Like a lot of movie fans I’m a Netflix subscriber. I’ve been a fan of it since it first came out. After years of being relegated to using Blockbuster for my video rentals, Netflix seemed like an oasis of film paradise. The selection, the ease, the downright convenience of it was truly an ideal way to do my home video watching.
As with most companies change always happens. And typically it’s not for the benefit of the customer, but for the business.
The first signs of disgruntlement I had with Netflix happened when they began having written film reviews be left anonymously and no credit would be given to the user who actually wrote them. I had written some short reviews after renting some films and thought it would be nice for me to pipe in if I had something to say about it. Maybe my opinion would convince other Netflix users to check out that particular film or avoid it.
It was pretty cool to have my user name attached to that written review, so if anyone was curious they could see other reviews or films I would recommend to my fellow movie lovers. It was a nice little feature and actually gave Netflix subscribers an opportunity to feel a part of a community atmosphere. I don’t think the majority of Netflix subscribers really used it, but it was nice that it was there.
That was until Netflix decided to stop crediting users for their reviews of films and have since just left them as random reviews that someone, somewhere had written. Of course after that decision was made the reviews I had supplied Netflix dropped to zero. I didn’t feel there was much of a point in sharing my opinion on the films I had rented from them.
Then Netflix subscribers were treated to a price increase naturally. So now we were expected to pay more for the service that we were already getting. The combination of streaming and DVD mailings was one flat fee, which now apparently would be going up.
No customer likes to pay more. Netflix didn’t exactly offer a huge amount of films to stream. It was really a handful that grew somewhat over time. But nowhere near the amount that seemed to warrant a price increase. I really don’t want to pay a few extra bucks a month to be able to have the opportunity to have them stream The Swarm to me.
But I stuck with Netflix because I still thought they had the best selection of DVD’s around.
This week we got wind of the latest change – Qwickster.
Doesn’t it sound like some kind of energy drink you would pick up at Quik Chek?
Netflix subscribers were treated to an apology email from co-founder and CEO of Netflix, the honorable Reed Hastings. It’s a pretty entertaining read. The company attempted to form this email as an apology in order for us to be a bit more forgiving to the news it contained inside. “Yeah, they’re screwing us even more, but at least they feel bad about it!”.
Basically Reed apologized for the recent price increase that was hurled at subscribers AND to announce that the method of Netflix streaming and DVD mailings will now be separated under two different websites.
Which means subscribers will now have to visit two websites for the same service that had previously fallen under one.
The mailing Netflix service will now be called Qwikster and the streaming service will retain the name Netflix. So subscribers who were enjoying DVD’s through the mail and streaming on their one stop website will now have to visit two!
The Netflix and Qwickster websites will not be connected in anyway. Now it will be two separate rating systems. Two separate queues. Two separate bills that you’ll get for both individual services.
Does this sound customer friendly to anyone? Really, who wants integration nowadays?
I’m not exactly sure what they’re thinking over there. It doesn’t seem worth my time to now juggle going to two different websites to order my DVD’s through the mail and then another one to get some streaming. And like I said, I barely ever used Netflix’s streaming. They’re catalog and selection is nothing to brag about. I kept it just because of the convenience that they were under the same roof and if it happened that I saw a film in my DVD queue was also available for streaming I would just watch it that way and not bother getting it mailed to me. But I certainly don’t feel motivated to visit a separate website to get Lost Boys 2 streamed to me….
If I were to have to sign into a second website for streaming movies to me, I would choose one with a much bigger and wider selection than Netflix certainly has. Plus, I heard their selection for streaming will get even worse when Starz and Sony don’t resign their contract with them in February 2012.
Anyway, this latest decision might be the final straw for devoted subscribers. I was a big proponent of Netflix and would constantly be telling people to sign up for it. With all this latest nonsense that have been coming from the company I’ve certainly cooled with them.
And apparently I’m not alone. Since the price hike over a million subscribers left and stocks are hitting an all time low and seem to continue to be dropping despite the apology email.
Here’s the link to Reed’s blog and his letter that was sent out to subscribers, along with the seemingly endless vocal reactions by subscribers to it. I don’t see much positive feedback to it….