VetRating

Find, rate and review Veterinary Clinics and Pet Doctor Hospitals


Frequently Asked Questions

Rate My Boss

Sections:

  1. For Consumers and Reviewers
  2. Member Accounts
  3. For Veterinary Clinics
  4. More Questions?

For Consumers and Reviewers

1-1)  What is the purpose of this site?

This site was created to help consumers find the best veterinary clinics by sharing information and ratings, and to give businesses a "scorecard" on how they are doing. It's part of the Ratingz Network, which is dedicated to helping consumers make smart choices.

1-2)  What is the Ratingz network?

VetRatingz.com is part of the Ratingz Network, a family of websites dedicated to helping consumers find the best businesses, places, services, and products by sharing ratings and reviews.

This free website lets users anonymously rate veterinary clinics. Users can also post comments, and see the public comments posted by others. This site is also a useful scorecard, to find out what consumers are really thinking!

1-3)  Who can rate veterinary clinics?

We prefer that you only rate veterinary clinics you have first-hand knowledge of. However, it is not possible for us to verify which raters have knowledge of which veterinary clinics, so always take the ratings with a grain of salt. Remember, we have no way of knowing who is doing the rating - customers, people in the industry, regular people, dogs, cats, etc.

1-4)  How soon are my ratings posted?

Immediately!

1-5)  Don't people use this site just to flame? Aren't most of the ratings negative?

No; you might be surprised to learn that over 65% of the ratings on the Ratingz Network are positive.

1-6)  What do people associated with veterinary clinics think of this site?

Well, that depends on the veterinary clinic! We get a lot of emails from people telling us they like the site, and we've even had some telling us how the site has helped them. We also get some pretty hateful emails telling us how inappropriate the site is, how they are going to shut us down, etc.

1-7)  How do I rate a veterinary clinic?

We've tried to make this site as easy to use as possible. You can select veterinary clinics by picking your main category from the drop-down list on the front page. You'll then see a list of cities; just click on your city name to bring up the list of veterinary clinics. If your veterinary clinic is already listed, click on the name and rate them. If your veterinary clinic is not yet listed, you can add a listing and rating.

1-8)  Why was my rating removed?

Ratings are sometimes removed due to improper comments, but more commonly they are removed after having been identified as originating from the same source (spamming of ratings, also called "astroturfing"). Remember, rate each veterinary clinic only once!

1-9)  Some of my comments were removed. What comments are OK?

Comments should be objective and specific. Every new rating is reviewed, and we reserve the right to remove comments OR an entire rating. Please do not include insults or name-calling.

Any allegation of illegal activity must be substantiated by including a link to a newspaper article or court case.

1-10)  How do the scores work?

All categories are based on a 5 point rating system, with 5 being the best. The overall rating determines the type of "smiley face" that the veterinary clinic receives.

1-11)  Are the rating scores statistically valid?

Probably not. They are a listing of opinions and should be judged as such. However, we often receive emails stating that the ratings are uncannily accurate, especially for veterinary clinics with over 10 ratings.

We urge consumers to get information from many sources, and to consider the reviews posted here just one source of information.

1-12)  I tried rating a veterinary clinic and the system said it was restricted. What does that mean?

When we detect any strange rating activity for a veterinary clinic, we restrict that veterinary clinic's ratings for some period of time. While restricted, the veterinary clinic can only be rated by logged-in users, so just create a free account (see Member Accounts, below)  and login to submit a rating.

1-13)  I want to remove a rating I wrote; what do I do?

If you were logged into your account (see Member Accounts, below)  when you submitted the rating, you can remove your rating in the member area.

If you do not have an account, or you were not logged into your account when you submitted the rating, you might still be able to remove it yourself.

First, create an account and log into it. Then try to remove the rating here.
If the above method does not work, please use our contact us page and send us all of the following information:
  1. A link to the page where the rating appears
  2. The date of the rating
  3. From what city and state (or province) did you post the rating?
  4. What ISP (internet service provider) were you using? (e.g. Comcast, ATT, AOL, etc)
  5. What web browser were you using? (e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc)
  6. Were you using a PC, a Mac, or something else (like an iPhone)?

1-14)  What if I see a rating that I think should be reviewed again? I know you said you review all ratings, but what if you miss one that is not OK?

