Monday, October 31, 2011

MEDIA WATCH: Has THE REVOLUTION Hired a Fraud? All 10 Positive Reviews of Dr. Jennifer Ashton, MD Flagged by Yelp on Suspicion of Inauthenticity

Upon learning that an Ob-Gyn MD had been added to the cast of the new ABC show, THE REVOLUTION, We Love Soaps endeavored to confirm that the new personality was an appropriately exemplary physician. We wanted to find out what her patients thought of Dr. Jennifer Ashton, MD before she was positioned as an expert for millions of women in the ABC audience to trust with their most personal concerns.

Before there were reliable, accessible consumer-review companies like Yelp, choosing a doctor could be an arduous crap shoot. Luckily, today, educated patients can "google" their prospective physicians and read standardized, candid reviews written by other patients. Of course, doctors know this, and on occasion, unscrupulous practices have been caught posting inauthentic reviews of themselves. Dr. Ashton's practice (it actually has a branded name: "Hygeia Gynecology") appears to be one of those that has been gaming the system--repeatedly.

Between December 8, 2008 and may 18, 2010 ten users posted reviews of Dr. Ashton. Every single one of these reviewers gave her the highest possible rating--five stars--but none of them were accepted by the folks at Yelp. Yelp essentially red-flagged every single review.

In order to ensure the reliability of its content, Yelp actively monitors its listings for signs of fraud. Suspicious posts are "filtered" from the site and are only visible after users read a warning, and then confirm their intent to view faulty reviews  by passing an encaptcha test.

However, besides being banned by Yelp's filtering system, it's always fishy when every single reviewer (of a doctor, a movie, a restaurant, or anything, really) gives a perfect score--and then, there are comments like these:

- What a wonderful experience! Linda N.
- I felt as though I was interacting with Dr. Ashton and her staff for years even though this was my first visit :). Lisa S.
- I wish I could CLONE Dr. Ashton! THREE CHEERS! Lynn F.

Those are just the three most recent reviews, but the pattern is clear. You can read all the reviews (again, please keep in mind that all of these were rejected as inauthentic by the publisher) in their entirety, at the bottom of the page.

To be fair, we also looked her up on, a site that specializes in rating only doctors. As it turns out, most of the reviews here were copies of the Yelp reviews. From the three that were unique:

August 16, 2010, One Star
"She kept answer her phone and emails the entire time during our consultation. She had an intern come in during my physical and didn't ask ahead of time if that was ok with me."

May 26, 2010, One Star
"Hard to believe she's a mother of two.... she was kinda cold. Perhaps she was having a bad day, so we will give her the benefit of the doubt. Anyway, we've found a good doctor and are happy we made the decision to use someone else."

There was one positive review from It also raises eyebrows.

August 5, 2009, Four Stars
"FANTASTIC DOCTOR !! Dr. Ashton is simply fantastic! And she is also simply gorgeous!!! Golly, I'm just speechless..."

The review was left by a user named "Romeo." Why is this guy reviewing a gynecologist?

Do you think Dr. Ashton (or someone operating on her behalf) has been trying to publish fake reviews of her services? Does this make you less likely to trust her as a lifestyle guru? As a doctor? Please tell us in the Comments section, below.

From the Yelp FAQ page describing the filtration process:

Why don't you just scrap the filter altogether and let every review count on its own merits?
We realized early on that some reviews were going to be better — and more reliable — than others. The filter establishes an objective standard against which every review can be measured.
Even though it inevitably affects legitimate reviews from time to time and misses some fake ones, too, it helps protect the integrity of the site both for consumers (who will be less likely to be led astray by bogus reviews) and business owners (who will spend less time worrying about whether their competitors are writing negative reviews about them). We'd rather people think of Yelp as a source for reliable information from passionate and opinionated consumers than a platform for every single rant and rave.

Here now are Dr. Ashton's ten reviews (all of which were flagged by Yelp) in their entirety:

Linda N.
Hackensack, NJ
What a wonderful experience!
Dr. Ashton and her staff are truly warm and caring people and you can feel free to talk to them about anything.

lisa s.
Hawthorne, NJ
I felt comfortable from the time I contacted the office and made an appointment. Carol was so friendly and she made me feel welcome like family even though we never met. Dr. Ashton and her staff is not only professional, but also kind, friendly, and caring. I would highly recommend Dr. Ashton to my family and friends. The office is very inviting, private, and no waiting, The environment made me feel as though I was not even in a doctor's office. I felt as though I was at home and the communication was absolutely amazing. I felt as though I was interacting with Dr. Ashton and her staff for years even though this was my first visit :).

