|Founded||Rockton, Illinois, United States (1999)|
|Revenue||12.3 million (2009) |
|Owner||Performance Marketing Brands|
FatWallet is a comparison shopping website, centering on a set of forums that allows users to publish deals and rebate offers on products and services, with computer-related products and electronics most prominent in the listings. It is headquartered in Beloit, Wisconsin.
Products and services
Coupons and Cash Back
FatWallet features a "Coupons" section where users can find discounts from online retailers.
Before being acquired, FatWallet also featured its own "Cash Back" rebate shopping section, in which members received back a percentage of purchases made through referral links to partnered retailers. FatWallet has since ended the Cashback program and now directs its members to the program offered by Ebates.
FatWallet users can post the sale prices of major retailers, often before they are officially released in retailers' advertisements, which involved the site in a legal dispute in 2002 involving Black Friday advertisements. Several retailers, including Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy and Staples, have served FatWallet with "take-down" notices pursuant to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, claiming that their sale prices were copyrighted and must be removed from the FatWallet site. In addition, Wal-Mart served FatWallet with a subpoena to reveal the identity of the users who had posted Wal-Mart's prices, but the demand was later dropped.
Although FatWallet initially complied with the take-down notices due to the fear of liability, within two weeks it reposted the prices and argued that the prices were facts rather than expression, and therefore not subject to copyright. FatWallet filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against three of the retailers, seeking damages for knowing assertion of invalid copyright claims and a declaratory judgment that the take-down provisions of the DMCA were unconstitutional. The case, FatWallet, Inc. v. Best Buy Enterprise Services, Inc., was dismissed. The court ruled that FatWallet lacked standing to sue for any harm done to its users for having their postings temporarily removed, and FatWallet did not assert any injury to itself that the court found cognizable.
Since its launch, FatWallet has expanded its forums to include discussion on other financial topics such as investments, banking and credit cards. The Finance forum has been mentioned in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times referencing personal finance topics including on credit cards and 401K investment tips.
FatWallet launched "Best Deals" in 2009 (initially called "Today's Top Deals"), which features researched deals found on the internet by staff and members. Best Deals also features an "Expert Picks" section where staff research bigger ticket retail products like laptops, computers and HDTVs for the best value for the price, and post their endorsements each week.
Between March and April 2011, Fatwallet moved to Wisconsin from northern Illinois in order to avoid termination of affiliate contracts with online retailers such as Amazon.com, which provide about 30% of the company's revenue. An Illinois law passed in March 2011 in anticipation of passage of the U.S. Main Street Fairness Act, required online retailers with Illinois affiliates to collect and remit sales taxes to the state.
Fatwallet was sold to Ebates in 2011, at the same time as Anycoupons, and later merged with Ebates to form a new company called Performance Marketing Brands. Former owner and founder Tim Storm stayed on as a strategic advisor for the new company.
FatWallet was twice named one of the "50 Best Places To Work in America" by the Best Places To Work Institute and Entrepreneur magazine. It was ranked at #20 on the list for best small businesses in 2010, and #13 in 2011. Founder Tim Storm was also named as one of four finalists for Entrepreneur of 2010 by Entrepreneur.com.
- FatWallet founder up for national award – Alex Gary - Rockford Register Star. Blogs.e-rockford.com (2010-07-29). Retrieved on 2013-09-13.
- "Fatwallet.com Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-08-27.
- Walker, Rob (2005-09-18). "Collective Bargain Hunting: FatWallet.com". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-16.
- Stross, Randall (2007-11-18). "Digital Domain: What to Do When Goliaths Roar?". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- Doris Hajewski (16 March 2011). "New Illinois tax law threatens Fatwallet's online retail network". Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 18 March 2011.
- And now a word from our founder. Fatwallet.com.
- Backed By VCs, Ebates Buys FatWallet.com And AnyCoupons.com, Starts New Company. TechCrunch (2011-09-09).
- Rakuten of Japan to Buy Ebates, a U.S. Rebate Site, for $1 Billion. New York Times (2014-09-09).
- Announcement of 100% Acquisition of Ebates Inc. Rakuten Press Release (2014-09-09)
- "The Best Small & Medium Workplaces in America". 2010.
- "The Best Small & Medium Workplaces in America". 2011.
- "Entrepreneur of the Year finalist – Tim Storm of FatWallet". Performance Marketing Association. 3 August 2010.