Yaron Pht

Deceptive, danagrous, needs to be stopped ''real deception''

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Now when it comes to review sites I have always been aware that a fair amount of manipulation goes into some of the reviews, however it never really bothered me to much, however when your considering something as serious as cosmetic surgery transparency and honest reviews is vital in making an informed decision.

Realself sells itself as honest platform where patients can freely ask doctors about particular treatments, and freely post their own experiences and read about the experience of others a kind of transparent platform that helps consumers make informed decisions.

My experience of realself has been the opposite. It is nothing more then a wolf in sheeps clothing; a marketing platform for surgeons and cosmetic products.

When making a decision about a cosmetic treatment and whom to go to most of us have to rely on reviews and the reviews on realself are extremely deceptive even more so then many other review sites I've visited.

Negative reviews are never shown on the first page of doctors reviews even if it is the most recent review, furthermore many negative reviews are removed or hidden by realself under the guise that they breach the realself community standards which I believe doctors pay the site to do. Some users are blocked by the site for posting negative reviews effectively silencing their voice and their opinion and not allowing other consumers to see it. On the other hand glowing reviews are never questioned, at least by realself, many post once and never again do not leave photos leading me to know many of them are written by the doctor themselves or someone they pay to write them to give the illusion of a good practice. There is no process at all to see if they are real, no way to complain and suggest reviews are manipulated, no suggesting to patients to write several months after a treatment to ensure that they are left with final results (many people are initially happy but once they heal problems appear but they post to early contributing to the problem).

There is also a part of the website that reviews the overall satisfaction rate with a particular procedure which is incredibly deceptive from the get go.

For example Rhinoplasty may have a overall rating of 'Worth it' 91% leading people to believe that a huge majority of people are satisfied with their results however if you delve into it that is not the case the ''not sure'' results are included in the worth it percentage. How deceptive is that!

So how are you supposed to make an informed decision if you can not be sure the reviews are real, reviews are hidden or taken down, and deceptive techniques are used to manipulate what you see?

Top doctors on the site can pay for the privilege of being recognized as so or become a top doctor by simply answering a bunch of questions. This again is deceptive as top doctor suggests that they are a competent surgeon which sways many people in their direction which is exactly what realself knows and what the doctors pay for. It really is reprehensible.

Furthermore realself monitors your private correspondence, I messaged a user who had surgery with a doctor I was considering.

I wanted to ask for some advice and about their experience. Almost immediately after a realself community member wrote to me on the same private message thread with the suggestion I book a consultation and address my questions to the doctor! For me the saving grace about realself is you can connect directly with other real users and start a correspondence, exchanging photos of results and numbers to help each other out, yet even that is policed. I would go so far as to say certain doctors pay to have a mention of their name flagged so realself can monitor what is said, perhaps even contribute to the writing of fake reviews.

Many people may not care about people who have fallen victim to the cosmetic industry, but this review is not for those people this review is for people who are seeking cosmetic treatment.

I want them to be aware that sites like realself are extremely deceptive and to be careful trusting it!

As for realself I believe they have a moral and legal obligation to either be transparent of what their business model is and what their site is all about or make some drastic changes. They are in a large part responsible for patients making decisions which can effect them in a negative way for the rest of their lifves, thanks to realself I am now left with eyelid problems and in the need for revision so I know that this is the case.

Please be careful out there and don't fall for the deception of realself

View full review
Loss:
$5000
Pros:
  • Some of the doctors advice is informative and helpful
  • Talk to real paitents directly
Cons:
  • Incredibly deceptive
  • Takes down reviews
  • Doctors can pay for speical privilages
Reason of review:
Deceptive and dangerous

Preferred solution: Either be honest about what the site is

Lisa s Yjb

This review is from a real person who provided valid contact information and hasn't been caught misusing, spamming or abusing our website. Check our FAQ

Verified Reviewer

Plastic pain

What a joke/scam RealSelf is. The doctor who destroyed my face has 5 star reviews on RealSelf.

They removed my reviews and blocked me. Another plastic surgeon told me that this surgeon from Orange Ct is a dangerous sociopath whose license should be removed.

RealSelf harbors criminals and violates client rights. Plan to sue Tom Seely CEO for big bucks anyone want to join in?

