Consumers Say I.R.S. Less Annoying Than Facebook

Today, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index released their annual e-business report covering social media sites, search engines, and news sites. The big news? Facebook received a score of 64 out of 100, the second worst score among the four social media sites included in the report, and lower than the e-File system for the I.R.S. The dubious honor of last place went to MySpace with a score of 63, while Wikipedia came in first with a score of 77. YouTube received a score of 73.

The ASCI reports puts this in context by pointing out that of they measure 223 online and offline companies and that only 10 of them score below 65, which puts Facebook and MySpace in the bottom 5% of all the companies they measure. While this sounds bad in context, consider this: the entire category of social media sites earned an aggregate score of 70, which puts consumer satisfaction with this industry just a few points above the airline industry (66) and subscription television service, aka cable (66).  Ranking above social media? Property and casualty insurance with a score of 80. Insurance is ranked more favorably by consumers than social media. Ouch.

So what does all of this mean? Well, Facebook isn’t going away anytime soon just because people are not completely satisfied with it. First, as the report states, it almost has a monopoly on your online social life. Second, it has users of all ages and experience levels, which means that it’s possible that users’ experiences will vary greatly. According to the ASCI’s report, “Our research shows that customer satisfaction with social media sites is somewhat age-related. Older people are less satisfied with Facebook than are younger people, who are less impacted by the privacy concerns and changes to the interface.”

This is the first year that the ASCI has measured social media sites so it’ll be interesting to see how things change in the coming years and if Facebook makes any changes based on feedback from this survey.

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