The 2011 results of the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) got a lot of attention in the media, and the biggest losers deserve a good public slating. So here goes my mud pie – in Facebook’s eye.
Unsurprisingly, people don’t seem all that interested in which companies top the list for great service, customer care and positive achievements; those facts belong in self-serving press releases and other things nobody reads. Predictably, people are way more excited about who are the biggest losers, everyone loves it when a winner loses, and not many people have as far to fall as Mark Zuckerburg.
Plenty of companies exist in a kind of love/hate limbo with their public. McDonalds would be one such brand, loved and loathed in equal measure for its convenience and fatty, sugary short-term satisfaction on the one hand, with poor nutritional value and shameless targeting of children on the other. As for the banks & bankers that made the top 10; don’t get me started.
But why on Earth would Facebook make it into the list of America’s 10 most hated companies?
Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that the single most visited website and most popular social networking site in the world is actually… popular?
Well, apparently not. It’s easy to guess where Facebook falls down in public opinion, despite its apparent popularity. There has been a lot of negative press around both privacy issues and underhand business tactics.
America loves an underdog; popular US news stories about individuals having their Facebook profiles blocked, deleted or lost will heavily affect public opinion. The interface changes that have homogenised people’s profiles didn’t go down too well, but the way Facebook seems intent on sharing your information with absolutely anyone – unless you categorically and repeatedly tell them not to – is probably the single biggest turnoff.
Facebook’s user communication is very poor in this regard, making it almost impossible to find out what their policy is, what you’ve let yourself in for, and why they think you are an ideal target for ads stating ‘date women in uniform’.
Facebook’s tenure in the limelight may be drawing to a close. Its appearance in this list of bad, unloved US companies is sending a message to the most popular website on the internet.
People are only using Facebook because everyone else is. Join me on Google+ if you hate Google a little bit less.