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The Google “Sucks” Index

Posted on : 08-07-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Brands, Social Media

Tags: ,

2

Back in February 2008 Business Week had a story by Jeff Jarvis called “Love the Customers Who Hate You.”  I loved the overall theme of the article.  At the time I just started in my position as the manager of digital care.  I saw the great potential to turn detractors into evangelist, but more importantly I recognized that we can learn a lot from these Customers and make the feedback actionable.  This article was the first to enlighten me that my new role was truly the convergence of PR, marketing and Customer Service.

The article also inspired me to do a quick graph of what I call the Google “Sucks” index.  I simply did a search of google for many companies and added the word sucks.  The first thing I noticed was a slight different in the numbers, specific to Wal-mart.  That was because I added together variations of company names, like Wal-Mart and Walmart.  Besides the slight difference, it was a fascinating way to look at where we stood as a business.

Well today we had a luncheon at work to award my team for all their hard work and success in creating the right experience for our Customers.  I am so proud of the work they have done.  This caused a little reminiscing  about what has happened over the past year and a half.  One thing led to another and we starting talking about the Google “Sucks” index.  I never thought I would use a word like sucks around executives as much as I have today.  Anyway, I decided after all the conversation to take a quick look at the index again.  I went and did a search for the different companies and added sucks to the end.  I then looked at the right side of Google and jotted down the number that came up.  I sent the graph around to those that were part of the conversation.  I included a similar caption to the original version with a link to the Jeff Jarvis article.  Everyone loved it, but the next question was can we compare the numbers to the report from February 2008 report I did.  So I went digging and actually found the original report.  So then I did the mathematics to determine the percentage change.  As I was putting together I had to try to remember the original searches to ensure apples to apples comparison of the numbers.

So what were the results?  Since that is work data, I will not publicly share all the information.  I will say only 1 company moved less (and tonight I realized why, it was not apples to apples comparison, the February 2008 version did not have cable in the search where today’s version did).  I would always expect the number to go up since you really can’t ungoogle something.  Ours went up less than 5% while all the others went up 15% to 472%.  Is this a measurement of my team’s success?  Company improvements?  I really do not know but it is a really easy and fun way to measure the movement of the needle.

And they say this space is difficult to measure!