View full review
Loss:
$750000
Cons:
  • Your dishonesty
  • Liar cheat fraud bad surgeon
  • Promotes dr without knowledge of them
Reason of review:
Damaged or defective

Preferred solution: Lawsuit

Kaylob Tdh

Massive breach of privacy- they can read your inbox messages

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I wrote a review on a product that I had a bad experiences with and my review sparked a lot of conversation and was quite popular. There were also people harassing and bullying me due to my experience which they, in their denial, did not want to agree with.

Every time I would report someone who was harassing me those people would never be blocked, every so often their comments might have been removed if I was lucky. Keep in mind RealSelf do not condone you defending yourself in any way, shape or form, even if you are extremely kind to your abuser they will see it as abusive. So some of my own comments were being removed all of a sudden. Then one day I woke up to my account being blocked.

Not only was my account blocked but the account of somebody else who I was in regular contact with via the private inbox feature. This person only used the inbox feature and didn’t not post publicly. Shortly before we had been blocked, we were having a private inbox discussion in regards to someone who was going out of their way to harass and discredit me, and how much of a nutter this person was because of how often they were posting things to discredit me. Again, this was a PRIVATE conversation and none of this was said in the public forum.

This is the only reason this other person could have been blocked. This is a MASSIVE breach of privacy and absolutely illegal practice. I also agree with others here about RealSelfs standards of what is right and wrong, it’s very odd and dodgy. They also kept my personal review up on their website and gave me no way to access it!

That is MY story and they have absolutely no right to use my material on their website!

I’m absolutely disgusted with it and quite frankly think people need to steer clear of it. They will breach your privacy and then block you for breaching their terms and conditions even when you’ve done nothing wrong!

View full review
Dorothy J Nww
map-marker San Antonio, Texas

Very weird platform that I no longer want to be associated with.

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I signed up for real self a few months ago while researching a surgeon for a rhinoplasty. I ended up going through with it and am loving by results, so I made a review for my doctor with regular weekly updates.

Lots of people seemed to appreciate the review, information, and pictures and I felt well supported by the other community members. I 'd also sometimes interact with other members in the forum discussions and in their review comments. About 2 weeks into using the site, I started to get weird emails that a comment I made was removed due to violating the Terms of Service with a link to those (very vague) terms. However, it never specified which comment and how it was in violation.

I conduct myself in a pretty civil manner online and in person. I certainly did not get into any spats or make any comments that a reasonable person would find to be bullying or objectionable. I finally found one comment they deleted and it was me agreeing with another person that it was weird that a certain doctor never had pictures attached to his "bad" reviews. The comment was not about any particular reviewer, just a general question about why a person would not share a picture if the surgeon truly "ruined their face.".

I responded to that person's comment by saying "I agree. There are so many ways to remain anonymous and share a picture like covering the eyes or cropping it." THAT comment is what got deleted. Then a few weeks later another comment where I shared a news article about a particular doctor was deleted. It was nothing controversial or graphic.

It was a news write up about a patient who had left a Real Self review (?). So anyway, they eventually banned me for some other unidentified violating comment. I can't see what because I can no longer log in. If I had to guess, I would say that it is because I agree with several reviewers that a person who hated her outcome actually looked pretty good in our opinion.

I saw a few times that they do NOT like for you to say anything that disagrees with the original poster. If they say the look horrible. You must agree and sympathize. So I *think* that was the 3rd and final "violation." Who knows and at this point, I don't care.

The moderators have very strange standards for how people are allowed to communicate. Apparently, the rules are to be positive (always), never question anything, and never share a link to any site other than real self. I am perfectly fine with being suspended as I now think the platform is run by complete weirdos. What I am NOT fine with is that my review and pictures are still visible.

If they've deemed me unfit to communicate on the platform, then I don't think they have any right to continue to share the content I provided. I am perfectly happy leaving a review for my surgeon someone else as he certainly deserves the praise. I emailed them to ask that they remove my review, pictures, and all comments from me.

No response after several days. It is very sketchy that they want to have access to our stories but don't want us to be able to communicate with each other freely.

View full review
Pros:
  • I liked that the community users were genuinely nice people
Cons:
  • Moderators are bizarre
Reason of review:
Poor customer service

Preferred solution: I want all of my contributions deleted asap. Username: Htownpsych88

1 comment
Kaylob Tdh

Completely agree with what you’ve written here. The way they run their website is bizarre.

