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Fitness Site Adds E-Commerce Component

Fitness and nutrition Web site Asimba is looking to make a play at the sports and fitness e-commerce market with the anticipated August launch of its AsimbaStore.

The site has signed deals with MVP.com, Worldwide Aquatic, D Sports, Planet Outdoors and other sports e-tailers, in which Asimba will provide consumers interested in purchasing products with a link to the e-tailer's site. It also is in discussion with other potential e-commerce partners.

“We are acting as a sports and fitness exchange. We will do for sports retailers what CNET does for computer retailers,” said Adam Roth, vice president of marketing at Asimba, Redwood City, CA.

Scott Hublou, former event marketer for the U.S. Olympic Committee; Leo Chung, former technical director of online ad agency Poppe Tyson Interactive; and Andrew Wong, former design officer at Poppe Tyson Interactive launched Asimba one year ago as a fitness and nutrition site.

“We wanted to build a consumer base and establish a name before we started marketing e-commerce to our users,” Roth said.

Asimba has attracted 650,000 registered members since its launch and plans to add 1 million more by the end of the year through event marketing campaigns, banner ads, keyword marketing and advertising in men's and women's fitness publications and vertical sports publications.

Up to this point the majority of the company's marketing has been through viral tell-a-friend programs.

“We've built relationships with consumers as a health advisor and feel that the next step we must take is adding the ability to outfit them with the gear to fit their lifestyles,” Roth said.

One of the primary ways Asimba will drive consumers to the AsimbaStore is by embedding marketing messages within its e-mail newsletters.

“For example, if a consumer is reading an article on preventing running injuries, he will be presented with an HTML sidebar enabling him to click through to the site to buy running shoes,” Roth said. Consumers will be able to compare prices before clicking through to an e-tailer's site to make the purchase. Asimba will receive a 10 percent to 15 percent commission for each product purchased.

Asimba hopes to broaden its range of services through partnerships with sports and fitness sites. Roth cited eNutrition, a diet nutrition Web site as an example others in the field that Asimba has partnered with.

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