Every year we have a lot of questions regarding our competition. Here are answers to some of the most common ones:

When is it? Nominations begin May 24, 2023 and end June 14, 2023. Voting begins June 28, 2023 and ends July 23, 2023.

How are businesses nominated? Nominations are collected through a write-in phase. From May 24 – June 14, readers will have the chance to nominate their favorite local businesses and organizations. If you do not see your business name in a category on the ballot, that means you have not been nominated yet. Ask your customers to write in your business name in the appropriate categories, and your business name will appear shortly. **Please note there is some lag time.**

Do I have to advertise in the magazine to be nominated/win? No. No purchase is required to participate in the competition or to win the competition. We are not shy in telling you that advertising in our magazine helps because it is the best way to remind the voters about your business and what category you’d like to be considered for – much like political candidates advertise to get their name out to the public.

Also, we would not be able to do this competition every year without our advertisers. It costs a lot of time and money to do a competition like this and selling advertisements helps compensate us for the costs.

What are the rules? Voting is limited to one account, per person, per category. If votes cast do not follow the guidelines, they may be deemed invalid and may result in the disqualification of votes by that device or email address. The purchase of advertising in The Pilot products does not affect the out of the Best of the Pines results. Votes are counted and audited by an independent third party.

Why don’t you have a category for _______? We get this question a lot. As much as we’d like to have a category so every single business in Moore County could participate, we simply don’t have the manpower to do it. We try to keep the category count below 200 in order to make it manageable.

We selected categories based on what categories were popular last year. We also did a reader’s poll on what people felt we should add. 

When I nominate, why does the business show up as _______? What businesses show up depends upon two things: your location and how the business is listed in Google Business. Locations are determined by your location. For example, if you lived in New Jersey and you typed in “McDonald’s,” it would show the McDonald’s with addresses in Cherry Hill and Camden.

Google Business is NOT the same thing as Google Search or Google Maps. Google Search is a search engine. Google Maps is a map. Google Business is a tool managed by Google that helps a business manage their online profile–which includes Google Search and Google Maps. It’s free. For more information, go to https://www.google.com/business/.

Any restrictions on voting? Voters must use their own email address when registering to vote. Email addresses must be valid. The system we are using has a complex system to help eliminate potential voter fraud. Any votes that trigger the system are reviewed. Votes that cannot be verified or show signs that they may be fraudulent are eliminated.

What about paper ballots? The short answer: it’s 2023. But because our online platform has numerous security features that help prevent voter fraud, we’re sticking with this option.

Any restrictions on who can win? Any business or individual who does not provide a good representation of The Pilot LLC or the competition may be determined to be ineligible and eliminated from the competition at any time. We reserve the right to remove businesses from the ballot if they owe us a large amount of money for a significant amount of time. Also, any business that has demonstrated an unwillingness to follow the rules of the competition may be eliminated.

Are businesses allowed to use customer emails to vote for themselves? NO. The ballot platform we use is well-versed in identifying and eliminating many of the ways companies attempt to commit voter fraud. They’ve even implemented new features this year to further identify and mitigate potential fraud. We are confident that this platform ensures we have the most honest and valid competition we can.

Is there a 10 category minimum?
No. However, nominations from email addresses that only nominate in one category may be flagged as fraudulent because our software thinks they look fake. To be clear, nothing is automatically disqualified; however, email addresses with just one vote may be subject to investigation. We encourage everyone to engage with as many categories as possible across the ballot.