Business Insider has posted a list of the "19 Most Hated Companies in America" that has an interesting surprise on it. First, I don't much care for the headline because it assumes a low customer satisfaction rating equals flat-out hatred of a company. That's a leap. (Also see: Myspace as cautionary tale) But what's interesting is that several tech companies, at least according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, are ranked below Bank of America, which is actually listed last among the 19 companies with a satisfaction rating of 68 out of 100. In other words, 18 other companies have even lower customer satisfaction scores than BofA. Maybe that just means fewer people whose houses have been foreclosed on have time to fill out little consumer surveys. Who knows? Anyway, here are the noxious 19. I've bolded one of particular interest: 19. BofA (68) 18. Dish Network (67) 17. Cox Communications (67) 16. Pacific Gas and Electric (67) 15. JPMorgan Chase (67) 14. AT&T Mobility (66) 13. L.A. Dept. of Water & Power (66) 12. Long Island Power Authority (65) 11. UnitedHealth (65) 10. Facebook (64) 9. Myspace (63) 8. American Airlines (63) 7. United Airlines (61) 6. US Airways (61) 5. Charter Communications (59) 4. Comcast (59) 3. Time Warner (59) 2. Delta (56) 1. Pepco (54) Right there at No. 10, among immensely unpopular utility companies, airlines and cable providers, is social networking giant Facebook. Is is possible that users are less satisfied with Facebook than are subscribers to AT&T Mobility, which is legendarily and routinely rated as the worst wireless provider by Consumer Reports? Does it mean anything? You can argue that it doesn't -- so far. After all, Myspace is rated only slightly lower than Facebook, yet their respective fates couldn't be more different -- so far. However, investors should keep this in mind: Many of the other companies on this list have monopolies or near-monopolies in certain regions. As ACSI's David VanAmburg tells Business Insider, "These are not terribly competitive industries, as the switching barriers for most of them are quite high." But what's the barrier preventing dissatisfied (or bored) Facebook users from walking away? What happens when another competitor starts gaining traction, buzz and mindshare? Myspace could tell investors a few stories about how that works out. ACSI didn't start tracking customer satisfaction regarding Internet social media companies until last year. In July its scheduled to release the 2011 ratings for Internet news & information sites, portals and search engines, and social media. If Facebook's customer satisfaction rating drops, it could be an indication that Facebook may be peaking. Don't worry, though: Even if that happens, Facebook's IPO still will be awesome, at least according to "people familiar with the matter."
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