Friday, December 21, 2012

How much is too much?

As a follow up to my entry regarding the new Internet mob, I would like to enumerate the requests for payments from Internet management businesses and then you do the math.  Let me know if you think it is too little or too much to spend on making sure that my Internet reputation looks consistent with my actual reputation amongst my peers and my patients.

September, 2012 - request for $25,000 to remove unfavorable posts on a complaint site.
September 2012 - request for $350/month to manage reviews - 2 year contract required
October, 2012 - request for upfront payment of $10,000 with $5000 a month required to maintain the account over time - 2 year deal required.
October 2012  - request for $20,000 and $3000 month for management of poor reviews on a complaint site.
October, 2012 - request for $8000 up front and then $1500/month for reputation management
November 2012 - request for $9500 up front and then $300/month for management of poor reviews on a complaint site.
Today - request for $5000 up front and then $500/month to manage on line reputation

I am sure you see where I am going with this.  If I were to pay all of these people, I am sure my on line reputation would still be a nightmare.  As long as I do revision rhinoplasty as a primary specialty, I will get the tough cases.  I am hoping that new patients will read reviews of Dr. Jay Calvert elsewhere - that is other than the sites where they add a little spice of their own and then request payment.  - or  Good luck and always feel free to contact us directly at 310.777.8800.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The New Mob: Internet Reputation Destruction

Recently, several 'review' websites have contacted me to offer me the opportunity to clean up my Internet reputation and "save my practice from destruction" as one said.  One site, which is better know for finding local restaurants and places to see when traveling offered me control of my reviews for a mere $3600/month.  I asked why I would need such control and at that price.  Their response, "Because anyone can write anything anytime and you have no control over what is said about you.  Whether or not they are your patient, an enemy, a jealous colleague - you will never know and there is no way to protect your reputation unless you pay us."  I said that I was not interested. 

The next three months I spent more time in the exam room with patients explaining why all of sudden I had bad reviews all over the Internet.  And it was not just the site that had called me to get $3600/month.  The reviews exploded like crazy!  I then started to ask my happy patients to consider writing a review for me if they were so inclined in hopes that their positive comment might off-set the mass of negativity coming at me.  A few did, and for that I am grateful.  Most did not.  Because happy patients don't write reviews unless they are truly directed to do so.  I then saw that my reviews began to get pushed off the first page of that site to a hidden area that a user would have to go look for them.  They would have to scroll down to the bottom of a page, click a link, enter a code, and then get to the hidden reviews.  Few ever did that. Now, any review that gets written there gets quickly pulled to that back door page and my profile sits out on the Internet with not much to show for the history of reviews, requested payments, and patient efforts.

Around July of this year, I started getting calls from a "consumer protection" website that I needed their help to get rid of the bad posts on their site.  They said that they had a special program that could help me save my practice from the reputation problems I am having on the Internet.  I finally got to speak to them in September and and they said that now I had so many posts that it was imperative to pay them to manage those posts.  The salesman said that I could pay $9000 and change to start the program and then pay a monthly fee of $250/month to keep those posts from increasing in number.  I asked why they need so much money and his response was that it is a great deal of work to properly handle these complaints even when they are anonymous bogus postings.  He said that they need to make money and this is how the site works.

After telling them that I would not pay the money, my accounts were once again spammed all across the Internet.  Every review site showed the same posts in the same 'voice' with the same complaints.  My patients began calling, "What are you doing to these patients that all of these posts are appearing?"   I told them I am always happy to see my patients back and help if they are not happy, but no one has been complaining in the manner that is appearing on the Internet.  I explained that my practice is under a reputation attack that is designed to get me to pay money to the sites themselves.  They were horrified.  How can you not be?

My patients tried to contact the complaining parties, but no one would answer nor would they post photos of the problems I had supposedly created.  So now it is clear that the new Internet mafia will be looking for payments to keep doctors "out of trouble" on the Internet.  Very scary, indeed.  One of my patients stated that it is hard to interpret the bad reviews because most people do not have a criminal mind as the people running the review sites clearly do. 

None of it is good for the patients.  It is a hassel for the doctors.  And it continues to further drive up the cost of health care.  Imagine if I did pay all of this extortion money...what would I do for my employees, their families, and my children?  Paying money to snuff fake reviews written by the very websites asking for money is not on the radar screen for me.  If you want to know if I am any good at what I do, you will have to read my website,, call the office at 310.777.88800 or chat with other patients.   You can also call the California Medical Board and find out if my license is in good standing or the American College of Surgeons, the America Society of Plastic Surgeons, or Cedars Sinai Hospital, or any other credible source.  I would not recommend the unfiltered wild west of the Internet.

Caveat emptor,

Jay W. Calvert, MD, FACS

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dr. Jay Calvert Blog: Information on the Internet

Dr. Jay Calvert Blog: Information on the Internet

Dr. Calvert discusses the problems with online reviews with a case example.

Information on the Internet

How can a patient successfully navigate the information and the misinformation on the internet?  It is difficult as it is to select a doctor to help you with your HEALTH.  But what happens when you read a post on review site that offers information that is MADE UP?  This has happened to my patients over and over again.  Its because the internet does not qualify its reviewers.  The internet is not a doctor nor does it have any interest, good or bad, in moderating or confirming information that is presented.  Thus, patients are forced to make sense of the information they find and make decisions based on their own interpretation of the information.

Lets look at one example of a recent patient who came to me two years ago for a consultation.  She was referred in by another surgeon who said I could help her with her revision rhinoplasty.  We met and had a great consultation and her problems were manageable with revision rhinoplasty.  However, she never booked surgery.  Recently, she returned after having her operation elsewhere and her nose looked much worse!  I asked what happened and she said that she had read that I was a criminal and hit patients after surgery.  She read review sites that stated how I was wanted by the FBI and that my medical licenses was being taken away - all of which were false.  So she had surgery elsewhere.  As she contemplated her poor result from her choice, she realized AFTER THE FACT, that the reviews were probably not correct and she did some research of her own.  She found out that my license was current and with no problems.  She also made the connection that the FBI probably would not have any trouble finding me during my office hours as she had been able to find me.  Thus, she concluded that I was probably not wanted by the FBI.   So she returned for another consultation with me to assess the current situation.

The point of the story is do not read the reviews and stories from the internet without verifying the information yourself.  There is no way to know if the reviews are written by patients or marketers or someone totally random who loves to write reviews.  There are elite squads or reviewers you can hire to have them come to your business and review it.  There are services in countries other than the US who can flood your review sites, etc.  You can read some verified patient reviews here:

The best way to choose your doctor is to speak to former patients and get referrals from your physician.  Any top doctor in the top markets has competition and patients who are not happy with how things went at that practice.  It does not mean you will not have a great experience.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about internet reviews.

Jay Calvert, MD, FACS