Facebook has 500 million users, not so many friends

The rankings are in for the 2010 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), and the big news is this: You and about 200 or so million others don't like Facebook all that much. But you're still on the world's largest social networking site anyway, probably because you have to be.

The ACSI, an annual customer satisfaction survey conducted in partnership with ForeSee Results, included online social media for the first time in its rankings of customer satisfaction with companies, industries, products and surveys. Facebook scored only 64 on the ACSI's 100-point scale, landing in the bottom 5 percent of all measured private sector companies. That's down there with airlines and cable companies, the industries that traditionally bring up the rear in customer satisfaction.

The main complaints Facebook users had fell into two areas: privacy and inconsistency. "Facebook is a phenomenal success, so we were not expecting to see it score so poorly with consumers," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee Results. "At the same time, our research shows that privacy concerns, frequent changes to the website, and commercialization and advertising adversely affect the consumer experience.

"Compare that to Wikipedia, which is a non-profit that has had the same user interface for years, and it's clear that while innovation is critical, sometimes consumers prefer evolution to revolution." Wikipedia, also ranked for the first time this year, led the social media category with a score of 77.

Mark Zuckerberg and crew can take solace in this, however: Facebook wasn't the worst of the social media sites. That honor went to MySpace, which scored a 63. Rounding out the social media category was YouTube, which placed second with a score of 73. Despite the dissatisfaction, Facebook continues to grow, passing the 500-million-member mark this month.

The July release of ACSI data also included ratings for news websites and search engines/Internet portals. In the former category, FoxNews.com made its debut at the top of the list with a score of 82, the highest score a news website has ever achieved in nine years of measurement and significantly higher than its cable-news rivals CNN.com (74) and MSNBC.com (73). FoxNews' 83 also led the e-business category in general.

In the latter, Google continued to be the highest-ranked individual search engine, with a score of 80, but that score is 7 percent lower than last year's, causing Google to slip to second place behind "all others" (82, up 5 percent) in the search engine/portal rankings.