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eBay clinched the No. 1 spot among the top 50 ranking of social brands, for most effectively and consistently engaging customers via social media channels, according to Alterian's inaugural Social Media Reputation (SMR) Index. Apple was second on the list, followed by Google, BlackBerry, and Amazon.

The SMR Index gauges brands' social effectiveness using a scoring system consisting of two elements: reach (social noise around the brand) and satisfaction (popularity). Also factoring in the "recency" of social interactions, the index then ranks companies on a scale of 1 to 100.

With a score of 92.29, eBay's win over Apple (88.61) and Google (87.00) was likely the result of the auction site's long-standing use of customer forums (starting in the late 1990s), corporate blogging, Twitter, and Facebook, according to the report.

Among other social tools, eBay has adopted Facebook's Open Graph so customers can split the cost of a gift and pay for their share via Paypal. The company also takes a social approach to internal communications, featuring blogs, forums, and discussions boards on the company intranet.

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