Ryan Charles was the social media whiz kid at Zagat: the aging empire that was once part of the Silicon Alley 100 but has been drifting further and further out of touch as Yelp, Google, Citisearch, Menupages and others scooped the old Zagat survey. At Zagat, Mr. Charles headed up mobile partnerships with Foursquare, Foodspotting, and took the lead on mobile apps, which kept Zagat in the game. He left to start Consmr, another user reviews-based site.
When news broke that Google was acquiring Zagat, Mr. Charles declined to give interviews (or answer questions about equity). But he took to Tumblr with his thoughts on the big question: Why did Google buy Zagat?
“I believe that through Google Maps and Places, eventually Google’s local content would become the standard on Android devices,” Mr. Charles says. “With Motorola they could ship devices with their Places solution embedded everywhere. Their mobile web enhancements were just the toe in the water. And with Zagat they’ve shown how serious they are about local.”
“This was all about credibility,” Mr. Charles writes. “I can’t see Google going into the print guide business or the sale of corporate guides. Their efforts with print advertising did not yield the results they wanted. I don’t have to share any stats about the print world. Just look at the closing of Borders. Imagine if The Daily started a print version?”
Yikes, comparing The Google to The Daily? A print version of The Daily, which no one reads or cares about, is more analogous to a VHS version of a Laserdisc. Sleepy Hollow or Tokyo Raiders, anyone?