BigMuscle Celebrates a Decade of Skin
The site's 20,000 members will be eligible to be spotlighted on the BigMuscle front page, in advance of a "featured profile" promo contest. Additionally, a revamped logo has kicked off a string of widgets and other bells and whistles to be added as their anniversary year progresses.
"The 10th anniversary called for us to show member appreciation," founder and co-owner Andrew J. Wysocki said.
BigMuscle.com has been a free service since its inception, and relies for financial support on member donations as well as limited banner advertising.
"I never imagined the community that would evolve from the simple website I developed back in 1991. When I created BigMuscle, it was a simple application to allow men to compare body types and gym results," Wysocki recalled.
Website members have found romantic partners and a few have been married. "I am proud to provide gym-minded gay men with a social communication tool when traveling across town or to the other side of the globe," he said.
The site evolved into a social-networking platform solely due to the active interest of its members, Wysocki told XBIZ.
"A lot of like-minded men found our site to keep in touch with friends while traveling. We do not market BigMuscle as a hook-up site. Our users tell us that it is a more casual site for friendships."
BigMuscle's handmade feel contributes to ardent member loyalty and steady financial support. "We are not a large company and we feel this comes across in how we run the site and interact with the users," Wysocki said. "After ten years, they know us and understand we are always trying to be good citizens. When we answer emails or phone calls, the users are surprised that it's often me on the other end. We also have meet-and-greets in local gay bars where local users have a chanced to meet us face-to-face."
BigMuscle has traditionally provided free banner space to GLBT nonprofits, and that practice will continue.
Wysocki said that giving back to the gay community was built into the company's mission statement. They also sponsor gay softball teams in Los Angeles and Phoenix, and hold an annual fundraiser to benefit the AIDS Emergency Fund of San Francisco.
The company additionally offers advertising space to GLBT independent films with little or no budget for marketing. "We will never be rich," Wysocki said, "but we like what we do."