They have no right to keep material that belongs to you and block you from accessing it. Absolutely disgusting

Mona L Inp

They promised and not delivered

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Signed up with Realself.com to increase the amount of business, at the beginning when my account was free I had tons of traffic, then they called me to be an spolight doctor , bit that has a price, since then no more calls or reviews, or patients. They tell me I have to keep paying every single month for one year, because I signed some kind of online contract. I have a lawyer involved now to stop them from withdrawing my account.

View full review
Anonymous

Not helpful or truly compassionate

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i attempted to post a question in dermatology asking if there are any options to remove a bump that formed around my nose ring which would allow preservation of the piercing. I also noted that I had already been to a local derm to have infection ruled out.

The question coordinator told me he would not post my question because the site is only for esthetic/beauty inquiries.

I believe a piercing is an aesthetic choice and having an unwanted bump on a highly visible facial area is an aesthetic beauty concern.

I used to think this community was there to support members through their journeys with cosmetic quests and concerns. Now, I’m more apt to believe it’s to sell plastic surgery/products and to promote paying docs. In other words, it’s just an elaborate advertisement.

View full review
Marek K Hfu

Doctors' answers

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As a physician and contributor to RealSelf.com I must admit to my ongoing frustration with the majority of comments made by many doctors. On several occasions I was ready to disassociate myself with that section of RealSelf.com even though I consider the website of great help to patients seeking information

What frustrates me ? The self-serving comments, self-promotion and lack of empathy . Looking through a prism of an average patient the comments made by many doctors are, at the very least, profoundly confusing.

Dermatologists always suggest consultation with Dermatologist while Plastic Surgeons suggest Plastic Surgery only. Moreover, the suggestion frequently glorify the most expensive and, more often than not, unnecessary procedures, excessive amounts of products and poorly effective services. Many side effects described by patients are trivialized if caused by a "core specialist" yet thoroughly criticized when caused by, for example, a RN injector. The entire process comes across as a salesmanship and business transaction rather than truly compassionate medical advice.

I understand it is very difficult for the RealSelf Team to ensure unbiased comments by the participating doctors but it would only be fair to the patients to have omnipresent disclaimer that any medical advice does not necessarily reflect the best practice and represents a personal opinion of the practitioner that may, or may not, be fully beneficial to the individual patient.

Otherwise, the RealSelf.com is the best forum for those who seek aesthetic and cosmetic information!

View full review
Pros:
  • Information for patients
Cons:
  • Doctors comments
Reason of review:
Ability to be patient's advocate
Jannice Fxj

Blocked my review of Mark Constantian MD

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I submitted a review about this doctor and because I described how he botched my nose it never posted. I am, a real verifiable patient of his and there was no explanation from the real self team as to why my review wasn't allowed.

If this is a sampliing of how Real Self skews, manipulates reviews then my advise is to stay FAR AWAY from their site. The reviews are tampered with by REAL SELF!

Every word of my review was factual I explained how Dr. Constantian put rib grafts in my nose. They then warped and became calcified and the Dr offered no help in the end after promising to revise it.

Instead he suggested I get Restylane shots to make it look less crooked. This went against the original surgical plan which I signed which stated if I required a revision Dr Constantian would make it available to me for a reduced fee. He adnitted in subsequent visits the results were not cosmetically acceptable but kept putting me off. I file a complaint with his insurance company which was of course denied.

Dr C's behavior was reprehensible and he is a disgrace to the profession.

Real self supports Dr's like this who have complete protection for an undisclosed fee. This is completely immoral

View full review
Loss:
$14
Cons:
  • Predatory and fraudulent marketing
  • Liar cheat fraud bad surgeon
  • Promotes dr without knowledge of them
Reason of review:
Poor customer service

Preferred solution: Deliver product or service ordered

Ana R Cvg

Very frustrating review policy

They do not allow you to edit or delete your own reviews once you post them. I called to get my review deleted and they said that I had to reach out via email but that it would take 1-2 business days to delete the review.

This is a very frustrating policy! This isn't my case, but can you imagine if someone accidentally posted a review or picture with identifying information but couldn't get it deleted quickly?! Absolutely ridiculous.

I have never encountered an online review company (e.g., Yelp) that wouldn't let you edit or delete your own content. They should at least have an option that allows you to fast track the deleting of your review if you request it.

View full review
Donna F Tlo

Dr. ratings are not done properly!

I have been looking on Realself website to try and find a good, qualified plastic surgeon. I believed the ratings ("Top Doctor", "Core"), until I came across a doctor Gregory Roche from Michigan.

