SanDiegoVille's Top Five Best Reasons For Not Jumping On The "Best of" Bandwagon

June 3, 2024

Everyone is looking for the "best" nowadays. You'll see "Best of" lists all over the place - best restaurant, best chefs, best neighborhood, best opening, etc., superlative, etc., bullshit bullshit bullshit. We don't blame people for wanting to maximize enjoyment by seeking out quality, but when it comes to "the best" of any particular food-related category, it's really a subjective determination with each person having their own unique rhyme and reason, and most of these lists are public relations driven, pay-for-play clickbait. Here are our top 5 reasons for not jumping on the "Best of" bandwagon.

Although we'll occasionally discuss our personal favorites with food items we eat all the time (like burgers), we're not keen on the "Best of" movement that has taken the Internet by storm. Here is our best of reasons why. 

5. The 'Cheap Pop' - This term originated in professional wrestling. It's when a wrestler would say or do something to easily garner the cheers of the crowd. We've applied that term to all this "Best of" BS. Lists get clicks. "Best of" lists definitely get more exposure than a normal post. It's a way of maximizing traffic to a given article by use of hyperbole. It's cheap. It's overused. Often times, the list is not contained on one single page, forcing the reader to click through a slideshow. Each slide is a different pageview for statistical purposes, so as a viewer scrolls through the list, the website gets many more hits for essentially one article, artificially inflating a site's statistics, which helps when pitching advertisers that will likely receive preference when making the next list. Oh, that brings us to the next reason...
4. Pay-For-Play - Most of these "best of" lists are pay-for-play, meaning a site's advertisers and/or favorite public relations companies get preferential inclusion. We're not necessarily talking an exchange of money, but there are definitely other benefits at play. The reason to include advertisers is easy to understand, but who helps get those companies to spend money with the publication, frequently the restaurant or hotel's retained PR company. Also catering to public relations companies is a way to ensure future "exclusive stories", "FIRST LOOKS", and continued comped meals. Read more about this in our article about San Diego public relations companies.  
3. Age of Narcissism - With the rise of social media and review sites like Yelp, every talking head in town thinks their opinion should be respected and revered. Today it seems that a fool's opinion counts just the same as that of the enlightened. A scathing review by a tech-savvy child may figure into the social media "algorithm" the same as it would from superchef Gordon Ramsay. Anyone can make a "best of" list, but really, who makes the list is quite important. What are the list-maker's qualifications? What factors were considered for inclusion on the list? Who's paying who or doing favors for whom to be included on the list? Who am I to judge the work product of a hard working family-fun restaurant? Who the 'F' do you think you are?!? We need to know these things. There should be some quantification in criticism. As Malcolm Gladwell once said, "Criticism is a privilege that you earn." Also, DON'T LOOK AT ME WHILE I'M TAKING PHOTOS AND VIDEOS OF THIS TABLE FULL OF FREE FOOD!!!
2."Best" is Subjective - Personally, I'm not a fan of Chicago-style pizza. I prefer 'gourmet' burgers over the basic version. I like sushi places that have a lot of creative roll options rather than the more traditional spots. I think that a delicious hole-in-the-wall is more satisfying than fancy-schmancy elegance. I don't like boring restaurants. If a place doesn't have at least 1-2 good beers, I usually won't dine there. All these eccentricities factor into my judgment, so someone with contrary idiosyncrasies may find my subjective "bests" to be their "worsts". We've read tons of local best lists and are usually rolling our eyes in disagreement.
How can one PR firm have so many "bests"???
1. The Dumbing Down of America - Do people even read anymore? It seems that all these lists are meant to appeal to America's evolving A.D.D. mindset. Throw a number in the article's title and people think they can skim through it quickly and easily... resulting in increased page views like a bell ring for one of Pavlov's dogs. We'd rather not further promote the devolution of intellect. There are certainly enough people and publications that do that. P.S. Are you still here? Bueller? Bueller???

BONUS! Manipulated Results - In addition to all of the above, most of the "reader-polled" Best Of lists are heavily manipulated. Restaurants, as well as their PR companies, work hard to stack the voting, and the bigger they are, the greater their influence.  

So yea, take your next "best of" list with a grain of salt, and be wary about trusting that local "influencer" or media talking head. It's all pay-for-play and public relations driven nowadays, folks! See through the bullshit,