There seems to be a rash of orthodontists and attorneys who are putting their reputation at great risk by rewarding patients and clients to write reviews 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, zoo passes 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

There are orthodontists and lawyers all over the country who are watching their Google reviews disappear for this very reason, but disappearing reviews are the least of their concerns. Here’s an article about a law firm that just lost all of their Google reviews for doing just this. 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.

If you know of anyone who is rewarding his or her customers 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 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.