Years of Great Dental Marketing Erased When Dentist Sues Patient

Years of Great Dental Marketing Erased When Dentist Sues Patient No matter how many times The Wealthy Dentist points out that suing for a negative online review is just bad dental marketing, another case makes headlines.

Three weeks ago we reported on dentist, Mo Saleh, who was suing a former dental patient for $300,000 for damage to his reputation and loss of revenue stemming from what he felt was an inflammatory negative online review.

And just this week the judge in the case decided to throw the lawsuit out, stating that online comments made by the dental patient were free speech.

To prove that the dental patient was guily of libel, the dentist would have to establish that the statements made in the online review were false, that they caused the dentist harm, and were posted without proper research into the validity of the comments.

But if the online review is considered a statement of opinion about the dentist, as opposed to actual facts, then the dentist won’t get very far in a lawsuit for defamation, and here in California, as well as in Oregon, the law takes it one step further with Anti-SLAPP legislation.

California’s anti-SLAPP statute provides for a special motion to strike a complaint where the complaint arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech. (The California Anti-SLAPP Project). The same is true on Oregon, where the dentist’s lawsuit was initiated.

According to KVAL news, Dr. Saleh may appeal the judges verdict, if he feels that the online review was meant to harm him and not simply to inform the public.

The Wealthy Dentist argues that Dr. Saleh’s money would be better spent initiating a new dental marketing campaign targeted at showcasing what his dental practice has to offer and bringing in new dental patients.

Most of the general public is beginning to look at negative online reviews with some skepticism because of many of the outlandish comments reviewers have made. Someone looking for a local dentist may see the negative review, but will also read the positive reviews, and probably ask a few people they know in the community for a recommendation.

They most likely won’t make their decision based on one reviewer’s comments, and if a dental patient did decide on a dentist based on just one review, then a dentist might not want them as a dental patient.

But a dentist can do more damage to their reputation themselves and erase years of great dental marketing by engaging in litigation with a dental patient who has written a poor review of their dental practice.

Instead, spend that money on making your dental practice the best practice in town.

Would you sue for a negative online review?

For more on this story see: Judge Stops Lawsuit Dentist Filed Against Patient Over Yelp Review 

7 Best Dental Marketing Articles on Handling Negative Online Reviews

7 Best Dental Marketing Articles on Handling Negative Online ReviewsDealing with a negative online review can be a nightmare for many dentists because one poorly executed response can hurt years of dental marketing efforts.

It’s important to remember that if you see enough dental patients, eventually you will be the target of someone’s unhappiness directed at you and your dental practice through a negative online review.

It’s just too easy for someone to do, and the better prepared you are on how to handle one, the less likely you are to blow what could be a marketing opportunity.

Yes, negative online reviews can be a dental marketing opportunity.

First, make sure you have set up Google Alerts to alert you when anything is written about your name or your dental practice name online. If you don’t know how to set up a Google Alert, click here for our The Wealthy Dentist article that walks you through setting them up.

It is important to address a negative review just as quickly as you can, but make sure you are responding as if it is NOT directed at you personally. Pretend the review is about another dentist. Disconnect from it emotionally. If you are having trouble calming down,  check out Real Actors Read Yelp videos before you respond.

Second, express your appreciation for the feedback from the reviewer. Make sure you address the complaint directly, “Thank you Mr. Brown for bringing this to my attention. I value the work that is performed at this practice, can you please call our office at XXX-XXX-XXX? Thank you.” Don’t get into details or defend your position, just show that you offered a way for the patient to reach you.

Third, if you are regularly asking satisfied dental patients for testimonials, make sure you make it easy for them to leave positive reviews by having the link to your Yelp page on something you can hand to them when they want to share how much they enjoy your dental practice.

Look at a negative online review as an opportunity to show your practice in a positive light by how you respond.  If you are still not sure how to do this, the Wealthy Dentist has written several articles about dentists and negative online reviews and how to handle them.  We’ve also shared the experiences from other dentists who have been kind enough to share their thoughts with The Wealthy Dentist.

Here are 7 of our most popular articles to help you  —

1. Dental Marketing: A Guide for Avoiding Negative Online Reviews
In customer service it used to be said that an unhappy customer would tell nine to fifteen other people about their negative opinions. Today an unhappy dental patient can influence hundreds of people by leaving a negative review on an online review website, in their Facebook stream or on Google Places. Negative reviews can be painful, but here are ways way to avoid a dental marketing disaster…

2. Dentists: Can Copyright Law Protect You from Negative Online Reviews?
Online dental reviews can be a problem for dentists when negative reviews appear, especially when they feel the review is possibly retaliatory or bogus. A few thousand doctors have taken matters into their own hands by working with a company called Medical Justice, that created a way to use copyright law to go after negative online reviews.  But is asking your patients to sign a contract really the right way to handle online review sites…?…

3. Dentists Beware: Yelp Results Now Showing in Bing Searches
Microsoft reports that the U.S. searchers who use Bing are likely to spend 9% more than the U.S. users who search using Google.  As search continues to be more influenced by social activity on sites like Yelp, Google Plus, YouTube, and Facebook it will be interesting to see if Bing can compete on a larger scale with Google over time.  Can Bing make a comeback and should dentists care…?…

