Law Prof Asks Former Students to Help His Online Rating

by Larry Emmott on February 29, 2012

in Internet,Social Media

Dealing with online trolls

With the proliferation of online rating sites, an aggrieved consumer of pretty much anything has a surprising range of avenues to express his or her discontent.

via UNC Law Prof Sends a ‘Rather Embarrassing’ Request, Asks Former Students to Help His Online Rating « Above the Law: A Legal Web Site – News, Commentary, and Opinions on Law Firms, Lawyers, Law School, Law Suits, Judges and Courts.

The linked story recounts how a law professor makes what he refers to “as a rather embarrassing request” of former students to submit reviews to a “Rate your Professor” type of site. Of course the situation has nothing directly to do with dentistry but is very relevant to the very real problem of online reviews.

In this case the professor found he had some rather negative reviews on a review site. This is not unique to law professors it is depressingly easy to find negative reviews about dentists online at Google and elsewhere.

Rather than sue or attempt to use a convoluted contractual agreement to limit patient remarks he simply contacted other former students and honestly asked for reviews.

He did not ask for favorable reviews he simply asked for honesty. And it worked. In less than a week he had many new reviews, most (but not all) positive that overwhelmed the negative ones.

I like this a lot. It has the advantage of being honest and using the system not trying to scam it in some way. I believe any dentist who used a similar tactic to generate positive reviews would get similar positive results…HOWEVER…

I believe one of the reasons it worked is that the professor was asking his former students to do him a favor and to right a wrong. I do not believe he would have had nearly as good a result if he had simply asked for reviews. The fact that he was asking for the students to right a wrong, to be noble, and help a fellow human being who had been treated unjustly (perhaps) has enormous impact.

If he had simply sent a message asking for reviews I imagine many students would see the request as self serving, they most likely would have ignored it or perhaps even left a negative review.

The lesson as I see it is that simply asking for a review has some value and may get limited results. However if you find you have some malicious negative reviews (and we assume you don’t really deserve them) them appealing to your patients sense of fair play could result in a stack of positive reviews to swamp the negative ones.

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