The mobile check-in app Foursquare will now recognize Zagat-rated restaurants in a new deal - - but I suspect it won't be enough to fend off its biggest rival, Yelp.
Foursquare allows users to check-in at different urban locations so friends can know where they are at the moment. According to the New York Times, when checking into Zagat-rated restaurants, Foursquare will give special bonuses within the app. I imagine, like other deals, it could lead to Foursquare exclusive offers and discounts. Foursquare is a fun start-up that definitely shows the benefits of real-time social networking while encouraging people to actually be social.
However, this new move doesn't do much more than acknowledge Foursquare's threat, Yelp. The popular foodie ratings website recently updated its iPhone/iPod Touch app to include Foursqure-style "check-ins" and similar touches. Both Yelp and Foursquare realize that foodies are now a major media growth point.
Unfortunately, though Zagat is well-known and well-respected, the majority of Foursqure users probably don't care what the 30-year-old rating service thinks. Zagat reports are still the most popular in New York City, which represents only a fraction of Foursquare users. Furthermore, Zagat's insular rating process seems dated compared to today's crowdsourced ratings - - represented by, well, Yelp. Zagat even had a hard time selling itself in 2008, something indicative of the shift happening in the review world. In short, Foursquare and Yelp are as new millennium as Zagat is the last one.
Foursquare working with Zagat is a great start, but it needs to make a deal with a hipper service to bring true added value to its young users.