Google, Zagat, and Frommers: Where does Charlottesville come in?

C-VILLE news wire. File photo. C-VILLE news wire. File photo.

Google announced August 13 that it’s buying travel guide company Frommers, and plans to use the brand to build up its local search results. The search engine giant is already doing just that with content from Zagat, which it bought last year—ratings from the famous review guide will soon be folded into Google listings for restaurants in Charlottesville and around the country.

As Wall Street Journal and New York Times bloggers have pointed out, the $25 million Frommers buy signals a further shift by Google from user-generated content to curated search results created in part by editors working behind the scenes under brand names that carry some weight.

Megan Headley, C-VILLE’s own food and wine editor, is part of that shift. She was hired in April to create what’s likely to be an online-only, Google-search-oriented Zagat guide for our area. Google also tapped local experts to create similar guides in Richmond and Virginia Beach, and is in the process of wrapping up the survey stage of the project (the surveys were supposed to close earlier this month, but Headley says you’ve still got time to fill one out for the Charlottesville guide if you’re interested).

Zagat ratings are already showing up in Google results in major markets (search for Jean Georges in New York and there it is under the map listing, a little maroon 28 out of 30). The partnership with the famous restaurant review guide makes sense, Headley said—Zagat’s ratings are fueled by diner opinions, and Google’s search algorithm is fundamentally democratic.

The marriage with Frommer’s is a little more off the beaten path, and indicates Google is trying to hit on the right blend of information sources in its quest to solidify its status as the go-to place for all knowledge. It’s a formula everybody in media is chasing, Headley said. Google, bloggers, print publications—those with the info are trying to figure out how best to come at readers online, and stay afloat in the process.

Not only are they trying to figure out what people want, and how much and how fast, “but also how to make money on it,” Headley said. “That’s the weird place we are right now.”

Posted In:     News

Tags:     ,

Previous Post

Charlottesville bird club gears up for fall migrations

Next Post

Mark Brown plans to roll out new Charlottesville cabs



Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of