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Comments

Bahar Gidwani

Major lame. Made people who want home delivery look old, tired, dull, and stupid.

I don't think they "get" the whole concept, yet. (Or at least their ad agency doesn't.)

However, at least they have now told most of America that their service exists. I'd be curious to see how many viewers thought afterwards, that it was an ad for Netflix!

CashForFlow

This is a bold move on Blockbuster's part. Last I remember in my review of the mail order services Blockbuster was at par with Wal-Mart. That is not a good attribute. For the record, I received all my Blockbuster & Wal-Mart DVDs from Minnesota while I resided in Chicago, IL. Dissatisfied customers rarely forget their bad experiences and are now more willing to sample competitors. Overall, I'm impressed if their distribution centers have accomplished turnaround times similar to Netflix within two to three months.

Thanks for reading my opinion!

tainted

I didn't personally find it very creative. Had a bit of a "haven't I seen that concept somewhere before?" to it. I'm positive some other company that dealt with mailing products directly to you had a commercial like that years ago... QVC maybe?

On a side note...a friend of mine who was over for the game simply said "That is such a stupid commercial" when he saw that one. He's not a rent-by-mail user.

Tim

I didn't think is was so bad - it introduced the basic idea of renting dvd's by mail, which i think was all they wanted to accomplish. I'm willing to bet that a lot of people haven't heard of dvd rentals by mail yet, so if their first time hearing about it is from blockbuster then that's a win for blockbuster.

Aron

It looks like they have about 2 weeks of advertising planned for this: http://www.videostoremag.com/news/html/breaking_article.cfm?article_id=7129

I think the commercials reveal their online business as a high priority for Blockbuster, and will be effective. At 15$ and 2 free store rentals and a nearly equivalent service, it's really just a matter of getting the word out.

Paul

I had a few friends over. They thought the commericial was funny and got the concept. I then showed them my Blockbuster envelopes and how it worked for me. (I switched from Netflix 2 months ago, after almost 2 years with NF.)

BTW- the ad reran in the 4th quater, IIRC.

CashForFlow

"and a nearly equivalent service"

Aron,

You seem to be coming around. Good for you!

As I pointed out previously, none of Netflix's so-called advantages are SUSTAINABLE. And now, according to you, Blockbuster has nearly replicated Netflix's service in a mere 7 months.

Keep it up, Aron. You're not as dumb as I thought you were. Just a little slow. Perhaps next time, it'll take you less than 2 months to see the obvious writing on the wall.

Hope you didn't lose too much on NFLX.

Aron

My position on Blockbuster hasn't changed much over time, and it is unlikely to be affected by a poster with your style of expression.

CashForFlow

"My position on Blockbuster hasn't changed much over time"

Perhaps you should revisit the nonsense that you posted after Netflix's most recent earnings release.

Remember the machine that you talked about? Remember the huge competitive advantage that you talked about? What was the competitive advantage again...oh yeah, the huge advantage of recognizing high use customers and weeding them out.

As I said at that time, anyone with at least half a brain--maybe even you--should be able to discern a high use customer in a matter of weeks. Some advantage.

Maybe you are as dumb as I originally thought. But it's still nice to see you acknowledge that Netflix has no sustainable advantage.

greg

isn't the point of renting by mail, that you don't have to get in your car? wouldn't the commercial have been better if he said he was "going to blockbuster to get a move". then walks out of his house to the mailbox. and gets his blockbuster dvd.

REN

I don't see it listed on http://humor.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=humor&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ifilm.com%2Fsuperbowl, incidentally there was a Netflix banner on that page when I was looking for the BB commercial.

Hi, I'm a business reporter at the Charleston Gazette in Charleston, WV. I'm working on a story about renting DVDs/videos in person vs. online.

I'm looking for West Virginians who rent movies online from Netflix, Blockbuster and/or Wal-Mart and don't mind talking to me about why they use the companies they do. Feel free to post this e-mail on other Web sites, blogs, chatrooms, etc.

