January 30, 2024

How Do You Become Yelp Elite?

In addition to posting photos and writing reviews, Elite members are expected to participate in local events. They also must meet other criteria to maintain their status. Those include having current check-ins, likes, comments and interaction with other Yelpers; maintaining a minimum of five yearly reviews; and being a “role model” within the community. Elite members are also required to follow a code of ethics and not be affiliated with a business in any way, shape or form.

Some of the perks of becoming Yelp Elite include getting a nifty badge next to your name, special invitations to parties and exclusive swag bags. But Yelp doesn’t publicly disclose how many people are part of its Elite squad. Its secret Elite Council, comprised of a mysterious group of Yelp staffers, makes decisions about who becomes Elite and how many perks they’ll get.

A number of allegations have been made about Elites using their status to extort protection money from small businesses. Motherboard reporter Gabrielle Dean has uncovered caches of screenshots and files showing one Elite member, thecalifornia2021, asking other Yelp users to write 5 star reviews for Regenics, a Los Angeles restaurant.

To become a Yelp Elite, either wait for someone to nominate you (yeah, it’s a thing) or follow the rules on the site to nominate yourself. It takes a lot of work to become an Elite, but it’s not impossible. And if you do become Elite, the swag is worth it, especially if you can parlay it into real-life jobs.

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