Zagat Unveils Plans to Revamp Their Web Site

The Zagat survey of New York City restaurants began life as a simple single sheet of paper in the early 1980s and at the time was merely a hobby for Nina and Tim Zagat. They simply prepared a piece of paper with their own survey of the best restaurants in New York and passed it around to their friends.

The story might have gone no further than that had an officer at Citibank not come across the list. Soon, 3,000 copies of the list had been distributed to every officer in Citibank and the Zagats knew they had a hit on their hands.

World Renowned Today

Today the Zagat survey is word renowned and a good or bad rating in the book can make or break the reputation of a restaurant, especially one that is just starting out. Ask any gourmand about the Zagat survey and they’ll say “of course I’m familiar with it. It’s my bible.”

However, ask the same gourmand about, the web site that the company rolled out a few years and you may see more than a few scratching their heads and wondering, “do they have their ratings listed there as well?” The Zagat company is hoping however to change all that.

A New Old Strategy

Zagat was one of the first companies to erect a pay wall around their online content. They decided that they weren’t going to give away the store just because they were now on the web. However, as with many companies that have tried in the past to erect pay walls, Zagat suffered while their competition, which remained freely available (you may have heard of Yelp for example) grew at exponential rates.

However, the Zagats are hoping to change all that by revamping their web site and offering much more in the way of free content while still keeping some material behind a pay wall in order to maximize their profits. This strategy has worked well for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, and will hopefully work for the Zagat Guide line as well.

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