Sock puppeting and astroturfing aren’t just for employees of Gavin Newsom anymore: as SF Weekly reported last year, SF plastic surgeon Dr. Usha Rajagopal is allegedly guilty of indulging in those and other web-unethical practices. But apparently that wasn’t enough for the woman CA’s medical board accused of “gross negligence” after her mistakes, SF Weekly says, sent one patient into a “persistent vegetative state” — now she’s trying to sue real, non-sock puppet reviewers critical of her work.

As the Weekly reported last September, SF marketer Tracy Rosecrans promised to market Rajagopal so that her practice would show up at the top of any google search of “plastic surgeons” and “San Francisco”. The techniques she used however, proved to be ethically questionable, as the Weekly alleges Rosecrans “left behind a trail of evidence suggesting falsified patient reviews.”

Most web-savvy folks (and we think most Appeal readers are just that) probably aren’t surprised to hear about scuzzy marketing plans to game google, or to consider the possibility that online reviews can be false. But this might give you pause: apparently Rajagopal is attempting to sue (presumably, real, non-sock puppet) reviewers of her practice.

In her crosshairs: negative commenters on Rajagopal’s Google Maps place page. Rajagopal, whose blog recently marveled at the “addicting” nature of Google Trends, has reportedly subpoenaed Google for the identity of at least one commenter. The commenter, who remains unnamed, has since retained counsel which asked the court to shut down the subpoena, calling the suit “a baseless attempt to get people to remove their posts.”

Rajagopal’s lawyer stands by the suit, however, saying that “he believes other doctors have conspired to damage Rajagopal with an online smear campaign.”

Sure, because, clearly, her reputation was in such great shape until then.

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the author

Always in motion. April Siese writes about music, takes photos at shows, and even helps put them on behind the scenes as a stagehand. She's written everything from hard news to beauty features, as well as fiction and poetry. She most definitely likes pie.

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