4. Dental Marketing: Negative Online Review Appears as a Facebook Page
Dentists have had little luck in defamation lawsuits when it comes to negative online reviews since the courts tend to look upon unhappy reviews as free speech. In a recent defamation case in California, a dentist has been ordered to pay $80,000 in attorney fees to the parents who posted a negative online review. So how do you combat something like a negative Facebook page  By making sure your dental practice has more than one website…

5. Dental Marketing Gone Bad: Dentist Threatens Lawsuit for Negative Review
The most costly dental marketing mistake could be threatening to sue your dental patients. As we have reported here on The Wealthy Dentist in the past, dentists have not been successful in court when suing patients directly for their negative online reviews…

6. Dentist Review Websites: Get Used to It
There’s no turning back the clock. A pre-Internet mentality is no longer relevant. Like it or not, online review websites do exist, and they’re only getting more popular. “Litigants have this pre-Internet mentality where they think they can control messages about themselves in public,” remarked Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, “But the online community will see this as a slap in the face and retaliate. It blows up in [the litigant’s] face.”…

7. Dentists Feel Online Reviews Are Extortion to Defend Reputation
The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they have experienced a negative online review. 66% of the dentist respondents answered yes to receiving a negative review with half of those experiencing a bad review more than once. 34% said they have not yet received a negative online review.  Dentists offered their experiences in dealing with negative online reviews…

How do you manage your online reputation? Do you have a dental marketing procedure for dealing with a negative review online? Have you had success in turning around a negative review?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Dentists Enjoy Real Actors Read Yelp Videos

Dentists Enjoy Real Actors Read Yelp VideosThis week’s Friday random video serves as yet another reminder to dentists that online reviews can be humorous.

Every Friday, Joe Plummer of Gotta Kid To Feed Productions releases his latest installment of “Real Actors Read Yelp” on his YouTube Channel, “Gottakidtofeed.

The weekly YouTube series pairs odd Yelp reviews with actors and actresses who read them as if they are the reviewer. What ensues is a hilarious portrayal depicting how judgmental and ridiculous some of the general public can be, even when the business has provided them with great service. Sometimes the review really has nothing to do with the business at all.

The following video features professional actor, Danny Deferrari, who finds the heartbreak at the center of this truly remarkable review for a donut shop. The review became hugely popular online due to College Humor’s discovery of it. (Source: Gottafeedakid)

Enjoy your Friday random video —

And if you are curious about the original review on Yelp, it’s here:

Dentists, have you been watching the Real Actors Read Yelp videos and what do you think of them?

Dentist Suing Over Negative Online Review

Dentist Suing Over Negative Online Review: CourthouseNegative online dental reviews are making headlines again this week after an Oregon dentist filed a lawsuit against a former patient for disparaging remarks posted on, Google and

According to the Willamette Week Newspaper, Dr. Mo Saleh is suing dental patient, Spencer Bailey for $300,000 for damage to his reputation and loss of revenue.

When the dentist discovered the negative reviews, he immediately contacted Bailey and threatened legal action if the posts were not removed. Bailey states that he immediately went back to the sites and removed his remarks, which is unusual for people who post negative reviews, but the dentist moved forward with a lawsuit anyway.

Allegedly, some of the negative remarks by Bailey included telling site visitors to get a second opinion if Dr. Saleh tells them that they have cavities. The reports that Bailey claims that when he visited the dentist he was told that he had several cavities that needed to be taken care of, which surprised Bailey because he’d gone 32 years without a single cavity.

After receiving treatment, Bailey sought the opinion of another dentist who told him that many of the fillings Dr. Saleh performed were not necessary and that some of the dental work was substandard. That’s when Bailey became upset and took his anger to online review sites.

Meanwhile Bailey’s attorney has filed a motion to have Dr. Saleh’s lawsuit dismissed under Oregon’s anti-SLAPP law.

The Wealthy Dentist encourages dentists to not let emotion guide them when dealing with negative online reviews. Usually the negative publicity surrounding legal action taken by dentists over negative reviews further paints them in a bad light with the general public.

It’s better to calmly respond to what was said in a positive light and invite the patient back to your dental practice to discuss the situation further. Ask your best patients to post their thoughts about your dental office so the review sites have a more balanced view of your dental practice.

For more detailed dental marketing strategy for handling negative online reviews, see Dental Marketing: A Guide for Avoiding Negative Online Reviews.

How would you handle a negative online review?

Dentists Can Now Laugh at Negative Online Reviews (video)

Dentists Can Now Laugh at Negative Online Reviews (video)Since dentists and other The Wealthy Dentist visitors have enjoyed the Friday random videos, “Real Actors Read Yelp,” today I am sharing one more in the video series.

This review video features actress Ashlie Atkinson (Inside Man, Eat Pray Love), who shares a Yelp review of the Olive Garden in Times Square.

If you are new to the “Real Actors Read Yelp” video series, they are the brainchild of Joe Plummer, a former television producer and creator. The idea to use real actors to read Yelp reviews came to him when his wife read him a restaurant view while he was driving them to dinner. They laughed so hard that they had to pull the car over.

They decided that it would be fun to video their actor friends reading the Yelp reviews.

They have now become a viral video sensation, which is great news for dentists who hate negative online reviews because these videos put online reviews in the right perspective.

Enjoy Real Actors Read Yelp™ #7 —


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