Each year, I see certain wedding vendors pumping up the fact that they were either nominated for the SFGate’s BayList or the fact that they either won or ranked high in the final tallies. However, its pretty obvious being nominated for this contest is not something worth bragging about to potential clients – it appears to me that pretty much EVERY San Francisco Bay Area wedding vendor that can readily be found via internet search is automatically added – I have to assume its a numbers game for the SFGate folks in an attempt to drive traffic to their site, as each person you recruit to vote for your business needs to create an SFGate account in order to do so – that’s great business for the SFGate site!
So, before this year’s contest gets going, let me explain how this contest works when you get “under the hood”. Here’s the text of the e-mail these folks just sent me on 1/10/11 (in bold):
“Hi DJ Jeremy Productions
The BayList is back with our 3rd annual contest. Voting starts on January 24th and runs through March 18th.
Check out the new and exciting campaign tools to help you get to the #1 spot:
# Mobile Voting: Print out and hang Campaign Posters in your business. Customers can scan them with their iPhone or Android to vote for your business while in store.
# Voter Deals: Create a Voter Deal to thank your customers for their vote. After voting, customers can purchase your Voter Deal which guarantees a return visit to your business.
Example Voter Deals:
* $39.00 for a relaxing 1 hour massage ($70 value)
* $19.00 for Express Oil Change ($30.00 value)
* $10.00 for $20.00 worth of Traditional Mexican Cuisine
To access the Business Center, click here and login in the top right-hand corner:
Have a question? We’re here to help! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Your friends at the SF BayList”
So it looks to me as if they are encouraging businesses to actively solicit votes by offering deals. There is certainly nothing overtly deceptive or crooked about this, but what does being ranked in this contest really tell you? I’m sure all you smart cookies can do the math on why being ranked on BayList is fairly meaningless (and far from organic!) – it’s more of a promotional drive akin to a political race rather than an accolade for any type of achievement or great service.
Anyhow, if you come across the BayList being used a promotional tool by other DJs or wedding vendors, you now have a bit more perspective on how the thing works.
PS – Evidently, I finished at #12 out of 60+ vendors in last year’s BayList contest (I looked at my listing today before e-mailing these folks and asking for my business listing to be removed from their website). Funny thing is, I’m unaware that anyone actually voted for me – I certainly know I didn’t offer any “voter deals”!. 😉