Today we received an Tnooz.com article about the "ReviewerCard" , created by an entrepreneur named Brad Newman who aims to appeal to those fond of analyzing restaurants, hotels and the like. Apparently this black card, when shown at your venue, is supposed to intimate to your host that you'll be checking them out pretty carefully and hope to receive "premium service".
We've discussed before when businesses try to solicit positive feedback on sites such as TripAdvisor, by offering complimentary stays or other discounts, and yet this particular card, has been called, as we've seen "The DoucheCard". So, what's the difference between being a card-carrying member stating upfront they're willing to provide good reviews for good service and being asked to do so from the business itself?
The story stirred up controversy, and Carla Caccavale, a hotel PR executive and brand strategist for TrustYou, mentioned in the story, broke it down. "These card holders threaten the truth and transparency of the online review world as a whole. It takes what used to be valuable feedback and makes it worthless. It enables businesses to purchase praise."
When the program first began, apparently "members" where charged $100 to belong to this "club".Now, it's free, however, you must be approved after filling out a detailed questionnaire and show that you are indeed, a passionate reviewer.
Newman stands by his product, the article provides a quote of his saying, “I believe in the good of people.The ReviewerCard is a merit based system made to protect consumers and remind businesses to give them the customer service they deserve. This card is not intended for freebies, but rather to insure the experience goes seamlessly for everyone.”
The fine print at the bottom of the application states (cut for clarity): "By applying to ReviewerCard, you acknowledge that you are a passionate online reviewer intending to use the card only as a form of protection against bad experiences. Any attempt to bully, extort, or browbeat a business for special treatment is not accepted and is explicitly prohibited in the ReviewerCard terms of service." Thank goodness for that. We can just hear a bunch of "Do you know WHO I am?" shrieks from East to West.
Another warning, "ReviewerCard does not guarantee anything for members and entire system is merit based. There is no charge for a ReviewerCard and our guidelines on further rules and regulations will be explained to new members upon acceptance."
Caccavale makes it known that she's no fan of ReviewerCard when she writes "How exactly do you get your PhD in review psychology? In its next evolution is might also come with a hat that says: “I am pompous and arrogant." I hope businesses that come across these cardholders tell them something along the following lines:
“Your card is not welcome here; we treat all of our customers equally and respectfully, delivering the best possible customer experience that is humanly possible, whether they are writing a review or not.”
Let us know what you think! Do you think the ReviewerCard will last long? Has any hotelier, restaurant, or business accepted one of these cards? If so, why? If not, why? We're all ears.
Read more here.