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Recommended Businesses

You cannot sign up for a listing in our Recommended Business Directory, since by its very nature, it depends on outside recommendations. It utilizes a four-step procedure to minimize the use of shills to attain a listing and to make the list trustworthy and reliable:

1. Nomination. A business can be nominated for inclusion by (1) a member of an Approved Association (such as an HOA, civic association, or other membership organization) or by (2) five customers of a  merchant participating in our Savings Program. This lessens (but does not eliminate) the risk of a business using a “shill” to gain inclusion.

2. Initial Screening. Despite all precautionary efforts to prevent the use of shills through our nominating procedure, some businesses will slip through the cracks.  Therefore, we also screen the nominees by listing them in our Newsletter and inviting viewer comments. If there are several justified negative comments about a nominee, we will decline the nomination. In marginal cases, we will investigate further.

3. Provisional Period All nominees are given a provisional listing for one year after nomination to provide time for customer objections to be raised. The status of provisional listees is indicated in the Recommended Business Directory.

4. Post-Provisional Screening. Even after the provisional period expires, we will publish comments, both negative and positive, from consumers who patronize listed businesses. Where a comment is negative, the business has the opportunity to publish an explanation or to refute the comment. We also have a Penalty Box allowing members of an Approved Association to report on alleged egregious behavior. Because of the serious nature of being listed in the Penalty Box, we investigate the facts rigorously.

Note: While most approved-business lists will remove a listee after several user complaints, we know of none that also follows the stringent rules in the first three steps.

A business cannot bypass our listing procedures by buying an ad or offering other consideration. If it does not qualify under our procedures, it CANNOT be included in our Recommended Businesses Directory. However, if a business IS listed, pursuant to our procedures, it can, at ITS option, pay for a window decal (at a modest fee) or an upgraded (Featured) listing.

We provide only basic information about our Recommended Business listings because they are recommended by customers who generally provide only limited information about the business. They do not know the email or Website addresses and few will undertake the effort to get them, much less write a description of the business. 

Note: We are presently undertaking the major effort of contacting our almost 5,000 listees to get their Website addresses.

The reason that our Recommended Businesses Directory plays such a major role in our viewers’ buying decisions is their awareness that PAID advertisers are NOT SCREENED. Therefore, much of the information provided by advertisers to websites supported by advertising revenues is self-serving, which defeats the underlying purpose of “recommendations.”

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