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Teri Lanza

Teri Lanza
Editorial Director
tlanza@vpico.com

Inside Self-Storage Best of Business Poll: Renewed and Relaunched

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Last month Inside Self-Storage launched the industry’s first-ever “Best of Business” choice-opinion poll; but like many new initiatives, it required time and customer feedback to fully meet audience demand. The original campaign was halted last week, and today we are pleased to open a new Best of Business poll with a more secure, accurate voting process.

A little background: The Best of Business campaign entails a survey to determine your favorite self-storage suppliers across nearly 30 product and service categories. Voters identify the companies that deserve recognition for Best Customer Service, Most Innovative Product, Best Self-Storage Door, Best Management Software and many other titles of honor. The poll was originally opened on April 15.

It’s never an easy decision to switch gears mid-project. After a large marketing push and the collection of thousands of votes, we were wary of pulling the plug to start fresh. We worried about those who had taken time to vote online, and we didn’t want users to feel we had cast aside their effort without cause or careful consideration.

But after phone calls and e-mails from readers expressing concern about the original, unlimited voting process, we listened. It was clear a change was required. It’s unfortunate to suspect that suppliers will repeatedly vote for themselves or their allies, or skew results with tidal wave votes; but it was possible in the initial voting platform, and readers felt their true choices would be obliterated in the process.

We decided to stop progress on the poll and rebuild the Web-based voting mechanism. All votes cast before May 20 were purged from the system, and our Web team went to work to build a better tool. Now, we start fresh with a new Best of Business poll that will more accurately reflect readers’ voices.

To vote, visit www.insideselfstorage.com/vote and choose a category from the drop-down menu. You can vote in every category, but you may vote only once in each. You will also need to verify your e-mail address before your votes will be counted toward the final results. Any votes associated with an unverified e-mail address will be nullified when the poll closes.

Please also note that if you cast votes from more than computer, you may be asked to verify your e-mail address more than once, as the system will associate each e-mail with a particular IP address. To avoid this duplicate verification, simply cast all your votes from the same place.

A few other things to point out: Each category displays a pre-populated list of potential candidates, but voters should understand that this is a partial list of suggestions and is not intended to represent the complete universe of suppliers. If the company you wish to vote for is not on the list, simply type the company name into the entry field and submit.

Also, while we’ve done our best to improve voting security, people will always find ways to cheat and beat the system if that’s what they wish to do. Unscrupulous voters could vote from multiple e-mail addresses, as we all seem to have more than one these days. For example, a person could vote from a business e-mail address, a gmail address, a yahoo address, etc.

This dishonest strategy could be circumvented by requiring more personal information from each user during the voting process; but this approach has the potential to backfire, as people are reluctant to give up too much data. Demanding more information could significantly discourage voter participation. So we had to strike a balance between a security and anonymity, simplicity and accuracy, ease and access. We settled on the current verification process, and we anticipate it will yield reliable results.

When all is said and done, we want a Best of Business poll that reflects the industry’s true choices and deserving winners. Tell us who reigns supreme. Votes will be collected through June 30. Winners will be announced on the ISS website in November and published in special editions of ISS magazine.

Have more feedback to offer on our choice-opinion poll? Feel free to share it here in the blog. We welcome your suggestions and comments, and we take them seriously. Your input helps us build better resources for the industry, and we appreciate it.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.

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