Bots of the East Bay - Oakland


Oakland magazine readers are very passionate about their favorite pizzas and burgers, bike shops and spas, cooking and spinning classes, as record-breaking voting in the 2018 Best of Oakland and the East Bay contest shows. This year, as the March 10 voting deadline approached, the magazine website was flooded with a flurry of last-minute voting, slowing backend postings to a frustrating crawl but upping the overall voting to totals dramatically above last year’s record highs. What an awesome outcome.

Our two-pronged voting approach — an open-ended nomination process that is then followed by pitting the top vote-getters in a staggering 162 categories this year against one another — seems to fire up nominees and supporters. Used to be, there was radio silence between the time readers voted and when the winning results were published. Now, perusing the online ballot riles up people and gets their competitive juices going. They lobby friends, families, and fans, and they work the vote, getting everybody into the voting game. And vote they do, much to my delight. As the tallying occurs, impatient finalists pry for the results, which we save for readers of this issue.

This time around in our voting we encountered — and thwarted, ha! — our first robot voters. Yes, our Best Of contest is so intense and so popular that people will cheat to win, just like in the Olympics, the Tour de France, and the national election. We had some ballot-stuffers, too (shame on you), but we recognized those patterns and disqualified the ballots.

 Readers will notice some longtime winners in the No. 1 spot this year, like Barney’s, Grand Lake Ace Hardware, and Oakland Tech. But there are surprises as well and new categories. Congratulations to all the individuals, businesses, and causes that readers voted the best. Results begin on page 33 aside some fun editors’ picks.

 I’m always interested in knowing what categories readers think we left out and ought to include next time, so please contact me. Finally, I want to invite you to please join us in celebrating the Best Of Oakland and the East Bay 2018 and all the winners at our Best Of Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, May 3, at the Terrace Room. For tickets, visit

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