report released this morning by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index and ForeSee Results states it as plainly as can be stated: "Despite being the most popular website in America, consumers don't like Facebook". The world's largest social networking site, which boasts more than 500 million users worldwide, now occupies the dismal depths where airlines, cable companies, IRS e-filers, pineapple on pizza and those who TYPE IN ALL CAPS reside.A
According to the survey, Facebook landed "in the bottom 5% of all measured private sector companies", scoring a 64 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, leading the lowest entry in the social media category - MySpace - by just one point.
Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results, says in the release that the reasons for users dissatisfaction with Facebook are varied, but lie along some expected lines of tension.
"Facebook is a phenomenal success, so we were not expecting to see it score so poorly with consumers," said Freed. "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."
The Internet Social Media category - new to the index this year - had only five entries, with MySpace and Facebook bringing up the tail end. Wikipedia and YouTube led the pack, with scores of 77 and 73 respectively. We have to say, it's odd that the "Internet Social Media" category - a categorization that could contain hundreds of sites - has this few entries, but even in the other categories released this month, none scored as low as Facebook and MySpace.
The site has run into continual trouble over the past year, from backlash after repeatedly changing its privacy settings to simply redesigning the user interface, and it looks like the numbers reflect this. But will these numbers reflect whether or not consumers actually use the site?
As usual, we expect consumer dissatisfaction to mean little, if anything, until a better alternative comes along.