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Google Trusts Zagat’s Ratings. Do You?


Google is buying Zagat Survey – the restaurant guide that relies on reviews by consumers – and gives Zagat a 30/30 point rating. On Google’s official blog on Thursday, Marissa Mayer, vice-president of Google’s Local, Maps and Location Services, gave Zagat two thumbs up. Mayer says she recently found a restaurant via Zagat with a 27/30 point rating. “With no other context, I instantly recognized and trusted Zagat’s review and recommendation,” she says. Steve Hall, a restaurant consultant in New York, says Zagat has always been a “powerhouse of information” and believes it’s a natural fit for Google.

But does that good faith reflect the experience of all hungry customers?

Restaurants on Zagat have received substantially more favorable ratings since the guide was founded in 1983, according to a 2007 survey, which crunched numbers from Zagat-rated restaurants in New York. The writer concluded: “It was no mean feat for a chef to score a food rating of 20 or higher.” Only one in four New York restaurants did so when it first began. In 2011, 58% of New York restaurants have a rating of 20 or more, according to A spokeswoman from Zagat declined to comment on the deal.

What’s more, consumers are not professional reviewers. Check out this review for a cupcake shop on Yelp: “I have to apologize. I wrote the original review for this cupcake shop because the owner is an old friend of mine who asked me to write it.  The truth is the cupcakes are regular old cupcake batter mix and for $3 each they are nothing special. Sorry I took part in this deceipt (sic) but I had to come clean.” His previous review: “Wow — the best cupcake I have ever had,” he wrote. “The cupcake is always moist and mouth-watering, but the icing is other worldly.”

Yelp spokeswoman Kristen Whisenand says Yelp has a community of users with viewable profiles and review histories and a review filter “that works to protect the consumer from shill reviews and business owners from malicious competitive reviews.”

To be fair, experts say all sites that have reviews generated by members of the public are open to influence. Gabriel Scott, president of PPX Hospitality in New York, which manages and consults restaurants, says customers are more likely to post a review when they either love or loathe a place. “It can be very damaging for the businesses,” Scott says. “Reviews should be taken with a grain of salt. But are they accurate? There’s no right or wrong answer to that.”

Pay Dirt readers, do you rely on these kinds of customer-generated reviews?


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    • Zagat’s is no longer turst worth as the food ratings have become over inflated over time. I have had significant disappointment during a recent trip to NY.

    • Zagat’s is no longer turst worth as the food ratings have become over inflated over time. I have had significant disappointment during a recent trip to NY.


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      The .theme file can specify shell icons for my computer,my documents,my network places,and the recycle bin. What about other shell icons? I ask …
      shell icons other than 4 in .theme file – MSFN Forum
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      shell icons other than 4 in .theme file
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      11-April 04
      Posted 18 July 2004 – 01:28 AM
      The .theme file can specify shell icons for my computer, my documents, my network places, and the recycle bin. What about other shell icons? I ask because I downloaded a theme that has tons of icons it doesn’t automatically use.
      Back to top
      Back to top of the page up there ^
      11-April 04
      Posted 22 July 2004 – 02:56 PM
      To answer myself:
      For other than these four, icons within dll’s need to be changed. This involves using something like Resource Hacker. Downside is that if you apply service packs or security patches, your hacked files could be overwritten by the newer version files, which means you will have to resource hack again to restore your icons.
      For more info, see here:…showtopic=21403
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      Back to top of the page up there ^
      11-April 04
      Posted 22 July 2004 – 04:10 PM
      [BM]Crusher posted the following reg entries. Perhaps these can be altered to your own custom ico files, just as they are in the theme files? This method would be way cool. Probably doesn’t work for all shell icons though, if not all shell icons have a registry entry.
      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
      ; Administrative Tools Icon
      ; Audio CD Icon
      ; AVI File Icon
      ; Batch File (CMD File) Icon
      ; Bitmap Image Icon
      ; CDROM Icon
      ; Desktop Icon
      ; Dialup Networking
      ; Email Icons
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail\Microsoft Outlook\DefaultIcon]
      [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Clients\Mail\Outlook Express\DefaultIcon]
      ; Entire Network
      ; Internet Icon
      ; Find Icon
      ; Font Files Icon
      ; Font Folder (Control Panel) Icon
      ; GIF Image
      ; Help Icon
      ; History Icon
      ; INI File (Settings) Icon
      ; Media Clip Icon
      ; Movie Clip Icon
      ; MPEG File Icon
      ; My Computer Icon
      ; My Documents Icon
      ; My Network Places Icon
      ; Network Neighborhood Icon
      ; Quicktime File Icon
      ; Recycle Bin Icon
      ; Run Icon
      ; Scanners and Cameras Icon
      ; Scheduled Tasks Icon
      ; Subscriptions Icon
      ; Text File Icon
      ; Web Folders Icon
      ; Write Document (RTF) Icon
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      25-March 06
      Posted 25 March 2006 – 10:38 PM
      Yeah, I’m looking for something exactly like this.
      I’ve tried just adding things to replace registry values in the same manner the My Computer, My Network Places, My Documents and Recycle Bin does, but it doesn’t accept them. The syntax is just the same in the .theme file though.
      I think what has to be done is whatever reads the ".theme" files has to be altered to accept more changeable registry values.
      In theory the themes could not only change more icons in the theme, but could also replace the LogonUI.exe’s value with another one. Changing logon screens for different themes.
      Does anyone know what program/app/file reads the .theme files? I’m a novice programmer, and I might be able to alter the necessary thing to accept more values if I knew…
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      Back to top of the page up there ^
      25-March 06
      Posted 26 March 2006 – 10:44 AM
      I have found that Rundll32.exe is used to run desk.cpl to manage the themes. I however can’t locate the specific area for allowing more registry changes than the normal My Computer, My Network Places, My Documents and the Recycle Bin.
      Can someone who knows more about how to alter the windows files help us out?
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      31-July 04
      OS:Windows 7 x86
      Posted 24 June 2006 – 10:09 AM
      Don’t forget the WAV icon. it’s in a tricky place under SoundRec:
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    • Gabriel Scott is the least expert “expert” you could have found.

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