Dentist Sues Over Negative Review on Consumer Website

Yelp is a free website where consumers can post reviews of restaurants and stores, places and professionals.

It’s caught on very well in the San Francisco Bay Area, where people use it to find everything from coffee shops and antique stores to doctors and lawyers.

A California pediatric dentist recently made headlines for suing a couple for defamation after they posted negative reviews about the dentist on Yelp.

After the dentist treated their son, the boy’s parents complained about the doctor’s treatment, upset that the boy was light-headed after receiving laughing gas and expressing outrage that the dentist placed a dental filling that contained mercury in their son’s mouth.

Misplaced Consumer Anger

It’s easy for an educated dentist to assume that most people realize that silver fillings are composed of an amalgam that includes mercury. But this case highlights how no one should assume that consumers know the facts. In this case, the dentist had the parents sign a consent form that disclosed the mercury content. The parents’ review said they had not been told of the mercury content.

The parents’ comments also indicated that their son was woozy after receiving “general anesthesia” from the dentist. The dentist’s suit states, “Plaintiff could lose her license to practice if she gave her patients general anesthesia. Dr. Wong only uses laughing gas (nitrous oxide) and oxygen.”

Yelp strives to maintain a “hands-off” policy, and did not take down the review as the dentist had requested. Actually, the dentist didn’t quite request so much as demand… Here’s the ineffective note she wrote to Yelp:

The review by T. J. on 9/10/2008 is full of lies and misinformation. When a disgruntled patient makes false accusations against me, I cannot refute these charges on your website because I must protect my patient’s privacy. I demand that you take this review down immediately.

The dentist’s attorney initially filed suit against Yelp as well, but later acknowledged that he had not been aware that websites offering third-party content are legally protected.

Everybody’s Doing It

In a recent survey of the Chicago Dental Society, 11% of responding dentists said they sometimes scan websites like Yelp and Angie’s List to see what patients are saying about their dental practice.

Yelp is particularly popular in the San Francisco Bay area. (Indeed, the aforementioned dentist filed suit in Silicon Valley’s San Mateo.) Angie’s List is a similar such site that is most popular in the Midwest. Though they are the top names, there are other similar websites that have caught on in various areas.

The Scandalous Review

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Though the poster has erased all but the final sentence, we tracked down the text of the original review. Would you, as a dentist, be upset with a review like this? You certainly should be – it’s terrible marketing. But would you sue?

1 star rating! Let me first say I wish there is “0” star in Yelp rating. Avoid her like a disease!

My son went there for two years. She treated two cavities plus the usual cleaning. She was fast, I mean really fast. I won’t necessarily say that is a bad thing, but my son was light headed for several hours after the filling. So we decided to try another dentist after half a year.

I wish I had gone there earlier. First, the new dentist discovered seven cavities. All right all of those appeared during the last half a year. Second, he would never use the laughing gas on kids, which was the cause of my son’s dizziness. To apply laughing gas is the easiest to the dentist. There’s no wailing, no needles. But it is general anesthetic, not local. And general anesthetic harms a kid’s nervous system. Heck, it harms mine too. Third, the filling Yvonne Wong used is metallic sliver color.

The new dentist would only use the newer, white color filling. Why does the color matter? Here is the part that made me really, really angry, The color tells the material being used. The metallic filling, called silver amalgams, have a small trace of mercury in it. The newer composite filling, while costing the dentist more, does not. In addition, it uses a newer technology to embed fluoride to clean the teeth for you, I regret ever going to her office.

P.S. Just want to add one more thing. Dr Chui, who shares the same office with Yvonne Wong, is actually decent.

Read the San Francisco Chronicle article or see the actual complaint.

Tell us what you think…

Dental Website Marketing: DROA Marketing Scheme

DROA dental website marketing scamDROA Domain Registry of America (DROA) is running a tricky Internet marketing scheme that all owners of dental websites should be aware of.

