Zagat comes under fire from time to time about their restaurant reviewing policies, particularly the extent to which Tim and Nina Zagat exert direct influence over rankings—see, for example, Levine vs. Zagat, 2006. Essentially, as Cuozzo recently pointed out, it's almost impossible for the books to be as purely user-generated as represented, if for no other reason than that Zagat cannot prevent campaigning and ballot box stuffing.
Which brings us to the business of today, Zagat's shiny new redesign (right, above is the new logo, below the old). Among new flairs such as full color pages and slicker maps, the word 'Survey' has been dropped from the cover. The first of the new guides, which are, indeed, quite smart looking, was their 2007 NYC Shopping (out 3/7). The first of the restaurant guides to follow suit was the 2007/08 Boston Restaurants survey, which launched on April 12. Says spokesperson Carrie Carlson, "An overwhelming majority of consumers recognize us as "Zagat," as opposed to "Zagat Survey," which is why we increased the visibility of our brand name on the front cover." All well and good, of course, but also a convenient first step towards giving guide book editors more influence over ratings and, especially, front-of-book rankings, should they ever want it.
· Redesign Guide for Media [.pdf; Zagat]