You are right - every now and then, an improper rating gets by us. You will see a red flag associated with each rating. When you click on that flag, the rating is sent back to us to review again. If it should not have been accepted, we will handle it. If the rating is OK, we just approve it again.

If you don't see a flag, that means we've already reviewed and approved the ratng a second time, and we have determined that the rating should not be removed.

1-15)  Can I be sued for posting a rating?

Yes, it is possible. It is also possible for you to be sued when NOT posting a rating; in the U.S., almost anyone can be sued for anything, particularly if the plaintiff is willing to give false testimony. If you do libel someone, it may be possible to identify you using a Doe subpoena.

1-16)  If I get sued, will I lose in court?

"Proving adverse public character statements to be true is often the best defence against a prosecution for libel or defamation." - Wikipedia

1-17)  I'm being accused of libel because of the rating I posted; what should I do?

The good people at The Electronic Frontier Foundation have some resources that may help you, here:
https://www.eff.org/issues/bloggers/legal/index

1-18)  What if I see an error with a veterinary clinic, like if the name is spelled wrong or even if it isn't a real veterinary clinic?

After you click on a veterinary clinic, you will see 'Report error with this listing' at the top of the page. Just click on that link and tell us what is wrong or what needs to be changed.

1-19)  How much does this website cost me?

Nothing! The site is free to use.

1-20)  What is your privacy policy?

You can view our Privacy Policy here.

Member Accounts

2-1)  I've seen 'Want to login or Create an account?'. What's that all about?

NO ONE has to have an account to use the site, but creating an account will allow you to track and edit your ratings. After your account is created, you can login to it before posting.

We get quite a few emails from people who made a mistake in rating a veterinary clinic and want us to change them. (We don't change someone's rating. We can remove the entire rating or remove the comment, but we won't change them.)  A member account gives the user a way to make sure their ratings are correct. We have a lot of changes planned. Some of them will be for members only, so if you want to use the site to its fullest, be sure and create an account.

2-2)  Do I have to give you my name or email address?

For most listings, you are not required to log in or enter your name or email address. We do require registration in order to rate some specific veterinary clinics where we have seen suspicious rating activity. Creating a member account also gives you the ability to modify or remove reviews you have posted.

2-3)  I'm having trouble logging into my member's page and/or adding ratings. What should I do?

VetRatingz.com uses cookies for its login process, so please make sure your browser has cookies enabled, then restart your browser. Unfortunately we can't help debug individual browser problems.

For Veterinary Clinics

3-1)  How do I get a listing removed from your site?

We only remove veterinary clinic listings that are no longer in business, and will not return to business again. This site is for consumers and they are rating you every day, whether or not you are listed on this site. Think of this site as an opportunity to hear what customers normally do not tell you.

3-1.5)  You are infringing the copyright on my name!

Impossible:

Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases.

This quote from the US government's copyright FAQ

3-2)  Why were some of my ratings removed?

We remove ratings for a number of reasons, but it usually boils down to one of our automated spam filters thinking there were multiple ratings coming from the same source. When we detect this, our system will usually automatically remove the duplicate ratings. Also, if our system detects multiple ratings coming from the same source, it may require new raters to login before rating for some period of time.

3-3)  Can I display your ratings on my own website?

Probably yes. Please go to your listing page and click the "Add these ratings to your website" link, below the ratings.

3-3.5)  Why does one of my ratings have no comments?

We sometimes hide comments for various reasons, including abusive language or unsubstantiated allegations of illegal activity.

3-4a)  How do I get a rating removed from your site?

We generally do not remove ratings. This site is for people to report on their experiences with you. People rate you every day in their conversations and referrals, whether or not you are listed here. Having said that, you will usually see a red flag associated with each rating. When you click on that flag, the rating is sent back to us to review again. If it contains profanity or threats of violence, we will handle it. If the rating does not contain profanity or threats of violence, we generally approve it again, and the red flag disappears. If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing a Doe subpoena. Also, you can publicly respond on our site to the rating by clicking the "respond publicly to this rating" link just below the rating.

3-4b)  But one of these ratings is false and it's hurting my business! I want to send you a letter demanding that it be removed.

We do not accept demand letters because it is not our role to determine whether a review is true or false. You might dispute the truth of a review, but your disputing it does not make it false. Why should we believe you over the reviewer? Still, we believe your voice should be heard, so you are always free to post a public response to any review on this site. Also, if there is a red flag next to the rating, you can click it to have the rating reviewed. If there is no red flag, it means the rating was already reviewed and re-approved, and will not be reviewed again.

