Nataraj Metz/ Flickr Creative Commons

Since this site published its first article back in 1996, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten from readers is: How do I know if a product is any good?

I’ve posted lists of everything from the best travel bloggers to the best car rental companies over the years.

But today I’m making it official. I’m introducing Elliott’s List.

I know what you’re thinking: “Just what we need, another beauty pageant.”

Not exactly.

I think I can create a better buying guide. More to the point, I think you can.

Here’s how it will be different:

Between now and the end of the year, I’m soliciting nominations and polling readers on their favorite of everything, from airlines to cruise ships.

The process is dead simple: I’ll call for nominees on this site and through social media over the weekend. The companies or individuals with the most nominations make the final poll, which will post midweek. Then you vote, and the results are released in my weekly newsletter.

Here are the inaugural Elliott’s List categories.

• Best travel Twitter personalities
• Best airlines
• Best travel bloggers
• Best car rental companies
• Best travel Facebook pages
• Best online travel agencies
• Best travel YouTube channels
• Best hotels
• Best group-written travel blog
• Best cruise line
• Best new travel blogs

A few housekeeping notes.

If you want to nominate yourself or someone else for these awards, just follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ and sign up for my email newsletter. That’s where I’ll announce the call for nominations and results.

If you don’t want to participate in this list, that’s fine. Just let your friends and fans know that you don’t want them to nominate you.

If you’re nominated, please don’t stuff the ballot box. Even the appearance that you or your constituents have engaged in election shenanigans is sufficient grounds for disqualification.

Irony alert: I don’t participate in any awards, largely because there are no credible awards for consumer advocates. Also, it serves no purpose to rank us — we’re here to help, not to win awards.

Double irony alert: No comments are allowed on this post. If you have a suggestion or critique, please .