“Reviewer Card” Helps Public Blackmail Restaurants

A Californian entrepreneur has started selling a “ReviewerCard” that offers an easy blackmailing route for Yelpers/Googlers seeking attention. The all-black card says “I write reviews” in all caps, and is meant to be shown to restaurant employees as the cardholder enters the business.

From Huffington Post,

…the ReviewerCard looks fairly real. It has, in addition to the imprimatur of a major newspaper, a slickly-designed website with an elaborate application process. Newman told the LA Times that he had approved 100 applications from reviewers he deigned qualified to use the cards, who paid $100 to acquire it.

…”Designer and avid traveler” Kim Friedman, for example, raved that getting a ReviewerCard has made his “obsession with writing reviews even more worthwhile.”

“I show my membership card at appropriate venues and basically guarantee myself VIP service,” he continued. “I find myself constantly pulling it out, because who doesn’t want better experiences and people knowing the impact you can have.”

According to the website’s “Virtuous Cycle”, the card should be displayed as you enter a restaurant, at which time you’ll enjoy premium service, and “build rapport”. Yeah, an implied threat is a great way to build rapport.

The LA Times is running a poll asking if people think it’s a good idea. So far, 89% say no. The Times doesn’t seem to think so either –

This is, of course, wrong on many levels and is an example of how the culture of amateurism that was once one of the Internet’s more endearing qualities has become a free-for-all unburdened by any thought of ethics or moral integrity.

If I owned a restaurant, and someone came in waving a card like this at me, I’d do my best to make sure the door hit him in the ass as I threw him out.

Your thoughts are welcome

  1. says

    Abso-effen-lutely right. This disgusting concept is naked extortion. If I were a restaurant owner (easy for me to say, I know), I’d tell any “Reviewer Card”-waving holdup person—through gritted teeth and forced polite smile—that we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, and we’re applying it in their case and that we’ll be happy to tweet/facebook/blog/LikedIn exactly why we denied service. Is the guy who does this card clueless (the LA Times makes it sound that way) or callous or stupid or (shudder) the next wave . . . ?

  2. Rick says

    Geez, I don’t even use a coupon on the Yelp iPhone app at restaurants anymore because I don’t want to influence the service. I can’t even imagine what kind of a$$ would use this card at all.

  3. says

    I think it’s a great idea. I think it totally depends on the attitude you are approaching it with. People meet chefs, get special treatment and get discounts on food because of who they are, the people they know, or how often they’ve been to the establishment or because of the fact that they write reviews, all of the time. Personally, I would not show the card immediately, because then how can you guarantee an authentic experience? You can’t. You should go in there as a regular Joe Schmo and see how the experience is (at least a couple of times) and if you like the experience, go back with the review card, hob nob with the chef and see if you can find out about some meals that aren’t on the menu.

    • Morris says

      Visit twice, whip out the black card and the chef miraculously appears in a puff of smoke and fawns all over you showering you with foie stuffed animal style burgers and discount vouchers? That’s sidesplittingly funny on so many levels.

    • industryspeak says

      I cannot begin to convey how terrible of an idea this is. If a restaurant appreciates you and gives you special treatment, it will never, EVER be because of a card you paid $100 for that states you write online reviews. It will be because you’re an excellent diner who isn’t a jerk and who’s worked to build a relationship with them. You come in often, you bring friends, you recommend others, you’re always a gem to serve? Maybe you’ll get an extra dish or a special glass of wine. Chefs are hard-pressed to create off-menu meals for anyone, much less some diner who’s been in a couple of times who flashed a card to a staff member and therefore wants special treatment. It all screams of “You are trying too hard.” Because you are.

      The only way to ever guarantee an authentic experience is to BE AUTHENTIC, and not hold the promise of a review / veiled threat of a bad review over a person. Talk about a power trip.

  4. pascal says

    I think low class restaurants and chains will gobble that up graciously. As for chef-owned places, I can’t guarantee what else will be in the cardholder plate. This is just ridiculous!
    Personally, I’ll show them the door.

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