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EaterWire: Zagat vs. Chowhound vs. Yelp vs. The World

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Lots about Zagat in the news today. Today the restaurant guide launched a free Chowhound-esque discussion board for several cities, including LA. So far, it looks like a cross between eGullet and Chowhound with top categories to post in, then users can query and answer at will. It will be interesting to see how much it gets used and if Zagat will police as stringently as Chowhound. But it does beg the question: Do we need so many places for everyone to spout off to each other about the same topics? I get tired of seeing the same questions asked on Chowhound (how many times can people ask about the best burger in LA?) let alone seeing the same questions asked somewhere else. Throw in user reviews from Citysearch, Yelp and the LA Times, and it's starting to feel a little crowded. Welcome to Shilling Street.

Then again, maybe it's better to leave it to the public vs. the Zagat staffers. Over at SFGate, Michael Bauer discusses an article in SmartMoney, a supposed expose on how Zagat tabulates the scores, why a Cheesecake Factory scores higher in Cleveland than in Las Vegas, and Tim and Nina's unbreakable grip on the restaurant community. (Insert Chris Farley/Adam Sandler Zagat skit here.)
· Zagat Los Angeles Discussion Forum []
· Bashing the Zagat Survey [Between Meals]