By: Jennifer Owens

Online News Satisfaction Is Declining

(Adweek IQ) One in five visitors to an online news site leaves dissatisfied, primarily due to poor content organization, according to a new survey, while overall customer satisfaction with the online news industry has declined 9% since the beginning of the year.

That’s the word from cPulse, a New York-based Internet satisfaction monitoring service owned by Gartner Group that randomly surveyed 137,000 Web surfers. According to cPulse, only about 19% of news site visitors are “extremely satisfied” with their visits.

To compare, cPulse executive vice president of marketing and research Jody Dodson pointed to broadcasting, which rates a 23% “extremely satisfied” rating among users, and general content sites, which generate a 22% “extremely satisfied” response.

Based on that comparison, said Dodson, the news sites’ 19% approval “doesn’t look so pretty, especially when you see that overall satisfaction with online news is declining.” On the other hand, customer satisfaction with general content sites has increased 3% this year, while satisfaction with the Internet as a whole has inched up 2.4%, he said.

And for those unhappy with their online news experience, cPulse predicts that nearly half will not return again to a specific site and will click to a competitor.

According to Dodson, the chief complaint among unhappy news site users is poor content organization and the inability to find an article quickly. Those polled recommended that news sites offer more executive summaries, more accurate indexing and better search abilities.

The survey found shallow coverage to be the second-highest reason for news site unhappiness. Nevertheless, consumers still insist that content remain fresh, round-the-clock and up-to-the-minute. Dodson also noted that photos and graphics had zero impact on user satisfaction.

“If you run a news site, you should be in touch with your customers right now,” he said. “You should be asking them what they like and what they don’t like, because you may have overestimated their satisfaction with what’s going on.”

Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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