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There seems to be a rash of orthodontists who are putting their reputation at great risk by rewarding patients to write a review for them.  They might justify their actions by giving money to a charity or providing an opportunity to win something or offering a discount on a future service or even a small gift (movie tickets, gift card etc.) in exchange for writing a review. None of these things are OK.  If they’re caught, the consequence can be dire.  It’s against every review site’s TOS, including Google’s. Google will remove your reviews and possibly even your listing.  Google Review Policies

If an orthodontist or anyone else is caught rewarding a patient for writing a review on Yelp, the consequences are much worse. It could easily turn into a PR disaster. Yelp will post this graphic over their listing for everyone (including potential new patients) to see. The bigger problem starts when a competitor decides to share this information with the local media. Imagine the fall out and long term damage that could cause.

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There are orthodontists all over the country who are watching their Google and Yelp reviews disappear for this very reason, but disappearing patient reviews are the least of their concerns. The Federal Trade Commission looks down on this practice too. You don’t want the FTC looking over your shoulder. I encourage you to read the FTC 2009 Review Policy Guidelines to see what they find appropriate.

If you know of an orthodontists or a dentist (or anyone else for that matter) who is rewarding his or her patients for writing reviews, please share this post with them before it’s too late. They don’t need to break the rules and put themselves and their practice at risk in order to get patient reviews. When you provide spectacular service you don’t need to pay patients to write a review for you.

It’s much easier for Google and Yelp and the FTC to find orthodontists who are breaking the rules than you might think.  Type in a few keywords that are associated with orthodontists who are cheating and you can easily find them.  Believe me, it’s that easy.  No one want’s to be “That Guy.” The guy who gets caught cheating for paying a patient to write a review. Don’t let your orthodontist friend be that guy either.