Something tells us we might not be the first media organization contacting you about the results of their readership’s poll of the best businesses in Omaha.  You might even start hearing about another round of voting for another poll about now!

We are pretty sure, however, we’re the only ones that would tell you that the nominations for the best businesses in Omaha are with an independent accounting firm being tallied up right now.

For our first 17 years we used SurveyMonkey and an open ballot system. Heck, we even used paper ballots and actual ballot boxes for well over the first decade! That was quite a handful to clean up and monitor for vote stuffing.

Starting last year we went to a two-tier system of nominations and final votes using a new system that required an email account, full name and zip code for verification and double opt-ins. That system is run on Second Street, a common media platform for promotions. It does allow you to sell ads on the ballot, but we haven’t gone there. We tend not to encourage campaigning too much, and across all the votes that seems to work.

Having a nomination process that prepopulates a final ballot and still allows write-ins makes voting easier while allowing popular choice. One lesson we are learning in this modified open system, that uses public nominations to start the ballot, is that we need to do a better job of fixing spellings and business names. That’s always a trick when a company’s brand might differ from it’s name, take NFM and Nebraska Furniture Mart for instance, not to mention the challenge of sorting doctor’s names with the name of the practice.

For almost the entire time Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O! has run, however, we’ve used an independent accounting firm to do the tally and award the recognitions. For some time we have been proud that one of Omaha’s oldest and largest accounting firms, Hancock & Dana, takes that out of our hands.

We caught some errors of categorization and businesses closed since the balloting started and we sent that feedback to the accounting firm. While Douglas County Prosecutor Don Kleine might be a top criminal attorney in town, that’s not quite what we had in mind with the Best Attorney-Criminal category.  Reminder to self, let’s add Defense to that category title next year!

Final results are expected back this week. You could be hearing from us. Of course, YOU CAN NOT SAY A WORD until the Readers’ Choice Best of the Big O! issue hits the stands on August 4. You haven’t for 19 years, so we know we can trust you. Thank you!

We might not be the very first and we’re definitely not the last “best of” in Omaha, but we do reach an active, engaged audience in the fastest-growing consumer segments to tell us the best businesses in our community.

We can’t thank them enough for sharing their favorite businesses with us so we can share them with you.

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