Lynn F.
Paramus, NJ
I wish I could CLONE Dr. Ashton! She is warm, friendly, knowledgeable, genuinely interested in her patients. Her office is immaculate, her staff is friendly and accomodating and the experience was EVERYTHING I had hoped for and more. I was taking a young girl for her first appointment and it was unbelievably positive with outstanding resutls. THREE CHEERS!

Elysa L.
Closter, NJ
Dr. Ashton opened her office to see my very sick daughter on a Sunday afternoon on a holiday weekend. She proceeded to follow up daily by cell phone to check on her progress. Offered to see her again at our convenience, we were not even patients of hers before this. She is a caring professional who always has the patients best interest at heart. I cannot recommend her higher. I wish there were more doctors out there with her ethics. I GREAT find.

staci B.
Norwood, NJ
My daughter and I are patients of Dr. Ashton. Beside the fact that from Carol, the receptionist/office manager is just so welcoming, friendly and delightful, Ana, Dr. Ashton's nurse was absolutely lovely. While Carol and Ana pave the way for a positive experience, especially in a teens first experience, it is Dr. Ashton's down to earth and warm manner that brings the whole experience home. She has managed to make introducing your teen to the importance of gynecology "trendy". She speaks their language and makes them feel safe and most importantly educates them in a way their friends and mom's can't. As for my experience, it was outstanding...she clearly treats you the way she would want to be treated. She is comprehensive, intelligent and organized. You leave feeling totally secure in the fact that you have finally met a Dr. who will not only provide outstanding and personal care but she will also REMEMBER you from visit to visit. Dr. Ashton's office is like the "cheers" of gynecology.

Old Tappan, NJ
who knew, after all these years, that a gynecology appointment could be so pleasant?! (non-scary) The best doctor, staff,ambiance! And coffee or tea AND privacy!!

Maria L.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ
I found out about Dr. Ashton from my physician. I had also seen her as a medical correspondent on television and was very impressed. She was very knowledgeable and answered all my questions. The office looked more like a spa than a doctor's office and I felt very comfortable there. The staff was also very friendly and helpful. Lastly, I was very impressed that the office was 99% paper-free and everything was filled out on the computer.

Courtney T.
Wayne, NJ
As part of the Google everything generation, I came across Dr. Ashton after searching online. I liked the idea and concept of her office and had read some great things about the "environmentally friendly" initiative the office had. I also had very poor experiences with the other GYN's in my area.
I was skeptical about making the office. I don't make a ton of money and Dr. Ashton was not in my insurance network. It meant for the most part, this would be all out of pocket. A scary thought. I bit the bullet and said I will try her once.
It was the best decision about my health I have ever made. The office was amazing. The staff was incredibly friendly and made taking the financial plunge a little easier. I've been to spas that were not has nice as the office. From the latte in the waiting area to the plush cotton robes (that's right, no paper robes), to the assortment of "cleansing wipes", it was very comfortable. From the actual care standpoint, Dr. Ashton was great. She was incredibly informative and wrote everything down. She gave me her notes so that I could remember what we had talked about!
To top everything off, about a month and half after my visit I was getting married. The week of my wedding Dr. Ashton called me personally to congratulate me and wish us luck. It helps that she knows her stuff medically, but the patient care and attentiveness will keep me coming back!

Denise V.
Englewood Cliffs, NJ
I was recommended to Dr. Ashton through a friend of mine whose teenage daughter goes to her and loves her. I went for my first visit and immediately noticed the beautiful and soothing decor of the office. I was greeted by her friendly and professional staff that made me feel welcomed and treated me as if I were a guest at a spa. Dr. Ashton met with me and spent a lot of time finding out all about me and answering my questions. She is thorough and really takes an interest in your total health and well being. She wrote down all the important points we spoke about and gave it to me to keep for my reference. I left her office informed and totally confident that I made the right choice to see her. I have since recommended her to my family members and friends!

Anna p.
Brooklyn, NY
I found out about Dr Jennifer Ashton through a friend of mine.
I decided to give it a try because i had less than pleasant experiences in the past with other doctors.
I made an appointment, and was hoping for the best.
When i got there, i was welcomed by a friendly staff that made me feel comfortable and Dr Ashton was very knowledgeable and answered all the questions i had


  1. Looking forward how El Moron Frons will spin this.

  2. Another hint is whether the people who have left those reviews have those as their only review, or if they reviewed other places. If it's their only review it's almost always spam/fake.