clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yelp's Elite Review Mafia: Influential and Hungry For Free Shit

New, 10 comments

Members of Yelp's Elite Squad, the avid reviewers who get invited to all sorts of free food and booze events, were recently scolded for some feeding frenzy-style misbehavior. However Businessweek says these "personal entitlement issues" persist within the group. While Yelp limits the information it shares about the "chosen people" of the "strange, exclamation point-laden netherworld of online restaurant reviewing," the article includes interviews with a number of Elite Yelpers:

"I like to tell my friends that my opinion is important," says 29-year-old research scientist Kristin Patrick. "When I go into a restaurant, the owner says, 'You're here to write a review, aren't you?' I'll say, 'Don't worry, I'm Elite.'"

How does Yelp find these people? Why, through "a clandestine Skull and Bones-like process" by a secretive governing body known as The Council. For real.

Other than free dinners, Elite members also get to go on comped winery tours, a "4,000-person Yelpapalooza" (this summer in the Bay Area), and "goofy parties where people dress up like cupcakes." That last one sounds really dirty. Anyone have photos?

· Yelp's Online Reviewing Mafia [Businessweek]
· All Yelp Coverage on Eater [-E-]