Dentist Who 'Invoiced' Patient For Negative Reviews, Getting Slammed On Yelp

from the these-things-have-a-way-of-coming-back dept

You may recall that, yesterday, we wrote about the class action lawsuit filed against dentist Stacy Makhnevich. Makhnevich used ethically and legally dubious forms from the organization Medical Justice, to demand the future copyrights on any reviews a patient might write about her. Then, she used the DMCA process to try to take down negative reviews on Yelp and DoctorBase. When that didn't work, she threatened the patient, Robert Lee, with a lawsuit, and started sending him invoices for infringement, at $100/day. None of this addressed Lee's original complaint -- that Makhnevich failed to submit the documents he needed to get reimbursed from his insurance company for an expensive procedure.

Of course, as with any typical Streisand Effect situation, all this ended up doing is leading to a hell of a lot more attention to the situation and the negative comments. But, these days, things can go even further than just driving more attention to content someone wanted disappeared. It can lead to even further backlash -- especially on sites involving reviews -- as we've seen with authors who get dinged for questionable actions. If you go take a look at Yelp's page for Stacy Makhnevich the one star reviews are flowing in... many of them calling her out for what she did. Oh, and Robert Lee's review, which kicked this whole mess off... is Yelp's "featured" review at the top of the page. Her current total review rating is at a star and a half. It used to be much, much better.
Some of the reviews are entertaining. I liked this one, which notes "I heard you have to bring your lawyer with you to the dentist's office."
For future reference, if you're that concerned with your online reviews, perhaps just do the best you can and respond to customer complaints promptly. Trying to whitewash complaints seems likely to backfire in big, bad way.

Filed Under: class action, copyright, dentists, dmca, doctors, reviews, stacy makhnevich
Companies: medical justice


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  1. icon
    Bergman (profile), 2 Dec 2011 @ 11:51am

    There are two ways to have a pristine reputation.

    1) Always do the right thing, take proper care of your customers, provide a solid, reliable quality service and be friendly and professional.

    2) Pitch a fit when people say anything even slightly bad about you, throw the full weight of the law at them in an attempt to bury both them and their freedom of expression, seek gag orders in court and spend enormous sums on lawsuits seeking judgments the target will never be able to pay you.

    #1 is a lot cheaper and easier, but for some reason, most large companies go for #2 these days. More and more small businesses seem to be following the big companies lead. I get the distinct impression there was a run of very bad business model consultants somewhere, that somehow became viewed as the best in the business. So when the consultant(s) gave bad advice, every company followed it...and even though bad service has provable bad results, the companies are now in an Emperor's New Clothes situation, having spent fortunes for the bad advice.

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