Author Topic: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?  (Read 48613 times)

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Weird. Oh

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Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #45 on: November 02, 2005, 01:45:24 PM »
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looks like i'll be getting a free month of Netflix from being a class action lawsuit member I didn't even know about.

http://www.netflix.com/Settlement
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matt35mm

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Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #46 on: November 02, 2005, 02:21:23 PM »
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Moi aussi, cracka.

RegularKarate

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Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2005, 03:03:08 PM »
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Yeah, I got that letter too, but I'm not going to take the upgrade since I think it's a bullshit suit brought up by some douchebag that just wants free stuff and I encourage the rest of you loyal Netflixers not to take the free upgrade as well...  don't take the dirty money.  Netflix is a good company.

cowboykurtis

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Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2005, 05:05:21 PM »
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couldnt agree with you more
...your excuses are your own...

Weird. Oh

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Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #49 on: November 03, 2005, 05:06:08 AM »
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sorry, since I'm poor and haven't used netflix in a while since I can't afford it i'll be taking it.
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MacGuffin

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2006, 01:48:15 PM »
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'Throttling' Angers Netflix Heavy Renters

Manuel Villanueva realizes he has been getting a pretty good deal since he signed up for Netflix Inc.'s online DVD rental service 2 1/2 years ago, but he still feels shortchanged. That's because the $17.99 monthly fee that he pays to rent up to three DVDs at a time would amount to an even bigger bargain if the company didn't penalize him for returning his movies so quickly.

Netflix typically sends about 13 movies per month to Villanueva's home in Warren, Mich. down from the 18 to 22 DVDs he once received before the company's automated system identified him as a heavy renter and began delaying his shipments to protect its profits.

The same Netflix formula also shoves Villanueva to the back of the line for the most-wanted DVDs, so the service can send those popular flicks to new subscribers and infrequent renters.

The little-known practice, called "throttling" by critics, means Netflix customers who pay the same price for the same service are often treated differently, depending on their rental patterns.

"I wouldn't have a problem with it if they didn't advertise `unlimited rentals,'" Villanueva said. "The fact is that they go out of their way to make sure you don't go over whatever secret limit they have set up for your account."

Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix didn't publicly acknowledge it differentiates among customers until revising its "terms of use" in January 2005 four months after a San Francisco subscriber filed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the company had deceptively promised one-day delivery of most DVDs.

"In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service," Netflix's revised policy now reads. The statement specifically warns that heavy renters are more likely to encounter shipping delays and less likely to immediately be sent their top choices.

Few customers have complained about this "fairness algorithm," according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

"We have unbelievably high customer satisfaction ratings," Hastings said during a recent interview. "Most of our customers feel like Netflix is an incredible value."

The service's rapid growth supports his thesis. Netflix added nearly 1.6 million customers last year, giving it 4.2 million subscribers through December. During the final three months of 2005, just 4 percent of its customers canceled the service, the lowest rate in the company's six-year history.

After collecting consumer opinions about the Web's 40 largest retailers last year, Ann Arbor, Mich., research firm ForeSeeResults rated Netflix as "the cream of the crop in customer satisfaction."

Once considered a passing fancy, Netflix has changed the way many households rent movies and spawned several copycats, including a mail service from Blockbuster Inc.

Netflix's most popular rental plan lets subscribers check out up to three DVDs at a time for $17.99 per month. After watching a movie, customers return the DVD in a postage-paid envelope. Netflix then sends out the next available DVD on the customer's online wish list.

Because everyone pays a flat fee, Netflix makes more money from customers who only watch four or five DVDs per month. Customers who quickly return their movies in order to get more erode the company's profit margin because each DVD sent out and returned costs 78 cents in postage alone.

Although Netflix consistently promoted its service as the DVD equivalent of an all-you-can eat smorgasbord, some heavy renters began to suspect they were being treated differently two or three years ago.

To prove the point, one customer even set up a Web site http://www.dvd-rent-test.dreamhost.com to show that the service listed different wait times for DVDs requested by subscribers living in the same household.

Netflix's throttling techniques have also prompted incensed customers to share their outrage in online forums such as http://www.hackingnetflix.com.

"Netflix isn't well within its rights to throttle users," complained a customer identified as "annoyed" in a posting on the site. "They say unlimited rentals. They are liars."

Hastings said the company has no specified limit on rentals, but "`unlimited' doesn't mean you should expect to get 10,000 a month."

In its terms of use, Netflix says most subscribers check out two to 11 DVDs per month.

Management has previously acknowledged to analysts that it risks losing money on a relatively small percentage of frequent renters. The risk has increased since Netflix reduced the price of its most popular subscription plan by $4 per month in 2004 and the U.S. Postal Service recently raised first-class mailing costs by 2 cents.

Netflix's approach has paid off so far. The company has been profitable in each of the past three years, a trend its management expects to continue in 2006 with projected earnings of at least $29 million on revenue of $960 million. Netflix's stock price has more than tripled since its 2002 initial public offering.

A September 2004 lawsuit cast a spotlight on the throttling issue. The complaint, filed by Frank Chavez on behalf of all Netflix subscribers before Jan. 15, 2005, said the company had developed a sophisticated formula to slow down DVD deliveries to frequent renters and ensure quicker shipments of the most popular movies to its infrequent and most profitable renters to keep them happy.

Netflix denied the allegations, but eventually revised its terms of use to acknowledge its different treatment of frequent renters.

Without acknowledging wrongdoing, the company agreed to provide a one-month rental upgrade and pay Chavez's attorneys $2.5 million, but the settlement sparked protests that prompted the two sides to reconsider. A hearing on a revised settlement proposal is scheduled for Feb. 22 in San Francisco Superior Court.

