Regardless, this is a major development for Google and local. It’s bad news for all other competitors except those with the strongest brands and consumer loyalty.
Even though Zagat was a brand in decline, it’s still powerful. And the content that Google is getting will be huge in terms of closing the gap between Google and Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor. Google is now a publisher, but will it preserve the books? Will it continue to do the outbound Zagat survey? Will it kill the subscription model?
Yelp and TripAdvisor will survive; don’t let anyone sell you this is a “Yelp killer.” But it takes away one of Yelp’s primary selling points: volume of reviews.
Google has enormous “gravitational power” for people generally and for local (and mobile) search users. This will only further support that “pull.” I also adds more fuel to the “reviews are critical for SEO and otherwise” fire. Will Zagat become the primary channel for reviews acquisition on Google?
What do all of you think about this acquisition, its impact on competition and on Google and the way it does business?
I don’t anticipate any regulatory problems or issues with the transaction.