Thanks,
Jennifer Ginsberg
jginsberg@wvgazette.com

CashForFlow

Sorry about that Aron. People shorting Netflix's stock are desperate to tarnish the company in any way possible. That includes blogs that merely exchange ideas. Why this person is impersonating me I really don't know. Oh well.

Tob

I thought the adv was pretty good. remember most people don't know about Blockbuster online.

Poster above me. The entity doing its utmost to tarnish Netflix is Netflix itself.

By classifying a large chunk of its loyal customers as subject to worse service they are stepping into an ethical morrass that will eclipse Blockbuster's PR morass from late fees.

From a legal standpoint Netflix is going to have to start notifying customers that it has earmarked for non preferential service.

Aron

"By classifying a large chunk of its loyal customers as subject to worse service they are stepping into an ethical morrass that will eclipse Blockbuster's PR morass from late fees."

It will create a stink, no doubt. It has in certain circles already. But the size of the stink? Bigger then Blockbuster's late fees? I dunna.

"large chunk of its loyal customers": Probably less then 20%, and there is little evidence they are any more 'loyal'. Does this supposed 'loyalty' spring from being given 'worse service'?

"worse service": This is a matter of perspective. Is 1$/disc better or worse then 3$/disc? If price per disc is not relevant to you, only wait times, then step up to a higher out plan and improve your wait time.

It's impressive to me that a buffet model has been able to exist as long as it has. I'd recommend heavy users enjoy it while it lasts (which won't be forever IMO). The service is far superior for heavy renters then anything besides piracy before it. Eliminating preferences would only hasten the death of a 'limited' rental model.

REN

I can't say Netflix has inspired any great loyalty in me. I appreciate the service, but I still have my eyes open for better deals. There may come a time when I break it off with NF. I do hope we can remain friends, though.

You are equating "loyalty" with taking full advantage of the service. Personally, I do take full advantage and appreciate it, but I would jump ship if I found something better.

skebenin

I never used feel any special loyalty toward NetFlix until I started seeing all the complaints. Nearly all that I've seen to date were the result of ignorance and misunderstanding - people really do fear what they don't understand. At some point I decided that customers need to support companies they like.

CashForFlow

Tob,

Thanks for your reply. In regards to Netflix informing their customers of policies that favor users who have received less DVDs I doubt this will happen and, in my view, this is a very 'fair' policy. If a person has received 20 DVDs in one month and finds fault in that a person who has only received 5 DVDs in a month is given preference this is merely a greedy individual.

It's obvious the individual wants the effective price of each DVD to approach zero, as does all customers, by receiving as many DVDs as possible. The effective price for these heavy users is likely at a lost to all mail order services. I agree with Netflix in losing these 'loyal' customers and sending them to Blockbuster, Wal-Mart, etc. There may be customers who receive 25 DVDs in a month and still complain that others are given preference.

Thank you for reading my opinion.

CTeghan

I have to agree with the consensus that creating classes of customers, and categorizig them in a dabase, as Netflix must be doing according to the emails it is sending out, is going to be a problem.

It isn't a question of fairness, it is a legal issue. Frequently the analogy of "all you can eat" having exceptions comes up, but what fails to be mentined is that if you are limited at an all you can eat deal you must be fully refunded.

Netflix has admitted they are categorizing customers and giving them worse service. It is demonstrable in the emails people have posted here. To bill you the same and not notify you that your service has been downgraded is actionable. If you look at successful class actions on monthly service agreements you can see this.

I like Netflix and am a happy costomer, even though service has degraded noticably. But I would want to know if they were downgrading me. Indeed I would have a legal right to know.

Lastly I doubt that these customers are just defecting to Blockbuster or other vendors. It is actually pretty easy to change accounts. On the net you an easiy find methods that work and get you back up to new customer status. Ironically that hurts Netflix even more as the churn isnt good for them, but they seem to be putting customers in a position where this is efficient.

