Disciplined doc gets top rank in Google

In SF Weekly, Ashley Harrell investigated the disconnect between a local plastic surgeon’s record of “gross negligence” which left one patient in a fatal coma and several others with burns, and the legions of glowing reviews of her practice posted all over the internet.usha-rajagopal

The reviews, she found, were connected to the astroturfing efforts of a PR agency the doctor had hired. The group also earned the doctor a top spot in Google’s PageRank algorithm at the same time that she was serving a three-year probation set by the state medical board.

Harrell’s story, Doctoring the Web, examines ways that some doctors are trying to game online ratings systems, as well as the current weakness of enforcement, both federal and local, in the arena.

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