Dentists on the Fence About Social Media Site Yelp

thumbs down for yelp?When asked if their dental practice has been affected by consumer review website, dentists were divided between feeling that Yelp is good for their practice, Yelp has caused problems for their practice, and being unsure if Yelp was having an effect on their practice. is a social networking, user review, and local search website. A few years back it was accused of burying negative customer reviews in exchange for money.

Due to this allegation and the backlash it ensued, Yelp changed its review policies and advertising techniques.

We were curious if this was having any effect on dental practices. Many of the dentists surveyed had strong opinions about their experiences with Yelp.

“One of our dentists had one negative review and many positive reviews,” noted one dentist. “Yet the negative review was always the first one shown.”

In this survey, 41% of dentists didn’t know if Yelp was having an effect on their practice, 31% felt Yelp caused problems, and 28% say Yelp is good for business.

Here are some dentist comments:

  • “We have had a couple poor reviews from two young males. Both complained about our fees.” (California dentist)
  • “Patients get to lie on Yelp, but because of HIPAA, we cannot tell the truth about the patient and what really happened.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “I’m not a big believer in Government Regulation, but I don’t believe attacks should be one-sided . . . there are always two sides to every story, and the dentist’s side Never gets out! These sites should be forced to allow the Practitioner response.” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Only one review — and it’s positive — so don’t know the impact.” (Georgia dentist)
  • “According to San Francisco Chronicle, the owner is a lawyer who started his business by fabricating bad reviews about 800 businesses, which he extorted money from in order to remove the same bad reviews. He tries to hide behind the first amendment. He has caused tremendous damage to dentists all across US by letting disgruntled patients vent numerous insults, while making good reviews about the practice from happy patients disappear to an unreachable filtered section.” (California dentist)
  • “Anonymous blogs/posts can be placed demeaning anyone! The Tattletale websites: Yelp, Angie’s List, Yahoo, etc take no responsibility on the accuracy. These sites have a poor track record (in my opinion).” (General dentist)

Read more: Dentists Have Strong Opinions About Social Media Site Yelp

About Jim Du Molin

+Jim Du Molin is a leading Internet marketing expert for dentists in North America. He has helped hundreds of doctors make more money in their practices using his proven Internet marketing techniques.

  • Yelp, as in dog’s barking at the moon ?

  • Hello, this is Cas from Angie’s List!

    During our 16+ years in business, we’ve worked hard to create a fair playing field for both consumers and the professionals they’re rating and reviewing. There are no anonymous reviews allowed on Angie’s List because we think people should be accountable for what they’re saying online, and the reviewed party is more than welcome to read and offer a reply to the review.

    We recently put together a video where Angie goes into a little more detail, in case you’re curious:

    Thanks for the great glimpse into what’s being said about rating and review sites!

  • JP

    What I dislike about the social media groups such as Angie’s list, Yelp, etc… is the fact that anyone can complain about anything from any time. We have had people that we have never seen as patients go onto Angie’s list and complain about our office fees, treatment, etc… We have had patients again on Angie’s list complain about treatment that was 8+ years ago from providers no longer in our office, complain about treatment that they couldn’t remember the details about – or just make up treatment that they thought they had as well. It doesn’t matter if you are able to reply to this stuff, because nobody is going to listen to the accused, you are guilty even if you have evidence to prove otherwise online. I dislike that people are more willing to get online and complain about you rather than talk to you about it first.

    On the other hand, we have good reviews that people read and like. I think the key is getting a good mix of reviews, people will tend to look at the big picture and judge for themselves. If you only have a few reviews and they are bad, that’s another story. Social media is both a menace and a benefit, there needs to be a way that businesses can protect themselves from dishonest and petty complaints. The fact is there is no business that will make everyone happy all the time.

  • Robert A. Rees DDS

    It only makes sense that another lawyer is using the law to push and manipulate his or her given agenda upon a given target, in this case dentists. I had a married couple gang up on me after an unusual patient scenario and both of them wrote critical reviews that weren’t even factual. That was from years ago. And then recently, I had a patient in for a Zoom promo, not a regular patient. She had time while waiting in the lobby and so she checked me out on Yelp. All she saw was this disgruntled pair venting on the site and even referenced them in her review almost adding support to the two negative claims in her comments. She still gave us a good review based upon our Zoom interaction, but her references to the other negatives only painted a bad picture.
    I did discover that we can open a Business Profile and by such we can at least offer our side of the story on Yelp. I answered all three positive and negative in thorough fashion to at least represent myself. Though I later noticed a very wonderful and genuine review posted one week and that review was swept off the regular page and thus it was basically eliminated from the general viewing. I contacted Yelp and they basically felt it was too good and probably “inaccurate”…..So, this site should be either forced to fairly represent through the courts or be allowed to slander and hurt good dentists everywhere. (La Jolla, Ca.)

  • Catherine

    Thank you Cas for stopping by and adding your perspective on this important subject. But there are some professions that are bound by compliance and privacy laws which greatly restrict how the reviewed professional can respond. This can make it difficult for them to properly address a complaint, or negative review. They often feel that they are at a disadvantage.

  • Catherine

    Dr Rees,
    Your complaint about the positive review is a common one that I hear quite often. Good for you for being proactive and being a part of the conversation and making sure you had a say on your Yelp presence. Thank you for your comment.

  • Yelp, or any review site for that matter, will always have its positives and negatives. It can increase your exposure and be great for businesses in competitive markets, such as dentistry, when consumers want to inform themselves and hear about the experiences of other patients before making a decision.

    On the other hand, as mentioned in previous comments, there will always be people here and there who are not happy with their experience with a business, but from what I’ve seen before, if you have a truly great practice/product/business, etc., your loyal patients/customers will come to your defense, even in public forums.

    But, if negative reviews about your practice are common and frequent (and assuming these were real patients that sat in your chair), perhaps there truly is a problem. If that is the case, then I believe these review sites have a great purpose because they help people make informed decisions, which is important, especially if it has to do with something relating to their body and health.

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