Fatsecret Business Model

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truematt

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 43

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 03:18
I'm just wondering how FS is making their money. Obviously there was some significant software development time that went into creating the mobile apps and this website but the only ads on the site are for fatsecret itself. I know someone is getting paid but I must be missing something. Your thoughts?Question
Esjay

Joined: Oct 10
Posts: 5

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 03:22
Who cares! Its the best diet web site since sliced bread.
MomofTwoGirl...

Joined: Jan 08
Posts: 534

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 07:42
I kinda care. I rely on this site, but I don't want to have to pay for it out of my own pocket any time soon.
mwessinger

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 184

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 07:52
There are occasionally ads for other things--Just saw a Dungeons and Dragons Online one just a few minutes ago.

Also, the users are providing a LOT of information that could be potentially worth a bit of money to marketing firms and others in the fitness and diet industry. Whether or not the info is currently sold, I have no idea. However, if I were running such a site, I would definitely be looking for a buyer for all the info.
Brenda Groth

Joined: Oct 10
Posts: 190

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 08:08
so true, information is worth a fortune..you could use the info also to write books on diet successes and failures as well.
Brenda
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Lowering my sites for 2011 to losing 1 pound a week or 52 pounds in 2011 having 82 pounds to go I should be 30 pounds from my goal this time next year.
MomofTwoGirl...

Joined: Jan 08
Posts: 534

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 08:34
Hopefully they won't write any books about us without permition...
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 285

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 08:56
Yes - I have been wondering this too, and wondering how much of my information is sold without my permission.
Oddity

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 280

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 08:59
You know I'm clear as mud on this.
I do know they have ads on the mobile app. To dig, I started here:
http://platform.fatsecret.com/
The service allows retailers an opportunity to promote their product. However it looks like the tools are free. Possible they upsell from there. Also, they make the service available as something one can use to enrich another web site's functionality. I'm not clear on if they charge for this. I tried to find an investor relations page, there is none, but you can see it's part of Shape which is part of American Media (They also publish Playboy and the National Inquirer). In addition to advertising they offer Direct Mail: Geo-targeted and demo-specific campaigns http://www.americanmediainc.com/categories/360-marketing
LotusSong

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 17

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 09:04
What's to hide? Fat is fat and at least we take the initiative to correct our circumstances. I think it would be an inspiration and informative as to how people ACTUALLY diet... and what works and what doesn't.
Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels.
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 285

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 09:51
Just to clarify - it's not about hiding, it's about not being too excited about people making a profit from my data, if they are ...I realize in return I get the free use of the site. And generally I feel if I put information on the web, somebody's going to use it - I'm ok with that. But I would like to know what they do with my data, so I can make a decision about whether I'm comfortable with its use. Are they selling it to companies I find ethical, for instance?

However, Oddity's response clarifies things about the business model, thanks.
mwessinger

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 184

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 10:26
There is a lot of info in the Terms & Conditions. Seems there is a link at the bottom of each page. I am pretty sure it stated somewhere in the sign-up process that I was agreeing to them too. If you have ANY concerns about what may be done with your data on a website like this, you should probably keep a notebook and write it all down in there. Wink
HealthyBabs

Joined: Aug 10
Posts: 330

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 11:03
Come on now...nothing on the internet is private anymore and you have no control how anyone is going to use what they know about you. Maybe some of you remember the bunch of students who were using FS for some college class they were taking a couple of months ago? Well...we are an interesting bunch aren't we?? If anyone can learn from what we are learning as we journey on, good for them but it is successfully completing the journey that really counts!
*********************************************************************
BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF, LOVE YOURSELF AND EDUCATE YOURSELF EVERYDAY THROUGHOUT THIS JOURNEY YOU ARE ON!----Motto of HealthyBabs

DO NOT ASK GOD TO HELP YOU WALK THRU YOUR JOURNEY IF YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO MOVE YOUR FEET - JEREMIAH

Here is my proof that I am getting it done one pound at a time, one step at a time!
Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,052

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 11:47
There's a link to FatSecret's privacy policy at the bottom of the page:

http://www.fatsecret.com/Default.aspx?pa=priv

I just read through it, and it looks like pretty standard stuff to me.

Frankly, I don't care what they do with my information if they do it in aggregate, or if they anonymize it.

