Just about every city or hamlet has them, blogs have them, websites have them and they all sound so good. What am I talking about? Those ubiquitous “Best Of” lists. Just how good are they? Do they really represent anything? Not really.
There are two basic types: pure numbers and private selection. The pure numbers one is the most prevalent. You know what I’m talking about; some local paper or website runs a marketing campaign to get everyone to vote for their favorite wedding vendors. Best Cake in Bugtussle, Best Photographer, Best Florist and so on. You know as well as I do these are nothing more than a giant ballot box stuffing fest devised to drive traffic to the sponsor’s website. Everyone that is nominated sends out email to their entire network saying “Vote for ME!!!” You’ve done it, so have I. I voted everyday for a friend’s bridal salon to be Best of Boston. Have I shopped there? I’ve never even been to Boston! Of course now I can’t seem to get off the lead list for whatever Boston paper it was that ran the thing.
My point is that it has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the vendors that win, well not usually*. It has to do with how deep their network is.
Yesterday I say a new one. This one was all full of itself and set up to be different. Nomination were open, just fill out the form. Then the website owner and one other person would review the nominees and pick the top three in each category. Hahaha, ya right.
I have been in this industry in this market for over 20 years. I have been an active member of the largest regional bridal networking organization for almost that long. I work on the B2B end now and hear all the dirt from everyone. Having said that you would have to figure that I have a pretty decent handle on what’s what and who’s who around here.
As my friend, a wedding planner and I looked over the winners yesterday, we started seeing a distinct trend. All the winners were second to third tier players and interestingly enough, either advertisers on the site or had been the vendors of the bride chosen to do the review. Not one of the people places or things that always rise to the top was chosen. Not one.
What makes me sad is that there are brides that look to these lists for answers. It isn’t fair to mislead the public like this just to drive traffic to your site and your friends. Take these things with a big grain of salt and recognize them for what they are: marketing tools for the sponsor.
*I said usually because there is one that really does it right and must be honest to a fault. After all, they picked me for best dessert in Nashville 13 years in a row! LOL