When we pondered how our new cloud computing entrants would fare on this year’s Index, our bet was that they’d be feather light on content and make up the difference with huge usability wins.

Well, it’s always nice to be half right.

Simply put, we were right on the content side (they rank dead last)— but we missed the usability prediction by a country mile.

Why? Because once you strip away the pretty faces and snappy talk, these sites do remarkably few things well.

First let’s start with the positive side of the ledger.

Salesforce.com overall by category panel

On the plus side is Salesforce.com’s product marketing usability that made the top 10 (debuted at #8) and was less than a click off a Good Practice rating. Meanwhile, Netsuite.com ended up in 18th place — otherwise known as dead last but finished. When you rolled Content and Usability scores up into an overall performance score, light content meant that neither site ended up in the product marketing top ten.

In a nod to its look and feel, Salesforce.com also made a great debut in the Consistently, Innovation, and Interactivity usability category with a 4th place finish, just head of this year’s Index darling HP.com. Netsuite.com, on the other hand, debuted at #11, just off of a Usability top ten. Again, these sites’ pencil slim content dragged good Usability scores down and neither made the top ten in this category.
Netsuite Overall by category

Given that these sites were born in the Internet world, it’s always interesting to see if their social media behaviors are up to snuff. Here, we have a mixed bag. Salesforce.com and Netsuite.com hit the corporate blogs top ten — and Salesforce.com’s blogging usability debuted at #2 (nice). Netsuite.com probably would have done better than #8 if you could actually find them (stuffed in the social media icon panel in the footer).

Publicly accessible communities, on the other hand, really show each site’s differing views of the world. Netsuite’s offering is limited to a lonely developer network community while Salesforce.com goes whole hog with separate partner, customer, and developer venues.

These areas are, however, bright spots on an otherwise muddled landscape. To see why, here’s how other areas played out.

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Category: Case Study

Class: Website Reviews

Websites Profiled: Netgear.com, Salesforce.com

Related Research:

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