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A tour inside the Yelp Elite



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Hayley Ringle
Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal

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This week I experienced what it means to be a part of the Yelp Elite.

I dined on a buffet of yummy beef sliders, crispy tater tots and juicy chicken skewers, among other delectables, and sipped a fancy, virgin cocktail since I don’t drink alcohol.

The fanfare was at iPic Theaters at Scottsdale Quarter. The Yelp Elites all wore name tags though many knew each other. The ones who didn’t often asked how long the other had been a Yelp reviewer. It was a local networking party to commemorate the free review and business search site. It was also an interesting peek into the marketing strategy of the sometimes controversial website.

Following the networking, we were led into one of iPic’s theaters, which feature reclining seats, pillows and blankets. Martini glasses filled with various types of candy were available at the entrance, and participants also got a large cup of soda and a bag of popcorn.

We were treated to the “Jobs” film, a biopic about Apple founder Steve Jobs. The movie wasn’t the best, but the night was memorable nonetheless.

The “Movie Madness” event was free for Yelp Elites, who not surprisingly had glowing reviews of the night http://www.yelp.com/biz/elite-event-yelps-movie-madness-at-ipic-scottsdale?sort_by=date_desc

Yelp Elites are the most active and vocal reviewers on the national review site, considered the Valley’s “top influencers,” said Lindsey Dempsey, a Yelp Phoenix senior community manager, who organized the night. Dempsey invited me to the event because I’ve covered Yelp events in my reporting in the past.

“Yelp Elite are role-model Yelpers who embody the spirit of Yelp — both online and off — and write useful, funny and cool reviews,” said Dempsey in an email. “Each Elite has a special badge on their profile indicating that they are an Elite, and they are well respected and looked to for their opinions.”

Hayley Ringle covers technology and startups for the Phoenix Business Journal.

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