A tale of two reputations

You’ve heard this story before… great surgeon, patients love him, staff is wonderful. But a few highly-visible negative reviews and a lack of positive reviews is damaging the practice. The reviews do not represent the truth and cannot help consumers make good decisions.

One tale tells a dark story

On Yelp, the surgeon has just one unhappy and anonymous review. A competitor’s positive review is displayed alongside it in an ad.


Nobody knows where the negative Yelp review was first written, but like a weed it is pervasive and appears on three other much less credible doctor review websites.

On Google Places, another lone anonymous unhappy review has been published.


Consider this scenario…

A patient is referred to this surgeon by a very happy previous patient. She goes online to Google his name. The referral, which is pure gold, is now tarnished by the information found online. She becomes suspicious and the door is opened to doubt. She begins considering other surgeons rather than scheduling a consult.

This referral did not have to be lost if the surgeon takes control of the message.

Matt Cutts (Google’s head of web spam) says that the “answer to bad speech is more speech.” What Mr. Cutts did not tell us was where or how to solve the problem.

Logically, the practice asks happy patients to write more reviews. Yet Google now requires patients to give up their anonymity to share their review – a barrier for cosmetic surgery patients.

Yelp publicly states they don’t want businesses to encourage customers to write reviews. And you’ve probably had patients tell you that their positive review was not posted. This is because Yelp hides reviews from people who aren’t regular Yelp reviewers.

So how does the practice proactively tell the real tale?


At RPR, we decided the solution was to independently survey from the practice’s own database. This approach eliminates negative reviews from non-patients (e.g., angry ex-employees, competitors). Surveying all patients is also why RPR’s average ratings are higher than other sites.

Only actual patients receive the survey or write a review. Reviews are honest, frequent, relevant, and timely and there are a lot of them, not just for surgery but also for consult.

Surgeons benefit when they willingly and openly publish all patient comments without editing. It meets the needs of today’s consumer who requires complete transparency to trust reviews.