Now, y'might be asking yourself, why's this wave comin'? What's churning up the water? Well, folks, it's 'cause we're all turning into internet "Karens". Yeah, you heard me right. Picture a swarm of Karens, tapping their foot impatiently at the supermarket check-out, demanding to speak to the manager at the slightest provocation. That's us. We're the ones wanting everything right here, right now. Anything less, and we're kickin' up a fuss like it's a national emergency.

Let's look at the stats from the 2023 Dental Digital Marketing Index (DDMI). In 2010, keywords with "near me" in them made up just 1.4% of average search traffic. Fast forward to the start of 2023, and it's blown up to nearly half of all average monthly search traffic in the Codex. That ain't just a rise, that's a dang explosion.

Think about it - while all the non-"near me" keywords in the Codex have doubled in total average monthly search traffic since 2010, the "near me" ones have skyrocketed 132 times over. That's right, 132 times. Like a rocket shooting up into the stratosphere. It's a whole new level of growth, orders of magnitude higher than the rest.

But why the heck's this happening? Well, we reckon it's 'cause we're becoming more like those impatient, demanding internet "Karens". Let's say someone's had a rotten experience with a dentist (not you, of course, we're talking hypothetical here). They're thinking about switchin'. But there's a bunch of stuff they gotta consider. How hard is it to find a new dentist? Are they any good? Convenient? Take my insurance? How much hassle to make the switch? Back in the day, that was a real pain. Took time and effort, like a prospector panning for gold.

But now, with the internet, it's as easy as pie. What used to take hours, days, even weeks, can now be done in a few minutes. Folks used to just give up 'cause who's got the time? But now, everyone's got the time. And not only that, their expectations are higher than ever. Don't meet 'em, and they're as prickly as a porcupine. One bad review can send 'em running.

This "near me" Wave is evidence of this trend, and it ain't slowing down. In fact, it's picking up speed. One search term's king of the hill: "Dentist near me". In January 2010, there were less than a thousand searches for "Dentist near me" in the whole US of A. By January 2023, it had exploded to over a million.

Now, there's a whole heap of factors behind this shift, but the point is it's a big deal. For most general dental practices, it's like a tug of war. You win when another practice loses a patient. And these "dentist near me" searches are a clear sign that more folks are looking to switch, and that number's skyrocketing. We can't predict what this means for patient loyalty in the long run, but we're keeping our eyes peeled.