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NerdWallet: From Built on Microsoft to Built on Google

Byrne Hobart
The Diff
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The NerdWallet story…

  • It was built off the founder’s viral spreadsheet created to help his sister “choose a credit card”
  • The company acts as a link between would be borrowers and available lenders, helping them find the best fit.
  • “…they do this through search engine optimization”
  • But their “aggressive tactics” have put them on Google’s naughty list
  • Example: offering awards to companies who then “link back to NerdWallet”)
  • It seems that NerdWallet is honing in on Google’s chunk of advertising pie
  • Why does Google let them exist?
  • Probably because the cold-calling and major grunt work required to generate NerdWallet’s customer base is just not appealing to Google’s more programmatic approaches.
  • Google seems content to sit back and take some of the ad profits NerdWallet generates for them anyway.


  • Facebook growth is similar to a government's in that it is linked with GDP and user (populace) happiness. To appease their users, they are now allocating resources to block illegal rainforest sale ads.
  • Cities are taking advantage of the temporary fluctuation in workplace “arrangements” (home, office, hybrid) by “paying for people to relocate to them”
  • Information has become so easy/cheap to generate that the “valuable” task is now how to properly filter it all.
  • The “VIE structure” for US investment in Chinese companies can allow abuse of shareholders. However, recent case studies show that legal action against abuse is at least taken seriously.   
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