Archive for May, 2011

That’s the trouble with social network style review sites, anybody with an opinion, however uninformed, can post a review. And then loads of uninformed visitors post comments thanking them for their “insider information” or experiences from “on the ground”. Such is TravBuddy, which I happened to browse today after seeing it appear in some search results for Thailand related subjects.

One perfect example is a review of Bumrungrad Hospital over there. It is sort of whip saw review. The reviewer first posted about how wonderful the hospital is, parroting all the usual cliches that first timers use when they see the facilities and hear some stories. Then later that reviewer came back with a complete turn-about, talking about the stories he had heard of mis-diagnoses and poor medical care. He then goes on to speculate about why there have been mis-diagnosed cases and that’s when the bad information really starts to flow.

There are no medical malpractice lawsuits in Thailand” according to the reviewer.

Of course that is completely wrong as any informed person in Thailand knows. That reviewer probably has no idea because he doesn’t read the Thai news. There are medical malpractice lawsuits in the news sometimes. There isn’t much about it in the English language media which would be expected since the law is practiced in Thai and there is certainly no market for Thai legal case news to be translated to English. So it just isn’t out there where English speakers can find it.

Ok, so the reviewer posts completely bad information based on uninformed speculation. That’s where social media is supposed to be self correcting. But not in the case of TravBuddy. There are a few dumb comments along the lines of “OMG, can’t believe it, thanks so much” and “You get what you pay for”. So along I come and post a comment that no, that is incorrect, there are medical malpractice lawsuits in Thailand, they are in the news now and then. I also pointed out that with the Consumer Case Procedures Act that became law in August 2008 a patient can file a lawsuit anywhere for no cost and without a lawyer. I even gave a reference to one of the very few English language sources online that talks about CCPA in reference to medical malpractice. And do you know what happened? The dolts at TravBuddy deleted the comment and my account.

So, they don’t want any external references at TravBuddy, rather just allow bad information to stand. Well then, be warned, TravBuddy is not your best source for travel information. You’re much better off at forums like Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree where, although the debates get pretty off topic and personal sometimes, there are lots of contributed opinions and plenty of external references so that you can research and corroborate any information.

That Bumrungrad review wasn’t the only one that was disinformation, just one of the more blatant ones. There are others I saw in which obvious newbies exclaim what a great deal they got when a local like me knows they overpaid. My advice is to instead head over to Thorn Tree where expats will tell you what things really cost – and call you a sucker at the same time so be sure you have thick skin.

Following on to my last post about the possible SEO benefits of embedding YouTube videos on a website, I’m now asking the question if embedding photos from Picasa Web Albums might have SEO benefits. As one forum poster said, anytime you add more of Google’s spyware to your site you will be rewarded. Yeah, that’s my thinking, too.

So I created a Picasa web album, uploaded some photos, and then used the embed links on a new page of photos of Bumrungrad Hospital. That page isn’t indexed as of the date of this post. The site currently ranks very well for a pretty good keyword but it is stuck behind two other sites I want to beat. Problem is one of them is Wikipedia (super strong authority so tough to beat) and the other a site that has lots of strong backlinks. So I’m going to see if I get any boost from the new photos page.

Update: Just a few hours and that new photo page is indexed. Now I’ll wait and see if there is any movement in the serps.