Tired of giving businesses five stars on Yelp and TripAdvisor without getting anything back?
With this sleek black membership card you can finally exert some actual force on restaurants that were heretofore ignorant of your reviewing prowess.
No longer will you be treated by businesses like some non-reviewer whose opinions aren't even on the Internet.
"I'm going to review them anyway," ReviewerCard founder Brad Newman tells the LA Times, "so why not let them know in advance? It's not hurting anyone."
The 35-year-old "lifelong entrepreneur" says he came up with the card after visiting a restaurant in Paris where he got poor service — they served him the wrong kind of tea with his meal — until he threatened to write a bad review on TripAdvisor.
"The next thing I knew, the waiter was back with the manager, who apologized and offered to pay for my breakfast," he said.
Thinking in a hurry, Newman decided to start issuing cards that do nothing except tell proprietors that you have an account on Yelp and you're not afraid to use it.
Sure, the black piece of plastic with the words "I write Reviews" on it will set you back $100 (and obtaining one involves a rigorous screening process), but Newman claims the card pays for itself — through thinly veiled threats.
In a hotel in Geneva not long ago, Newman offered to pay half the establishment's standard 400-euro-a-night rate. "In return, I would write a great review on TripAdvisor," he said. "The woman at the hotel immediately said yes. It was a win-win for both of us."
Lawyers who spoke with the Times' David Lazarus said that since the threat isn't explicit, it's perfectly legal.
Newman says he doesn't bother mentioning in his reviews that a bit of palm-grease landed the business a good review, because he claims it "doesn't change things." He adds: "If the hotel is close to the train station or has a comfy bed," he says, "that's why it's getting a good review."
In other words, even giving in to Newman's demands doesn't guarantee a business a better review.