December 19, 2011 14:43 ET

New Social Dieting Game Encourages Players to Put Money Where Their Mouths Are

DietBet Motivates Participants to Jumpstart Weight Loss, Makes Dieting Fun

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Dec 19, 2011) - DietBet, a new social dieting game launching today, gives players the opportunity to win money and lose weight in a friendly competition. Players are challenged to lose either eight pounds or four percent of their starting weight in four weeks; everyone who reaches their goal wins or splits the pot. Like fantasy football for dieters, the game injects fun, competition, and social collaboration into Americans' seemingly never-ending quest to shed extra weight.

"We started DietBet because nobody likes dieting, but everyone likes playing games," said Jamie Rosen, DietBet's founder, a serial entrepreneur and Harvard Business School dropout.

Based on the Fun Theory, which employs creative ways to improve life by making mundane tasks enjoyable, DietBet inspires players to lose weight by engaging them in a friendly competition with real rewards. With over 190 million overweight Americans today and healthcare costs exploding, the efficacy of employing financial incentives to boost weight loss has recently become a hot topic. A body of research has shown that the thrill of winning real money -- along with the pain of losing it -- is a highly effective motivator for weight loss. In a study at the University of Pennsylvania, people offered a financial incentive to lose weight were five times more successful at reaching their goal than test subjects offered no incentives.

DietBet simplifies weight loss competitions the way Evite simplifies party planning as anyone can use the site's free tools to set up a game with friends. A mobile app is coming out in early 2012.

How it works

  • Invite friends to play at; You, as the Organizer, set the stakes and decide how much each player has to lose (either eight pounds or four percent of their starting weight); Dietbets last four-weeks -- a manageable timeframe to see progress while still keeping it fun and lively; People who find that dietbetting works for them may play repeatedly in order to get to a healthy weight
  • It's not like The Biggest Loser in that it's not limited to one winner; Indeed, the goal of dietbetting is to have lots of winners; To promote this, there is no advantage to coming in first -- everyone who crosses the finish line by the final weigh-in ends up winning the pot (or splitting it evenly if there are multiple winners)
  • The game is free except for an optional service that lets players place bets with a credit card or PayPal
  • Official weigh-ins take place on Day 1 and Day 28; The Organizer may appoint a referee to officiate
  • Throughout the game, players can post progress, swap photos, root for each other, and talk smack; All's fair in love, war, and dietbetting; Players who don't want to reveal their weight may keep it hidden
  • For extra motivation, the Organizer may add bonus stakes, such as losers have to babysit the winners' kids or clean the office refrigerator; In corporate games, players can compete for perks like extra vacation days
  • Players receive "The Daily Carrot," entertaining tips written by comedy writers from Harvard
  • At the final weigh-in anyone who hits their goal wins the loot, as well as priceless bragging rights

Weight loss challenges happen around the country already and have started permeating pop-culture -- including the double-episode premiere of season five of The Office, which featured a dietbet among the Dunder Mifflin branches.

"In the past, anyone wanting to set up a dietbet would have to do a lot of work -- inviting players, collecting bets, and tracking progress. We've made it a snap, not to mention free, to run a game," said Rosen. "Nike+ has gamified running. FourSquare is gamifying checking into gyms and cafes. We're gamifying weight loss."

About DietBet
DietBet is an online social dieting game that gives players the opportunity to win money through weight-loss competitions. Dietbetters play with friends and co-workers and put money into a pot; whoever reaches the goal by the end of four weeks wins the pot (or splits it). It's motivation through friendly competition, with real rewards. Founded by Jamie Rosen in 2010 and launched in December of 2011, DietBet has made losing weight fun.

About Jamie Rosen
Jamie Rosen, Founder & CEO, dropped out of Harvard Business School to start his first internet business, Comet Systems, which he sold for $33.5 million in 2004. At Comet, he invented the company's flagship product, which received Adweek's "Best Marketing Technology of the Year" award in 1999. Prior to Comet, Rosen invented toys. Today he has 10 pending and issued patents and in 2007, he sold several of his patents, covering location-based games, to Yahoo! Rosen graduated from Harvard College in 1992 and is married with three children.