We recently sat down with Brent Shelton, FatWallet’s director of PR, and asked why the site was launched and how it works. Here he tells us how the site has evolved and some of the new offerings for loyal followers.
FatWallet started out as an online coupon and deal sharing community 12 years ago, but it’s also become a popular shopping resource with a blog. How did that come about?
FatWallet started as a message board where like-minded consumers shared coupons and inside information on money-saving tips, mostly for buying tech online. Shortly after that, founder Tim Storm created the FatWallet forums, including Hot Deals, where thousands of crowd-sourced deals and coupons post monthly. These forums are also home to active Deal Discussion, Travel Discussion, and Finance forums, where some very smart people share all kinds of personal finance tips. It’s a valuable resource if you’re serious about saving money.
Was the blog part of the original plan?
The FatWallet blog started in 2009. Our goal was to mirror the content found in our forums with guest blogs from personal finance experts, couponers and shopping gurus. It’s also the hub for our social media channels for news, savings opportunities, giveaways and light fun via facebook, twitter, youtube and pinterist.
How did you come up with the idea of offering cash back through key affiliates, and what does that mean for the consumer?
Cash back rewards (rebates) were implemented in 2004. This loyalty program was really the springboard to opening FatWallet up to mainstream consumers. The principle behind cash back is simple: when you shop through FatWallet to make a purchase at a retailer, FatWallet gets paid a commission and then shares some of that commission with you. Make it a habit and it adds up to a nice little savings account that you can receive via check or Paypal.
What is your favorite FatWallet deal?
For me the best deal is not paying the listed price and getting cash back. That money comes in handy when I want to make a bigger purchase or I sock it away for holiday gifts, an anniversary celebration, guitars (I have a slight fetish), etc. I also like any deal where I can stack discounts like a coupon code for free shipping, cash back, and a mail-in-rebate–cha-ching!
Your blog offers consumers a wide variety of personal finance information. How have consumers responded?
As guest blogging strengthened, we gained more readership. There are a lot of great posts on a variety of topics, most notably ones that help you save money. We have blogs on everything from lowering your insurance costs to refinancing your house.
What are the hottest blog posts currently on the site?
The site also has a hot deals forum. What is that all about?
The hot deals forum is the life-blood of FatWallet. For the dedicated deal-hunter, it’s the daily check-in, hangout, and place where some really savvy consumers share some of the best deals and shopping tactics on the internet. It’s a great place to set an alert if you are in the market for finding an unbelievable deal on laptops, smartphones, computers and all sort of gadgets and everyday merchandise. It is also a great resource for mail-in-rebates and storewide discounts.
FatWallet offers a consumers access to the deals in their city. How does that work?
Getting cash back! Local Deals, our newest section, features Groupon, LivingSocial, Saveology, Woot, GILT, etc. deals in your city with added cash back savings. It offers one-stop check-in versus getting tons of daily emails in your inbox.