Here's our handy guide to our Best of 2015 readers' choice surveys. Feel free to contact us with any further questions.
Why do I have to vote in so many categories?
This is a measure to ensure valid ballots and to avoid ballot stuffing. We recognize that not every category pertains to every voter, so this year we've minimized this number to 10, a mere 20 percent of the ballot.
Can we vote for our own business?
Can we ask clients to vote for us?
Of course! Simply share the link to our website; any individual is welcome to fill out the survey. Of course, rules regarding number of questions answered (10 minimum) and number of categories with the same business voted for (3 maximum) still pertain.
Geographically, what constitutes "a business located in the community"?
Generally speaking, it needs to be located within one of our coverage zip codes. Still, every vote is scrutinized by our editorial team and open to inclusion/exclusion via editorial discretion.
Last year you had XX category; I don't see it again this year. How come?
We don't want to switch categories up too much year to year unless there's a good reason to do so. Good reasons to change a category include: 1.) not enough votes in the category the previous year; 2) enough votes, but no clear winners (too vague a category); 3) the same winner in that category multiple years (more than 3 consecutive).
Is there a chance that category will return next year?
Yes. While there is a value in keeping most of the categories consistent, we annually revisit which ones worked and which ones didn't, usually opening up room for some new and also revisiting past tried-and-true categories.
How are finalists determined?
Each ballot is manually tabulated by our editorial staff. All ballots in which the rules have been followed are tabulated; breaking one or more rules puts the entire ballot at jeopardy for dismissal. There are three levels of counting and fact-checking that these results go through before finalists are announced on or around December 1, 2014. The top three finalists in each category will be revealed on the magazine's website. The business with the most votes wins; these results are disclosed at the Best of events held in February (Edina, Lake Minnetonka, Southwest Metro, St. Louis Park) and April (Maple Grove, Plymouth, White Bear Lake and Woodbury). All results are subject to editorial discretion.
What's the difference between a finalist and a nominee?
Essentially, nothing. Any local person, shop, restaurant, food or business could potentially be a nominee; the ballots are open-entry (fill in the blank), so any/all entries in these fields are technically nominees. The top three vote-getters in each category are our finalists, and these are also the only "nominees" that we publicize later.
What's the difference between a finalist/nominee and a winner?
While finalists/nominees are publicized after December 1, 2014, the results are already being double-checked/tabulated at that time. Voting (for both finalists and winners) is simultaneous, conducted from October 1 through November 15, so winners and finalists are all determined at the same time. Your ballot counts both as a nomination and a vote, so choose carefully and submit as many categories as possible in order to make your votes count.
Do I have to live in the community to vote?
No! Anyone who is well-versed in that community and has an interest or opinion can cast their one vote, just remember all rules regarding number of categories completed (minimum of 10) still apply.
Is there a place where all the survey links are easily accessible?
Here are all of the links! Feel free to send these to friends, family, neighbors, clients, customers, colleagues - anyone you think could be an expert on our communities.
How can I place an ad in the special "Best of" issues of your magazines?
Read our one-sheet on special advertising opportunities. Then contact one of our advertising representatives to inquire about placing an ad!