Google will sell Zagat to review site The Infatuation

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  • Google will sell restaurant review company Zagat to The Infatuation for an undisclosed amount.
  • Zagat was purchased by Google in 2011 for $151 million.
  • The Infatuation is a nine-year-old company that plans to uphold and respect the decades-old Zagat brand.

Back in 2011, Google bought the nearly-forty-year-old brand Zagat for $151 million. Google intended to use Zagat’s brand name recognition as well as its history of reviews to bolster its own reviews embedded in the Google Maps app.

However, it looks like Zagat’s usefulness to Google has worn out, as it is offloading the brand to nine-year-old reviews site The Infatuation. At the beginning of this year, rumors developed that Google was planning to sell, and it looks like they have proven to be true.

The price Google is selling Zagat for was not disclosed.

Life under Google wasn’t always great for Zagat. Although Google made a heavy emphasis of Zagat’s presence within the Google ecosystem at first, it wasn’t long before Zagat started being pushed more and more into the background. Google most likely thought of the brand as irrelevant as its own reviews and recommendations data began to supersede Zagat’s.

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But The Infatuation, a restaurant reviews site that started in much the same fashion that Zagat did, sees the brand as an iconic institution and is thrilled to welcome it to the ranks.

“How often does an iconic brand like Zagat become available?” said Chris Stang, a co-founder of The Infatuation. He added, “When you think about its history and what Zagat means to so many people, it’s a huge opportunity.”

Nina Zagat, one of the co-founders of the Zagat brand, also is enthusiastic about the move from Google to the much-smaller company. She said, “Tim [Zagat, her husband, and co-founder of the company] and I are very excited for Zagat’s next chapter with The Infatuation,” she said. “Their innovative approach, and their passion for helping people discover great restaurants and for building community line up with what we built with Zagat from the very beginning.”

The Infatuation did not disclose its exact plans for Zagat but did state that it intends to keep Zagat as a separate brand. It might be using it as a user-generated-content collection counterpart to The Infatuation. But Mr. Stang made one thing clear: the Zagat brand will be respected and cherished at The Infatuation.

“We’re just trying to build something that takes this powerful brand and continues to grow it,” he said.