I don't intend to get into a battle about this, but I just want to respond to a few of your points in defense of WDJ, and then I'm going to leave this thread alone and let everyone decide for themselves...No I don't think it's about a food becoming bad that leaves a list or moves around. I think they are paid for placements. Maybe I'm wrong but there is no rhyme or reason for this. It makes no sense why the foods drop off the list and others come out of nowhere. And if it is like you say... I wouldn't trust them as they are just changing the list around arbitrarily? They should make a list or recommended foods if that is the case and not a top 10 foods. I don't listen to any sites actually. I feel they all have an agenda at some level. The best thing to do is to learn truly about canine nutrition and learn to to truly evaluate a food and you can make an informed decision. I have actually seen them knock a food for something and another food has the same thing but gets moved up for no reason. again, just not something I've learned to ignore, the websites top 10 foods lists and the like.
As far as lists to take into a store, they were still recommending all the grain free foods that have been implicated in the DCM issue with no cursory note attached to warn of a possible issue. These people aren't being informed to make an informed decision. In fact, they are still recommending foods with legumes in them.
1) In the 20+ years I have been a WDJ subscriber I have NEVER seen or heard of any implication that WDJ gets "paid for placements." One of the reasons I trust them is that they do not accept advertising and I have never heard of them getting anything of value from companies in order to give good feedback about their products. If a food "drops off" the list, it's likely that either something changed (e.g., the brand was bought by a company WDJ has reason to distrust) or the food just no longer meets their higher criteria (e.g., the company wouldn't tell them where the food was manufactured or where the ingredients were sourced). If a new food appears, it's likely it's literally a new food since the last time they did their review (or maybe a food that had a limited distribution prior to that year). I really don't think anyone is paying WDJ to put their food on the list!
2) It is NOT a "top 10" list. Their 2018 list (available via Google search if anyone is interested) has over 50 foods/brands on the list, organized by cost per pound. I have never heard them claim that there is a "best" food for every dog... in fact every year the list comes out they strongly encourage their readers to educate themselves about how to read a food label, they admit that just because a food is not on their list does not automatically make it a "bad" food, and basically they say that the "best" food for your dog is the food your dog does best on. They always have at least a brief discussion of what criteria they used to assess which foods make it to their "recommended" list in that given year.
3) I agree that I would like to have seen a caveat on the 2019 list about concerns about the DCM and grain-free foods (though I also know WDJ has published several stories exploring the issue - most are available on line without a subscription if anyone is curious). That said, as I understand it, researchers have not yet definitively determined exactly what the link is between grain-free and DCM (they've determined a potential correlation, but not causation), so a wholesale dumping/trashing of a high-quality kibble based solely on a suspected link (not even knowing exactly what that link is), would also not be a wise thing to do. There are many dogs still eating grain-free foods who have not developed DCM, and there are plenty of foods on WDJ recommended list that include grains, so anyone who is concerned can still find the list of use.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about this, but I stand by my assertion that the WDJ recommended foods list is an excellent tool for dog owners trying to determine what might be the "best" food or foods to feed their dogs.