A list of "The 19 Most Hated Companies in America" in The Atlantic aspires to quantify all the rotten customer service, hidden and excessive fees, broken promises and general consumer aggravation out there. And one Colorado-based company, Dish Network, shows up at No. 18 -- a bit embarrassing, sure, but also a terrific marketing opportunity in disguise.
The magazine's list is derived from the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which compiles thousands of consumer surveys into an overall picture of how the public perceives the big companies they do business with every day, from their Internet provider to their ATM of choice. Not surprisingly, the least satisfying relationships tend to be those with banks, utilities, airlines and other mostly non-competitive industries, in which it's difficult or impossible to switch to another brand. The old-school monopolies just don't give a damn if you don't like them.
Then again, some supposedly innovative online giants apparently don't give a damn, either. Facebook is No. 10 on the list, over privacy complaints and other shortcomings, while fading MySpace is No. 9.
And Dish? Its ranking near the bottom of the list has its encouraging side, largely because so much of its cable competition is faring even worse. Cox Communications is No. 17, Time Warner Cable No. 3. Comcast, the evil giant, is at No. 4: "Complaints include poor communication of upgrade and billing changes, lost channels for customers who didn't upgrade to digital box or digital-ready TV, long waiting time for technicians, and price hikes."
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So don't despair, Dish Network. Think of the possibilities in future ad campaigns. Something along the lines of :
More packages than DirecTV. Not nearly as bad as Comcast.
More from our Business archive: "DISH Network shanghais a pirate: Read the judgment here."