By Jacqui Cheng | Published: August 14, 2007 – 10:21AM CT
Yahoo scored a 79 (on a 100-point scale) this year, while Google scored 78: clearly, the two are neck-and-neck in consumer satisfaction. However, the ACSI report notes that Yahoo’s jump into first place was a 4 percent increase over its score from last year, while Google saw a 4 percent decrease during the same time period. ACSI says that to the untrained eye, Google’s home page today looks almost identical to the way it looked years ago. This is where Google’s simplicity is apparently hurting it in the long-term, as new users just aren’t seeing Google’s new offerings—such as increased storage options, additions to Google Maps, and tweaks to Google Image Search—right in front of their faces like they do with other sites. According to the report, “[S]ome users say it looks stale compared to Ask.com, which has a very different display of search results.”
Speaking of Ask.com, its ACSI score skyrocketed this year, increasing by 6 percent to a score of 75. While the search engine still sits behind Google and Yahoo, it is clearly making big gains in the eyes of consumers; the site launched with a new interface and new features in June and became the first search engine to offer completely anonymous web searching with AskEraser in July. On the other hand, AOL is starting to look “old and busted,” as it dropped by nearly 10 percent to a low score of 67.
This year’s scoring doesn’t mean that Google is in trouble—the report notes that Google is still the most popular search engine (Yahoo is apparently now considered an Internet portal). However, the president of ForeSee Results and sponsor of the ACSI report, Larry Freed, told the Wall Street Journal that the trends give more important information than the scores. “Even more important than Yahoo’s first lead over Google is the trend of their scores moving in opposite directions,” he said. “Since the ACSI is a leading indicator of financial performance on the macro scale and at the company level, we may see a real turnaround for Yahoo in the next year.”