Here at 3PRIME we’ve taken a dedicated approach to Local Marketing. Much of the reason we’ve gone this route is because of Google’s focus on connecting users with local businesses. In large part, this change has seen the rise of Google Places, where businesses show off their location as well as reviews submitted by customers. Google has just taken a step to increase the importance of their local listings by purchasing Zagat Ratings. You may not recognize the name Zagat (they publish the skinny, red rectangular books on the end caps in book stores) but it’s a respected global company which gathers customer reviews on all things dining.
The obvious guess is that Google acquired Zagat in order to take advantage of the company’s reviews, integrating them into their Places pages. Currently Zagat’s reviews are available via subscription on their site or in their books. This gives the company an opportunity expand further into new media and it gives Google a quality content provider. Only time will tell for sure just how Google positions Zagat. For further information check out this Search Engine Land article.