I'd like to start by saying Realself did not influence my decision making, because I do not use reviews online for places where astroturfing occurs to make decisions about my body. However, I know there are many people on there that are eager or borderline desperate and are unaware of what Astroturfing is.
The reviews on there for many of the doctors appear to be very padded. In addition there are doctors answering questions that are suggesting to people to get more surgery or are pointing out people's flaws which is pretty unethical and borders on a sales pitch. Why would any doctor try to make you feel insecure? This really doesn't match up with getting medical advice.
There are also doctors answering questions in there that are not plastic surgeons, but gynecologists performing cosmetic surgery due to laws in the states that they are operating in that have loopholes. The gynecologist reference is an example of only one particular doctor, Ayman Shahine, but he's not the only one. In addition there are numerous doctors that are facing serious malpractice allegations and reports to state authorities that is easily attainable public information. Yet these doctors are still there as 5 star doctors.
It's also just tragic when someone is obviously suffering from Body Dismorphic Disorder to hear doctors using this site swaying the patient to get yet another revision surgery with them, because they see the problem and can fix it for X amount of cash. Tragic for someone with a clear psychological illness to be taken advantage of and it's foolish for anyone to think that a doctor would not suspect a mental health problem. The founder of this site, Tom Seery, has made statements that are very conflicting about the sites agenda. It boils down to basic common sense.
How can Tom Seery claim this site is a place for the consumer and talk that up and then shortly after talk up profitability in other publications for his company and the doctors paying to be members of and advertise on his site. Conflict of interest much Tom?
What's harder to wrap my head around is Tom Seery is not an unintelligent man so therefore that leads me to conclude something very deeply ugly about his character. My hope is that the government steps in and shuts this site down and holds the charltans both internally and externally accountable.
Product or Service Mentioned: Realself Website.