As an example, have you ever seen OKCupid's online dating statistics? They do some truly fantastic data mining in ways that don't compromise anyone's personal information. Here's a great one: Exactly What To Say In A First Message. They've analyzed many thousands of initial contact messages looking for certain patterns of language, and then figured out how often those messages get a response from the recipient. Some of the analysis they've done is quite fascinating.

There are lots of ways that FatSecret could mine our data in ways that are educational and insightful, but don't compromise privacy. They could, for example, analyze the dropoff rates for people dieting. They could do graphs of the rate at which people lose, figure out what percentage of people hit their goals within specific timeframes, etc. They could look at specific patterns of foods. For example: many Atkins dieters claim that Atkins bars slow their weight loss. FS probably has a big enough data set to figure out whether or not that's true.

I wouldn't be surprised if a fair bit of their business model involves the platform rather than the site. The food database is worth a fair bit on its own.

I'd be willing to pay a membership fee, maybe up to $50/year, for a premium service. Not everyone would, of course, but it's common for sites to offer both free and paid versions of a service, with the paid users getting extra features.
Z'sMama

Joined: Aug 09
Posts: 285

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 12:40
I don't think it's unreasonable to want to know what they are doing, transparency is a good thing - whether in business or government or in one's personal life. I'm for open source, open data, and open access. And we are all being pretty damn transparent with one another and with FS no? Turn about is fair play. Like Hoser, I don't care if they use my data in aggregate or if they strip it of all identifiers and use it - perfectly legit imho. I wouldn't mind knowing what they are up to though. Wink
thecoach

Joined: Apr 08
Posts: 41

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 14:39
I heard that Amazon.com pays for this site to be free and in return uses a number of their emailers to mingle in chat forums and as buddies offering info and gathering it also.(just feedback no names
to help use as statistics in online polls and supplement ventors pay a portion for it also)just like telemarketers do.I think I read that in one of my wife's medical reports.
Coach
truematt

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 43

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 18:38
Esjay wrote:
Who cares! Its the best diet web site since sliced bread.


If you don't care, then feel free to not reply to this post. Rolling Eyes
truematt

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 43

      quote  
Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 18:40
Oddity wrote:
You know I'm clear as mud on this.
I do know they have ads on the mobile app. To dig, I started here:
http://platform.fatsecret.com/
The service allows retailers an opportunity to promote their product. However it looks like the tools are free. Possible they upsell from there. Also, they make the service available as something one can use to enrich another web site's functionality. I'm not clear on if they charge for this. I tried to find an investor relations page, there is none, but you can see it's part of Shape which is part of American Media (They also publish Playboy and the National Inquirer). In addition to advertising they offer Direct Mail: Geo-targeted and demo-specific campaigns http://www.americanmediainc.com/categories/360-marketing


Wow, great post. Thanks for the info.
truematt

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 43

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Posted: 07 Nov 2010, 18:42
thecoach wrote:
I heard that Amazon.com pays for this site to be free and in return uses a number of their emailers to mingle in chat forums and as buddies offering info and gathering it also.(just feedback no names
to help use as statistics in online polls and supplement ventors pay a portion for it also)just like telemarketers do.I think I read that in one of my wife's medical reports.


I kind of doubt this. I would love to see some evidence to back this up.
rjenkins27

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 830

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Posted: 08 Nov 2010, 07:40
Fatsecret is owned by a large publishing company (which publishes Playboy among other magazines).

I doubt it is very expensive to run this site. They do try to sell access to their food/nutrition database to 3rd parties. I imagine the long term is to build a large following, advertise where possible, sell data where possible, and then sell the whole shooting match for a profit. I wouldn't be surprised if a "Fatsecret Diet" and supplements/bars show up some time in the future. They have a ton of data to distill into a diet plan based on members who logged religiously and showed the best results.

By having members enter food/nutrition information into their database, they are probably building the most extensive database of nutritional information anywhere. Rather than do it themselves, they are having their members do it in exchange for free access and very few ads. Pretty smart if you ask me.

I work for the Department of Redundancy Department
gnat824

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 1,712

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Posted: 16 Feb 2011, 18:12
I never thought about it, but I think it would be really cool if they were doing some great analysis of all this data. If they are doing research, I really hope to see some of the findings some day- it would be very fascinating and probably give you some valuable tips for success. As long as the data is aggregated and de-identified, of course.
- Natalie




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