While Facebook is the most popular website in America, users indicate they are not enthusiastic fans of the social network, according to the 2010 American customer satisfaction (ACSI) Index E-Business Report, released in partnership with ForeSee Results.
Facebook scored 64 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, which puts its satisfaction even lower than IRS e-filers. This puts Facebook in the bottom 5 percent of all measured private sector companies and on the same level as airlines and cable companies, two continuously low-scoring industries with poor customer satisfaction.
"Facebook is a phenomenal success, so we were not expecting to see it score so poorly with consumers," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results.
"At the same time, our research shows that privacy concerns, frequent changes to the website, and commercialization and advertising adversely affect the consumer experience. Compare that to Wikipedia, which is a non-profit that has had the same user interface for years, and it's clear that while innovation is critical, sometimes consumers prefer evolution to revolution."
Social media websites were measured for the first time by ACSI, and the category includes Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia and YouTube. Twitter was not included in the social media category because of the number of users that access the site via third party applications. Wikipedia leads the category at 77, followed by YouTube at 73, and Facebook at 64 and MySpace 63.
"Social media has become too big to ignore, so we added it to our list of e-business measures," said Claes Fornell, ACSI founder and professor of business at the University of Michigan. "We are quite surprised to find that satisfaction with the category defies its popularity."
Google fell 7 percent but continues to lead the portals and search engines industry with a score of 80. It is also just the second time Google loses its top spot to the "all others" category of search engine competitors which increased 5 percent to 82. Microsoft's Bing search engine makes a solid first showing with a score of 77, trailed by Yahoo! (76), AOL (74), and Ask.com (73).
"Google may be suffering from trying to be too many things to too many people, but it still has the most loyal following with 80% of its users citing Google as their primary search engine," said Freed.
"That said, Bing's first measure is impressive and could put some pressure on Google. The new search engine is already making gains in market share and using clever marketing and advertising to distinguish itself from the market leader."
In the news and information category, Fox News now leads its competition online as well as on TV. FoxNews.com debuts at the top of the industry with a score of 82, the highest score of any news site has ever received in nine years of measurement. Competitors MSNBC.com (74) and CNN.com (73) trail in satisfaction as well as ratings. All major news websites improve, including newspaper websites for USATODAY.com (+4% to 77) and NYTimes.com (+4% to 76).