Bodybuilding.com and Max Muscle use social media to create interactive sites that build community while Active.com limps along, unable to do even the obvious.
I’m back into training for half marathons now. Active.com lists races across the country, allowing you to sign up on their site. But its interface is old, tired, and incapable of doing things that it needs to. By contrast, Bodybuilding.com, which sells supplements and focuses on training, provides a wealth of ways to connect, get information, and plan training. So does MaxMuscle.
Active.com doesn’t even allow you to save events. It says you can but the user forums have unanswered questions on this going back for months. So, not only can you not bookmark races that interest you, their support staff apparently can’t be bothered to answer the questions and the programmers can’t add what seems to be a simple enough feature. Also, if you pay $59.95 a year, you get added benefits, like discounts on races. But they don’t tell you in advance what the discount will be on a race. Instead it says you can save up to $10 per registration but doesn’t specify precisely how much. How lame is that? Its use of social media is minimal. You can start a blog and post updates, but that’s about it.
By contrast, Bodybuilding.com is filled with social media features. If you see a supplement you like, you can save it to your dashboard. The page for the supplement shows other members who are taking it and lists its overall rating from those who have reviewed it. For example, the Glycoject page, a pre workout supplement I’m using, has a wealth of information. There are forums for specific interests, like distance running, power lifting, and losing weight.
I bought the Glycoject on a recommendation at a local Max Muscle store. They are a highly knowledgeable and reliable source about supplements and training (Indeed, Bodybuilding.com gives Glycoject a 9.9 out of 10.) The Max Muscle website also uses social media to build community, with journals, events calendar, considerable use of Twitter, posting before and after photos, plus articles.
Active.com feels dead. It, like eBay, has an ancient interface and is mostly running on reputation (and maybe fumes.) Sooner or later, both will be replaced by sites that put the user first and create community, something Max Muscle and Bodybuilding.com are already doing well.