All the way back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, two crazy kids in love — actually two married corporate lawyers, but that's just not as vibey — moved from New York to Paris and a dream was born. While in Paris, Tim and Nina Zagat began to compile a list of their favorite local restaurants, keeping track of whether each was or was not worthy of future visits. The idea stuck and when the Zagats moved back to New York a few years later, they began compiling a list of New York restaurants.
After initially enlarging their list with data from friends, the Zagats decided to create a survey that would bring in even more information. The couple launched the Zagat Survey in 1979 and, three years later, published a guide to New York restaurants that quickly sold 7,500 copies at local bookstores. By 1984, the Zagat Guide was selling 40,000 copies per year and the Zagats themselves exited the legal arena and jumped into pushing surveys and selling guidebooks full-time.
Eventually the brand expanded to include hotels, clubs, movie theaters, golf courses, and so forth. By 2005, the Zagat Survey included 70 different cities and drew input from more than 250,000 individuals. Google eventually got involved and ruined everything — thanks, Google — but the point here is that the Zagat brand, at least for a couple of decades, was the gold standard for finding a place to eat out, sleep over, play golf, etc., in whatever large city that you happened to be staying in.
Perhaps the real legacy of the Zagats is the idea of substituting a "man on the street" perspective for the snooty aesthetic of professional reviewers, and also the idea of gathering a broad base of opinions to create an overall rating. You don't have to look that hard to pick out the origins of everything from Yelp to Angie's List. G2 Crowd (launched in 2012) is one of the newer entrants to the market, specializing in software reviews. You could say that G2 is sort of like an IT Zagat Guide.
Not only that, but it's an IT Zagat Guide where you can get information about TestOut products. Pretty cool, huh? We're proud to have a 4.7-star rating (out of 5) on G2 and also pleased that there are other people out there who can tell you about how awesome we are. I mean, we're happy to act in that role ourselves, and we frequently do. Just as the Zagats knew back in 1979, however, there's something about hearing it from someone else. You know: Don't take our word for it ...