The ReviewerCard: internet-age extortion

The LA Times has news of a new thing: the ReviewerCard.

ReviewerCard charges $100 for a black card that says, “ReviewerCard: I write reviews.” Flash your card, and the world’s your oyster.

Brad Newman came up with the idea when…

he was at a restaurant ordering breakfast and was treated rudely by the waiter when he asked for green tea with his meal instead of ordinary tea.

Newman expressed his displeasure. He told the waiter that he planned to post a negative review on TripAdvisor.

“The next thing I knew, the waiter was back with the manager, who apologized and offered to pay for my breakfast,” Newman recalled.

A little lightbulb appeared above his head. Why not go into the extortion business?

He probably didn’t think of it in those exact words, but that’s really what it is.

The idea is simple. You approach an establishment – a restaurant, say, or a hotel. You say hello. You flash your ReviewerCard. And you say GIVE ME A BIG DISCOUNT OR I WILL FUCK YOU UP.

Okay, maybe not using those exact words. But the sentiment is the same.

“I took out my card and asked if I could pay 200 euros,” Newman said. “In return, I would write a great review on TripAdvisor. The woman at the hotel immediately said yes. It was a win-win for both of us.”

Yeah, but wasn’t he actually saying that he’d write a crappy review if he didn’t get that 50% discount?

“That’s one way of looking at it,” Newman replied.

It’s hard to disagree with the LA Times’ take on it:

I can only hope that businesses see it for what it is: a shameless bid to extract personal favors under threat of Internet ruin. I can only hope they politely inform ReviewerCard holders that they’re entitled to the same treatment as all other customers.

I’m quite sure they will do that.

And then they’ll put something unspeakable in the ReviewerCard holder’s food.