My Golden Year

Fiiiive loooong years…

…but I officially have the gold badge! Although I’ve been touting it as yellow, apparently it’s a gold badge…of Yelping honor!

After your fourth year as a Yelp Elite, if you are lucky enough to make it to your fifth year, your badge and mobile page turns gold! Yesterday was my lucky Yelp day. I say lucky, but I know I deserved it. I do all of the required Yelping things that are asked of me – checking-in, reviewing places from all over, and attending Yelp Elite Events (YEE). Now I’m wondering what comes after the gold badge at year 10!

Funny thing about Yelp is, I think it is a huge contributor to the evolution of my blog. I really enjoyed reviewing places, especially because I love food. My knack of not cooking and my love for food made Yelp a perfect outlet for me, even though I wasn’t even looking for it. I took to reviewing places with great ease. My reviews are beyond verbose, but they are detailed in every possible way. It only became evident, after a year or so, that I enjoyed writing…and that some people actually enjoyed reading what I had to say, possibly even appreciated what I was writing. Who would have thought?

My co-workers from my previous job also can be attributed to my Yelping antics. Becks was already an Elite and told me about the pretty awesome benefits of being an Elite. I entertained the idea, but still mocked it. Then my neighboring cube-mate ignited me and said he’d make Elite before. Psh, don’t challenge me, most of the time I’ll always take the challenge or bet, even if I know I’ll loose. I ain’t no punk ๐Ÿ˜‰ So there you have it, I was on my way to Elite by the years end in 2010!

My first review was actually way before I had a conversation with Becks. I was outraged by a local rental management company and I needed to vent. I thought about the BBB, but that felt like it would be a waste of time. So then I looked up a website that I’d heard about –, duh! I found the company and Yelped the shit out of them. A slight exaggeration, but I did rant about how awful they were and how their business ethics were completely jaded. As I just re-read it, the whole thing makes me laugh, but still a little mad at how annoying the owner truly was. An idiot, to nicely put it…

So for the last four years I’ve consistently been Yelping, as many close to me will attest too. Taking hundreds, but feels like thousands, of food pics to upload to Yelp. Checking in the most random places, yes I checked into and Yelpled a Khol’s…that’s when I knew it was getting a little overboard. And attending as many YEEs as I could or ones that I was accepted into.

Just like most things go, I was as gung-ho as a person could be. I dragged the Bestest as my ultimate plus one to all of the events. I dare not go to an event alone. I was into it and all, but not that into it. I’m social, but not that social. Within the last few years of Yelping, my passion has slowly faded. I still did the normal Yelp stuff, but it was more out of habit versus passion. Hahah, passion for Yelping, I can’t believe I just wrote that! But as the years have progressed it seems to have lost some of it’s lure. It’s awesomeness that had been so attractive was diminished by being denied into YEE’s, lack of food at special events, and other random things I wasn’t happy about. I still continue to participate, just not with the flare that I once had.

But what I will say, is when they have a good event, its freakin amazing. I love free food and booze, just like the rest of the masses. Who wouldn’t? YEEs are where it’s at, for the most part they are filled with the likes, but there have been a few that just weren’t up to par. But I’ve had some great memories, somewhat hazy, at a few of our local events. Their summer blowout is amazing and should NEVER be missed! They also have themed ones, costumes are a must. Those are fun, but I’m not always into all that. Alex L., our community manager (he runs the local Yelp chapter), does a pretty fantastic job of planning and executing all things Yelp for the 916.

Another thing about the Yelping world are the actual Yelpers. I speak of them as if I am not one, but I guess, technically, I have to group myself in there too. They are weird, in a good, quirky kind of way. Some are socially awkward, some are cult like, and some are just your average Joe or Jane. Most of them interact through the website, but there is a group who fast became friends and plan outings all the time. However, if you aren’t in that clique then you kinda just mill about at events and just strike up random conversation, basically networking but using food and drinks as your key topics, not job titles and whatnot. This group is quite the quirky bunch, but I find myself oddly part of them by association.

My Yelping antics seemed to have made me a resident concierge with those close to me. Which is completely fine, but sometimes I am hesitant to recommend places or things to people, for fear of their dislike of what I’ve recommended. I like that people look to me for places to eat. It’s a blessing and a curse, I eat well, but I’m chubby and poor at the same time ๐Ÿ˜‰ If they aren’t asking me about where to go, they are definitely mocking my Yelping. A few of my best friends are know to just throw it out there at the table, to the waiter, that I’m a Yelp Elite. No rhyme or reason, just to get kicks out of it. It’s funny, unless the waiter takes it as a threat…

I warn you now, if you happen to stumble upon any of my posts, they are long, grammatically a mess, and probably way too much detail than you’d like or ever need. That’s okay too, I don’t write for anyone but myself, just like here. I enjoy being thorough and detail oriented, even if I’m mocked for my novelesque posts. It’s always fun to be talking to people and they drop “I saw you review on yelp…” I’m always nervous for what the rest of the sentence will entail. Generally good, unless they don’t agree.

There are plenty of things about Yelp that I don’t fully support or things that don’t always make sense, but for the most part I appreciate it for what it is. There will always be those who only write reviews on either side of the spectrum – hate it or love it. There will always be those business owners or chefs who get unruly after you write a review, taken as a personal attack. How Yelp, as a business, works will never fully be transparent and their financial gains will always seem a mystery. It’s not a perfect system, but it seems to work and I take advantage of what I can!

Here are my Yelp stats after 5 years:

  • 351 Friends
  • 422 Reviews
  • 12 Review Updates
  • 22 Firsts
  • 731 Tips
  • 26 Fans
  • 621 Local Photos
  • 1 Event Submitted
  • 11 Lists
Yeah, I reviewed Khol’s…you read that correctly… 

Annoyed Side Note: I tried really, really hard to add the Yelp “Bling” widget into this post so you could see a few of my recent posts or use the link to go to my page on Yelp. But since I’m such a rook it wouldn’t work properly. Please follow this link if you’d like to peep my Yelp!


  • Kay @ Kay Bueno

    I always want to be Yelp Elite. And I eat out enough that I could probably review places. But I'm so lazy about it. Ugh.

    I'm so jealous, 5 years is killer on this. And the parties look so cool. Maybe I'll work harder (but probably not).

    • S Ganeeban

      I was on a mission at first, I wanted to beat my co-worker! I had some extra motivation. Once I started doing it regularly, I really enjoyed it. The parties, especially in SF are so worth working toward Elite! You don't have to do it daily or anything, just stay active on their website and/or mobile app and you'll eventually get it! xoxo, ganeeban

  • Becky

    congrats!! i was just thinking about the yelp elite contest a few days ago ๐Ÿ™‚ i feel the same way… i'm kinda "whatever" about it now, but at the same time i can't have a gap of eliteness on my profile! what to doooo? ๐Ÿ™‚

    you're about to beat me. i have 432 reviews. everything else you've already beaten ๐Ÿ™‚

    • S Ganeeban

      Thanks! I know, so random how it all worked out. Congrats on getting your new shiny badge! They are probably super offended I called it yellow! HAHA! I think it's been over 6 months since I've been to a YEE. Oh, I better get to writing! I never wanted to beat you, only Tyler….just Tyler! xoxo, ganeeban

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