REN

They state, I believe in the help section and in some of the emails posted here, that they do some form of prioritization. Customers that read the help or ask customer service will know about it. Should they expand the explanation and make sure that users are aware of the policy before signing up? I think they should for the people that care enough to want to know.

Also, do you want an email informing you every time they change your priority number? "You are now ranked #45345".

I think they have the situation covered legally.

manuel

Skebenin:
"I never used feel any special loyalty toward NetFlix until I started seeing all the complaints. Nearly all that I've seen to date were the result of ignorance and misunderstanding - people really do fear what they don't understand. At some point I decided that customers need to support companies they like."

Good for you and thanks for pointing out how ignorant we are. Netflix is nothing special to me. It's a company. It's not a loved one. That's why I can't understand why you revere it like your mother (more likely your cash cow). I suppose you want me to feel pity for the CEOs of Enron too.

What other message boards have you posted to?

http://www.videohelp.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=241166

Aron

'Unlimited' is a term of hyperbole. Should you be able to rent 1,000,000 discs/month?

There are many reasons why you may get less movies per month or for worse waits. Netflix could buy a lot fewer DVDs. They could employ less people at their facilities. They could spend less time figuring out logistics and developing intelligent software.

Why is preference among all the possible reasons, the only one to actually defy 'unlimited' (a word which by its pure definition can't be satisfied anyway)?

Netflix confesses to preferences in its terms of service. I suspect their legal basis is covered. There is a bit of a PR problem, but I don't think its a universal mentality. I think MOST people will consider the deal in more holistic terms ("My service level has declined somewhat which I don't care for, but at the same time, the value of the service to me remains high because of the number of discs I am renting at fixed cost") rather then be concerned with the service level afforded to other people in the system.

After all, even Manuel is STILL a customer. ;)

CashForFlow

"'Unlimited' is a term of hyperbole. Should you be able to rent 1,000,000 discs/month?"

Aron,

You again show your stupidity. Obviously, Netflix cannot control postal delivery time, and consumers are effectivly limited by these natural delays.

However, unlimited implies that Netflix will not intentionally delay service.

There are 2 issues here, and people seem to be combining them.

Issue 1: DVD Priority. Netflix discloses that it has a priority scheme in place, where, for example, if only 1 copy of "Collateral" is available and 2 people want it, 1 person might be given priority over another.

However, the 2nd person should get an alternate title shipped ASAP. Netflix shouldn't be able to say, "We're not going to ship you 'Collateral', and in addition we're not going to ship you anything until tomorrow.

Issue 2: These "shipping tomorrow" and other delay tactics are not disclosed and pose legal risk, especially if the tactics are targeteted at a certain group of users.

manuel

True, I'm still a customer. What brought me to Netflix was anime. My local video stores carry only a handful of anime titles. Brick-and-mortar store Media Play introduced me to Netflix. So my association with Netflix is based on that reason. Since then, I've discovered other sources such as GreenCine and Blockbuster. I currently stay with Netflix because their anime selection is better than Blockbuster. Plus, their turnaround is faster than GreenCine. GreenCine has a comprehensive selection of anime and better customer service but they're 2,000 miles away from me which effects their turnaround. I'll put up with Netflix as long as I have a use for them.

I am in Tallahassee Fl. and am trying both BB and NF out. I signed up for the BB 3-out plan on Friday. They said on Saturday that they shipped out 3 discs. I received 2 of them on Monday and the other one today (Tuesday). I sent the 2 back on Monday, same-day. They appearantly were scanned by the USPS because 2 more were sent out today (Tuesday). The returns are going to Miami, 600 miles away.

I signed up for the 5-out plan with NF. They sent all 5 out on a Friday. I received all 5 on Tuesday. I sent 2 back on Wednesday and 3 on Thursday, all to Atlanta, 290 miles away. They got the 1st 2 back on Monday. The other 3 made it back today, Wednesday, that is 6 days to go half as far as the BB ones did. I know NF does not work on Sat. but the USPS still moves mail on the weekend. All 5 should have been there on Monday and definately by Tuesday.

