Yelp is not helping patients find the right doctor for 2 obvious reasons. And doctors are their own worst enemy.
Almost 2 years ago we warned that doctors' reputations were at risk if they chose to use Yelp for their online patient reviews. Yes Yelp is "free" to use but that doesn't mean there is no cost to medical marketing strategies. These two main costs to doctors, practices and hospitals are 1) the doctor reviews are not verified and 2) advertising from competitors steals online new patients.
Yelp has struggled with their credibility for many years. We have shown you how fake online reviews are being purchased to falsely influence consumers’ buying decisions. Yelp has changed their “filtering” systems and “recommendation” system so many times no one can keep track and frankly healthcare providers and patients deserve a better review system. They have lost their credibility and when that happens it could spell the end to a popular online review company.
Don’t get us wrong. Yelp is a great service and a lot of us use it. But we don’t use it to make healthcare decisions because the reviews can’t be verified and therefore can’t be trusted. After all, ordering a bad pizza is not nearly as horrible as getting the wrong doctor.
Many of our subscribers have tried to email Yelp to take down patient reviews that they know are not from real patients and Yelp simple refuses.
YELP refuses TO REMOVE FAKE DOCTOR REVIEWs
The second major issues facing healthcare providers is Yelp's ubiquitous advertising on a doctor’s Yelp profile page. Online marketing and advertising comes from many sources including medical practices themselves.
Why would a doctor or medical practice decide that the best place to conduct online medical marketing is on Yelp when clearly Yelp is laser focussed on putting competitors’ ads on the doctor’s Yelp profile page? Yelp is so focussed that they place their ads ABOVE the doctor’s reviews hoping to steal online new patient referrals for the doctors who pay for advertsiing.
No medical marketing expert should even consider this review company or any others that put advertising above their core customers. Angie’s List has been accused of doing exactly that as we previously revealed to our readers.
Competitors Pay For Ads to Steal New PAtients
Advertising is the main business model for Yelp so don’t expect this to change anytime soon. As they expand into different regions, be sure to expect more phone calls and emails from Yelp's sales team. We think Yelp should spend more time on reversing fake online doctor reviews but that won’t help their stock price.
The local ads business currently accounts for around 73% of Yelp’s stock value - Forbes
Adding to the dismantling of Yelp, as far as healthcare marketing is concerned, the stock price has fallen by about 40% since the beginning of this year and 60% since last year. While the stock market has turned bearish for many companies, certainly the fall in Yelp’s stock price has to be concerning for healthcare providers if this is the only website they use to protect doctors’ reputations.
PLUSdoc is subscription based software that does not allow any competitor advertising. We take patient reviews and let the doctor verify that they are from a real patient before sharing them with search engines like Google so that patients know the real doctor.