Even though the social networking sites like Facebook are rapidly growing in popularity, the satisfaction of their customers is not necessarily being met, according to a survey on Tuesday. Facebook got a score of 64 out of 100 for their customer satisfaction. This is according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). Facebook is followed closely by MySpace which scored a63. This will put the sites in line with the satisfaction rates for the airlines and cable companies.

ACSI and Its Research

The ACSI was founded at the University of Michigan’s School of Business and is also based on annual interviews given to about 70,000 customers. The group measured portals and search engines in the past as well as news and information Web sites but this is the first year that the ACSI has included social networking sites.

Professor Claes Fornell wrote in a blog post about controversies over frequent issues, frequent changes to user interfaces and increasing commercialization have positioned the big social networking sites at satisfaction levels that are well below the other Web sites and similar to poor performing industries like airline and subscription TV service which are both 66.

Although the privately held Facebook continues to attract new members from virtually all age groups, MySpace’s decreasing traffic and page views might soon cost the Web site, which is owned by media giant News Corp, its once beneficial advertising partnership with Google. Still, Fornell has said that she was surprised to find that the satisfaction with the category defies popularity.

Facebook and MySpace’s Scores

During this survey, Facebook and MySpace were grouped together with Wikipedia and YouTube. Each scored 77 and 73 respectively. ACSI recognized Wikipedia’s popularity to the fact that the interface has stayed consistent over the years but its non-profit status would mean that it has not been overrun by advertisements.

YouTube, on the other hand, still retains the video Web site of record for many publicity-seeking celebrities, stumping politicians and ordinary folks. Twitter was not included in the survey because many of the members of this site access it through third-party sites instead of directly going to Twitter.com.

A Facebook spokesperson said the following in an email. They have not reviewed the survey methodology in detail but it is clear that there is room for improvement. Building a simple and useful service is the best way to earn and sustain the trust that people put in their site.

That is why they spend so much of their time and energy focused on improving the products that they offer and the new ones that they are introducing. They also say that they are looking forward to the next survey. MySpace, on the other hand, did not respond to a request for comment.

On the subject of search engine, Google scored 80 out of 100. While this is an obvious downward direction from last year’s all time high of 86, Google still holds the lead on its competitor Microsoft Bing, which came in second with 77 and Yahoo which had 76. The drop in Google could be blamed on the fact that it is expanding beyond the core search functionality with products like Buzz and Google Chrome.

Because they are trying to become all things to all people, Google seems to have encountered some of the pitfalls that portals and social media sites face which include concerns about privacy, which have led to an upswing in complaints about Google’s policies and practices in the past year.