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Health Month is a social health improvement service that encourages people to try to change a habit or two with friends, one month at a time. Each month, you get 10 life points, and a chance to determine your own rules and try to stick to them. By tracking your progress, and sharing your challenges with other people on the game wall, you can gain the motivation you need to actually make progress that lasts. It makes money by charging users $5/month if they want to try to work on more than 3 rules at a time. Current conversion to paid is high, usually between 11-14% per month.
It began as a game amongst friends, and has since grown to over 50,000 people over the last couple years. It could be so much bigger if given more attention.
Why are we selling this?
Habit Labs is a small company, and we've got multiple products. We're now focused on new things, and don't quite have the bandwidth to give this community the support and love it deserves.
What press has this site received?
Quite a bit. Here are a few of the stand-out ones:
The Washington Post January 3, 2012: “Eight technologies for a healthier 2012” by Vivek Wadhwa.
Gamification: Anyone who has been addicted to a video game, or knows someone who has, can appreciate the power of immersion and interaction. Video-game developers are marrying physical and social activity, giving players an opportunity to exercise and socialize while they play. And web-based applications like HealthMonth are getting in on the game as well.
Associated Press/Atlanta Journal-Constitution December 19, 2011: “Websites make weight-loss wagering easy” by Leanne Italie.
Not all sites that provide tracking and social tools to achieve health goals use money as a motivator.
Alex Rainert is head of product for the location-based check-in service Foursquare. He tried to organize a get-healthier office contest himself using a simple spreadsheet and small money antes. He found he couldn’t keep up with record keeping and the money didn’t seem to work to rally his colleagues.
So he turned to Healthmonth.com, which doesn’t use money bets. Winners receive virtual fruit to give in solidarity to others over a month’s time. At the beginning, participants fill out detailed questionnaires that are later used by the site to craft daily emails offering help with self-selected goals like limiting alcohol or soda and eating more greens or whole grains.
About 40 of Foursquare’s 100 employees participated and met their personal challenges earlier this year. Rainert, 35, wanted to drop some of the pudge he picked up when he became a dad nearly two years ago.
“I’ve used countless food and fitness trackers to try to change,” he said. “I think this worked for us because of the social pressure. When you’re doing something with someone, you don’t want it to look like you’re underperforming.”
Rainert plans to organize another round after the new year. Healthmonth, with about 50,000 users, sees two or three times more traffic in January than any other month.
The Next Web October 21st, 2011: “Health Month, the game that will trick you into a healthier lifestyle” by Drew Olanoff
Better fitness and health is something we all talk about and strive for, but it’s usually the last thing we actually dedicate ourselves to. There are a lot of reasons for that including jobs, family, eating a lot of food, drinking a lot of alcohol, and the list goes on and on.
Health Month decided to turn your fitness into a game and bring you together with others who want to work hard on living a healthier life.
Greatist Oct 18th, 2011: The 45 Most Innovative Health and Fitness Startups
Those who played the board game Life as kids might take a fancy to HealthMonth, the most recent product from Habit Labs. The snazzy site lets users choose goals (Floss? Spend more time with the kids?) and earn points for making progress toward them.
Mashable – July 28th, 2011: “Gamification: How Competition is Reinventing Business, Marketing & Everyday Life” by Jennifer Van Grove
Health Month, for instance, uses points in an interesting fashion. The site asks users to set up weekly health-related goals and stick to them for an entire month. Each person starts with 10 “life points” and the goal is to end the month with at least 1 life point. The player loses a point every time he breaks a rule, but friends can help the player “heal” and earn back points.
LA Times – Dec 26th, 2010: Not motivated? Make a game Of it
Michael Pusateri is a 43-year-old senior vice president at the Disney- ABC Television Group, but he still doesn’t eat his vegetables. So in October he joined Health Month, an online game that allows him to compete against 16,000 other users in striving toward his goals — which include cycling 80 miles a week and going on a weekly date with his wife. When he made progress, he earned life points and raised his ranking. When he failed, he lost points but could ask other players to take pity and “heal” him by giving him virtual “fruit.” The game prepared him for his first triathlon. “My wife has been after me for years to eat more fruit and vegetables and bring my lunch to work, and it was, ‘Next week, I’ll do it next week,’” says Pusateri, an avid video game player and father of two. “Just because it was on this dumb website I actually did it.”
Lifehacker – Sept 20th, 2010: Health Month is a game to help you meet your health goals
I exercise four days a week but want to make it six, so I’ve let Health Month know that. I’ve also told Health Month how hard I think this will be, how necessary it is for my health, and how much I enjoy exercise in general. It uses these factors to determine how many points I get for achieving this goal on a weekly basis. This is pretty much the same process for every rule you make, and just answering these questions is kind of enlightening to see how you consider your health and choices in your life.
Wired – Sept 7th, 2010: Health Month is a self-improvement RPG
If you succeed, you get life points, and if you fail, you lose them. But there’s an interesting social twist: If you follow your rules, then you’ll be granted fruit, which can be used to heal other peoples’ life points. Having several friends desperately trying to convince to you heal their points can be amusing.
The Metafilter community loves Health Month
How is Health Month different from the competition?
Why you should bid today
What web framework/host/etc is it built on?
Ruby on Rails 3, hosted on Heroku. Uses Sendgrid for email, a Postgres database.
I have questions. Who do I ask?
I, Buster Benson (original developer of the site and CEO of Habit Labs), am available for any questions that you might have. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call or text me at 206-355-9718. I'll be very prompt with questions, since this is one of my top priorities for the next month. You can find me @busterbenson on Twitter, or http://busterbenson.com in general.
In the meantime, if you want to test the site out... have a free game on me!
Additional Revenue Details
Revenue is made by asking people to pay $5 for any month that they'd like to have more than 3 habits to work on.
No attempts have yet been made to turn this into a subscription service, though I suspect that would increase revenue significantly.
I'm available to answer any questions about ideas on how to lower expenses or increase revenue. Lots of untapped potential here due to the lack of dedicated resources to experiment and implement different pricing and hosting experiments.
Additional Traffic Details
Google analytics from a peak month: Jan 1st 2012 - Jan 31st 2012
Unique Visitors: 177,089
Returning Visitor: 77.31%
Avg. Visit Duration:00:05:52
Bounce Rate: 30.25%
% New Visits: 22.62%
Google analytics traffic details from a slow month: April 17th to May 17th, 2012:
Unique Visitors: 9,404
Returning Visitor: 78.22%
Avg. Visit Duration:00:05:25
Bounce Rate: 31.72%
% New Visits: 21.70%
|Site Established ?||August 2010|
|Built With ?||—|
|Google Analytics Detected ?||Yes|
|Domain Registered ?||11 January 2003|
|Content Unique ?||Yes|
|Design Unique ?||Yes|
|Pages In Google ?||4,880|
|MajesticSEO Inbound Links ?||16,697|
|SEOmoz mozRank ?||5.0|
|Alexa Rank ?||254,831|