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The long journey of launching our MD Reviews tool

Note: if you just want to get your reviews and not read about the tool you can go directly to the Get-My-Reviews page.
Since last October we have all become very familiar with Google search results that include patient reviews similar to those seen below.

Since we work with many MDs we immediately heard the concerns they had about keeping tabs on all these reviews and review sites. Last fall we started out on a journey of monitoring online review sites for reviews of doctors we worked with. Our first version of the tool received great reviews and was welcomed with much excitement. But as more and more doctors wanted to use it we quickly discovered that the manual process of adding individual pages from review sites to the tool would never scale well. You see with the old tool we would actually go out and find reviews on the review sites and then tell the tool to regularly check these pages for updates. As the number of review sites continued to grow along with the interest from doctors, the administration quickly became too much.

So we had a new idea.  Why not build a web application that goes out and finds reviews for the doctors and then let the individual doctors confirm that “yes this review belongs to me.”  This concept would scale very well and allow us to bring the tool to not only 10s of doctors but ultimately 100s and 1,000s.  Great idea!  Let’s build it!

So we started building a crawler to monitor the 16 top review sites.  Building a crawler can be a time consuming process when web standards are not followed by all sites but it was a great learning process.  We built the crawler and started successfully crawling the 16 top review sites.  There was a lot of excitement as we were indexing 1 page every 2 seconds on average!  Those were pretty decent numbers we thought and so we sat back and waited for the crawls to complete.  One day went by and we had 40,000+ pages indexed.  Two days went by and we had almost 90,000 pages indexed.  A weekend passed and we had over 200,000 pages index on the following Monday.  The crawler was working great.

Then we wanted to figure out how long it was going to take to index the top 16 review sites and let the doctors lose on the tool.  Some quick site: queries in Google showed us that we had millions of pages left to index.  Below is a list of pages per review site:

wellness.com 2.8M
vitals.com 3M
healthgrades.com 5.8M
makemeheal.com 217k
docloop.com 74k
realself.com 241k

We realized those 6 sites alone would take 280 days to completely crawl!  How many doctors want to receive a list of new reviews we found every 6 months?  Our goal was to track new reviews on a weekly basis and perhaps improve on this over time to a daily basis.  We had to go back to the drawing board.  We gained a lot of respect for Google and their ability to index billions of pages and do so almost instantly when new content is posted.  Long story short, we came out with a great new plan that builds off of Google’s existing index.  And  now the tool is ready!

You will just need to follow these steps to start keeping track of your reviews

1.  Go to http://mdwebpro.com/Get-My-Reviews
Here we will need for you to enter you First Name, First Name Variant, Last Name, State, and your email address. The First Name variant is used just incase there are some reviews using Bob, Rob, etc instead of Robert. If you don’t have a first name variant, you can leave this field blank. Once the fields are completed, just click on the ‘Get My Reviews’ button and we will start to search the web for your reviews.

You will immediately receive a welcome email confirming that we have your information correct. After we find some potential reviews that match your name and state, you will receive an email with a link to your reviews page.
2. Follow the link in the ‘MDWebPro Found New Reviews For: ‘ email

3. Click the ‘add’ button next to any review site urls that seem to match your name and practice. If you want to look at a recommended url more closely, you can click the url and view the review page in a new window or tab.

After clicking ‘add’ those review profiles will appear at the top of the page in the list of profiles we are monitoring for you.

6. We will immediately begin processing any review profiles you add. Once the processing is complete, you will see a count of reviews included on that page. We will now monitor that page for you each week and notify you when new reviews are posted.

Right now we consider this tool to be in beta stage.  We would love to hear feedback on how it is working for you or any improvements you might have in mind.  We are going to limit access during the beta period to the first 250 doctors who sign up.  So if you want your friends and colleagues to gain access, I’d recommend letting them know soon.

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After clicking “Get My Reviews” we will start searching for reviews matching your name and state. Feel free to close this window, continue browsing the web or better yet Tweet This while you wait. We will send you an email when we have found some reviews for you.

And here is a facebook link http://ow.ly/4l4dC

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About Marc
Marc Ohmann is president of Digital Solutions, Inc in Minneapolis. Digital Solutions is the company behind the MDWebPro blog and tool set. Marc was a computer science and engineering student at the University of Minnesota in 1999 when he started Digital Solutions. Marc, now a husband and father of 3, greatly enjoys the clients and creativity he is involved in each day through Digital Solutions. Follow Marc on Twitter @marcohmann and @MDWebPro and also on Google Plus

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