ID cards for online reviewers – shakedown, preferential treatment or good idea?

From The Los Angeles Times:

Brad Newman thinks that people who post lots of reviews on websites such as Yelp or TripAdvisor don’t get enough respect from the businesses they write about.

So he’s come up with his own business, a Manhattan Beach company called ReviewerCard that issues IDs to prolific online reviewers to help them get better service than the rest of us.

Granted, that’s not how Newman, 35, would put it. He sees ReviewerCard as a way to enhance the relationship between amateur reviewers and the hotels or restaurants they visit.

“I’m going to review them anyway,” Newman said, “so why not let them know in advance? It’s not hurting anyone.”

No one, that is, except businesses that face the implicit threat of a negative review if they don’t lavish special attention on the ReviewerCard holder.

No one except review sites like Yelp that find themselves being used as leverage for an unaffiliated reviewer’s personal gain.

No one except readers of ReviewerCard holder reviews who may not know that the reviewer received preferential treatment to ensure a glowing write-up.

No one except other customers who may have had to wait longer for a table or couldn’t get a room because they didn’t have the temerity to make the upfront threat of a scathing online takedown.

“It’s not a threat,” Newman insisted. “It’s a way to get the service you deserve.”

OK, let’s back up a bit.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Los Angeles Times