SEPTEMBER 2007 UPDATE: We now have real pictures of Kimmer. As many people suspected, she is a morbidly obese woman — not the svelte 118-pound diet success she has claimed to be. See the pictures here: Kimmer surveillance picture, Kimmer at the Kimkins.com mail box, more surveillance Kimmer photos.
If you have been in a supermarket checkout line this month, you may have seen a headline on the cover of Woman’s World about an Internet diet phenomenon called Kimkins (the cover breathlessly reads “Better Than Gastric Bypass!”). This cover story helped to fuel over $1 million in sales revenues this month alone for the website Kimkins.com.
Kimkins.com is the home of the Kimkins diet and its mysterious creator, “Kimmer.” Depending on whom you’re talking to in the diet world, Kimmer is a weight loss messiah or a dishonest charlatan. I think maybe she’s both, and I have a unique insight into the controversy.
You see, at the 2006 launch of Kimkins.com my wife Catherine was a 50% partner. The other 50% was owned by the woman known to the rest of the world as “Kimmer.”
The partnership became a series of twists, surprises, triumphs and disappointments that provided a challenging but worthwhile business education to us both — and it’s one hell of an interesting story to boot.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to present the Kimkins.com story in installments as a case study in business partnerships. Tentatively, the road map looks like this:
- Kimkins.com Part I - The Kimkins.com Business Partnership Case Study (this post)
- Kimkins.com Part II - What is the Kimkins Diet and How Did Kimkins.com Get Started?
- Kimkins.com Part III - Kimmer: Who Is She Really?
- Kimkins.com Part IV - The Kimkins.com Early Days
- Kimkins.com Part V - Celebrities on Kimkins?
- Kimkins.com Part VI - The Partnership Buyout and the Post-Buyout Backstabbing
- Kimkins.com Part VII - Business Lessons Learned
- Kimkins.com Part VIII - What Now for Kimkins.com?
Stay tuned for a fascinating inside look at a viral marketing success story that may be a house of cards waiting to tumble.