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Google Leads E-Business Satisfaction Index

For the fifth year in a row, Google leads all e-businesses in customer satisfaction, according to the annual e-business report from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Google extended its lead over other search engine companies after Yahoo dropped 4 points into a battle for second place with MSN and AOL. The e-business report covers search engines, portals and online news and information sites. The overall category score went up slightly, 0.8% to 76.5 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale.

The ACSI Index is produced by the University of Michigan, in partnership with American Society for Quality and CFI Group. ForeSee Results, an online satisfaction measurement firm, is co-sponsor and author of the ACSI e-business report.

Google dropped one point this year (from 82 to 81), but maintains the highest score in the category despite expanding its range of services into many fronts. Though the company is far and away the leader in search, the same cannot be said of its forays into other services, even though Google is drawing users to them, the ACSI survey found.

“Google’s customer-centric focus is clearly the way to do business on the Web,” said Larry Freed, online satisfaction expert and president and CEO of ForeSee Results, in a prepared statement. “By putting the user in control of the online experience, Google has maintained dominance of the search market as they expand into a host of other services.”

After hitting its all-time high last year, Yahoo dropped 4 points (or 5%) to 76. Joining the battle for second place are AOL and MSN, each scoring a 74. MSN has been a steady performer, but it fails to differentiate itself from other portals. AOL, however, has changed with the times and improved its score a whopping 32 percent since it was first measured in 2000, according to the ACSI report.

This year, AOL is up another 4.2% even as the number of customers it serves is down. The company is in the midst of changing its business plan into a free portal and the ACSI study postulates that its satisfaction scores may be up because it has shed some dissatisfied subscribers.