Ugh, I’ve Been Yelp’d!

Posted By American Med Spa Association, Monday, November 2, 2015

By Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS 
“In 1996 {Dr. Dayan} tried a new laser he rented complaining of cost for under eye blepharoplasty that took all cheek bones fat/muscle and left black deep hollows because he didn’t know how to work it for my cost of $7,000. So I have had two fat transfers and innumerable fillers to hide mess he made of my face I will have to the grave: so look older than my years. I cannot stress this: he is a disaster/ BEWARE/DO NOT GO THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. They would not help me when I complained. He shrugged: narcissistic jerk with attitude: do you seriously want a huge a-hole only out for your money with knives and needles and an ego trip? Really absolute worst in Chicago and American Medical Asc. Should take him down but plastic surgs are not regulated so you can not sue them if they disfigure you forever. Selfish moron with unsteady hands.

– [Name deleted] Chicago, IL

Dr. Dayan, I hate to tell you this but a negative review just posted,” my social media manager blared out to me recently. “Ugh…what a sinking feeling,” I thought. Talk about feeling like a total failure. I try hard to make every patient happy, and it hurts when I have failed. I still haven’t developed thick alligator skin callousing me enough to detach emotionally. I am deflated. But I recognize it is a necessary discomfort to view all criticisms. And if I am honest with myself there are times when my team and I could do things better. For that reason I believe reviews can serve a positive purpose for medicine and me in particular. So I jump into the deep end of a cold pool of words… but this time I quickly realize something. These frigid words can’t be true! I’ve never rented a laser and even more confirming: I wasn’t even in practice in 1996! This must be a fake review!

This is not the first time we have noticed this from the bowels of these on-line review sites, and I am not the only one. According to a Harvard Business School study, up to 16 percent of Yelp restaurant reviews submitted may be fake and are screened out.1 According to a working paper from the Harvard Business School, fake reviews are often based on economic forces, and restaurants subject to increased competition are more likely to get phony negative reviews.1 Over the last few years that we have been monitoring our social media mentions, we have noticed many reviews that are impossible to be authentic. I have been cited as performing a procedure on a day when I can prove I was out of town, or the nameless allegedly maimed complained about a disastrous outcome from a procedure that I don’t even do. So on Yelp alone we have flagged and protested seven seemingly phony one-star reviews of which three have been taken down. The other four, Yelp in its self-assigned roles as judge, jury, and executioner, believes meet its secretive vetting criteria. Therefore, they refused to take these reviews down—including the one about a procedure allegedly done before I was even in practice!

Yelp’s response to our protest: “We’re writing to let know that we … evaluated {the} review… that you recently flagged. We decided at that time to leave it up after carefully assessing it against our Content Guidelines.”

Read more at Practical Dermatology.