The most active and trusted user on Yelp is an "elite user."
Not everyone can be an elite user. You have to apply. And if you get accepted, your membership is good for one year. It is a club. And if you get approved, get ready for some fun and power!
When I say they are the most trusted, I mean their review will NOT get removed. That's how much power Yelp has given them. And elite users know how much power they have and use it to their advantage.
They ask businesses for discounts, passes, and freebies, in return for a positive review. And it works. Owners are happy to give the elite users what they want because they know they will get a positive review in return.
Elite users have so much power, that they personally throw events together. The kind where they get together, go to a business, and get their discounts, passes, and freebies in exchange for lot's of positive reviews. They hang out and get compt, in exchange for a positive review!
Some elite users stay in touch through social media and create groups online where they announce when and where the next event is. And for some owners it's worth it because the owner is not just getting ONE positive review, but a BUNCH of positive reviews.
How corrupt does it get? Even some business owners start events for elite users. Not all, but some. That's how corrupt it has gotten. And when the owners throw events for elite users, no one can come to the event unless they are an elite user. The elite user has to prove they are a member and they wear a name tag. It is basically an event where owners are pandering to elite users and trying to game the system. And it happens all the time.
Not every owner does this with elite users. But they can still have problems.
Some elite users, not all, pressure owners to give them discounts, passes, and freebies, or else they will write a negative review. They try to bribe the owner to get what they want. And it gets worse. Remember how some elite users get together for positive reviews? Well some get together for negative reviews. If they don't get what they want, they bombard the business with negative reviews.
Sometimes they even use social media and make announcements about leaving negative reviews. They get together sometimes like a mob or a pack. They go in droves on the internet and try to punish the business for not getting what they want.
Yelp knows these things can happen. They claim they are against it. They punish elite users and owners who try to game the system. But Yelp is the one who allow the foundation to be there. They are the one giving so much power to elite users. They celebrate elite users. And Yelp won't take that power away from elite users.
Elite users are some of the biggest supporters for Yelp for obvious reasons. In fact, part of the reason Yelp has become so big, is because of the elite users. Yelp wants more people to become elite users.
And you know whats really interesting? Despite all this, Yelp also throws events for elite users. Im not kidding. Yelp does it also.
They do the same routine: Only elite users can come, and they have to prove they are an elite user, and they wear a name tag. Yelp invites them to post reviews for various establishments, acting as a local ambassador of sorts. And in exchange, these elite users are invited to exclusive parties and go all over the country to varoius events. The elite users are made to feel as though they are social media royalty. And at these Yelp events, the eliter users get freebies and other goodies in exchange for "honest" reviews. They throw events where they celebrate, reward, and elevate elite users.
I am not kidding! There are articles about this online.
They have made elite users quite famous. I mean on Yelps website they write how elite users are known for their epic events. Elite users are a club. They have power and hang out together. Kind of like Skull and bones. In Yelps illogical world, this is all ok because elite users can be trusted.
Yelp supposedly is not trying to throw events for the same reasons as others do. But so what? The point is they are stilll doing it. They are still giving the elite users power and creating an atmosphere for unfair things to happen. They are still celebrating their elite users. And they are doing all this when they know there is unfairness going on in non - Yelp events.
How can they claim they are against unfairness and corruption and yet do all this themselves when they know it's happening? How can they claim elite users are the most trusted users when they know what is happening? They know what is happening and yet . It goes back to this Yelp mentality of ignoring the bad if good is happening.
And anyway, even if the event is done by Yelp, it is safe to assume corruption happens. It's common sense. Does Yelp really think everything is fair and legit? I think it's fair to assume some Yelp person has asked an elite user to write a positive or negative review for some business. It's an assumption, but not everyone does things the honest way.
And elite users love Yelp. And I don't blame them. It can be fun. And some of them will defend Yelp.
Let's say an owner gets so frustrated with Yelp the company or elite users, that they go online to one of Yelps chat forums, and just vent. Or maybe they go to one of Yelps chat forums for help. Or maybe they want to let others know what is happening. Well sometimes if an owner does that, a bunch of elite users start putting the owner down, insulting him, and defend their Yelp. And sometimes the elite users go to the owners Yelp listing, and write a fake negative review. And not only can a negative reveiw hurt the owner, but it can also hurt more becaue a customer might think the negative review is more reliable since it was written by an elite user. And even if a customer doesn't know how Yelp works, the review might still seem more trustworthy because an elite user has a picture, a bunch of friends, and has a history of writing lots of reviews.
Aside from writing a negative review to punish the owner, they can also look for other negative reviews the owner might have and press the buttons that say those negative reviews are USEFUL, FUNNY, and COOL. What does that do? Well, by so many people pressing those buttons, the negative review is MORE likely to stay and not get filtered, especially since so many of the people pressing those buttons are elite users. And secondly, when a customer comes in the future to look at the business owners listing, that customer will think that the negative reviews are trustworthy since so many people pressed the buttons that say USEFUL, FUNNY, and COOL.
This is how mean and powerful some elite users are. And this is how broken the filter is. And Yelp does not have any logical defense to any of this. They have there stupid defense of "The filter does more good then bad, so it's worth it." And at the end of the day, it is the business owner who gets hurt. And some owners feel so helpless and frustrated.