Zagat Survey has launched its first ad-supported Web site for mobile devices, a platform it believes will be a primary way to serve, and advertise to, “affluent and engaged” customers. The site, Zagat.mobi, is sponsored at launch by the entertainment- and dining-themed Visa Signature credit card, which appears in clickable banner ads on the new mobile presence. Visa Signature will be the exclusive advertiser on Zagat.mobi for the first two months. (…) Mobile services player Starcut helped Zagat design the new Zagat.mobi site, which features Zagat restaurant, nightlife and hotel content for all major U.S. cities, London and other select international destinations. (…)
The mobile site differs from the company’s main Web site, ZAGAT.com and from its $30-per-year ZAGAT TO GO smartphone software (…). It is optimized for quick display on all Web-enabled mobile devices, offering free access to restaurant, nightlife and hotel information. Mobile-friendly features include links for directions, movie times, airlines and other information as well as the ability to use SMS to communicate with friends, said Zagat. Mahle said ZAGAT.com subscribers will be able to view Zagat ratings and reviews of businesses.
What it means: A couple of interesting insights on that roll-out:
- Zagat has redesigned their site specifically for mobile access. That’s a smart decision. (It’s funny how everyone uses the iPhone now to showcase their mobile site…)
- They’re promoting it using the .mobi extension. I’m still not sure .mobi domain names will catch fire but I think it can help brand recognition at this point.
- They say they’re going ad-supported but, in reality, they kept their freemium subscription model in place. You need to pay to see their trusted ratings and reviews. BTW, an interesting debate around the freemium vs. ad-supported model is happening currently.