We launched the RealSelf Network in early June after months of all-hands-on-deck building and honing here at RealSelf, and with the active participation of the doctors on our business advisory board. It’s been great to let it out of the bag and hear your feedback and questions after living with the Network internally for so long.
As of this publishing, more than 750 doctors have joined the RealSelf Network as early adopters. And starting August 5th, more than 450 RealSelf Verified Members will enjoy the early benefits of their RealSelf Verified badge when we launch a significant marketing campaign to encourage consumers to prioritize them in their search.
I noticed as we were building the RealSelf Network that the more our board members learned about our new high standards, the more excited about the Network they became. It’s with this in mind that I want to address some of the questions I’ve received from doctors since our June launch. The answers can help you understand how the RealSelf Network works, why it’s such a significant and positive shift for both doctors and consumers, and what the benefits of RealSelf Verification are. I’d love to keep this dialogue going, so please send any additional questions you have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s what you’ve been asking.
Is RealSelf verification only about license verification?
The term “verification” as it relates to the Network has led some doctors to believe that the RealSelf Network is merely offering basic license verification.
In fact, successful credential checks have been required for claimed profiles since our founding. We check all providers’ licenses and specialties when they claim their profile to make sure that provider is in good standing.
By contrast, RealSelf Verified profiles are proactively checked quarterly to ensure members remain in good standing. And the RealSelf Verified status, along with the blue checkmark that signifies it to consumers, also encompasses our promise to consumers that the doctor meets the other trust and transparency requirements needed to achieve it.
That’s why free claimed profiles are no longer open for patient contact. In addition to all of the other benefits of membership, profile contact forms are now enabled for only those doctors who meet the RealSelf Network’s minimum standards for trust and transparency.
Can RealSelf Verified status be bought?
RealSelf Network membership currently consists of two levels. Member Candidates pay the RealSelf Network membership fee and get access to enhanced profiles, their custom URL, and a slew of additional benefits. But becoming RealSelf Verified and receiving a blue “Verified” checkmark and badge is not a given for all RealSelf Network Members. RealSelf Verified Members must meet and maintain our highest standards for trust, transparency, patient satisfaction, and patient education to become and remain RealSelf Verified, get their badge, and get priority placement across RealSelf.
There are providers who are ineligible to be a part of the Network who would gladly pay money to participate if we let them. We don’t allow certain providers to advertise with us, or join the RealSelf Network, because our goal is to create a safe experience for consumers by promoting high standards.
Simply put, RealSelf Verified status cannot be bought.
Are the standards for patient content unattainably high in order to achieve and maintain RealSelf Verified status?
We didn’t build them to be. We determined the bar for the amount of content required in RealSelf Verified Members’ specialties not to elicit a specific level of effort on your part, but instead based on the amount of content that the data tells us consumers find helpful and credible when researching doctors for aesthetic treatments. The 10 answers, 10 before-and-after photos, and five reviews required for RealSelf Network membership are attainable for serious doctors while offering valuable, credible, and confidence-inspiring information to consumers.
RealSelf always seems to be releasing new products. Is this just another one in that long list?
One of our major goals for this year was to simplify the RealSelf experience for both consumers and providers. The RealSelf Network represents the first time we’re aligning the success of 1) consumers looking for a doctor, 2) doctor finding patients, and 3) our business model into a single program, all with trust and transparency as the organizing principle. And in the process we’ve eliminated previously standalone programs whose purposes are now reflected in the Network, including RealCare, Top Contributed, and RealSelf 100.
Is it true that only board certified plastic surgeons can be RealSelf Verified?
In fact, doctors who practice in any type of specialty can become RealSelf Verified if they are RealSelf Network Members who meet the requirements for verification. But with the launch of the RealSelf Network, all claimed doctors—both core and non-core—will be required to have their board certification listed prominently on their profile, and participating in Q&A about surgical treatments will continue to be restricted to core doctors.
To learn more about the RealSelf Network and how to apply for membership and RealSelf Verification, visit realself.com/network. You can also watch me to respond to RealSelf Network questions in this clip from our recent RealSelf University webinar introducing the Network.