The Worst Company in America: It's Not a Bank or a Retailer
The Consumerist.com voters have spoken.
Electronic Arts (EA) is the worst company in the country.
The country's second-largest video game company beat out Bank of America (BAC) for the honor, and it wasn't even close. EA commanded 64% of the votes when the website's poll closed on Tuesday.
EA was one of 32 contenders this year, and it had to beat some pretty iffy companies to come out on top.
- EA beat out Sony (SNE) in the first round. Sony's the company that took plenty of heat when its PlayStation Network was temporarily closed down after repeatedly successful hacking attacks.
- In the second round, EA edged out Best Buy (BBY). The consumer electronics retailer has seen store-level sales slide in recent quarters, as consumers tire of its high prices and pushy employees trying to add warranty protection and other services to orders.
- Next up was Comcast (CMCSA), the country's largest cable service provider. This is the same company that came under fire in Michigan for sticking tornado victims with bills for destroyed cable equipment and "on vacation" fees for cable programming that they were unable to receive.
Bank of America -- slammed last year for its debit card fees that were ultimately rescinded -- also didn't put up much of a fight.
Is EA really that vile, or did bashers orchestrate a run at Consumerist.com's polls?
It's In the Game
The knocks against EA aren't necessarily unique to the company. Has it acquired smaller developers? Sure. It's part of the business. Do we blame the buyer for buying or the seller for selling in matters of consolidation?
EA's strategy of embracing micro-transactions was also a source of antipathy from voters. Instead of simply rolling out games, EA allows players to pay extra for enhanced features. Is it a drag? Sure. However, why not come down on Zynga (ZNGA), the leader in social gaming with a model that relies largely on in-app purchases?
EA was also knocked for its support of the now all-but-dead SOPA legislation. Plenty of content creators backed SOPA at some point before backing down in light of a resentful mob of customers.
Past Consumerist.com winners seemed more worthy: Comcast and Bank of America have taken the crown over the years, and deservedly so.
No one is suggesting that EA is an admired company. The licensed monopoly it has on some sporting franchises is reason alone to get irate. However, it's certainly not a company that would come up on most objective lists.
There's nothing that EA can do. The voters have spoken. However, Consumerist.com may need to rethink its judging process if it wants to retain the annual award's integrity.
EA's a gaming company, but it appears as if it's the one that got gamed this time.
View our gallery on Fortune's 100 Best Companies To Work For here.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any stocks in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America and Best Buy.