Am I the only one who thinks that Brad Newman’s ‘great idea’ seems like something out of the Sopranos? He’s creating a card that is a ‘protection racket‘ where instead of threats of breaking arms it’s fear of a negative review. It’s pay or play for positive reviews that undermine average citizens voicing their opinions with no expectation of reward!
After learning of the Reviewer Card from an article in the LA Times I agree with David Lazarus that this is a shakedown. But really the only surprise is that someone else hasn’t thought of this reprehensible way of intimidating business owners! Of course some would say that Yelp a few years ago had it’s own racket with their own version with their advertising program to assist business owners to control reviews. In case you need a refresher here’s a link to the article ‘Yelp and the business of extortion 2.0’ as detailed in the East Bay Express (2/18/09). It’s a reprehensible example of how social media can be used to intimidate for personal gain. Posting a review that has been garnered because of free services or items isn’t fair. If you write a review of a product that has been given gratis or with a substantial discount that should be listed in a prominent way so that people can decide rather they believe that the comments are forthright. Instead plopping down a card and demanding discounts or free services in exchange for a positive review is just as wrong as a business soliciting positive reviews with ‘incentives’.
This card is on the forefront of people seeking to monetize popular social media programs that they have no control or busines interest by those who are unscrupulous. Of course it’s easy to say that a business owner should refuse to participate in this program but doing what’s right doesn’t keep the lights on or pay staff! It boggles the mind what other ‘ideas’ will come out over the next year to make money with no sense of fair play!