A Summary of Online Dentist Review Sites

Online review sites have exploded on the Internet over the past couple years with over 40 websites that offer your patients the ability to share their review of your practice with the rest of the world.  With this growth in user-generated reviews we've seen authenticity issues, legal battles, and even a few physical confrontations.

Problems aside, these sites aren't going anywhere.  This means that you, as a doctor, need to stay apprised of what's going on with your name and reputation online.  The best way to do this is by understanding a bit more about the review sites that directly affect you as a dentist.  We looked at the top half-dozen review sites online that deal with dentists, and broke down the following information about them:

Top Market: The metro area where the website has the most users (although most of these sites have a national presence)
Top Categories: The top industries reviewed on the website
Monthly Visitors: The number of visitors to the website each month
Membership Fee: The fee charged to patients to access the website's reviews
In-Profile Advertising: Whether the website advertises for your competitors on your own profile page
Summary: A basic synopsis of the website, their history, and any pros or cons.

The larger sites reviewing dentists are…

LargeSites

Yelp
Top Market: San Francisco
Top Categories: Restaurants, Small Businesses, Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 6M
Membership Fee: No
In-Profile Advertising: Y es
Summary: Yelp is the fastest growing review site online, and is rumored to have walked away from a $550M offer from Google.  They're worth this much because they've created a decent base of regular visitors that post reviews.  They have come under fire over the past year for questionable reviews and what have been referred to as "extortionist business practices."

Citysearch
Top Market:
Los Angeles
Top Categories: Restaurants, Small Businesses, Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 5M
Membership Fee: No
In-Profile Advertising: Yes
Summary: Citysearch is one of the original websites for local search.  They purchased Insider Pages in 2007 to enhance their site by greatly increasing their total number of user reviews.  Even with this acquisition, their visitor traffic has decreased slightly.

HealthGrades
Top Market:
Colorado
Top Categories: Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 2M
Membership Fee: No
In-Profile Advertising: Yes
Summary: HealthGrades is a site to rate doctors on multiple aspects of their practice.  While they don't charge a membership fee to view a doctor's ratings, they do mandate patients post their own review in order to view other patients' reviews of a particular doctor.  They are also one of the few publicly traded companies in the online review space.

Additional review sites with their own niches…

 

NicheSites

Angie's List
Top Market:
Midwest
Top Categories: Contractors, Small Businesses, Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 400k
Membership Fee: Yes
In-Profile Advertising: Yes
Summary: Angie's List focuses primarily on contractors and services.  Since they do charge a membership fee, they also attempt to add value for their members by offering assistance resolving any issues with businesses found through their site.

Judy's Book
Top Market:
Pacific Northwest
Top Categories: Restaurants, Small Businesses, Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 500k
Membership Fee: No
In-Profile Advertising: Yes
Summary: Judy's Book is a sort of online coupon book full of user reviews.  Most of the providers on this site offer discounts on their services.  The company has been holding steady since their relaunch in 2008 after new investors saved the company from closing down.

RateMDs
Top Market:
New York
Top Categories: Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 300k
Membership Fee: No
In-Profile Advertising: Yes
Summary: RateMDs is - you guessed it - another site to rate doctors.  They use a more comprehensive rating system than the basic star-system used by many review sites, and break down scores into different categories.  The site itself does look a bit outdated, and could use a redesign to make it more user-friendly.

Dr. Oogle
Top Market:
Southern California
Top Categories: Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 50k
Membership Fee: Yes
In-Profile Advertising: Yes
Summary: Dr. Oogle is one of the original dentist online reviews sites, providing dentistry-specific content.  As such, they have good Search Engine Optimization.  Charging a membership fee appears to have decreased their traffic over the past year, leading to a lack of new visitors and increasingly outdated reviews.

And, our (incredibly biased) favorite…

Kareo Marketing
Top Market:
San Francisco
Top Categories: Healthcare Providers
Monthly Visitors: 5k
Membership Fee: No
In-Profile Advertising: No
Summary: Kareo Marketing is, admittedly, newer in the online review space. It focuses on generating targeted visitors from Google (which has over 844M visitors per month), and they have an authentication process in place to verify reviews from actual patients. The software used to verify these reviews also serves as a Patient Relationship Management system for the doctor's office.

As you can see, these sites employ varying approaches to presenting information & patients' reviews about your practice online.  Be sure to stay on top of what these sites are doing with your name, and prevent any potential issues by taking a proactive approach to managing your online presence.

About the Author

Mike is a marketing guru and online reputation specialist. He as worked witha variety of companies improving their marketing strategies, specifically working with...

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