Friday, January 4, 2008
Running into Social Networks for Marathoners: Sweat365 & Athlinks
I'm about to clock a hard 9 miles in Central Park on this gorgeous crisp NYC morning. However before I do, Myspace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Bebo, it goes on and on....social network communities. Let me tell you about a newly launched social networking community that just might appeal and work for you, it's called Sweat365, a new social network for everyday athletes that just officially launched its online fitness community. Sweat365 provides a blogging platform with integrated fitness tracking tools, training information, training plans, race and event calendars and community forums. They say they created this community as a practical, easy-to-use tool to help people achieve their fitness goals as historically, at the beginning of the new year millions of people resolve to lose weight and get in shape, only to discover that keeping this commitment seems to get harder over time. The founders characterize themeselves as two former couch potatoes, now devoted to being healthy and fit, and decided to create an innovative environment that helps motivate and inspire people to change their lives for the better, through the support and encouragement of their peers. I looked into the founders past, they're 2 smart high tech millionaires planning on making another ton of money - I ain't mad at 'ya - I'm just sayin'....it's business - and yes I am promoting you for the potential benefit of my readers. Sweat365 allows everyday athletes to learn from and inspire each other as they work toward their individual fitness goals. Membership in the community is free and provides personal blogs that give users a chance to discuss their training experiences and accomplishments. The Web site allows members to track their workouts with personal publishing tools and provides graphical feedback on their fitness progress. The online community provides members with the opportunity to interact with and learn from athletes all over the globe, as well as find training partners with similar goals. I checked it out, seems okay - I placed a link on their site to Harlem 26.2 - but that's it for me. On my blog I don't get into training detail and all that and- plus I talk a lot of social commentary about running, sex, politics, New York City, Harlem, etc. But Sweat365 might work for you - however note it competes with a site I've mentioned before: Athlinks. Athlinks is the site that blew me away - just click to it, I've never registered with them or anything but you can put in my name in their Search Athletes: Lancelot Smith and bam - click on my name and there is a listing of all my New York Road Runner races & results, ain't that a blip! And ya know what, if you're a runner and have raced, you can do the same thing probably with your name! If the concept of one of these communities appealed to me I'd go w/Athlinks or Sweat365. However to be fair some other runner social networking sites are "FastLoop" & "Ontri" (triathletes). All these sites ultimately have to pay for the cost of its massive data center aggregation by advertising. I am sure Sweat365 is about building up a large user count with the assumption that the cost will be recouped by selling advertisement down the line. It works for MySpace. The more users/readers/viewers that are drawn to a site/blog/MySpace profile, the more flashing blinking banner and sidebar advertisements. For example, a few communities are starting to offer premium features for a subscription fee - LinkedIn is one such community producer. Others make money by offering customization services around their free products . And in a few cases, the entire business model is to create a community that generates enough interest (aka, traffic) to allow the owners to flip the company to Yahoo or Google for a couple of million dollars. Social networking is an advertiser’s dream come true, because registered users willingly fill out a profile that tells the advertiser who to send which ad. Most social network services will utilize a blend of business models, including advertising, subscriptions, and ecommerce. So remember, if you sign up for these sites - keep in mind the trade off, your privacy & info, and there is no reason to disclose factual info on any aspect of the forms you fill out in signing up. Have a great day!
at 6:49 PM Posted by Smith