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Google+, which has already attained a user base of 10 million, could displace Facebook as the No. 1 social network, according to a new report by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) and ForeSee Results.
The ACSI E-Business Report covers three categories of e-business: social media, portals and search engines, and online news. ACSI measures consumer satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 100, higher values indicating happier consumers, with anything around or above 80 indicating excellence. Sixteen websites were evaluated, including Facebook, Wikipedia, Google, and CNN.
Social media is a low-scoring category when compared with other industries. Overall customer satisfaction with social media sites was unchanged from last year at an aggregate score of 70 out of 100.
Facebook was the lowest-scoring social media site measured individually in the latest report with a score of 66, up 2 points from 2010 but is 4 points below the entire social media category average. This indicates that Google+ could easily gain market share if it could provide a superior customer experience.
We don't know yet how Google+ will fare, but what we do know is that Google is one of the highest-scoring companies in the ACSI and Facebook is one of the lowest. An existing dominance of market share like Facebook has is no longer a safety net for a company that is not providing a superior customer experience, said Larry Freed, President and CEO of ForeSee Results.
Facebook's user interface and the constant changes, coupled with complicated privacy controls and increased spam and ads, are the culprits in bringing down its consumer satisfaction index, says Freed.
Among the other social media sites, Wikipedia takes the top spot with 78 and YouTube stood at second with 74.
Google topped the portals and search engines category, with a 2011 ACSI rating of 83, notably up 3 points from an 80 last year. Microsoft's Bing search engine scored a high 82, that's up 5 points from last year. Ask, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL also all improved their scores from last year with Ask landing a remarkable 7-point increase from 73 to 80.
According to Freed, Bing's reward program, where it exchanges searches using the Bing toolbar for Amazon gift cards, might lure consumers. Bing being the default search engine for Internet Explorer home page could also influence the increased number of visitors, says the report.
MySpace couldn't manage to figure in ACSI's survey this year since there just weren't enough people using the service to get a significant sampling.
The ACSI, founded at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business, measures consumer satisfaction, based on annual interviews with approximately 70,000 American households. The ACSI is one of the largest and most-respected measures of consumer satisfaction in the US and surveys a broad array of services and industries.