Will Orange County Chiropractors Be Scammed Again?

I attended a one-day seminar today in Orange County California that was related to the chiropractic profession and the practice of chiropractic in the Orange County area of southern California.

The event was great, except for a brief presentation given by company looking for chiropractors to invest in an online and cable media advertising campaign that is intended to promote chiropractors in the area as “wellness practitioners.”

I don’t know if Orange County chiropractors have grown use to this sort of activity but this is not the first time that I’ve been in the area and witnessed such a sales presentation to a group. Several years ago I remember attending a well-respected chiropractic philosophy event (one I had attended for years) at a hotel just off of Bristol Street in Newport Beach, in which a chiropractor invited an outside “business partner” to discuss amazing opportunities for chiropractors and individuals in the group by way of the Internet.

The presenters talked of fancy cars, huge earnings, great wealth, and all the other crap we hear at multi-level marketing pyramid scheme seminars. It was rather actually sickening to see the group that had worked for so many years to bring individuals together discussing chiropractic philosophy be torn apart in one evening. The chiropractic group folded soon after that night, after hosts convinced many of the attendees to “invest” in their Internet marketing scheme. The Internet related company operated for at least a year before federal charges were filed and an investigation was conducted by the Federal Trade Commission.

Just two years ago a group came on strong in Orange County promising to deliver chiropractors new patients by way of the Internet. The plan was to have doctors purchase the ZIP code for their area and then they would be marketed on the company’s web site as the specialist in their Orange County ZIP code. From what I’ve heard from chiropractors in the area, some were paying over $2000 per year to secure their ZIP code position. Understand, securing one’s ZIP code page on one web site on the Internet is like guaranteeing someone placement for a grain of sand on California’s beaches. You may have a page on someone’s web site, but that doesn’t mean anyone is ever going to discover you there. What is stopping a million other companies from launching similar web sites, with similar pages, and similar content, and then giving those ZIP code pages to other doctors in the area, until everyone has a page somewhere on the Internet with their name along with the ZIP code for their office?

Unfortunately, in hopes of attracting a few new patients, I’ve seen chiropractors choose those models several times during the past few years, all of which ended in failure.

That is not to say that marketing on the internet is not a good idea. No, I am all for that. It’s the way these groups have been going about it that continues to result in failed endeavors.

There was also a company recently marketing to chiropractors in the Orange County area with promises of telephone calls from potential patients being routed into a select network of chiropractic offices in the area. I don’t have much background on the company, whether they were going to do television advertising, cable TV spots, local billboards, contextual advertising on the Internet, or some other form of marketing, all I know is that the deals fell through in the chiropractors that invested in the plan were left with no new patients and no money.

We’ll be watching the Orange County chiropractic community closely during 2007 to see how things turn out in this latest marketing campaign. This current company is hoping to collect $50,000 per month from a group of Orange County chiropractic offices for their efforts. That’s enough of my ranting for the day, time to get back to business.

3 thoughts on “Will Orange County Chiropractors Be Scammed Again?

  1. Dr. Mike,

    I agree that a listing on a chiropractic internet directory site is of little value. But you must be aware that chiropractic is not currently represented on the internet in a very positive light, with the exception of Planet Chiropractic. A Google search on the term “chiropractor” returns several results authored by Steven Barret among the top 6 results. Until very recently, Quackwatch was the number 2 or 3 result returned. And this has been the case for at least the past 2 years. Only recently, Wikipedia entries are now among the top results.

    A Google search on the term “chiropractic” (which is a lesser known term than chiropractor, outside of chiropractors and existing practice members) returns the ACA and ICA sites as result 1 and 3 (Wikipedia being 2nd). The 4th result is a chiro-bashing site called SkepDIC.com. Steven Barret’s Chirobase is currently the 8th result. Planet Chiropractic is 9th.

    Unfortunately, none of these search results lands a perspective practice member at a site that is going to explain chiropractic, explain subluxation, convey the important role of the spine in overall health and motivate someone to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. I realize that is not the purpose of Planet Chiropractic and this is not a criticism of the excellent platform you have built for communication among principled chiropractors. But none the less, we have a huge image problem on the internet. It is currently far more likely that someone searching the web for more information about chiropractors or chiropractic will find their way to Quackwatch, Chirobase, SkepDIC, StopRondberg, Botnick’s site, or some other anti chiropractic rhetoric.

    What can and is being done is to create a web site that explains chiropractic, explains subluxation, conveys the important role of the spine in overall health and motivates someone to pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. Then use the investment from the participating chiropractors to purchase paid advertisements (PPC) for every symptom, condition and diagnosis that simply says: Problems with Your Spine may be a cause of your [insert symptom, condition or diagnosis here]. We know from the research of Pew, Harris and other national survey organizations that health seekers on the internet search on symptoms, conditions and diagnosis. This is precisely the time when positive information about chiropractic can have the greatest impact and affect decisions on where to obtain care (not treatment, care).

    With this in place, we have contracted with the worlds leading healthcare PR firm to convey to the health care consumer the importance of spinal health (which we define as a spine that is free of subluxation) in the traditional news media.

    The result is chiropractic represented in a positive light on the internet with compelling, consumer focused information, multimedia tools to explain the nerve system and a repository of all published research on chiropractic in a consumer friendly format that is promoted to appear at the top of the search results for a myriad of symptoms, conditions and diagnosis that can be helped by chiropractic care (all symptoms, conditions and diagnosis eventually but we are starting with 475). This forms a united group of principled chiropractors with a national marketing strategy led by a dedicated staff, assisted by a world class PR firm and directed by an advisory board comprised of respected, principled chiropractors.

    A future feature of membership we are working on is a service to optimize the promotion of each principled chiropractor in a given area under Google and other local search services. You have done a great job, by the way for your practice with 37 reviews and a very informative page.

    I would welcome the chance to discuss this with you in more detail and encourage you to call me at 215-310-1735 or email me at [email protected].

  2. From your point of view, I can see that the value isn’t there, but that’s why you have to be well-informed of how the internet works and what exactly you’re buying into.

    If these “zip codes” had great rankings in the search engines, like Google, for “Newport Beach Chiropractic” or “Chiropractor in Newport Beach”, would you then purchase the zip code? Probably. The ‘grain of sand’ becomes a giant rock, and at $2000 a year (or $166 a month) if you get one client from it, it’s paid for itself.

    Having said that, search engine marketing companies are a great investment for the individual geo-service provider. I’ve been using SEM Inc. – http://www.seminc.com – based out of Anaheim, California and they’ve been doing a fantastic job.

  3. You don’t have to pay someone to figure out how to make money advertising online. Buy a few books. A good business person would listen to the advice and then do it his/herself. Give it a try folks. I guarantee the Chiropractors right out of school will be advertising and creating websites.

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