FatWallet – The Perfect Business Model for Success

Written by Zac Johnson
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What makes a web site successful, and able to rise about the noise to become one of the top in it’s industry? It’s not just “quality content“, but also what it offers to the visitor and keeps them coming back for more. Let’s take a look at how FatWallet.com has grown over the years from a small coupon resource site, to the massive cash cow generating power house it is today.

About FatWallet
FatWallet was created back in 1999 by Tim Storm. I probably first met Tim back in 2001 when I first spoke at Affiliate Force. Since then, Tim has just been killing it year over year. In 2006, Tim Storm was also awarded with the “Affiliate Marketing Legend Award” at Affiliate Summit. The focus of FatWallet is to build a bargain hunting community web site, where anyone can access coupons and find killer deals online. Today FatWallet is one of the largest and most successful coupon sites out there today, and I’m about to break down a few reasons for their success.

It’s All About Community
You’ll hear this all the time, and it’s the truth… but it’s also one of the hardest tasks to accomplish online. There are thousands, if not millions, or sites out there with large forums and readerships, but to have the community contribution that FatWallet has, is just amazing. Users flock to FatWallet every day not only to access the latest coupons, but also to share their new findings and success stories in the FatWallet forums. Not only will you find the latest coupons and discounts, but ask Wikipedia notes, “There are several tax professionals who go on to FatWallet to answer people’s questions regarding taxes.“. FatWallet has become so large and successful, it has expanded outside of just a coupon site and now an information and referral resource to others.

FatWallet has What You Want
How many times have you done a “xxxx coupons” search on Google, then find your way to a site that doesn’t even have coupon codes. It happens to me often, and I hate it! Being in the internet marketing niche, I’m sure you’ve searched for “GoDaddy Coupons” on Google. The number one result, FatWallet of course! Not only is it the first result, but it has several pages on coupon codes that I use EVERY time I buy a domain through GoDaddy. This is just one example, can you imagine how many other listings they have number one rankings for. The quality here is priceless, and every time is a “call to action” search… people are wanting to buy!

Incentivization & Extra Savings are Key
Making FatWallet stand out even more from the competition is their ability to offer even more of a discount, on top of any coupon codes listed on the site. Because we are affiliate marketers, we know FatWallet can offer 2-6% back on several products or sales, because they get a commission on every referral. However, taking a smaller commission percentage and passing that back to the customer, has built a loyal following and huge member base at FatWallet. Most recently, FatWallet has added a FireFox Toolbar to their arsenal to keep site members updated with new coupons and access to shopping partners.

What We Can Learn from FatWallet
The success story of Tim Storm and FatWallet is a great one. While it’s taken a decade to get to where it is today, it just goes to show you once again… the little guy can compete with the big players, and over come the competition. While Tim is attacking the “coupon and discounts” niche, there are still so many other untapped markets waiting for a “FatWallet” type of site to come to rise. The success of FatWallet is due to their massive and loyal community, along with their contribution to building the site in which they love and visit daily. If you can establish this type of mentality with any business, you are destined for success!

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15 Replies to “FatWallet – The Perfect Business Model for Success”

  1. Hey Zac –

    > I probably first met Tim back in 2001 when I first spoke at Affiliate Force (which then later became Affiliate Summit).

    Just wanted to point out that Affiliate Summit has nothing to do with Affiliate Force.

    That was entirely Herby Olchewski's operation, and we started up in 2003 as competition to him.

    <abbr>Shawn Collins’s last blog post..Save 5% on JetBlue When Flying to Affiliate Summit East 2009</abbr>

  2. Thanks for the kind words Zac!

    For those that are looking for a slightly dated but timeless book on forum content and business model, check out "net gain"

    All the best!

  3. I found FatWallet by that exact search, ie, coupons for GoDaddy! Kudos to Tim for creating such a super site.

    <abbr>Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach’s last blog post..2 Tier vs. 1 Tier Affiliate Marketing programs</abbr>

  4. It is interesting how trends come and go but certain ideas like "providing value" and "creating community" remain effective.

    <abbr>Minnesota Attorney’s last blog post..Minnesota Personal Injury Law: Uninsured Motorist Coverage</abbr>

  5. I've been using FatWallet for a couple years now and it's definitely a great site. I agree with you though that community is key, but it is extremely difficult to build a community that will do a lot of the work for you like that. Many times people try building communities, and they often fail due to the amount of work it takes.

    <abbr>Funny Crap’s last blog post..Chanting 88</abbr>

  6. Tim Storm is a good example of sticking with a plan over time. Too many people limit their success by quitting without realizing that plans often take years to come to fruition.

    <abbr>Minnesota Attorney’s last blog post..Minnesota Personal Injury Law: Uninsured Motorist Coverage</abbr>

  7. It's a good example that over years and hardwork you can be succeed.I was just thinking even if the niche were small can it be grow big and make success using same tips and tricks just like fastwallet?only future and present hard work knows the answer

    <abbr>Ari Lestariono’s last blog post..Healthy Living Naturally: The Top Secret</abbr>

  8. The name FatWallet alone is a gem! The success that they've garnered is testament to what community building can return for your efforts. This is not exactly an easy nor inexpensive process, so kudos to Tim Storm for making it happen!

  9. Using Social Media becomes trend these days.I want to study and learn more about it

    <abbr>Ari Lestariono’s last blog post..Cat Meditation as Holistic Remedies</abbr>

  10. It's the toughest and most elusive element in online ANYTHING — Community Building. So mercurial, yet completely essential to real success. There should be websites devoted entirely to this — success stories and case studies.

    <abbr>Matty Byloos’s last blog post..Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theater: Cruising</abbr>

  11. FatWallet could be a strong competitor to Slickdeals, I'm very happy to see how fast it's growing. Good job! Hope it stronger so that we can always find coupons we want.

  12. FatWallet and SlickDeals are both affiliate cash cows, but one interesting startup is Zoudini which uses the reddit hot algorithm to sort hot deals and combined with a nice interface, will be one to watch in future.

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