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.