ReviewerCard: Scam Or Social Clout Indicator?

The Los Angeles Times published a rather scathing column yesterday about a new product called ReviewerCard that lets “select” bloggers and frequent reviewers on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp flash what appears to be a business or credit card to demonstrate their clout to hotels, restaurants and travel purveyors.

The problem? This company, run by Brad Newman, an individual with no real connection to the travel industry, gives out this “ReviewerCard” to anyone they deem fit, and encourages these so-called reviewers to use the card to obtain travel discounts, freebies and other incentives. Of course, if they don’t … the implicit threat is that they will write a bad review.

Newman defended himself to the Times, stating. “I’m going to review them anyway… so why not let them know in advance? It’s not hurting anyone.”

As a journalist legitimately trained in the art of inspecting and reviewing restaurants and hotels (complete with detailed, 100+ page checklists and inspection metrics), this appalling card is an indicator to us of everything that is wrong with “bloggers” and “reviewers” today.

But before we impose our own judgement on you, readers, we’d like to open this up for comments and questions. Do you think ReviewerCard is a good idea? Does it make businesses more aware of influential people who are apt to write a review about their service, or does it encourage an entitlement mentality and more biased reviews than already exist in the marketplace.

We’d love to hear your thoughts – leave a comment, below.