Google pockets Zagat for local content boost

By , ITworld |  IT Management, acquisitions, Google

Zagat Survey co-founders Tim and Nina Zagat pose with the latest version of their guide to Tokyo restaurants at a news conference in Tokyo December 19, 2007.

REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Before the Web, before local search, there were Zagat guides. Now Google, taking their first step into owning a real live content generating company, bought Zagat for a reported $66 million to $100 million (couch cushion change for Google). But does this pairing really work, or will Zagat be another Google acquisition that gets flushed in three years?

Zagat shopped itself around in 2008 with a $200 million price tag, but got no takers. Last year, Google made a run at Yelp for $500 million, but couldn't get the deal done. Google's Places, an attempt to home-grow a Yelp, has yet to set the world, even the local world, on fire.

Linking Zagat's user base of contributors with Google Maps could create an interesting product set. But opinions are mixed, as is generally the case, and the Google purchase "curse" may yet sour Zagat.

Great news

Good for Zagat and Google. Very excited to see how Zagat will be integrated with Google Maps and Google Offers!
Pei-Zhen Yu on mashable.com

Good to see. Zagat's had problems finding a great business model in the digital world. They've gone through ads, memberships and endless partnerships. Zagat is still the prestige name in local reviews though. This is a great resource for Google's efforts in the local business market.
zach on news.ycombinator.com

I've usually found Zagat to be pretty accurate, which is much more than I can say for Yelp and the others that just collect masses of semi-literate and questionable comments...
Dave on nytimes.com

I like this move strategically. Zagat has recently made moves to expand their ratings from food / travel into new verticals - eg rating doctors. Have to assume that Google foresees expanding the Zagat ratings quickly to all things local. The Zagat "brand" resonates huge as a trusted consumer brand and having that rating attached to listings (exclusively) makes Google's search results more meaningful than competitors (the perception anyways).
aresant on news.ycombinator.com

How will this work?

More wasteful spending of shareholders money. These guys spend money like drunken sailors, and their strategy is one of throwing expensive spaghetti against a wall and see what stick. Page is incompetent.
VW on nytimes.com

I remember my parents using Zagat for stuff. It seems a little dated…While Yelp, is hip, cool, more casual and youthful. Hmm, Google, what the catch?
Atina Atina on mashable.com

Which brings up the new term for finding a place to eat - Zagoog it.
Jack O'Hanlon on nytimes.com

No recipe for success

Restaurants are reviewed to death….boring!!!! I demand Tagaz, an online site where restaurants get to ‘review’ their guest. Now that I’d buy.
Patrick Malone on mashable.com

The only thing Zagat is useful for is checking addresses. One can do that already on Google. So what is the point? Surely not credible "reviews."
Suzanne F on nytimes.com

I am going to dissent on this one. This buy is something Yahoo or AOL would do. Google didn't buy a technology or a business model. It bought content, an address book, and a logo. Very un-Google.
ansy on news.ycombinator.com

Do you use about Zagat? Will the Google name on Zagat make you curious enough to try it now?

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