Whole Foods Market Missions app: a HealthSeeker ripoff?

Aug. 18, 2010 Whole Foods Market launched the new Whole Foods Market Missions iPhone app. Read the app description below, taken from the iTunes Preview page (the bolded words are mine, to point out the coincidences between this app and another app we launched on Facebook two months ago):

Get on a mission to better health! The Whole Foods Market Missions (WFMissions) app will help you broaden your palate by introducing you to a range of delicious, nutrient dense foods. Learn more about healthy eating and start a conversation with your social networks about the road to good health.

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Missions — Complete steps of varying difficulty and earn badges through fun and healthy Missions.
Tips – Get simple, practical advice on cooking, nutrition, green living, food storage and more. Save your favorites for easy reference.
Profile – Keep track of your accomplishments and brag about them via email, Facebook, and Twitter

More than two months before, the Diabetes Hands Foundation launched HealthSeeker™, a new Facebook® game, with the goal of helping players make specific lifestyle changes that focus on healthy eating. While the benefits of the game are available to anyone, HealthSeeker™ specifically helps people with diabetes make more informed lifestyle decisions in an innovative way that complements their daily use of social media.

There are MISSIONS and ACTION STEPS to help players achieve LIFESTYLE GOALS and create an opportunity to advance in the game. These LIFESTYLE GOALS include eating more healthfully, achieving or maintaining a healthy weight, improving one’s diabetes control and lowering cardiovascular risk factors. As ACTION STEPS are completed and players return to report their progress, they receive experience points and other awards for their achievements.

HealthSeeker™ combines a supportive social networking environment with important information on managing diabetes. The game utilizes the player’s own Facebook® friends as sources of inspiration and support on the road to better health.


On HealthSeeker game, missions are made up of action steps as shown:

This is how a comparable screen looks on the Whole Foods App:

When you complete a mission on HealthSeeker, it appears as follows:

This is how it looks on the Whole Foods App:

This is how my achievements page looks on HealthSeeker:

This is how the badges tab looks on the Whole Foods app:

Has Whole Foods Market been patterned off HealthSeeker™? Is it a ripoff? I would like to hear your thoughts…

All I can say is: there seem to be a LOT of similarities. Considering how broad this space is and how much resources Whole Foods should be able to put behind developing a truly innovative and groundbreaking app, I would have imagined that they’d try to avoid repeating the same thing that others are already doing out there… but I digress. What do YOU guys think?

Goodbye, Last.FM!


In late December 2005, I wrote about Last.FM on this blog. Ever since, I have been using it, building up my listening profile (you can see a screenshot of the top 20 most listened to artists in the past four years above) and discovering new music as a result.

Today, I learned that CBS, Last.FM’s parent company, handed over user listening data to the RIAA. I felt insulted by this move. I pay for the music I listen to (actually, I am finding myself using LaLa more and more, so I am gradually worrying less and less about having MP3 files sitting on my hard drive, since I can stream them through LaLa). But I personally have an issue with RIAA and their scare tactics.

Therefore, as of today, I removed the Last.FM application from my computers and deleted my Last.FM account for good. It was a good service. It’s so sad that they decided to become a part of RIAA’s game…

RIAA's Latest (Crazy) Move

This time, I have to say I am very surprised…

“… in an unusual case in which an Arizona recipient of an RIAA letter has fought back in court rather than write a check to avoid hefty legal fees, the industry is taking its argument against music sharing one step further: In legal documents in its federal case against Jeffrey Howell, a Scottsdale, Ariz., man who kept a collection of about 2,000 music recordings on his personal computer, the industry maintains that it is illegal for someone who has legally purchased a CD to transfer that music into his computer.”

You can read the rest of the article and be amazed too.

Am I the only one who thinks this is outright crazy?