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Yahoo Edges Out Google in ACSI Customer Satisfaction Index

Yahoo squeaked ahead of Google in this year's American Consumer Satisfaction Index. From Ars Technica:
Google no longer holds the gold metal in customer satisfaction—at least not according to the University of Michigan's American Consumer Satisfaction Index. Instead, Yahoo has dethroned Google and taken first place. And while the difference in score may not be much between the two right now, the pattern over time for these companies and others is far more telling. 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.
The summary data, courtesy SearchEngineLand: Greg Sterling asks the obvious question: does this metric matter? Emphasis mine:
The satisfaction data clearly don't correlate with search market share. I asked [Larry] Freed [of ForeSee Results who sponsored the research] in this context why people should care and pay attention to the ASCI. Freed was confident that "search market share reflects past behavior. But the ASCI is predictive of future consumer behavior." He said that historically it has been a very accurate gauge of future consumer behavior in other industries. He added that Google's decline was a second dip in a row after a smaller decline last year. Freed believes that consumers were rating Yahoo overall and giving high marks to the home page redesign and the new mail beta client, among other positives. He argues that consumers want to see change and improvement and that Google has not kept pace with those expectations.
Hmmm. As a statistician, I'd really prefer to see error bars on all these numbers. Are a couple of points either way significant, or just noise? Assuming these differences are significant, I think actual search share -- both number of searches run and number of paid clicks sold -- is a more accurate measure of a search engine's relevance. People vote with their mouses. In any event, congrats to Yahoo for topping Google, and to MSN and Ask for also showing satisfaction upticks.
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