Plastic Surgeons’ Flexible Ethics in Online Advertising

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you tubeADOTAS – Taking online advertising (if you can call it that in this case) to a new and creepy level, plastic surgeons are now offering patients free and discounted services if they post videos of their surgeries on YouTube along with a rave review and a link to the surgeon’s site, The New York Times reports.

And thrifty patients are enthusiastically posting videos of their surgeries for an extra nip and tuck. According to the Times, more than 6,400 videos of Botox, breast augmentation and Lasik appear on YouTube alone.

While the discounts are relatively minor (a $400 Botox injection here, an $800 injection of Juvederm there), some consumer advocates are up in arms.

“With paid testimonials you’re running the risk that the consumer’s opinion was skewed by dollar signs, and isn’t necessarily telling the truth,” Alison Preszler, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau, told the Times. “When we’re talking about a plumber, the worst that can happen is that you’ll end up with a basement full of water. But when it’s about a plastic surgeon, you could spend the rest of your life as the Elephant Man.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Kathleen,

    I am not comfortable with the idea of paid referrals, which I feel compromise the integrity of the referral process.

    As The Better Business Bureau says, the stakes are higher in the plastic surgery field than in some other fields.

    In my home country, Australia, the most problematic area is the finance industry, where mortgage brokers and financial planners receive differing commissions for referrals of different products. This creates a natural conflict of interest, and calls into question the integrity of the advice.

    At the very least, clear statements indicating that the referral is a paid referral should be mandated by law. That way, consumers could choose for themselves how much reliance they place upon such a referral.

    Cheers

    Andrew

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