In my personal experience and opinion: "RealSelf.com" is "Real Dangerous" and "Real Deceptive".
Upton Sinclair said, "It is hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Plastic surgeons depend upon plastic surgery to sustain their lavish lifestyles. I have read that the average salary of a plastic surgeon is about $250,000 a year. According to the Puget Sound business journal, RealSelf.com made 2.4 million dollars in revenue in 2011. Plastic surgeons are salespeople. RealSelf is an online advertisement for plastic surgery and plastic surgeons. Knowing / admitting that liposuction poses unreasonable risk for people would be a very inconvenient truth for them all.
I attempted to place a negative review for a plastic surgeon who I paid $$9000.00. Realself.com would not print my review . It seems that they just want to print positive reviews. I am not sure if Doctors pay the site or not.
My Doctor used REAL SELF reviews to make him look GREAT & Trust Me-- he is from Cherry Hill New Jersey-- email me & I will inform you This Site should be SUED for Mis Informing People..This is all the Consumer has!! RealSelf.com IS A JOKE..I bet when somebody is actually harmed BAD LIKE ME they will get sued!!
RealSelf makes money with a subscription ad product for the doctors, not unlike the Zillow model for realtors. If you hold a four or five-star rating and are in good standing with the community, you can buy a presence in search results.
Started in 2006 by former Expedia exec Tom Seery, RealSelf has flown under the radar in tech circles. But the site boasts 3 million unique visitors a month and is doubling its audience year-over-year. Having raised just under $2 million in angel funding from early Microsofter and man-about-computing Mike Slade, Expedia and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, and Orbitz CEO Barney Harford, RealSelf has been profitable for over a year.
The idea is fairly simple — so simple that it’s a bit of a surprise no one else has done it. It follows one of a handful of classic startup business models that Seery learned at Expedia: Find a market that thrives on its lack of transparency and make it transparent.
RealSelf boosts a "private messaging" feature, but the messages are not private, they are monitored.
It’s also not possible to tell if some of the glowing reviews of "the perfect surgery", and "the perfect result" are reviews paid for by the doctors. The RealSelf.com dynamic of having private sector women (and men) encourage each other to get risky plastic surgery before their own results are experienced is a dangerous group mentality. In my experience, RealSelf generally refers to this as being "supportive".
One of the most active, informative discussions on the RealSelf liposuction forum was "closed to future comments" because it was "not in the spirit of RealSelf." The elephant in the room is that the "spirit of RealSelf" means support FOR plastic surgery -- not support for the truth ABOUT patients results and scientific studies.
This site obviously allows Doctors to post phoney reviews. A Doctor on RealSelf posted 71 reviews in a matter of a few days. Most Doctors usually only get a handful of online reviews. You could tell these "glowing" reviews were all posted by the same person. Nothing about the actual surgery and healing, but mostly how "wonderful" he and his staff were.My dear friend and I went to the Dr in question, for a consult,, and she had a facelift. It is a year later, and she looks worse than before the lift, and she STILL has not healed! One year later and her incisions are still breaking open. No feeling in her face, and her eyes were cut too short and now they water constantly. Yet, this Dr posts these "glowing" reviews in a short span of time.We all know no Dr gets that many reviews in such a short time span. And, they all sound alike, with no reference to who the patient is. They are obviously phoney reviews, most likely posted by his staff, and basically are all, similar.My friend complained to RealSelf about this, and suddenly all of this Drs reviews disappeared, except for maybe 5.
I would imagine they have been inundated with complaints.It is a very sad situation when a site such as this, lets Drs post anything they want, causing many unsuspecting patients to go to an incompetent plastic surgeon, thanks to phoney reviews.When my friend tried to post her horrible experience with this PS, they told her she could not post it because it was uncomplimentary to the Dr!? Hello? I thought this was a place for real and honest reviews. Apparently not!
Real Self is that it is used as a marketing tool for doctors. So while doctors provide Real Self with the appearance of credibility (which it really has none because there are no physical examinations and all question/answer posts are purely conjecture); Real Self gives doctors the ability to promote themselves through the sheer number of questions they answer. In other words, the more questions a doctor answers, the higher up on the scale they are according to Real Self. This is not the 'star' rating but a Real Self rating (e.g. "TOP" means the doctor has answered a lot of questions; it does not mean that doctor is a top-rated doctor in ability or any other way).
Real Self has a rule against posting medical advice or links. Or soliciting. Many people on RS post advice and links. However it seems that if you post advice against procedures or links to sites that are also against procedures, one will get a 'warning'. But if one posts links or advice promoting procedures, this will be ignored. It is unclear as to whether it is "okay" with them if one reaches out to another user and says: check out this website! Or would you like to email me, here is my email. Or I think you should NOT get that procedure. And so on.
In the end, one has to remember that 1) RealSelf is a business venture that relies on the cosmetic industry for profit. 2) Doctors rely on RealSelf to promote their businesses. 3) Member reviews are not updated regularly and provide for poor scientific evidence and do not really present real long term results of a procedure. 4) The information on RealSelf is poorly organized and so real information (especially long term results) is not easily available. Most people drop off the site as time goes on and so don't post these results which are more important than immediate results, especially on procedures such a liposuction. 5) users/members often give advice that is not medically appropriate and only based on their own experience which by nature cannot apply to others. 6) Doctor answers (in the Q&A section) have to be suspect since they rely on the site for business and they cannot examine nor take history from the person asking the question. 7) If someone posts a negative review of a procedure, that person is usually told by other members as well as "community managers" (employed by RealSelf) that "things will get better" "just be patient, you'll see" etc. Real problems are rarely addressed. 8) If a member asks a physician about a negative outcome that person is often told it is their own fault (especially in procedures such as liposuction) or bad luck, which ignores scientific evidence. Rarely is the doctor who performed the procedure called out.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $5000.
Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania