Suspicious Sites

Suspicious Sites:

May 19, 2008
by findingDulcinea Staff
FindingDulcinea's mission is to cut through the clutter on the Web and spotlight sites that matter. Our new feature, Suspicious Sites, shines its high beams on sites we think you should be wary of. We’ll explain exactly what our concerns are, and offer better alternatives.

The Skinny

facebook claims to be “your source for trusted medical information” and “the latest news and most reliable information about health care procedures and technologies, including a medical directory.”

The Suspicion

The site’s homepage tells you to “Find a trusted physician” and to “connect with trusted doctors.” But when you click on the “Find a Doctor” tab, you might overlook the disclaimer in a shaded area at the bottom of the page that mentions that the medical directory consists entirely of doctors who have paid to be included. This important disclaimer is not only difficult to spot but also seriously undermines the site’s claims of trustworthiness. That doesn’t mean that the doctors featured on aren’t “reputable” or among “the world’s most highly regarded,” but it certainly isn’t a basis for declaring that they are.

And if you think you’ll be getting unbiased medical advice, think again. Every single medical procedure’s information starts off with sales copy: “Breast augmentation continues to increase in popularity…” “For more than a decade, liposuction has been the treatment of choice…” “Find out how the rhinoplasty procedure can enhance your appearance!” That hardly sounds like “the most reliable information.” Oh, and the “latest news” includes hard-hitting stories like “Cosmetic Surgery: You Don’t Have to be Rich or Famous, but You Can Feel Like You Are!”

The Solution

If our trust is truly what it seeks, needs to be more transparent about its criteria for inclusion, and it needs to either start offering the reliable, trustworthy information it claims to or drop the claims of being anything but a site whose purpose is to drum up business for its paying member physicians.

If you’re looking for truly credible medical information, try WebMD, Mayo Clinic, MedlinePlus or any of the other sites recommended in the findingDulcinea Health Web Guide.

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