The status quo, in which the annual pricing system remained intact, drew 37.7% of the vote. (As we now know, the status quo has been blown apart, and there's almost certainly no way to go back.)

Those survey takers who selected this option agree with the likes of Dahlman Rose shipping analyst Omar Nokta, who has argued that the longer the duration of iron-ore pricing arrangements, the better it is for bulk cargo demand.

It's not surprising, then, that a clear minority of poll participants -- about 14.3% -- chose the pure spot market as their iron-ore pricing regime of choice.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.

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