3-4c)  If you won't accept a demand letter, I have no choice but to sue you!

Think twice. The Communications Decency Act (the "CDA") is a complete bar to our liability for the statements of others on this website: "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." 47 U.S.C. ยง 230. Federal courts have applied this standard on its terms: "By its plain language, Section 230 creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service." Zeran v. AOL, 129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997). The ratings on this site are written by our users, not by our company. Thus, under the CDA, we are not the "publisher or speaker" of the ratings, even if they contain false information and we are not liable for defamation, libel, fraud or any other tort claim you might bring.

And finally, read the summary of legal protections for rating and review sites, and the organizations that assist in defending against baseless lawsuits, at:

RARPA Legal Information

3-4d)  I think my demand letter would put you on notice that the review is false and defamatory. That makes you liable.

No, it doesn't. Zeran, 129 F.3d at 227, and the cases following it uniformly hold that it is not up to us to determine whether your demand letter is correct or the review is correct. The CDA gives us complete immunity for the statements that others make on this site.

3-4d2)  But you lost your CDA immunity by aggregating the user ratings into an average!

No. The most instructive case on aggregate ratings is the California Court of Appeals' decision in Gentry v. eBay, which squarely held that such ratings do not transform a publisher into an information content provider. 99 Cal.App.4th 816, 834 (Cal. App. 2002).

3-4d3)  But you lost your CDA immunity by editing the rater's original comments!

No. Under 230(c)(2)(A), "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of (A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected"

3-4e)  I'm going to sue you anyway. Taking down the review is cheaper than paying a lawyer.

Sounds like a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP)! Twenty-eight states, including our home state, have passed strict anti-SLAPP laws, authorizing expedited motions to dismiss and giving rise to counterclaims seeking attorneys' fees and liquidated damages.

Here's an example of a suit that we and the EFF filed: Ratingz, Inc. v. Adrian Philip Thomas, P.A.. If you want to drag us into court, bring your checkbook with you, because you'll be paying our attorneys to defend us.

3-4f)  I'm not in the United States, and I'm going to sue you in my own jurisdiction.

The United States has enacted strict laws protecting US companies from lawsuits brought in foreign jurisdictions. Even if you win a judgment under your local laws, it will not be enforceable in the United States. See, e.g. SPEECH Act of 2010.

3-5)  I'm planning to pose as a client and rate myself to increase my overall rating.

You may want to think twice about that. We use automated algorithms and human moderators to detect and remove phoney reviews.

Also, posing as a client - or hiring a firm to post positve ratings - is a practice known as "astroturfing", and it is illegal. If you are caught, you may end up paying $300,000 like this doctor.

3-5a)  Why do you allow people to post anonymously?

The Supreme Court of the United States has held that anonymity of speech is protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution (see McIntyre v. Ohio, 514 U.S. at 337; Talley v. State of California, 362 U.S. 60), also see:
http://www.epic.org/free_speech/default.html#anonymity.

United States courts have consistently recognized that the right to speak anonymously extends to speech on the Internet (see Doe v. 2theMart.com and Doe v. Cahill).

3-6)  Why were some of my ratings removed?

As mentioned above, we use automated algorithms and human moderators to combat "astroturfing."

3-7)  How can I identify the writer of a libelous rating?

If you are convinced you have been libeled, you might ask an attorney about filing a Doe subpoena. Subpoenas or other legal process should be obtained from a court with the appropriate jurisdiction. Our service of process address can be found at the California Secretary of State website

Subpoenas issued to us pursuant to a state court other than California (where Ratingz Inc. is incorporated and has its primary place of business) are generally not enforceable. More info on this third-party website:

http://interstatedeposition.com/compellingout-of-statewitness.htm

3-7)  How can I advertise on VetRatingz.com?

You can use Google Adwords to target your advertising toward VetRatingz.com. The steps involved are:

  1. Set up a Google AdWords account
  2. Create an ad unit
  3. Set up a campaign for the area(s) you want to reach
  4. Add VetRatingz.com using "managed placements"

See here and here for more information.

More Questions?

Please use the Contact Form. Note that we do read every question and comment submitted, but we do not guarantee a response.