Social Media Sites as Annoying as Cable Providers and Airlines

By | July 30, 2010

A new study by ForeSee Results and the American Customer Satisfaction Index (A.C.S.I. ) finds that consumers regard social media sites such as Facebook and MySpace as poorly as they regard cable providers, airlines and the I.R.S. The Annual E-Business Report included thirty online media brands including Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia and YouTube. But most of the social media sites achieved the worst “satisfaction” scores. In total, the A.C.S.I. measured 223 companies, with only ten of these scoring below a 65, including Facebook, MySpace, airlines and cable providers.

On a 0-100 point scale, Facebook scored just 64 points but Wikipedia scored 77. YouTube scored 73, and MySpace scored 63. By way of comparison, Netflix ranks at 87. Netflix has recently introduced a new service that is getting some very popular reviews. For $9/month they can stream new movies through the Wii video game station.

Facebook’s scores are strange. They scored low but continue to be one of the most popular sites on the web. ForeSee Results chief executive Larry Freed notes: “Customer satisfaction is a combination of what you get and what you expect [from a website]. The business model of starting out free and ad-free, then turning your site into something else over time works somewhere in tech, but from the average consumer standpoint it doesn’t work.” Typical issues expressed by Facebook users include privacy issues and promotional content. Like many other people, I hate getting messages posted by “friends” about Mafia Wars or Farmville.

Wikipedia, in contrast, had a much higher score and is perceived as performing for the “greater good.” “It’s about the content more than anything else,” Freed says, and Wikipedia hasn’t added revenue generating features that make it “troubling for people to access and utilize an ever-changing site.” The ForeSee Results study found that Wikipedia users are less frequent visitors compared to users of other social media sites. About one in five Wikipedia users visits daily compared to more than half of Facebook users.

According to July 2010 Hitwise data, Facebook is the top website in the U.S. with 9% of all website visits — Google has 7.4% — and 55% of all social media site visits. Despite low customer satisfaction numbers, people aren’t leaving Facebook and going to newer social media networks, Freed notes. Some are using it less frequently, he says, but they’re not jumping ship.

Do you agree? Are there social media sites that you love and hate?

Howard Fenton is a Senior Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research.

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