DROA sends you what appears to be a bill for your domain name renewal. But you more than likely don’t owe DROA a single penny. They’re hoping you’ll pay the bill anyway, at which point they’ll take over your domain name registration – and quite possibly charge you 10 times what you were previously paying.

What “domain names” are

  1. A domain name (also known as a URL) is a website – for example, is a domain name.
  2. When you register a domain name, you’re purchasing it for a specified length of time – usually 1 year, but sometimes longer.
  3. Domain renewal is when your domain name is up for renewal and you buy it for another year.
  4. Many companies offer domain name registration, including DROA, eNom, GoDaddy, and many others.
  5. Domain name transfers are when you transfer ownership of a domain to another person (for example, to your associate), or when you change which company handles your domain name registration.
  6. Website hosting is something else entirely. Many companies that register domain names will also host the content of your website on their servers.
  7. What does it cost? Domain registration often costs around $10 a year, while website hosting tends to be $100 a year (or significantly more, if you have lots of web visitors.)

You may receive an invoice in the mail that claims to be a “Domain Name Expiration Notice.” This official-looking document tells you, “You must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the Web.”

Or it could be an email that apparently confirms a purchase you never made. The subject line reads “Order Confirmation,” and the email reads, “Thank you for registering/renewing the following domains with the Domain Registry of America, America’s fastest growing domain registrar.”

A few days later you’ll get a second email letting you know that “The transfer and renewal of your domain name is not yet complete at this time.” They’ll ask you for the information needed to complete the transfer – and then they’ll bill you for that.

But what they never tell you is that you don’t have to renew your domain through DROA. You already have your domain name through another company, and that’s really who you should use to renew it. In fact, DROA will likely charge you several times what you’re currently paying. They’ll also charge you a fee for transferring your domain.

And once DROA gets a hold of your domain name, getting it back can be difficult. Rumor has it that DROA changes the email address associated with the web domain from your email address to theirs. In addition, there’s a minimum waiting period of 60 days.

Shouldn’t This Be Illegal?

Oh yes! In fact, the FTC slammed DROA in 2003.

“The Federal Trade Commission has requested that a federal district court enjoin Domain Registry of America, Inc., an Internet domain name re-seller, from making misrepresentations in the marketing of its domain name registration services and require it to pay redress to consumers.

“According to the FTC, the company told consumers that their domain registrations were expiring, leading many consumers unwittingly to switch their domain name registrar. The company also allegedly did not disclose that it would charge a processing fee to consumers if their transfer request was not competed – for any reason – and failed to provide consumers refunds in a timely manner.

“Under the terms of the stipulated final order announced today, Domain Registry of America (DROA), based in Ontario, Canada, may be required to provide redress to up to 50,000 consumers, is prohibited from engaging in similar conduct in the future, and is subject to stringent monitoring by the Commission to ensure its compliance with the court order.

“…In marketing its domain name registration services, DROA has violated the FTC Act in several ways. First, it allegedly uses notices/invoices that mislead consumers into thinking that they are renewing their registrations with their current registrar when, instead, they are transferring their registrations to DROA’s registrar, eNom… The FTC also contends that DROA fails to issue promised refunds in a timely manner… sometimes delaying refunds for months.

“First, the order bars DROA from making false or misleading representations in connection with the advertising, marketing, and promotion of domain name services. It also bars DROA from failing to disclose, clearly and conspicuously, any cancellation or processing fees, and any limitations or restrictions on cancelling domain name services.

“In addition, the stipulated order calls for monetary redress to reimburse consumers that DROA misled… It is anticipated that approximately 50,000 DROA customers will have the opportunity to transfer to another registrar under this provision.”

Court Bars Canadian Company from Misleading Consumers in Marketing of Internet Domain Name Services (FTC)

Have You Been Targeted by DROA?

If one of your dental websites has been targeted by this scam, you can click here to find out how to lodge formal complaints with the FTC and ICANN.

