The first ones I saw were in web forums and bulletin boards, asking innocent enough questions like: "Which doctor would anyone recommend for condition XYZ?".
Then I started to see websites dedicated to specific conditions and listing, recommending, or rating doctors in that area.
Now there are a growing number of websites that rate or rank doctors in multiple areas and multiple specialties.
- Health Grades
- MD Nationwide
- RateMDs (Australian Version here)
- and now Emergiblog's favourite (not), Nurses Rate Doctors
Personally, I just have a look to see if me or any of my friends have anything bad said about us, but it is amazing how often you see entries that are just plain vindictive. More than once I have seen people that I know who are perfectly good doctors effectively slandered on one of these websites. Sometimes these are from people that I recognise who just plain have it out for someone for personal reasons.
Thankfully, I don't believe that many people take these seriously, but you never know. It doesn't take much to ruin a reputation these days.