He was rated as a Top Doctor. This is ridiculous, he is not even board certified! I used him for a totally botched breast implant job. He did not talk to me after surgery.

He does not even show his face for any of my checkups, I was attended to by an assistant. I kept asking to talk to him but I never could. I was told by a real board certified doctor that I had a consult with to correct this surgery that I was correct. Dr.

Roche is not board certified nor is he a good surgeon! Where can a person go to get real truthful information when deciding on plastic surgery?????

View full review
Reason of review:
Bad quality

Preferred solution: Quit lying to people looking for honest answers when considering surgery.

Emon Pls

RealSelf.com information is edited and fraudulent

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RealSelf is a paid advertising site and yes, negative reviews or comments against any surgeon who pays for advertising are removed and the user is blocked. Please do as I have and complain to the Washington Attorney General about the fraud being perpetuated by RealSelf.

(RealSelf is based in Seattle.

) RealSelf has admitted in the past they were unwittingly tied to the Lifestyle Lift fraud where the company was using the RealSelf platorm to post fake positive reviews about the procedure. If enough people file complaints with the attorney general Real Self will have to change what they are doing for profit.

View full review
Loss:
$6400
Reason of review:
Internet fraud

Preferred solution: Changes to review process and advertising for doctors

8 comments
Guest

More than a year after surgery and I'm going to wound care on a weekly basis for sutures that were improperly placed/too tight and as a result, my skin will not heal anywhere! Buyer beware! You will be lucky if you come out of this surgery better than when you went in or without life threatening illness!

Guest

I've also been silenced, again and again on RealSelf over my Biltmore review. It's unbelievable that this is happening in this day and age.

The entire process of reviewing needs a huge overhaul.

There is a huge lack of ethics in the site. Obviously the bottom line is money from doctors, not reviewers.

Guest

Update: Here is an example of a comment that RealSelf removed because they do not want the public to know they are actively deleting comments and reviews:

"Its quite comic how certain women feel such fierce devotion towards a man (Dr. David Harley) whom they have either never met or met only once.

LOL #piedpipersyndrome #harleyhoneyfanclub Alot of what I know now about facelifts, doctors, RS, Healthgrades, nerve damage, scarring, traveling for surgery, infection, swelling, and initial results vs final results I did not know before surgery. It goes without saying that the purpose of a review is to provide another potential patient with information about possible pitfalls BEFORE they experience the same. A revision is out of the question for the reasons I have already stated. Wanting to steer clear of any possible nerve damage is not a "minor excuse" for avoiding surgery.

I chose Doctor Harley because of the ABSENCE of negative reviews on Real Self. I did not realize until too late that the content on Real Self is "edited" - bad reviews and comments disappear; people are blocked when they speak the truth; and the good reviews are done right after surgery not later when the final results are evident. If you had read the blog in its entirely you would have seen that I have discussed all of my concerns with the doctor. That picture of my deflated face was sent to Doctor Harley at least a month before I ever posted it here.

When I emailed it to him, he did not even bother with a response. It wasn't until I slapped my negative surgery update on that he offered to discuss a revision. As far as the financial impact - spending ANY money on travel or facelift revision that does not produce results is definitely not cheaper than spending money on fillers which DO produce results. "

Real Self continues to remove all negative reviews against Dr.

David Harley, even though people are coming out of surgery with lip palsy and failed face and necklifts that don't even last 6 months. Real Self is afraid that people will know they are participating in fraud on behalf of their paid advertisers.

Complaint against Real Self for Fraud with the FTC is now pending.

Formal complaints will now also be filed against Dr. David Harley as well.

Deanne Qay
reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-1413641

I wholeheartedly agree as someone who has been significantly and irreversibly scarred for life by Dr. Harley.

I've even lost parts of my face as a result of this so-called Biltmore Lift.

What a joke this charlatan is! I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank!

Guest

I've seen many negative reviews on Realself. I passed on lifestyle because the surgery itself was too minimal for my liking.

Even I could see they were scamming to get me to purchase more. Just because an operation has a venue to advertise doesn't mean the venue is at fault.

You need to make better choices in providers. I like the Realself site, its how I found my amazing doctor.

Guest
reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-1413329

Anonymous, hundreds of other people chose the same provider I did. Many post glowing reviews and pat themselves on the back for choosing a good surgeon (as you are doing) until several months go by and they realize the surgery didn't work.

