Here is what’s wrong between the VA and the promotion featuring FitBit

On Tuesday, Department Of Veterans Affairs Secretary Richard Wilkie, announced a VA partnership with Fitbit. The promotion will allow veterans who own one of the health centered wearables potential free access to Fitbit premium for one year.

This announcement bothered me because in the middle of a pandemic with veterans struggling both financially and emotionally, this promotion will heavily favor Fitbit more than it will the veterans.

Here is why.

The goal of the promotion is too sell more wearables: This is first and foremost a promotion. Fitbit will now get to tout themselves as a VA partner which in itself positions them to sell more devices, and will allow them to push this premium service. Normally, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with that if there was real value here but let me continue.

Everyone gets a 90 day trial anyways: Everyone gets a 90 day trial when they purchase the device. That comes out of the door. After that it’s a $80 a year for the service.

It’s capped at 10,000 selected veterans and VA staff: That is not very much when you include all of the veterans in these United States and employees of the largest hospital system in the country.

The window to register is only two weeks: The enrollment period ends on January 25th. That is not a lot of time for veterans to register and some might not hear about it before then. This small window makes it even less appealing and it’s likely they won’t extend it until they hit the limit.

They get us on their email list: Applying for this program gives Fitbit permission for us to be place on their email list. This will allow them to continue upselling us to other products that will help their bottom line. Legitimate email lists are worth a lot of money.

It’s easy to understand why it’s this partnership isn’t that great for us. It provides more opportunities for Fitbit to tap into our market while giving themselves a public relations boost. I don’t blame the company for jumping at the agreement.

I just wish the VA would have gotten more for use in exchange. The deal also wasn’t very popular on social media..

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