The search giant, which made its first-ever appearance on the annual list, was joined by Sony, Microsoft and Intel in this year's Top 10. The study, released Tuesday by market researcher Harris Interactive, identifies the most well-known companies in the United States and ranks them by reputation from best to worst based on a survey of almost 20,000 adults.
Google's position, just below Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola, is noteworthy given that the company is less the 10 years old and is a fraction of the size of many other companies in the rankings. Dell Computer also ranked high, at No. 15, just below Walt Disney, while IBM (No. 19) and Apple Computer (No. 27) climbed from their spots last year at No. 25 and No. 34 respectively.
The two-part study, conducted by Harris Interactive in cooperation with the Reputation Institute in New York, asked nearly 7,000 respondents to name two companies with the best reputations and two companies with the worst. It then asked more than 19,500 additional survey participants to evaluate the 60 most frequently named companies based on the quality of their products and services, financial performance, workplace environment, social responsibility, leadership and emotional appeal.
Energy companies, including Royal Dutch/Shell and ExxonMobil, dominated the bottom 10 on the list, a result no doubt of high prices consumers face at the gas pump. Scandal landed others in the lineup of most-notorious businesses, including Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Tyco International, Enron, MCI and Adelphia Communications.