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Study: Facebook at bottom on customer satisfaction

Measuring customer satisfaction with a variety of Web sites, from news portals to search engines to social networks, a new study finds Facebook in last place.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Facebook may be one of the most popular Web sites around, but it doesn't seem to be one of the most loved.

The social network scored dead last in a new study out today that tracked customer satisfaction among a variety of Web sites and companies. Produced in partnership with analytics firm ForeSee Results, the 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report analyzed how users feel about news sites, search engines, and social networks.

Although Facebook's reputation actually grew 3 percent from last year to reach 66 out of 100, the site was at the bottom of the barrel among not only social networks but all companies measured.

Responding to the study's findings, a Facebook representative sent CNET the following statement:

"We take user feedback seriously, and strive to create a simple, fast, and innovative service that enables people to connect with their friends in a safe environment. More than half of our users visit Facebook every day, and we're constantly enhancing our products to offer people the best possible experience. Indeed, a report published last month by the Pew Internet and American Life Project highlighted the positive impact Facebook has had in people's lives."

Social media didn't fare very well at customer satisfaction in general, according to the study, which found it to be one of the lowest-scoring businesses tracked by the ACSI, higher only than airlines, newspapers, and pay-TV services.

Of social-media sites, Wikipedia topped the satisfaction list, with a score of 78, while YouTube took second place, with a score of 74. MySpace failed to make the cut at all this year simply because there weren't enough users to generate an accurate sampling, according to the ACSI.

ForeSee Results

Looking at the other categories, Google led the way among search engines, with a score of 83, up 4 percent over last year. But Microsoft's Bing was hot on its heels by scoring 82, a jump of almost 7 percent from 2010. Noting that anything above 80 is considered an excellent score, the ACSI added that Bing now holds about 17 percent of the search engine market, up from 9 percent last year.

"While Google+ is the challenger to Facebook's established dominance in the social-media sphere, in the search engine wars, Google is king, and Bing is hoping to be a contender," Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results, said in a statement. "Last year, Google's customer satisfaction score was three points higher than Bing's. This year, that gap narrows to one point. Bing is showing it can challenge Google, in terms of revenue, market share, and the customer experience."

Among news sites, FoxNews.com took the lead with a score of 82, followed by ABCNews.com at 77 and USAToday.com at 76. The Huffington Post made its first appearance on the list among news sites, but at the very bottom, with a score of 69. Customer satisfaction with The New York Times' site dropped 4 percent this year, to 73, a figure recorded around the time the site started to launch its new metered paywall.

The ACSI index, aiming to measure satisfaction with a variety of industries and companies, is generated using information from interviews with about 70,000 customers.

Updated at 8 a.m. PT with response from Facebook.