Posted on January 9, 2012 by Kevin Getch One of the more important issues facing businesses today is managing their online reputation. You know this is big deal, in part, because there has been a surge over the last year or so in advertisements from Internet marketing companies pitching their reputation management services. Not all companies share the same level of danger in regards to having a soiled reputation. One of the more sensitive is the medical industry. Of course, sometimes bad online reviews for doctors and other medical professionals is perfectly warranted, but if they happen to get a bad review from someone with an agenda (or is a bit loopy), a doctor’s practice can see severe consequences. The reason is obvious: there is no profession more sensitive to bad reviews, because we don’t want to take the chance with a doctor even if there’s the slightest chance they are not good at what they do. Keep the Positive Effects in Mind Too While businesses may often gravitate towards worrying about bad reviews that may pop up on the web, there is something good that comes out it for consumers. It forces not just medical practices, but any business, to improve their customer service. Unfortunately, there are cases where they seem to take their worries a little too far. There are reports of doctors and dentists who are requiring patients to sign contracts that give the medical practice the right to suppress negative online comments. There was even a case where a dentist threatened to sue a patient over a bad review. I’m not a lawyer, so I don’t know exactly what might warrant legal action for defamation, but local citation sites and others that provide consumers the ability to write reviews poses an interesting challenge for all businesses, one that they need to address internally or with a consulting firm or face serious consequences.