I read with interest an article in the Washing on Post on Sunday about how Doctors are combating online reviews by requiring patients to sign that they will not review the doctor or their services online in exchange for keeping the patient’s email address private from third party marketing use.
I found the article troubling, as I have used online reviews to select a doctor before and routinely review a physician online before scheduling an appointment. Of issue was what almost appeared to me to be blackmail – “don’t share your experience or we’ll sell your email to spammers”. Worse yet, was the closing paragraph where one physician reviewed stated that he/she routinely goes online and writes glowing fake reviews about themselves.
The importance of legitimate online reviews for both physician review and even for Google Places simply cannot be downplayed. As reviews become more important for online businesses and localized search results become more predominant in search results on Bing.com and Google.com I am expecting the search engines to roll out this year an authorization tie in to one of your social profiles to afford legitimacy. In fact, I feel that in light of this article clear identification and legitimacy of online reviews is overdue.
As to businesses and the physician in this case requiring a patient to sign away review rights for services to be provided, is simply draconian and worthy of boycott.