The running similarity in all cases is that everyone who chose the provider I did, did so because of the ABSENCE of any poor reviews or negative comments on Real Self - even though many patients were not having good results.

The disconnect seems to be Real Self information is edited, comments are removed which can be misleading. Instead of just providing information, the site is corralling you towards featured doctors paying for advertisement. Therefore, it can be hard for the average person to make informed decisions about choosing the right doctor for their surgery.

If you ended up with a favorable long term result from a doctor featured on Real Self then you are lucky!

However your experience does not bear more weight than the experiences of many others who have had the opposite experience using the site. Real Self is a great tool for researching procedures, prices, and blogging with other women - but it is not the idea site to use for actually choosing a surgeon.

Henok Ryh
reply icon Replying to comment of Guest-1413329

Hi, I’m disappointed in my surgery by Dr. Harley too.

It’s almost a year and my face is deflated. I think he put fillers in me but says he didn’t.

Yiannis Ehq
reply icon Replying to comment of Henok Ryh

Will you reach out to me? I think so too but I’d like to see your before and after photos and then a few months post op if you don’t mind. I can send you my email.

View more comments (7)
victoria s Wxh

Deceitful. Do not trust their reviews!

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Realself conceal reviews. a dr botched me really bad and i wrote a review.

i noticed that she still had 5 star ratings and mine was not among the reviews... nowhere to be seen. I wrote to them. in order to see the review i had to sort them differently ( from lowest) .

who does that? ppl assume all the reviews will be visible. Realself deceives its users. do not trust it!

Also many dr’s get multiple 5 star reviews from the same users. Realself makes money from Dr.’s. it is not on your side. i think the worst providers are on realself.

i never found a good dr. on realself. They just do not need to advertise on that bogus website. 50% of the good reviews are fake.

All the good Dr’s I found were no active on Realself. Find another way to get a provider bc Realself is not the answer!

View full review
Pros:
  • Were overviewsof treatment
Cons:
  • Deceitful ratings
Reason of review:
deception, deception, deception

Preferred solution: stop deceiving customers by hiding the bad reviews, and drs qualifications. why do you allow non board certified dr’s on your site and label them as core oreven top? stop lying

1 comment
Guest

Yep. Agreed. I left an honest review and not only did the review not show up, not affect the rating, but I got locked out of using real self.com!

Bostyn Lig

Delete photo

I uploaded photos to my real self question, after posting I didn’t want the photos up anymore because I do not feel comfortable with them being posted, and I don’t know how to delete them so I need help deleting the photos on my question.

View full review
Reason of review:
Not as described/ advertised
1 comment
Guest

This is what you can do. Go to the question and hit edit on the pictures.

You can crop them until nothing is left. I did this with a few of my questions and it worked great.

I just cropped them until it was a tiny square and that did the trick. Hope this helps.

Anonymous
map-marker Seattle, Washington

Realself is a deceptive untrustworthy site

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realself is not a site to trust to look for any kind of doctor esp a plastic surgeon, they gear too much for the doctor and not for the patient. i tried writing a review on a doctor who totally botched my face and realself removed my posting and blocked me from getting on.

i am only trying to warn others of a potential problems on a doctor but they promote him as the "TOP" doctor in greensburg pa. when they're across the US how can they rate him?

plus all that one post one review 5 stars, cant you see they are all fake ?? please dont trust this site, there are others who will tell you the same.

View full review
Loss:
$20000
Cons:
  • Predatory and fraudulent marketing
  • Liar cheat fraud bad surgeon
  • Betrays his patients
Reason of review:
promoting dr they dont know, allowing posting that are not true

Preferred solution: Let the company propose a solution

Bron Gyv

This review is from a real person who provided valid contact information and hasn't been caught misusing, spamming or abusing our website. Check our FAQ

Verified Reviewer

I use to think they were a reputable company, but there not. They dont even check the doctor's out to make sure there good.

I was on there website looking something up and noticed that they had a Doctor on there site that I personally know. I knew the Doctor never performed the procedures that Realself claimed they did.

So, I no longer believe anything on Realself.com.

In fact I will never go on it again. When people are looking for legitamate sites to research, we should be able to believe in the reviews we read.

But Realself must have sold out and just care about the money they get from the Doctors. It's Very disapointing that when you read a review you have to hope and pray its real.

View full review
Reason of review:
Not as described/ advertised