A survey that went out this morning called the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), garnered a lot of attention around the blogosphere. While this survey is nothing new, this year, they included a few “social media” sites for the first time. And the results were interesting. Or, at least, the results basically said Facebook sucks. And that’s interesting.
But here’s the thing. I’ve read this survey over a few times, and I’m still getting nothing out of it. Sure, the company behind the results, ForeSeeResults, wants me to know that Facebook and MySpace rate behind 95% of the other companies they survey (and even 90% of government agencies) according to their index. But what does that mean? That people don’t like these social networks? Okay, so what does that mean? I’m just not convinced that any of this means anything at all.
Of the four “social media” sites surveyed, Facebook and MySpace were the two lower ones with scores of 64 and 63, respectively (out of 100). Wikipedia and YouTube, meanwhile, were the two high ones with scores of 77 and 73, respectively. Why does Facebook, one of the most popular sites in the world, rate so low? According to ACSI, users have issues with the following:
- privacy and security concerns
- the technology that controls the news feeds
- the constant and unpredictable changes
- navigation troubles
- annoying applications with constant notifications
So basically, Facebook users don’t like much about Facebook. And yet the service continues to grow at a rapid pace, as they shoot past 500 million users.
If users are so unsatisfied, why don’t they just leave? ACSI has an answer. Well, a few of them, actually. “Facebook has its own version of a monopoly,” the report states. They have a monopoly because they have so many users. Friends and family are forced to use the service. It’s a vicious cycle.
Another reason people don’t leave is that bar for social networking is so low. And there are no true standouts. So everyone just sticks to Facebook. Humorously, ACSI notes multiple times that perhaps MySpace can stage a comeback. That’s funny because the only site rated lower than Facebook in the social media space is MySpace.
“If people were satisfied with MySpace, it wouldn’t have fallen so fast,” the survey states. Okay, that’s obvious. But it’s also not necessarily true. After all, Facebook has nearly an identical ACSI rating — they they’re going up, not down.
When asked what MySpace users like least about the service, one of the responses was that “Facebook is better.” Okay.
The survey then goes on to give some tips for how MySpace can make a comeback. Tips like: “MySpace must focus on what customers want.” And it features an aside about “Why Satisfaction Matters.” Jesus.
Wikipedia and YouTube are the survey’s example of social media sites that are doing things the right way. Never mind that their scores aren’t exactly off the charts. Why do people like Wikipedia? Because it doesn’t have ads and is easy to use. YouTube? Because it’s funny and videos are free. This is really hard-hitting stuff here.
Meanwhile, 20% of people surveyed visit Wikipedia daily. For Facebook, that number is 57%. But remember, people hate Facebook and love Wikipedia. The stats don’t lie. They’re clearly just going to Facebook to get themselves worked up with more hatred.
Other fun data: FoxNews.com destroyed all the online news sites with an 82 rating. CNN.com was at the bottom with a 73. CNN.com does generally seem to suck, but come on. Clearly these results just speak to the fact that FoxNews caters so well to its intended audience.
Google leads all search engines with a rating of 80. But newcomer Bing is close with a 77. A lot of words are devoted to how Google fell from 86 to 80 this past year. This must mean something. Of course, Google inexplicably dropped to 78 in 2007, as Yahoo passed it for no reason.
If we all listened to this survey back then, Yahoo should be the king right now and Google, long since passed, should be all-but-dead. Instead, the next year Google jumped to 86 and was beating Yahoo again by 9 points. Why? Who knows.
Look, some of this data is undoubtedly interesting. And for other industries, these types of consumer satisfaction reports may be important. But all of the web sites mentioned above are free services. People seem to simply be using this survey to vent frustrations. They’re asked what they don’t like about something, so they give some things. But these users don’t appear ready to change their habits because they’re up in arms about say, “the technology that controls the news feeds” on Facebook.
The point is that you can basically make a survey say anything you want. This one says that users hate Facebook. All 500 million of them. Who log on everyday. Hate it.