Zagat has given up on the strategy for its website and will now be charging to access reviews on its website. Seems that it's gonna be $14.95 a year (not too bad). Don't know if it's because the website was cannibalizing sales of the books or the idea of people making reservations through the site just fizzled. (I suspect that it's both.)
Here's the letter I got in the mail (because I subscribe to the ZagatWire newsletter).
We have important news about zagat.com and want you to be the first to know. Tomorrow, we are converting zagat.com to a subscription service. You will be automatically enrolled as a Charter Member through the duration of your ZagatWire subscription with our compliments.
What does this change mean to you? You will continue to receive your ZagatWire newsletter as before. However, you will also receive, for free, the following additional zagat.com subscriber benefits:
* Ratings and Reviews: Our trademark restaurant ratings and reviews for 45 cities worldwide. By year-end, coverage will expand to 70 cities.
* New Restaurants: A look at restaurants as they open throughout the year.
* Advanced Search: With 50+ criteria, you'll find the perfect place for any occasion.
* Discounts: Up to 25% off at our online Shop.
* Reservations: Direct online reservations access to over 2,100 restaurants.
* Voting: The opportunity to rate and review restaurants year-round.
* Dining Diary: Coming soon, an online record of your restaurant experiences, both positive and negative.
Also, as a thank you for being one of our first subscribers, your next year of zagat.com will renew at only $9.95, a 33% discount off the regular membership charge.
We hope you will enjoy everything zagat.com has to offer. As always, we welcome any suggestions you have for improving our service. Please e-mail us with your feedback:
Nina & Tim Zagat