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The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has released its annual look at the “e-business” sector, which consists of ratings for social media sites, portals and search engines, and online news and information sites. And this year the news isn’t good. The social media category saw its overall score fall a point to 68 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, a reading that puts it above only internet service providers (ISPs) and on par with the chronically low-rated TV service providers. And while search engines and portals scored higher, their aggregate reading saw a significant drop.

Turning first to social media sites, the study finds that the most popular continue to be the most poorly rated. Among the 7 sites measured, LinkedIn and Facebook shared the lowest rating of 62, with the former slipping by a point and the latter improving by a point from last year. Facebook appeared to fall victim to privacy concerns: asked to rate each site’s commitment to protecting personal information, visitors were more than twice as likely to hand Facebook ratings of 4 or less on a 10-point scale than any other social media site.

Topping the social media charts again this year was Wikipedia, unchanged with a score of 78. Leaving Wikipedia aside (its high scores are indicative of its utility, per the researchers), Pinterest rates highest among social networks, up 3 points to a score of 72. Close behind are Google+ and YouTube, each with a score of 71. But while those are above-average scores, they mark a big change from last year. In particular, the score for Google+ tumbled 7 points, from 78. YouTube’s change wasn’t as stark, but it was nevertheless down 2 points.

Finally, Twitter came in with a reading of 65, up a point from last year, but below the category average of 68. Twitter’s problems stem from “poor searchability and the perception that there is too much noise to filter through,” according to the researchers. Still, it managed to maintain a higher reading than both Facebook and LinkedIn.

Overall, the major search engines fared better than the largest social media sites in customer satisfaction, per the ACSI report. But, the trend is moving in the wrong direction for each of the portals and search engines tracked.
The bad news continues for Google – which saw declines in customer satisfaction ratings for Google+ and YouTube. Turning to its core business – search – Google experienced a 5-point drop to a score of 77, its lowest since the ACSI began tracking its ratings more than a decade ago.

On a more positive note for Google, it maintained its position as the highest-rated search engine or portal, as Bing also fell 5 points to a rating of 76, Yahoo slipped a couple of points to 76, MSN dropped 4 points to 74, and AOL declined by 3 points to 71. The aggregate of all others plummeted by 10 points, to 70.

The overall rating for portals and search engines – 76 – is the lowest since 2007. Customers were most frustrated by the quality of the ads and page loading speeds, per the study.

Other Findings:

• The overall customer satisfaction score for online news and information sites remained flat at 73. FoxNews.com stayed on top despite dropping a couple of points to 82, with ABCNEWS.com and NBCNews.com the next-closest, each at 75. TheHuffingtonPost.com was the most poorly rated again, with a score of 69.

• The aggregate e-business score (comprised of the 3 categories mentioned above) stood at 71.3, its lowest since 2002.

– Source, Marketing Charts

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