Does the world really need another social network?
Fitmoo, which launches today, thinks so. A key hook: Users get commissions from products they endorse for their friends.
“We aren’t a fitness company,” CEO and founder Jeff Dyment told me. “We’re a tech company, focusing first on fitness” with a desktop and mobile social environment built on top of an affiliate platform. Once this model succeeds, he indicated, the company will launch similar social/buying communities for other interests.
There are three basic classes on Fitmoo — users, influencers, and brands.
Users follow other users or brands. They can chat with friends, join groups, post photos and messages on their social feed, track events in their area, create classes, and customize a fitness calendar.
They can also readily buy the fitness clothes and gear, gym memberships, classes, health drinks, and other products or services offered by brands they follow or endorsed by influencers — users who are celebrities or influential bloggers.
Or they can become sellers themselves by endorsing products. In one click, an endorsed product goes into the user’s profile, returning an affiliate commission of five percent from any sales.
The New York City-based Fitmoo describes this kind of ecommerce as “social distribution,” where endorsements — from friends as well as from influencers — become a marketing engine.
The central idea, the company said, is to turn “followings into a business.”
The biggest influencers — a select group currently numbering about 15 — get special options and fees for pitching products to their large number of followers.
The site must approve a brand — which can be an event manager or a gym as well as a product seller — before it can participate. While there’s no charge to simply list products or services, the site takes a cut of sales.
Rob Orlando, an ex-professional CrossFit athlete who now manages a gym, is an example of a Fitmoo influencer who is also a brand. In the site’s announcement, he pointed out that few serious CrossFit athletes have enough sponsorships to make a living, but many have “highly engaged social communities.”
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In development for the past two years and in beta for the past five months, the platform currently has about 5,000 users and around 200 merchants. It is integrated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google+, allowing Fitmoo stores to serve friends and follower networks on those social channels.
Fitness sites and social ecommerce are crowded categories. Many other social communities have e-commerce capabilities, social interaction is increasingly common on marketplaces, and there are dozens of fitness-oriented online communities like Traineo and Wellsphere.
“We’re positioning ourselves between shopping [sites] and the largest social networks,” outdoor sports buff Dyment told me. He compared Fitmoo to a fashion selling site like Poshmark, where users take photos of items they own and want to sell, and then socialize.
But, he said, the site offers a combination of activities — evangelizing, selling, buying, liking, posting, chatting — that adds up to a unique “social experience [where] commerce happens as a byproduct” of socializing.
Fitmoo also has its sights on expanding into a socializing that goes beyond workout groups or the chance to sell the latest protein drink to your friends.
On the drawing board: fitness-based dating.