Where did all the fatwalleters go? (is this site dying?)

Hi everyone,

I was a long-term fatwallet reader and participant, and was very encouraged by the creation of this forum and the one at PWF as well. Unfortunately there isn’t/wasn’t an agreement to merge these two forums, but in general, I think the point is becoming moot. While there was an initial rush of posts, both forums have been dying off. I would be very interested in posting metrics over the past several weeks, as my impression is that both forums are experiencing a significant drop off.

What can be done to increase interest in these forums with the old fatwallet crowd?

Is there some alternative that might work to resuscitate the fatwallet hive mind?

Happy holidays everyone! And post away!

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I’m not sure if this is the only reason, but after giving away free pizzas in the Hot Deals forums the last couple months it doesn’t look like I will have the codes to give away this month.

It’s possible there are other reasons for the decline besides this too.

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I’m glad that I’m not the only one wondering about this. (Please don’t take that as being ungrateful for the work and efforts of the people posting and admining this site.)

My thoughts:

  1. Right now I’m visiting all three (FragileDeal, PhatWallet, and Slickdeals)… but even combined, I’m spending less time than I did on Fatwallet.

  2. My biggest issue with Slickdeals is the interface and inability to hide posts that I don’t want to see anymore - that allowed me to keep up with the newest posts and the older posts that I cared about.

  3. I appreciate the folks who were at FatWallet years ago, who helped start this site, but I’m guessing they are going to continue to put the bulk of the better deals ONLY at FragileDeals, instead of this site.

    I am grateful for their shared wisdom and help and I understand why they have their own private deals site, but that will continue to handicap this site, like it hurt FW Finance when they (and their wisdom and deals) left.

  4. It took FatWallet years to get the critical mass of users (and good deals being posted) that is needed for a great deal site. A combination of the FragileDeal and PhatWallet websites would help speed this up.

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I thought the posts decreased because of the holidays…

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Fatwallet got diluted and bogged down with trying to be too many thing to too many people. There were very few truly hot deals toward the end, and the deals that were posted were not policed.

Killing cashback did nothing to help either…

Then there was a group that somehow morphed the site name into “FWF” and insists that was all that it was. The “forums” were full of mindless chatter and ad hominem attacks from self-professed experts. There are plenty of places for that, but not a place that is for deals.

Also, there’s a lot more competition these days and apps didn’t exist when fatwallet was born.

Finally, the nonsense with “badges” did little other than to promote even more useless chatter, cut and pasting from other sites, and truly terrible “deals” like 5% Discover bonuses and $5 off a $200 gift card on ebay. There’s nothing unique or hot about them, but the posters got credit to silly badges.

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I’m good with the volume of posts. We’re not getting any of the “a tree fell from my neighbors yard” posts every 2 weeks. Ideally, posts have value to the group, rather than a person asking a question to the forum which is easily googleable.

Also, not a lot has been going on. What do you want to talk about?

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FW had a long history which meant some threads started years (or a decade) ago. It also often times showed first or second on search engines which meant new people showing up ever so often. We’ll see how things shake out here. I’m enjoying most of the conversations and the idea that I can ask questions to a small group.

I’d rather the two sites merge, but I also like that there seems to be less spending on crap I don’t need lately.

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I actually miss some of those posts. Please don’t kick me out for admitting that.

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I wish Phat will combine with Fragile. Even if they do combine, I don’t see either will survive long term or just turn into ghost forums where the last post will date like 5 years ago.

I survived many forums. A forum will lose people over time so unless there’s way to constantly bring in new blood, a forum will just slowly evaporate. I raised this issue during the dying days of FW. Basically, for a forum to last, some basic ingredients:

  • Way to new member to find it through search, news article, referrals.
  • Generate enough $ to self sustain.
  • Dedicated moderators or hired staff if enough revenues.
  • Regular core contributors.
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I like it just the way it is. I do periodically skim the other site via RSS to make sure I’m not missing anything.

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Our metrics are holding pretty steady. We do about 200k page views a month.

I’m going to keep this place running until it doesn’t make sense to anymore. It’s costing me time and about $100 a month.

One thing on merging with PW. I don’t want to say “never,” but it’s pretty much never going to happen. If they close down for one reason or another, they are welcome to join the community. But I think there’s a bit of a philosophical difference that makes a merger highly unlikely.

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what are those differences? it’s hard to believe things can’t be set aside! they are heavy into deals and this site is heavy into finance. merging makes perfect sense IMHO.

I appreciate the effort that is being made here to keep the flame alive. I’ll throw out the main reason I do not check here very much is the format is not conducive to quickly finding interesting topics. There are about 20 topics on the front page, and the first 2 are sticky and never change. The rest seem to be a handful of active threads that always stay at the top, most of which I’ve already perused or are not of interest to me. The Suggested Topics at the bottom of threads are always the same.

The thing I liked about FW was I could look at the forums page (my landing page) and see the top deals and the top topics in FWF, and they were different on a daily basis. Some sort of page that shows trending topics - topics that are new but getting a lot of activity - I think would be a good addition to this site.

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Community building is hard.

When FatWallet started (18 years ago tomorrow actually) it was a different environment. Now we have smart phones, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, myspace… ok, maybe not MySpace.

Social shopping / social finance is still a valuable space to participate in… but trying to be a web forum, even when updated, will be challenging to get critical mass.

It’ll take a lot of work, but it might be worth it if somebody gets it right.

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I know I go through periods where I am active and times where I am pulled away or just bored of it. Historically I fluctuate back and forth between the Hot Deals Section and the Finance Section. And unfortunately during the BF time, neither site could hold a candle to SD for hot deals. FWF had the membership to handle that come-and-go involvement. Hopefully Fragile can do the same.

I’d love to get Phat and Fragile together too, but until then I’ll just have to try and monitor both. Of course that further limits involvement in either.

I think you’re supposed to click on Latest, New, or Top on the top nav bar on the homepage to see what’s happening.

tbh i only get the weekly digests/summaries for both places now, and largely just lurk on sd (and the blu-ray.com deals forums). while i don’t prefer the community there, it’s not quite worth the effort to me to try to maintain a regular presence in these two former-fw communities, which i imagine is the same mindset a lot of former fwers have. :\

…that being said, $100/mo on hosting (and presumably the domain)? that seems like overkill for a largely text-based site like this.

What this site is missing compared to FW is the front page that shows the 5 hottest topics from each category. I miss that.

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Just my $0.02, but while the activity level hasn’t been as high as FWF used to be, I’ve been pretty happy with the quality of the posts. I try to read most of the Finance section. Sometimes, less is more.

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