15 Dic Google off list of 20 most trusted companies
San Francisco Chronicle, By Deborah Gage, December 15, 2008
Facebook, Apple, Yahoo, Verizon and FedEx for the first time have made an annual ranking of the top 20 most trusted companies in the United States. Google, however, dropped off the list, released today by the Ponemon Institute and TRUSTe in San Francisco, as did Countrywide Financial, Bank of America (which acquired Countrywide) and Weight Watchers. Financial companies were tarred by the subprime mortgage crisis and the subsequent meltdown of investment banks on Wall Street, said Dr. Larry Ponemon, who conducted the survey, but not all financial companies were equally hit. Nationwide retained its place as the ninth most trusted company, and U.S. Bank and eLoan managed to stay in the top 20, although both dropped a few places. At No. 1, for the fourth year in a row, was American Express, followed by eBay, IBM, Amazon and Johnson & Johnson. This is the fifth year the survey has been conducted. The Ponemon Institute got 6,500 people – weighted by age, gender and household income to match the U.S. census – to name the five companies they trusted most and least. Concern about privacy is higher than ever, the survey showed. Less than half of consumers – 45 percent – feel they have control over their personal information. That’s down from 48 percent last year and 56 percent in 2006. More than 60 percent said identity theft negatively affects how they think about a company, and more than half get concerned when a company sends notifications of data breaches. “Consumers are getting more astute about” privacy, said Fran Maier, the CEO of TRUSTe, which evaluates online privacy practices. Ponemon said some companies, like IBM, might be trusted because they have big brands; others, like Apple, because consumers like their products. He speculated that people felt sorry for Yahoo because of its difficulties with Microsoft and Google, neither of which made the list. “Google (and Microsoft) suffer from big company syndrome,” Ponemon said. “People figure that if you’re big and collecting data, there must be an issue.” In general, Ponemon said, companies that are seen by consumers as most trusted do tend to have good privacy practices. Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Chris Kelly, said the company has worked hard to earn people’s trust by giving Facebook users more choices over what happens to their personal information. “It shouldn’t be binary, where you either reveal a piece of data to everyone on the Internet or Facebook or not at all,” he said. “We think people want to share more information, but they want choices.” Half of the top 20 this year have won seals of approval by TRUSTe, which co-sponsored the survey but had nothing to do with conducting it.