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J Periodontol. 2017 Feb;88(2):137-143. doi: 10.1902/jop.2016.160487. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

Comparative Analysis of User-Generated Online Yelp Reviews for Periodontal Practices in Multiple Metropolitan Markets.

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Private practice, Austin, TX.



Previously published research for a single metropolitan market (Austin, Texas) found that periodontists fare poorly on the Yelp website for nearly all measured metrics, including average star ratings, number of reviews, review removal rate, and evaluations by "elite" Yelp users. The purpose of the current study is to confirm or refute these findings by expanding datasets to additional metropolitan markets of various sizes and geographic locations.


A total of 6,559 Yelp reviews were examined for general dentists, endodontists, pediatric dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, and periodontists in small (Austin, Texas), medium (Seattle, Washington), and large (New York City, New York) metropolitan markets. Numerous review characteristics were evaluated, including: 1) total number of reviews; 2) average star rating; 3) review filtering rate; and 4) number of reviews by Yelp members with elite status. Results were compared in multiple ways to determine whether statistically significant differences existed.


In all metropolitan markets, periodontists were outperformed by all other dental specialties for all measured Yelp metrics in this study. Intermetropolitan comparisons of periodontal practices showed no statistically significant differences.


Periodontists were outperformed consistently by all other dental specialties in every measured metric on the Yelp website. These results were consistent and repeated in all three metropolitan markets evaluated in this study. Poor performance of periodontists on Yelp may be related to the age profile of patients in the typical periodontal practice. This may result in inadvertently biased filtering of periodontal reviews and subsequently poor performance in multiple other categories.


Marketing of health services; practice management, dental

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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