Hair transplant forums have been around since the inception of the internet. A long time ago, patients had to wait for late-night infomercials to hear about hair transplant surgeons, or look up a local doctor through the phonebook. For those of you too young to remember a phonebook, they were a directory of businesses and people. Back in those days, patients had surgery blindly, without being able to research physicians, the way we can today. In this article, we will go over the issues that occur on forums today, and how we resolve those issues.
Bad Results/Negative Reviews
Unfortunately, hair transplantation is not a perfect science. Despite a surgeon's best efforts, they may fall short of meeting their patient's expectations from time to time. How a hair restoration physician handles a negative review or bad result, demonstrates their ethical standards and integrity. How a physician treats an unhappy patient is what separates the good from the bad. None of our recommendations are set in stone; we can remove any of our physicians at any given time if we find they're no longer meet our high standards. We expect all of our surgeons to stand by their work and by the patient, should their expectations fall short.
Free-speech and accountability is a staple for the Hair Restoration Network, one of the most popular hair loss forums for the past twenty years. However, responsibility is a two-way street, and we expect patients who share a negative review on our forum to provide us with the necessary information to confirm they are actual patients. We only share this confidential information with the surgeon in question.
We expect forum members to allow the physician to comment publicly on their case. Lastly, we require all of our recommended surgeons to stand by their work and help the patient in any way possible. That said, we do not expect them to provide refunds, because there is no guarantee to surgery, and any ethical surgeon would explain that before having the procedure.
Shady and Unlawful Marketing Tactics
Now, since hair loss forums have been around, there have always been clinics that try and game the system. Gaming the system would include:
*Posing as happy patients to hype up the particular surgeon.
*Paying clinic reps to pose as unhappy patients of a competing physician (this is why we check to make sure they are actual patients).
*Paying or providing monetary incentives to patients to post reviews
*Stealing other clinic photos and passing the results off as their own.
*Censoring negative reviews and patients
At the hair restoration network, a clinic caught doing any of these unethical practices will face various consequences. First, a clinic found posing as patients will be automatically banned. Depending on the severity of the case, banning the mention of their name may apply.
If we catch a clinic rep to be posing as an unhappy patient, they will be banned permanently. The clinic in question will be contacted and made aware of this serious issue. The clinic's name will be placed in moderation for some time until we have thoroughly vetted that they are no longer working with the said rep. We may need to screen topics, including their name, to ensure no other unethical practices are going on.
Paying or providing monetary incentives to post on our forum, while not as egregious as the other violations, creates an unfair environment on the forum. Physicians who offer financial incentives for patients to post on forums skew public perception. It's unjust because patients who are posting for monetary incentives will always outnumber, and even drown out; patients who are posting out of their genuine interest. We find this unfair to the hundreds of other surgeons who do not participate in this marketing tactic, and to the legitimate patients who come on our forum to share their experience.
If we find physicians using our forum unfairly to promote themselves in a way that games the system, we will contact them to let them know shady marketing tactics are not allowed on our forum. Secondly, we will place their name in moderation and screen every post made mentioning their name. Thirdly, promoting such a surgeon caught with questionable ethics would not be allowed, until we feel the surgeon has changed their ways.
Stealing photos happens more today than it ever has before, it's so prevalent today, because of social media. Now with Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, there are thousands posted a day. If we find a physician stealing pictures, they will be banned, and we would screen topics, to ensure they are not promotional and to make sure they're legit.
We are firmly against the censorship of unhappy patients. We may need to censor individual physicians who practice unethical business models. But we will never block genuine reviews and patients- this includes those dissatisfied with surgeons on our recommended list. We will not allow the censorship of actual patents; at times, this may cost us a great deal of money.
We have been involved in over a dozen lawsuits to keep authentic patient posts online. If we find one of our recommended surgeons trying to censor their patients on our forum, we will remove them from our list immediately. Secondly, we will ensure that the patient has a voice on our forum, even if that costs us money.