In addition, if you’re a member of the Internet Dental Alliance who has received a notice, feel free to contact our dental website marketing support team at 888-476-4886. They will be more than happy to explain this in greater detail. They will also confirm the current registrar details of any domain names in question.

What do you think? Is this a clever dental marketing scheme or something more sinister?

Maintaining Dental Websites: Who’s Doing It?

Who maintains your dental website?Most dentists with dental websites have a website consultant or internet dental marketing company that handles site maintenance, this survey found.

In a recent survey, we discovered that 3 out of 4 dentists have a dental website.

Of dentists with websites, 32% personally oversee their website, 14% have staff oversee it, and 55% have a website consultant or dental marketing company that maintains it.

“We have regular meeting about updating the site with the website consultant, the staff, plus all the doctors in our group practice,” said a Texas pediatric dentist.

Read more: Dental Website Maintenance & Internet Dental Marketing

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental Patients

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental PatientsIn The Wealthy Dentist’s weekly survey, we recently asked: Are patients who find you online any different from patients who find you via more traditional methods?

The dentists we polled were pretty split on this dental marketing issue.

34% of those polled said, “No, I don’t see a difference.

While 23% of the dentist respondents felt that online dental patients are more likely to follow through with treatment; the other 24% felt online patients are less likely to follow through with treatment.

Another 19% felt that word-of-mouth referrals by patients are the best type of dental patients to follow through with treatment.

One dentist replied, “Word-of-mouth referrals brings in the most loyal patients!

Dental Marketing: Dentists See a Difference in Online Dental Patients

Dentist certainly have different opinions about online verses traditional patients! Here are some of the comments we received on this survey:

“Referral patients have more trust from the beginning. Online patients are typically younger and not as financially able to afford treatment.” (General dentist)

“The majority of our big cases the past few years have come from the Internet.” (Minnesota dentist)

“The younger dental patient is more tech savvy and tend to believe what they read on-line. They are less critical thinking and very wed to their smart phones. They are also not big conversationalists.” (California dentist)

“They were motivated to look for a dentist. However, they also are more likely to have been regular patients elsewhere and have little work to be completed; may be prophy only.” (Texas dentist)

“The stronger the site encouraging appointments the better the lead. Most dental websites are so easy to give information, but the prospect is not ready or willing to come in.” (New York dentist)

“For me, a cold online lead is not unlike a patient who drove by and saw my sign. They are a tougher sell than a true internal referral. A Facebook referral can be close to an internal referral when referred by an existing patient.” (Georgia dentist)

“Online patients have done their research and know a lot about our office before becoming patients. They are certainly more likely to follow through with recommended treatment.” (Ohio dentist)

“Online patients are generally young, looking for the best price and not dentally educated. Anyone who chooses a dentist based upon online reviews sees dentistry no different than a gas station or a supermarket.” (Massachusetts dentist)

The rising popularity of researching dental care online proves that for an increasing number of dental patients, factors like online reviews and easily finding a dentist online, seeing what dentist family and friends recommend online, and getting to know the dental practice before ever stepping foot through the front door may continue to outweigh the advantages that traditional offline dental marketing has offered in the past.

What are your thoughts on traditional verses online dental patients? Do you notice a difference?

Dental Marketing: Top 10 Ways to Build Dental Website Backlinks

Dental Marketing: Top 10 Ways to Build Dental Website BacklinksLink building should still be an important part of your Internet dental marketing efforts.

Links to your dental website from other trusted websites is still one of the most underutilized SEO tools by dentists in their dental marketing plan. Adding just 5 to ten additional incoming links to your practice website can usually boost your search engine ranking by several pages.

The fastest way for a dentist to acquire links to a dental website is to ask for them.

But how do you get started?  Where do you look for links?  How do you acquire them?

