What's the worst company in America? Consumerist wants you to vote

Consumerist's Worst Company in America contestConsumers Union's The Consumerist, whose calling card is highlighting questionable practices by companies, is in the midst of its annual Worst Company in America Contest. Using an NCAA tournament-style bracket, 32 companies are pit against each other for the dubious honor of being named the Worst Company in America. The "winner" is decided by the vote of Consumerist readers.

The contest is down to the "Sweet Sixteen" of the least-liked companies with the winner joining previous worsts, including Halliburton, Countrywide, AIG and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

"Watch out for an upset by Cash4Gold," Ben Popken, co-managing editor of Consumerist.com told WalletPop. The gold buying company has been the subject of considerable coverage by The Consumerist in the past year.

Popken said he is interested in seeing how Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield fares because, "The Worst Company in America tournament reflects national headlines." In this case the national health insurance debate. Anthem was beating GM in the reader poll with double the amount of reader votes.

Cash 4 Gold declined to comment and Anthem did not respond to a request for comment.

Do companies clean up their acts after winning the Worst Company in America award?

"Not really," Popken replied, adding after a pause and a chuckle that, "The RIAA seems to be suing people less." Even though the tournament doesn't seem to shame companies into mending their ways, there is something particularly vindicating about seeing a company that has wronged you recognized as the Worst Company in America.

Reader voting, which runs in the tens of thousands, is underway at the Consumerist to decide who will be in the "Elite 8" which will be announced on April 14. The "Final Four" will be chosen by readers on April 21, with the "Championship Battle" beginning April 23. The winner of the Worst Company in America will be named on April 26.

Once the winner is selected, The Consumerist team ships the not-coveted Golden Poo Award to the company, where Popken hopes it will join the rest of the company's awards on the mantle of a large fireplace in a dimly lit den.
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