Summary:

Which is better for a mobile app: short term revenues or long term relationships with a growing user base? RunKeeper thinks the latter is better over time and it can monetize later. The exercise tracking app for smartphones dropped fees for its training plans.

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RunKeeper, the smartphone app that tracks exercise, dropped its premium app fee last year and now follows up with no-cost training plans. In a blog post on Thursday, the company said it hopes to “take the guesswork out of training” so it has eliminated the costs for plans that aid runners in training for 5k races as well as half- and full marathons. This move will impact RunKeeper’s revenue stream, but that’s not a problem. Like the marathon, this company is in for the long haul.

In an email conversation with Founder and CEO, Jason Jacobs acknowledged a shortfall in the short-term revenue stream, although that’s not a priority, nor an issue:

“[W]e’re not really revenue-focused right now.  Our biggest priorities are product excellence, building a large and engaged userbase, and a vibrant ecosystem of apps/devices/services integrated seamlessly via our Health Graph API.

Instead of quick-hit money from users, RunKeeper is continuing its push on the freemuim model to build a happy audience for its wares. As the user-base grows, monetization will follow is the thought from Jacobs.

RunKeeper training planAs a competitive runner — disclosure, I’m a happy RunKeeper user that pays for the yearly $20 Elite service — I was always interested in the training plans. But I had other training options available to me through my running magazines, on-line training plans and local running gurus. Now that the plans are free, I may use one because I like what I see.

Each plan has a clearly stated goal; run a 3:30 marathon, for example. The number of daily workouts and a goal end date are also part of every plan.

I’m currently half-way through my own 16 week marathon training plan so it’s too late for me to try one from RunKeeper, but I’ll surely give one a chance after my next race.

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