The 2 NF sent out on Monday arrived today, Wednesday. The 2 I sent back to BB on Monday arrived back in Miami today.

It seems I can get 2 day delivery FROM NF bust I get 4-6 day returns. From BB I get 2 day delivery from Miami which is twice the distance.

It seems that NF is slower in "receiving" the discs. From reading other posts, it seems that "shipping tomorrow" is more common now. I would guess that NF is not hired addition help in an attempt to keep costs down but it is showing up in the shipping/receiving dept. So far, BB has been fast both ways.

CashForFlow

CashForFlow,

"However, unlimited implies that Netflix will not intentionally delay service."

That is incorrect. Unlimited means there is no limit in the total amount. It has no meaning in terms of time. I can have an unlimited supply of cake that arrives only every month into the foreseeable future.

In regards to Issue #1 Netflix would ship the next item in the person's queue. The second Issue #2 is irrelevant on legal grounds. Overall, I'm sure Netflix has already done their due diligence on the legality of their policies – every corporation does.

"Unlimited means there is no limit in the total amount. It has no meaning in terms of time. I can have an unlimited supply of cake that arrives only every month into the foreseeable future."

This is one of the dumbest statements I've seen on this or any other thread. Perhaps you're drunk tonight?

whathuh

The bad thing is, Netflix claims that they are doing this to help ensure that customers who rent fewer discs are able to get their movies timely. In reality, high volume renters won't affect this. It doesn't matter if you are able to get 100 discs a month...you still only ever have 3 at any one time. The real reason they are doing this is to maximize their profit by cutting down on their shipping costs. The less discs they send you for your $18 a month, the more profit they make.

I am an avid movie fan who once enjoyed a "high volume" of Netflix rentals. Since they began "throttling" me, I cancelled my account and joined Blockbuster Online. So far, the service is very close to the same. Some discs ship from farther away and may take 2 or 3 days to get here, but others make it next day. At least they ship the next ones immediately and I don't have to stare at "shipping tomorrow" constantly. Plus I get 2 free coupons to rent at a local Blockbuster.

Another great thing about Blockbuster Online is that they will carry multiple versions of some movies. Try getting special/ultimate/extended editions of Underworld, Pitch Black, The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional and others on Netflix. I already owned the original version of these and didn't feel like buying them again to see the new versions. It was nice to be able to rent them at Blockbuster Online and see them.

BTW, manuel, you should give rentanime.com a try. Their selection of anime puts Netflix (and Blockbuster and Walmart) to shame. They offer a 2 week free trial.

skebenin

Unlimited = no cap

That's all it means. That's all it's ever meant. You've never bean able to get more disks than the USPS could deliver in a month, and you've never been able to get more disks than NetFlix could ship you in a month.

CashForFlow

skebenin,

I wholeheartedly agree. Unlimited does not specify a number of DVDs received in a month or that it even remain consistent. It only means the source will never stop producing.

""However, unlimited implies that Netflix will not intentionally delay service.""

"That is incorrect. Unlimited means there is no limit in the total amount. It has no meaning in terms of time. I can have an unlimited supply of cake that arrives only every month into the foreseeable future."

The second poster is wrong and unaquanted with consumer law. It means the seller will not cap the or limit the amount.

Firstly your example is wrong, it doesn't take into account the targeted limiting of customers which Netlfix admits it does.

Secondly if you advertize unlimited cake and and a customer and tell a customer who comes on the 29th you've run out after the first or second slice you can't be sued for "bait and switch." But you do owe him a FULL refund for invoice/payment in which he was limited.

My guess is Netlfix is racking up a large number of class actionable difficulties. I would bet their lawyers were arguing about whether they should even admit in writing that they are intentionally limiting a class of customers who are taking advantage of their advertised terms.

In advertising if you use the term unlimited you cannot proactivly limit customers, especially by class.

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