To answer these questions and help you out, The Wealthy Dentist has put together the following–

 Top 10 Ways to Build Dental Website Backlinks

1.  Look to your dentist referral partnerships first.

Do you refer dental patients to a local orthodontist?  A periodontist?  A local oral surgeon? Dentists should start with what is considered low-hanging fruit when it comes to link sharing and link building.  Doctors in your referral network are a great place to start your link building campaign.  Links between similar businesses are some of the strongest links a dental practice can obtain to help with its SEO efforts.

2.  Look to your dental supplies and equipment companies next.

The easiest way to get a link back from a dental supply or equipment company is offer up a website testimonial with a link back to your website instead of listing your city.  It never hurts to ask, especially if you are a valued customer.

3.  Make sure your website is listed on the websites of any local organizations to which you belong.

Is your website listed with your local Chamber of Commerce website?  The Better Business Bureau?  Is your dental website listed with the Rotary club where you are a member?  Professional dental organizations not only can grow your professional network, but also can be a great source for link building to your dental website.

4. Dental patients, family and friends professional websites.

Do you have valued patients who have their own business websites who might link to you as “the best dentist in town?”  Do you have family and friends who have professional websites that would be willing to add a link back to your dental website?

5.  Establish your own presence on 3rd party review websites.

Business review websites like Yelp or DR. Oogle typically have their own community built around them. Ask your favorite dental patients to review your dental practice at these communities when they tell you how happy they are with a certain dental treatment you have just performed. See if you can’t build you own dental patient community around one of these 3rd party review websites.

6. Every social media website available to you.

Social media websites are valuable for SEO because of their sheer size and power. They are typically trusted by search engines and fairly easy to join. When dentists think social media has no real value, they are often forgetting about their link building capability. These sites don’t take long to join and all offer the ability to link back to your website in your profile. Think Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (you could just offer a few of your favorite YouTube videos if you don’t have dental practice videos of your own), Foursquare, Google Places, Pinterest, and Ning to name a few. Make sure to include your dental practice in as many dental directories as possible.

7. Press releases about you and your dental practice.

Press releases are an easy way to build links back to your dental practice website. Not to mention the fact that press releases are often picked up by local, regional and national news websites. There’s,,,,,,, and more — just Google ‘press release distribution’ to see a full list of websites offering press release distribution services.

8. Create fun, comical or entertaining content.

Have you always fancied yourself as an artist with a sense of fun? Can you draw a fun dental cartoon? Can you create fun names for teeth so that people can remember which ones are located where in their mouth? Think about creating something fun that people want to share. An example of this is The Wealthy Dentist’s Dental Marketing: Social Media For Dentists Explained image where social media for dentists was explained in a light-hearted way.  Creating a resource page is another way to obtain links back to your dental website.  Your local city culture offers many resource page ideas like ‘inexpensive places to entertain children over the summer’ or ‘local clean bathrooms for public use’ (every mother who has children will love you for this list).  Even a list of all the local parks that allow dogs can be something your dental patients will want to share.

9.  Sponsor a local event.

Often local events have their own event websites that stay up long after the event has ended.  Think about your local little league or soccer leagues.  Being an event sponsor not only offers you involvement in your dental patient community but a chance to be featured on their websites.

10.   Writing guest articles for online publications.

Most blogs and online publications are always looking for experts in various fields to provide articles.  Get to know the local journalists in your community and introduce yourself as a go-to specialist on dental-related subjects.  Is there a popular blog in your niche where you can offer an expert opinion on teeth whitening, the latest in dental implants, or the proper way to brush your teeth to prevent cavities? There are many top mom bloggers who would love to share advice from dentists along with their regular blog articles.  Just make sure your guest articles always include a link back to your dental website.

Some of these top 10 link building techniques will work better for your dental practice than others.  It’s all about thinking outside the box when it comes to obtaining links back to your dental website. It is one of the most effective dental marketing tools you will ever spend time on.

What link building techniques have worked well for your dental practice website?


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