What you need to know about free ads for fitness and fitness apps, with Lisa Maroney
Lisa Maroy, the vice president of business development at the New York City-based Fitocracy, is taking heat from advertisers and health experts for the way she’s promoting free fitness apps.
In a recent podcast, she argued that while she does not want to “encourage people to spend money,” she’s also not opposed to ads for free apps.
“I’m a free-market advocate,” Maroy said in the podcast, which was recorded on Monday.
“We’re in this digital era.
We need to embrace that.
And I think we’re going to do so with some force.”
The podcast has since been pulled, but Maroy says she’s still “in favor of free apps” as long as they do not “create a sense of dependency” or “force people to pay for the service.”
While it’s not clear how many people listen to the podcast or subscribe to it, the video has been viewed more than 5 million times.
“The truth is, there are no free apps out there, which is why we’re here today,” Maroney said.
“And it’s because we’re making it possible for people to do it without having to pay.
And if people don’t want to pay, then that’s OK, too.”
She’s also criticized advertisers for spending more money on ads for the popular Fitocracy app than the fitness and nutrition website.
“I understand the desire for ads, but it’s important that advertisers have some control over what they’re doing with those ads,” she said.
Advertisers “need to do their due diligence, and we do,” she added.
Maroy said the number of Fitocracy ads on her website is about one-third of those on the fitness site, which she says is “a small fraction of ads that are on Fitocracy.”
“That’s not the same thing as a free app,” she explained.
“When people have access to a fitness app, they’re using it,” Maroya said.
The Fitocracy platform features more than 20,000 workouts, a variety of workout categories, nutrition and exercise tools, and a variety to choose from.
The app was introduced in 2012 and features a simple, intuitive interface that lets users check out a list of workouts, then follow the steps to achieve their goals.
It has become a big success in New York, with more than 1 million people signing up to try the app and more than 60,000 new members each month, according to the app’s website.
But the company’s success in a market with high obesity rates and poor physical activity rates has prompted some critics to question the company and the effectiveness of the app.
Fitocracy founder and CEO David Karp, a former fitness model, has called Maroy’s views “pathetic” and “a complete misunderstanding of the fitness industry.”
“I’ve been a business for years, and there are hundreds of companies that are making millions of dollars every year on this, and all of them are going to fail,” he told ABC News.
“There are people who have been doing it for decades and decades, and they’re still doing it, and so why would they be different?”
“I do not believe that the fitness app is going to change our lifestyle,” he said.
Maroy did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
She also told ABC that the app “doesn’t create dependency” on the user, and that people need to “think about how they’re going have the time to do this.”