What is The Fox’s Choice?

The Fox’s Choice is a list of the best local businesses in the Fox Valley. Businesses are selected to be part of the list by the team here at Magnify the Fox. Businesses are selected based on several factors. These are categorized into six groups: reputation, professionalism, expertise, services, trust, and availability.

The Challenges

Our goal is to create a reliable list of businesses in the Fox Valley. Doing that is not as simple as it may sound. There are several challenges that need to be overcome. According to the US Census Bureau, there are around 25,000 business in the Fox Valley. That is a lot of businesses!

There is also the major technical difficulty of collecting accurate data on each of these businesses. We primarily use research tools that pull data from the web. However, as you probably know, not all the data on the internet is reliable. We need to verify and screen all the data that we collect.

We collect a lot of data. Around 600 individual data points are examined for each business we review.

Despite all these challenges we expect to be able to begin publishing The Fox’s Choice soon.

How are businesses selected for The Fox’s Choice?

As we select businesses, our aim is to create a list of businesses you can trust. To ensure you can rely on us and our best local businesses we are double-checking and triple-checking our research and selection methods.

Our exact research and selection methods are proprietary. However, we would like to provide a glimpse into how it works. We believe that if you can see the way we select businesses you will trust the results as much as we do.

Business Review Process

We use a simple four-phase process to select businesses for The Fox’s Choice.

  1. Collect Data
  2. Review and Process
  3. Rank Businesses
  4. Verify Information
Image showing a funnel with data collection, review and process, rank business, and verify information as the process steps to produce The Fox's Choice.

Phase 1: Data Collection

In the first phase, we focus on collecting data on businesses in a specific business category. As an example, let’s use the category Auto Repair.

Step one is to identify businesses in the Fox Valley that belong to the business category. In our case, we would be looking for auto repair shops.

Step two is to begin pulling in data on those businesses.

We collect a lot of data. We get reviews from Google, Yelp, Facebook, the Better Business Bureau, as well as many category-specific websites like TripAdvisor, The Knot, HomeAdvisor, and more.

The reviews we collect just scratches the surface. We look at businesses’ legal history, licenses, awards, social media accounts, professional and business associations, and much more


Phase 2: Review and Processing

In this second phase, we begin by reviewing the data that we have collected. Data is only helpful if it is accurate and understandable. After reviewing we process the data so that it is quantifiable. This allows it to be run through our algorithm.

Step one is to review the data that we have collected. This is done with a real live human (who lives in the Fox Valley) at the controls. Our review process is used to check the quality, integrity, and accuracy of our data. If there is misleading data, we want to make sure to remove it from the calculated dataset.

An example is fake reviews. Fake reviews, whether negative or positive, should not impact a business’s rankings. To correct this, we identify fake reviews and remove them from the dataset.

Step two is to process the data so that it is quantifiable. This allows it to be computed by our algorithm.

Phase 3: Rank Businesses

In this phase, we run all the data that we have collected and reviewed through our ranking algorithm. We give each data type a unique weight. We dampen or increase the weight to of each point to correspond with its importance in the real world.

This allows us to provide not just a consistent calculation across businesses in the category, but a realistic and factual foundation for our results.

Not every business category is the same. Because of that, we give different data types more or less weight depending on the category we are calculating. For instance, we have found that people trust reviews for wedding photographers more on websites like The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Facebook than on Google and Yelp. We ensure that our calculation reflects this.

Phase 4: Verify Information

In this last phase, we take time to verify information about the businesses that we have selected.

We contact the owner or manager of the business, verify the contact information, and gather some additional details to be able to promote the business effectively on our website.

Reviewing businesses takes time

As you can see the process of reviewing and selecting the best local businesses is an in-depth process. As much as we want to be able to publish the top businesses in every category, we do not want to compromise quality for quantity. Unfortunately, that means that we will be releasing the best local businesses slower than you might expect.

If you have a business category that you want us to cover. Please reach out to us on social media or on our website and let us know.

We look forward to releasing some of the categories of The Fox’s Choice soon!