What Zagat Begat: A New Killer App, Perhaps

Where would Yelp be without these guys?

Yesterday’s lengthy report on the Zagat Survey empire in the Times business section brought up many similar points we raised in our own profile of Tim and Nina Zagat last year: That even though they broke the mold of how New Yorkers get restaurant recommendations (from their populace, rather than a few pundits) and lead the way for nearly every user-generated content site out there, their online business is perceived as struggling.

(They also scored an anecdote about the early years we regret to have missed, about how the Zagat’s knew they were onto something when a friend working as an officer at Citibank said their photocopied bulletin had just been sent out via company mail. “And when I asked how many officers there were,” Tim Zagat told the Times, “he told me there were 3,000.”)

The Times piece — and the Zagats — themselves raise some good points about how most content creators (we’re one!) are rethinking whether it should all be given away for free and also that Zagat might have missed the laptop revolution but could make bank thanks to their headway on smart phones. Which reminds us: Does anybody out there want to help us create the Edible Manhattan i-Phone app?

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