Just last week I posted about allegations that Yelp manipulates reviews to entice companies to advertise with site.
Now in today's Chicago Tribune, Associated Press reporter Lindsey Tanner explores the legal tactics some doctors are using to keep their patients from posting reviews to sites like Yelp, Angie's List and RateMDs.
How effective are their efforts? John Swapceinski, co-founder of RateMDs.com, says that he has refused to remove negative reviews, even when provided with signed patient waivers.
While HIPAA does hamstring a dentist's ability of to respond to negative online criticism, there are actions you can take.
Simply setting up a Google Alert with your name will help you track any online chatter about your practice. If you have a common name, adding "DDS," "DMD" or "dentist" to the search terms will cut down on unrelated links.
If you do get a negative review, make sure to read over the site owner's policy about removing or responding to criticism. (We'll have more on this in a future blog posting.)
If all of this has you rattled, take comfort. Many are predicting that anonymous online reviews will be going the way of the dodo, and users will turn to their trusted social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn) instead.