Welcome to Boulder Weekly’s 22nd annual Best of Boulder™. As publisher, I find the comments our readers post to be the most interesting part of our annual survey. I personally read each one of them, which took some time given that there were more than 1,200 comments written by our readers in this year’s survey (which gives you a clue as to how many ballots were cast; hint: the number of comments is a small fraction of the number of ballots we counted in determining this year’s winners). I wanted to write the introduction to this year’s edition for a couple of reasons. First, to say thank you to you, our readers, for making this year’s Best of Boulder our most successful ever. And I also wanted to take some time to explain exactly how our selection process works.
Best of Boulder is a reader survey. This means that our readers alone decide who wins the most highly coveted “Best Of” awards in the area. I personally certify the results, and I can confirm that the awards are given solely on the basis of who receives the most votes from our readers.
Admittedly, it’s a little more complicated than that. As a number of you have pointed out, getting on the ballot (meaning, being listed as one of the multiple-choice options in any given category) is essential to winning a Best of Boulder award. So, how are these decisions made and how can one become a nominee? Once again, as a reader survey, getting on the ballot is also determined by our readers. Each year we go through the ballot, question by question, to add and subtract nominees on the basis of past support from voters. If a nominee received little support from voters during the previous year, we might decide to remove them from contention; if a nominee received significant support from voters during the previous year, they will remain on the ballot. Most importantly, we review the all-important write-in votes from the previous year and add nominees to the survey that received significant support. In fact, last year we rolled out a new award: Write-In Winner, which is given to those businesses receiving the most write-in support in their category. This year’s Write-In Winners will automatically be listed in the 2019 survey. Our aim is to present the top nominees in each category, and we engage in a meticulous review in creating the survey each year. Given that this review is conducted solely on the basis of whom our readers voted for in the past, whether or not a nominee is an advertiser is not part of the equation.
However, the very nature of advertising comes into play here. When a business advertises in Boulder Weekly, they enter into a relationship with our readers. More often than not, this relationship breeds good will and familiarity, and when our readers take the survey they are more likely to vote for a business they have a relationship with, just as they are more likely to choose a restaurant, café, summer camp or bike shop that they have a relationship with when making a purchase. That’s how advertising works, folks, and in all honesty, we cheer when our advertisers win these awards because it means that their efforts to build their relationship with our readers are working. But that’s as far as it goes. When it comes time to tabulate the results, we give the awards to whomever our readers voted for in the greatest numbers, and we construct the survey each year on the same basis.
I want to conclude by explaining the “TM” symbol that we often place after Boulder Weekly’s tradename, Best of Boulder. This is the symbol for “trademark,” and it is a legal designation which signifies that Boulder Weekly has earned the exclusive use of the tradename, Best of Boulder. There are other surveys conducted in Boulder County each year, but there is only one Best of Boulder. But along with the rights Boulder Weekly enjoys in connection with the use of our tradename comes an obligation to uphold the highest level of integrity in how we conduct our annual survey and present the awards. In all aspects of how we conduct our media organization, we take an enormous amount of pride in upholding the highest levels of journalistic integrity, which has made Boulder Weekly one of the most decorated media organizations in the Rocky Mountain region for the past several years. Our Best of Boulder survey follows suit with the care that we give to all of our content. In a dynamic media landscape, we continue to be humbled by the loyalty shown to us by our readers, and we feel a deep responsibility to reciprocate that loyalty by delivering the best damn publications we possibly can. We understand that you have more options than ever, and we truly appreciate that you continue to choose Boulder Weekly, Best of Boulder and our other brands as a valued aspect of living in Boulder County.
Now, on to the awards!