Business, Sci-Tech

Google acquires restaurant rating site Zagat

By Sipho Hlongwane 9 September 2011

Google have announced the acquisition of restaurant rating site Zagat. It is like they looked at the deal-buying site frenzy and chose to do the exact opposite. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Google bought Zagat, a popular restaurant rating site, for an undisclosed amount. “Moving forward, Zagat will be a cornerstone of our local offering—delighting people with their impressive array of reviews, ratings and insights, while enabling people everywhere to find extraordinary (and ordinary) experiences around the corner and around the world,” wrote Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for Local, Maps and Location Services on Google’s official blog.

Zagat was founded more than 30 years ago as a way to collate diner experiences into one platform, and then provide a single rating. It is driven by diner experience. Zagat’s surveys could be one of the world’s earliest examples of user-generated content.

Google’s decision is in marked contrast to the new fad in tech, the group-buying site. Started by Groupon, the craze has seen the deal-buying site spawn hundreds of thousands of copycats throughout the world. The business model always looked like benefiting the company peddling the deals rather than the merchants whose establishments were looking to attract customers. Even Facebook, which had got onto the group-buying bandwagon, admitted that it wasn’t such a good idea, and shut their deals site down.

Unlike Groupon, Zagat doesn’t really focus on the bottom-line-shaking cuts to prices. Good customer service, ambience and dining is what gets you a high Zagat rating. DM

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