How to Begin Claiming Your Online Review Profiles with Google+ Local and Yelp

January 20, 2014 9:22 am Leave your thoughts

Studies have shown that approximately 90 percent of consumers will consult the Internet before making a purchase. When sites such as Google Places for Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor and MerchantCircle appeared on the scene, many businesses failed to understand the impact that these informational tools would have on their sales and customer retention. Reviews of any nature - negative or positive - will have a significant effect on your search rankings.

Local business reviews and ratings sites like Yelp are designed to allow consumers the opportunity to read and share opinions about businesses, services and products. Some sites organized information based on city and state, while others focus on a particular niche. Customers needing a place to speak their piece will more often than not go online to voice their displeasure. Read more...

Most Online Physician Reviews are Positive – but Few Exist

January 19, 2014 5:11 pm Leave your thoughts

As if Twitter, Facebook and other social-media sites don't offer enough advice for today's consumers, physician ratings and reviews sites are there to give patients important information about their healthcare options. More than 30 sites exist in this particular niche, including RateMDs.com and Healthgrades.com. General sites like Angie's List and Yelp also contain physician listings. These sites have been a little slow to catch on, but doubts that these reviews and ratings services will turn into complaint forums hasn't necessarily proven true. Although the American Medical Association had previously expressed concerns about patient confidentiality, their doubts have been assuaged by the positive nature of most physician online reviews. Read more...

Scarcity of Online Information Undercuts Physician’s Chances of Attracting New Patients

January 19, 2014 9:47 am Leave your thoughts

Online ratings and reviews sites can be just the solution for finding a terrific local restaurant ? or avoiding a terrible one. However, when it comes to finding the best medical care, it's still difficult to find enough reviews to make a reliable decision. In a 2012 study published in The Journal of Urology, 500 urologists were surveyed. They averaged 2.4 reviews on 10 major online reviews and ratings sites such as RateMDs.com, Healthgrades.com and Vitals.com, with total reviews per physicians ranging from a high of 64 to a low of zero. The reviews were generally positive (86 percent), but the negative reviews focused on aspects like office decor as opposed to the actual patient treatment. In some cases, a physician can have a perfect rating of 5 stars on one site and a poor rating of 2 stars on another. Read more...

For Physicians Facing Negative Online Reviews, the Law is Not on Your Side

January 18, 2014 4:29 pm Leave your thoughts

For Physicians Facing Negative Online Reviews, the Law is Not on Your Side

Physicians are increasingly concerned with reviews and ratings sites and the potential for negative feedback that might tarnish their online reputation management efforts. For many professionals in the medical field, it would seem obvious to get the law involved and sue the site.

Legal Precedent for Physician-Review Sites

Unfortunately, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in 1996 says that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. Read more...

Pay to Play? How Manipulating Your Online Reviews Could Cost Your Business

January 18, 2014 10:15 am Leave your thoughts

The best word of mouth is unsolicited and organic. Yelp uses analytics to flag online review solicitations. A major offense could result in the removal of your listing, not simply the filtering of the ratings and reviews. When manipulating reviews for the benefit of your reputation management, review-site algorithms could be the least of your worries. Businesses that choose to pay for fraudulent reviews have faced public outrage, along with monetary fines from government officials. In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission determined that paying for reviews without disclosing the reviewer's compensation is considered a form of deceptive advertisement and would be prosecuted. Read more...

As the Restaurant Industry Adjusts to the Digital Age, Online Reviews and Ratings Sites Offer a Powerful First Impression

January 17, 2014 5:12 pm Leave your thoughts

As the Restaurant Industry Adjusts to the Digital Age, Online Reviews and Ratings Sites Offer a Powerful First Impression

Every restaurant owner knows that positive reviews will boost sales while negative reviews could spell disaster. In an age when everyone's a critic, these reviews have never carried more weight in the court of public opinion.

A pair of economists from the University of California - Berkeley published a 2012 study in the Economic Journal that showed a distinct relationship between online ratings and consumer's purchasing decisions. These researchers focused on the effects of positive ratings for 300 San Francisco area restaurants on Yelp. They discovered that a restaurant with a rating increased by just half a star - on a 1-5 scale - was much more likely to be full at peak dining times. Read more...

A Troubling Prognosis for Medical Practices That Avoid Online Review Sites

January 17, 2014 9:29 am Leave your thoughts

A Troubling Prognosis for Medical Practices That Avoid Online Review Sites

You can't prevent patients from offering opinions about your medical practice online. If you look past the feedback on review sites, you leave yourself open to reputation damage.

Both the National Committee on Quality Assurance and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services require organizations to publicly report their patient satisfaction data. With this information, patients should be equipped to make informed choices about their medical care. However, online review and rating sites like Yelp, CitySearch and Insider Pages, along with niche-specific sites like Vitals.com, Doctors.com and RateMDs.com, are more prominent than these longtime sources. Read more...