How do I become a Yelp Elite?

It's amazing what you can do with milk foam. The barista at the Vits coffee roastery not only conjures up the obligatory cappuccino heart. When he, surrounded by a dozen spectators, pulls the espresso through the milk with the tip of his jug, an elephant and something that is reminiscent of a shamrock also emerge. The group is excited, a man taps his chest with a laugh. The sticker on his shirt shows the same motif. It's the logo of the online rating portal Yelp, the people here are so-called elite yelpers.

With a coffee workshop, they will be rewarded for having written not only a striking number of, but also strikingly high-quality reviews of restaurants, retailers or service offers on the site. They are the trump card of Yelp, their reviews should attract visitors to the website.

The desire to write and evaluate online seems to be unbroken. Whatever their verdict, online writers help other consumers form an opinion. They do this in their free time and free of charge. In this country they have so far primarily exchanged information on Qype, and recently more and more people from Munich have been using Yelp. Because in October the American company bought the German review portal Qype for almost 50 million US dollars - and thus made a decisive foray into the local market. Programmers are currently working to merge the two sides.

Qype ​​will disappear in the short or long term, the company does not say when exactly. But it shouldn't be ready until autumn at the earliest. But a lot is already being done to make Yelper out of what was once a country in the future: In Munich, the company has already given a party to bring it together; Before the Qype contributions are finally transferred to Yelp, the authors want to be informed. And keep you happy.

There are also community managers, communication experts that Yelp uses in major German cities to encourage them to be active on the platform. Verena Schmunk has been taking on this task in Munich since last summer. The 30-year-old, who studied online journalism, reports that she has practiced real community building in the city. A full time job. Schmunk not only looks after the Yelpers in the virtual space, she also brings them together in real life, as here at the coffee workshop. Otherwise they also go to the museum with a smack or meet them for a karaoke evening, once a month a 15-person "gourmet group" tests new restaurants.