The "ReviewerCard" Will Allow the Ethically Challenged to Extort Local Businesses and Screw Up Crowd-Sourced Reviews

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A Los Angeles-based entrepreneur has introduced a "ReviewerCard" which designates a person a prolific writer of reviews on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor. The purpose of this card is simple: To extort local businesses into providing better service or face the wrath of the dreaded 1-star review. Presumably having a card makes you more legitimate than simply saying, "Give me free stuff or I'll write a bad review."

See Also: --Are Yelp Extortionists Giving Restaurants the Shakedown? --Is Yelp Fair to Restaurants?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the entrepreneur in question, Brad Newman, claims that he doesn't see any harm in letting businesses know ahead of time that he's going to be reviewing them... for the expressed purpose of getting preferential treatment. Let that soak in for a bit, this is a man who says you should lead every meal with, "Hook it up or else." He goes on to say that the converse is also true, that he's happy to sell a five-star review provided the business is willing to meet his needs, such as giving him a hypothetical 50% discount.

Apparently he's never stopped to wonder why critics, food critics in particular, have a long history of anonymity. In his interview he seems to show no awareness that extorted preferential treatment perverts the degrades the very reason we have reviews in the first place: So that other "normal" people have a clue what they're going to experience before they get there.

So there you have it ladies and gents. You too can fork over $100 for a piece of plastic designating you a "reviewer" and scion of what appears to be a community of people composed entirely of Simpson's "Comic Book Guys."

So the real question here is what exactly does this ReviewerCard offer you anyways? Is there an exclusive review site with massive market footprint from which you can pass your judgement? Nope. It's literally just a card that says you're willing to pay $100 to be called a reviewer and you're just the kind of person who would wave a piece of plastic at someone in an attempt to extort better service or free stuff out of them.

We shudder at the nightmare scenario in which this card catches on. A dystopian near future where ReviewerCard-less second class citizens fight for scraps as the plasticized elite dine in opulence, waited on hand and foot by kowtowing business owners who fear the awful might of the ReviewerCard posse. Or maybe not. Maybe business owners will simply throw your ass out onto the street for trying to extort them for goods and services and laugh as punitive negative reviews either get screened by improved review filters or drive down the value of crowd sourced reviews such that people move on to review sites who screen for ReviwerCard partisans.

Of course clearly we should have gotten into the swing of things and asked for a free ReviewerCard from Mr. Newman so we don't write mean things about him.

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