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True Blue

True Blue

Yelp’s Broward-Palm Beach Community Manager Blue Arauz takes us behind the scenes of the popular review site.

Blue Arauz was in his late 20s and had a full-time job when he did something few established adults would do: He applied for an internship.

In 2012, Arauz was tired of the constant number-crunching at his marketing job. While looking for more creative jobs, a paid internship with Yelp caught his attention. He figured he could balance a part-time internship with his full-time job, so he took a chance and applied.

It paid off. After months of searching and turning away more than 500 candidates, Yelp’s Miami community manager saw something special in Arauz and hired him.

Within three months, he was promoted to marketing assistant. About six months after that, Yelp created a new job for him: community manager of the newly launched Broward-Palm Beach Yelp community.

Prior to the creation of the new community, Browardand Palm Beach-based Yelpers who wanted to network had to go to Miami to do it. As community manager, Arauz set out to create a stronger presence for Yelp from Hallandale Beach to Jupiter, by planning events like concerts and restaurant tastings, preparing newsletters, and hosting educational sessions for companies looking to use Yelp for their businesses.

Arauz grew up in Miami-Dade County, so at first he wasn’t sure what to think about moving north. “I thought it was going to be hard to compete with Miami,” Arauz, now 29, admits. “Miami is the big brother – it gets all the headlines.”

But he quickly became enamored with his new territory and all it had to offer. “The Foxy Brown was the first business I visited when I got the job. It won my heart,” he says. Soon, he discovered BREW Next Door at C&I, The Mack House nano-brewery in Davie, Jimmie’s Chocolates & Café in Dania Beach and his favorite – Mojo Donuts in Pembroke Pines. “Everybody takes a great pride in Broward-Palm Beach. We have crazy stuff like gourmet doughnuts,” he says.

Every community manager handles the job differently. Over the course of one week, Tampa’s community manager might host a skating event at a local rink while in beer-centric Jacksonville, Yelp might have a craft beer tasting.

Arauz is known as the guy who has fun with his events, incorporating line dancing and dancing robots. “I still can’t believe this is a real job. It feels like it was tailor-made for me,” he says.

At the end of the day, he writes a few Yelp reviews. He’s penned more than 450, though he insists that’s nothing to brag about. Some community managers have 2,000 reviews, and with Yelp in 27 countries, there’s a lot to review.

Arauz writes on everything from Offerdahl’s Café Grill to Mizner Park to Netflix. Some of the reviews are positive and some negative – because Yelp’s success is built on honesty, Arauz doesn’t have to save face for his company. Each of his reviews is distinctly written in his voice. “I like big bundts and I cannot lie...you other foodies can’t deny,” he writes in a review on a bundt cake shop.

For those who complain that Yelp does more to hurt businesses than help them, Arauz insists it couldn’t be further from the truth. He could rattle off dozens of businesses he never would’ve stepped foot into if it weren’t for Yelp.

He bites into a guava and cheese doughnut from Mojo Donuts – a business he, of course, discovered through Yelp.