launch in Octo­ber 2010. And it’s poised to gen­er­ate some hand­some rev­enue with its lat­est offer­ing, a group fit­ness pilot straight­for­ward­ly named “Group Fitness.”

Addic­tive encour­age­ment 

Now boast­ing 1 mil­lion users (and count­ing), Fitocracy’s mete­oric suc­cess has been large­ly due to the addic­tive appeal of its gam­i­fi­ca­tion and its clever quan­tifi­ca­tion of fit­ness data for indi­vid­ual users. But if that’s what gets peo­ple start­ed, it’s the encour­age­ment fac­tor that keeps them com­ing back for more. Of that, its founders Dick Tal­ens and Bri­an Wang are in no doubt.

Any sea­soned com­mu­ni­ty man­ag­er will know that if some­thing fos­ters engage­ment on a social net­work, it’s prob­a­bly worth ampli­fy­ing. And that’s pre­cise­ly what Group Fit­ness has been designed to do. It lets users choose a pri­vate com­mu­ni­ty of fel­low fit­ness enthu­si­asts — a com­mu­ni­ty com­plete with its very own per­son­al trainer.

Unpar­al­leled inter­net-based fit­ness suc­cess 

As Tal­ens puts it, “We think that this is what is going to make Fitoc­ra­cy a bil­lion dol­lar com­pa­ny. If you look at fit­ness spend in the last decade, a rel­a­tive­ly small amount of mon­ey has shift­ed from offline to online. That shouldn’t make sense. Peo­ple and prod­ucts should get paid if they yield results, and from what we’ve seen on Fitoc­ra­cy, the Inter­net is often unpar­al­leled when it comes to get­ting peo­ple fit.”

The per­son­al train­er in Group Fit­ness will offer 24/7 access to mem­bers for Q&As and feed­back, as well as per­son­al­ized fit­ness and diet plans. Coach­es will even­tu­al­ly mod­i­fy the lat­ter accord­ing to the user’s progress. There are four dif­fer­ent Group Fit­ness offer­ings in the pilot phase, rang­ing in price from $50 to $77. They last for between two to four months.

Com­mu­ni­ty man­agers read­ing this don’t have to be math wiz­ards to work out that by giv­ing input to mul­ti­ple users, the cost of per­son­al train­ing for group mem­bers will be slashed (go to a fit­ness cen­ter and you can expect to pay hun­dreds of dol­lars an hour for a per­son­al trainer’s guidance).

This looks like it’s going to fly.

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