On why I’m still leaving Netflix

Posted by barb on Jun 30, 2008 in Random Thoughts |

Those of you who use Netflix Profiles know that two weeks ago they were planning on unceremoniously removing the Profiles in September. On Thursday, June 19, at the very end of the day, Netflix sent out the following e-mail to their Profiles-using customers:

We wanted to let you know we will be eliminating Profiles, the feature that allowed you to set up separate DVD Queues under one account, effective September 1, 2008.

Each additional Profile Queue will be unavailable after September 1, 2008. Before then, we recommend you consolidate any of your Profile Queues to your main account Queue or print them out.

While it may be disappointing to see Profiles go away, this change will help us continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers.

I was pissed. I sent this note to them within an hour of the e-mail hitting my inbox:

I am highly disappointed to hear that you will be eliminating the Profiles feature of Netflix. To be honest, that was the best feature that you’ve created, and the one feature that truly set you apart from your competition. When recommending Netflix to friends and family, it was the highest selling point that I would tout.

To add to this mistake is not offering customers a way to easily reintegrate their queues into one. My husband and I have three queues – one for me, one for him, and one for us – with over 100 movies in each. Consolidating these movie-by-movie into one queue will be a huge undertaking. A large enough undertaking that I might just as well start over at, say, Blockbuster Online.

Over the past couple of years, we have occasionally supplemented our Netflix movies with a trip to Blockbuster, and while I don’t like their business practices in general, I’ve been tempted to switch because of the convenience of trading movies in their stores. Please reconsider this decision. I’d rather stick with Netflix, but this is enough of a reason to look seriously at my alternatives.

I can, perhaps, understand that if one feature is slowing down the entire website, it may need to be eliminated. However, the slimy part is that Netflix’s solution to them closing down my queue was to “consolidate any of your Profile Queues to your main account Queue or print them out”. People I know who manage databases have told me that it should be a simple database query for Netflix to reintegrate our queues for us. Rather than offer that solution, they wanted me to print out my queue, and re-enter my over 100 movies by hand to our main queue.

To me, Netflix has shown its true colors. I know that Blockbuster is slimy, but then, they’ve never pretended to be anything else. Netflix pretended to listen to its customers, relying on power-users to drive some if its features. But as soon as Neflix felt that it had a large enough customer base, it was about to yank the one feature that most power-users used.

June 23, I signed up for Blockbuster Online. I’ve already switched my queue over, and have movies in my house.

Now, a week and a half after the original announcement, I got this from Netflix:

You spoke, and we listened. We are keeping Profiles. Thank you for all the calls and emails telling us how important Profiles are.

We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused. We hope the next time you hear from us we will delight, and not disappoint, you.

-Your friends at Netflix

Too fucking late. Netflix, you and I are no longer friends. I know that I’m now onboard with “the evil empire”, but that means that they can’t disappoint me. If they screw up like you guys did, at least it won’t be a surprise.

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