Frequently Asked Questions

Every year we have a lot of questions regarding our competition. Here are answers to some of the most common ones:

When is it? Nominations begin July 21 and end August 4. Voting begins September 22 and runs through October 6. Winners will be announced December 12, 2024.

How are businesses nominated? Nominations are collected through a write-in phase. From July 21 – August 4, readers will have the chance to nominate their favorite local businesses and organizations in 131 categories.

Do I have to advertise/pay to be nominated/win? No. No purchase is required to participate in the competition or to win the competition. However, advertising helps because it is the best way to remind the voters about your business and what category you’d like to be considered for – much like political candidates advertise to get their name out to the public.

Also, we would not be able to do this competition every year without our advertisers. It costs a lot of time and money to do a competition like this and selling advertisements helps compensate us for the costs.

What are the rules? Individuals can nominate and vote one per category. The purchase of advertising in Trib Total Media products does not affect the outcome of Best of the Best. Votes are counted and audited by an independent third party.

Why don’t you have a category for _______? We get this question a lot. As much as we’d like to have a category so every single business South Western Pennsylvania could participate, it’s simply not possible. We select categories based on what categories have been popular in the past. Also, we require 4-5 nominees on the final ballot, we need enough businesses to support the category for it to be viable.

When I nominate, why does the business show up as _______? What businesses show up depends upon two things: your location and how the business is listed in Google Business. Locations are determined by your location. Google Business is NOT the same thing as Google Search or Google Maps. Google Search is a search engine. Google Maps is a map. Google Business is a tool managed by Google that helps a business manage their online profile–which includes Google Search and Google Maps. It’s free. For more information, go to

Any restrictions on voting? Voters must use their own email address when registering to vote. Email addresses must be valid. The system we are using has a complex algorithm to help eliminate potential voter fraud. Any votes that trigger the system are reviewed. Votes that cannot be verified or show signs that they may be fraudulent are eliminated.

Are businesses allowed to use customer emails to vote for themselves? NO. The ballot platform we use is well-versed in identifying and eliminating many of the ways companies attempt to commit voter fraud. They’ve even implemented new features this year to further identify and mitigate potential fraud. We are confident that this platform ensures we have the most honest and valid competition we can.

Is there a category minimum?
No. Readers can vote in as many or as few categories as they would like. However, nominations from email addresses that only nominate in one category may be flagged as fraudulent because our software thinks they look fake. To be clear, nothing is automatically disqualified; however, email addresses with just one vote may be subject to investigation. We encourage everyone to engage with as many categories as possible across the ballot.
Can chain stores and franchises be nominated?
We prefer to see locally-owned small businesses, however some categories just don’t have that many locally-owned businesses. It’s up to the voters to say what/who they support.
How do I find out who the winners are?
Winners will be announced in a special section of the Tribune-Review and all Trib Total Media weekly and monthly newspapers on Thursday, December 12. Subscribe today and have it delivered to your door!