eBay leads top ten most trusted companies
Internet auction site eBay has been voted the most trusted company by US consumers for guarding the privacy of their data.
Mobile telco Verizon and the US Postal Service came second and third respectively in the study from the Ponemon Institute and TRUSTe.
Social networking site Facebook made the survey’s top ten for the first time.
The survey polled 6,486 adults on their “most trusted” brands. An expert review panel then compared those results against the companies’ privacy statements, notices, to what levels they accessed account information, their cookie management, in- and out-of-network data sharing practices, and the availability of customer service staff.
The full top ten most trusted companies are: eBay, Verizon, the US Postal Service, WebMD, IBM, Procter & Gamble, Nationwide, Intuit, Yahoo and Facebook.
“With the banking industry at the center of a national financial crisis, it’s no surprise to see a loss of trust reflected in the rankings of even those top performers on this list,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “Meanwhile, the continued strong showing of e-businesses such as eBay, WebMD, Yahoo, and Facebook seems to demonstrate consumers’ growing comfort with doing business online.”
“EBay has been listening carefully to our customer feedback on increasing trust and satisfaction and responding with numerous programs to generate buyer assurance,” said Scott Shipman, chief privacy officer for eBay.
Ponemon said that Facebook’s inclusion in the top 10 is noteworthy given the company’s struggles with privacy this year – from February’s terms of service controversy that prompted a more “democratic” approach on the site to the concessions made to Canada’s privacy commissioner in August.
“This jump signifies Facebook’s commitment to implementing privacy practices that are approved by both their user community and privacy experts,” Ponemon said.
“We’re constantly working to improve peoples’ control over their information and to enable them to make more informed choices about their privacy,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement. “We’re far from finished and people can expect to see much more from us in this regard.”
Ponemon and TRUSTe released a similar study in December 2008 that included only the consumer input, not analysis by experts.
At that time, the top three companies were American Express, eBay, and IBM, with Yahoo at number 14 and Facebook at 15.
The Ponemon Institute is a privacy-focused research centre. TRUSTe is a privacy services and seal provider.