It's tough to be an old media outlet trying to make it in the digital age, and despite having a website, the majority of the Zagat's income comes from their print publications. In a New York Times profile, some suggest their pay wall is to blame; people are cheap and tend to prefer free user-generated reviews on sites like Yelp.
The Zagat site will address these issues when it undergoes a major overhaul next year, making the site "more search-engine friendly" and increasing social features like their recent food truck locator. But the pay wall stays. No way they're going to cannibalize book sales.
Not to worry: the Zagats are focusing on mobile devices, citing a public willingness to pay for apps. After all, says Nina Zagat, the original Zagat books were basically a mobile application: "When I think back on the business model, with our books designed to fit in a pocketbook, there we were at the beginning with all three things that we're all talking about today...Mobile, social and local. That is in the D.N.A. of Zagat." So ahead of the times.