Netflix subscribers such as Nathaniel Irons didn't believe the company was purposely delaying some DVD shipments until he read the revised terms of use.

Irons, 28, of Seattle, has no plans to cancel his service because he figures he is still getting a good value from the eight movies he typically receives each month.

"My own personal experience has not been bad," he said, "but (the throttling) is certainly annoying when it happens."
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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modage

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2006, 03:32:53 PM »
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FUCK.  thats awful.  i've always been a huge netflix supporter but finding this out makes me very very angry.  i got 13 movies during january and i'm on the $23.99 4 out at a time plan.  i guess i'm still averaging 2 dollars a movie but STILL.  they have been taking way longer then they used to AND i'm waiting on a couple new releases which is BULLSHIT.
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ono

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2006, 03:38:46 PM »
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That's not awful at all.  It makes total sense.  If you want more movies faster, you should upgrade to the plan which allows you more movies out at a time.  Think about it -- you've gotta understand, postage adds up, and if Netflix didn't do this, they wouldn't be the great company they are.

modage

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2006, 04:09:24 PM »
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no, the dream is over.  it doesnt matter what plan you're on.  only how quickly you watch and return them.  and if you watch a fair amount of movies the less profitable you are and you are further punished by getting the lower priority on most requested titles. 
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

ono

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2006, 04:16:43 PM »
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There never was a utopia.  It was always about money.  Netflix was just able to provide a better service than the rest.  What is being experienced now is a result of growth.  It's inevitable for any business.  If you want more movies, and movies faster, again, upgrade.  That way, you won't return movies as fast because you'll have more, and you'll get more service for the price you pay.  You get what you pay for.

If you're indeed on the $23.99 plan, and you say you spend $2 per movie, that's 12 movies a month.  Look at that from Netflix's point of view: you're costing them $9.36 per month in postage.  That leaves them with $14.63 of your money to work with.  Say it takes 5 minutes to process your order.  That is, 5 minutes both ways.  Coming and going.  That's 120 minutes for your orders.  Say the average grunt gets paid $6 per hour to do work.  Maybe more.  So, it costs $12 for them to work for you.  This leaves Netflix with $2.63 to work with.  Probably NOT EVEN that, because the grunt is probably getting paid more than $6 per hour.  So, Netflix is losing money because of you.  Since this is a business, they have every right to regulate.  It's called covering their ass, and again, it makes total sense.  There never was a utopia, it's the real world.  Sad but true.

RegularKarate

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2006, 05:03:24 PM »
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This is nothing new at all... this is really old news that Yahoo randomly decided to serve up as new again.

how long have you had NetFlix, Mod?  Take a deep breath... "the dream" is not"over"... nothing is changing.

They discovered long ago that they lose money on people who have the small plans yet send movies back immediately.  They have to pay for postage and processing.

matt35mm

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2006, 05:17:59 PM »
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Aye, it's still good.  The only thing I was displeased with is that we don't get equal priority for the more in-demand movies.  40-Year-Old Virgin and The Constant Gardener have been at the top of my queue for over a month now.  I keep it at the top just in case, basically.  And there's no way I'm getting my hands on the R. Kelly Trapped in a Closet, which is, of course, the most demanded DVD of all times.

Their regulating the number of DVDs you get per month makes fine sense, but I would like it if they gave at least equal priority to the members on the plans higher than 3 at a time.  Make it something like a Gold or Silver Membership.  I know they don't need to hook us in with popular rentals since we're clearly hooked, but as a sign of appreciation for the members paying more, it'd be nice.

modage

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2006, 05:34:41 PM »
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Member Since: June 2003   
about as long as i've been coming here.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.

GoneSavage

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #58 on: February 10, 2006, 06:01:22 PM »
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I definitely experience the lag.  When I moved to California, I substituted Netflix for cable TV.  I would watch one movie a night and be sure to return it each day.  I always found it suspicious when movies were marked as sent, they'd get here the next day but when I sent movies back it could take up to 4 days.  I was pissed, but still felt like it was worth what I was paying.  I return movies a lot less quickly now so I don't have too many delay problems ... I just wish I had more time to watch the movies. 


ThurstonPowell

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Re: Netflix: Should I or Shouldn't I?
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2006, 04:16:46 PM »
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I understand why the whole 'throttling' thing works as a business decision, but I'm just a guy who likes to watch movies.  I don't much care about Netflix making decisions that benefit themselves at my expense.  I have the 3-movie plan, and I don't really even watch the movies that quickly, and I'm still experiencing slower deliveries.  And Netflix will frequently send out a movie that's several titles down the list (with all the skipped-over titles listed as available 'Now') - which, why even have a numbered queue if you're going to do that?  When I first signed up for Netflix, they seemed like a serious movie lover's alternative to the video store (obviously they weren't catering solely to film lovers but Blockbuster and Hollywood Vid don't have their diverse selection - the best of both worlds).  Now that Netflix have become a phenomenon, it feels like they're deliberately alienating the serious film viewer in favor of the regular Joe who just wants to see the latest blockbuster and keep it for a week - which is what Blockbuster is all about and why I stopped renting at video stores.

I know I could switch to a plan that would give me more movies at once, but I feel like it's kind of a swindle - Now that I'm hooked, if I want the level of service I've become used to, I have to spend more money.  I could cancel, but Netflix probably wants heavier-use customers like me to cancel anyway.  If I rented the same number of movies at a physical store it would cost 3x as much per month, and the franchises don't have the aforementioned diverse selection.  Screwed either way you go.  Merry Effing Smart Business Decision, Netflix. 
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