« New Releases for September 13th, 2005 | Main | Unplayable Movies »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c1bb69e200d8348cb6e269e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Blockbuster Throttling?:

Comments

I agree. They eventually have to. I can't think of another company that's more concerned about their bottom line.

I can hardly wait to see the comments this thread is going to generate. It's sure to get interesting.

hall

I'm with BBO and their one-at-a-time (unlimited per month) deal. I also got an e-mail on SUNDAY saying my next movie was shipped though it did have a ship date of the 12th (Monday). Odd thing is, they hadn't rec'd my current DVD back yet. I did drop it at the post office Saturday afternoon though... I'm in Dayton OH and it was going to Pittsburgh PA. No way it made it to there by Sunday, not to mention the USPS' limited service on Sunday.

All my discs used to get scanned via the USPS and replacements sent out the next day - even though it took 2-3 days for the discs to phtsically get back.

Lately, none of discs seem to be scanned. I don't know if its a USPS thing or if BB has stopped/slowed using the scan data. Now I have to wait until they actually get a disc before a replacement is sent.

Wolf

I average about 11 to 12 movies a month on BBO's 3-at-a-time plan...I've noticed a slowdown for the past two weeks on how fast they ship movies to me after I return the previous ones. Sometimes there is an empty slot on my queue for a day or two and nothing gets shipped to me. I've signed up for Netflix's free 2-week trial to try and compare which one's better.

Kyle

My neighbor has been on BBO for several months and stopped relying on the validity of his queue information weeks ago. I've been a NFLX for 1 1/2 years, and get throttled mercilessly whenever I have a lot of spare time to watch movies.

When will either or both companies lose the "unlimited" illusion? If you're on the $20-or-so deal, you get up to 20 movies a month. The $30-a-month NFLX plan gets you +/-25 (which is why I went back to 3-at-a-time two months ago). That's all you're going to get, and they'll make sure of it. I like the cellphone biz-model where you might get X number of rentals/month + "rollover," but that would be a tough sell after a promise of the entire moon.

Given the current state of the market, $1 to $1.50 per untimed rental isn't a bad deal whatsoever. But all the squabbling and b*tching about BBO and NFLX is fun to read.

Jillian

I feel like I'm being throttled by BBO. I sent two movies in the same mailer. One was received on a Tuesday and one on a Wednesday. I wondered how they got separated? plus they just shipped out a movie on Thursday and it's supposed to arrive tomorrow. I live right by the Flushing distro. center it is usually a one day turn around. Can't complain too much, I usually have great service with them, much better than when I tried out netflix!

"I feel like I'm being throttled by BBO. I sent two movies in the same mailer. One was received on a Tuesday and one on a Wednesday. I wondered how they got separated?"

They didn't. Ever notice the bar codes on the outside of the envelopes? Let me guess...the one that got checked in early was the movie that had the correct envelope yes? The DVD that didn't belong in there got checked in later? Why? Because they have to check it in manually. Try not to lose the envelopes, or at least report the envelope lost with your report dvd issues thing before you mail the DVD back so they know what to look for.

I haven't been throttled by BBO. But I do have friends who say they didn't have movies shipped in 1 day like usual. 2 of them both had something in common, and that is that their queues were tiny. They had only like 10-12 movies, some with waits. BBO says to add 30-40 movies to your queue, and I'm betting that is why there is the illusion of throttling. I asked one friend to add whatever to his queue(now he has like 50 DVDs in there.) Guess what? Next day his 2 open slots were filled immediately.

I've also noticed that BBO is not shipping things in order as much as they used to. I sent an email, and they told me that they've changed things up a bit so the overall ship times can be faster. Meaning that if your top picks aren't at your closest ship centers, they will keep skipping till there is something they can send you as opposed to sending them from a few states over.

I don't mind much really. I'll watch whatever is in my queue, and I like the fast deliveries.

hall

"All my discs used to get scanned via the USPS..."

That sure seemed to be the case for my most recent return.

"Ever notice the bar codes on the outside of the envelopes?"

That bar code is for the USPS and their automated sorters. It doesn't tell anyone what movie is inside. What if you have (2) movies out and return them in the "wrong" envelope ?

I think people have chosen to use the wrong definition of the word unlimited. They're thinking unlimited means "without constraint", like an engine that revs higher and higher. If you could return movies once a minute, you could get 44,000 DVDs a month.

The definition they should use is "having no boundaries". The number of times a clock can tick is unlimited, but there's definately a limit to the number of times a clock will tick in one month. Similarly, there's no limit to the number of disks you can rent from NetFlix or BlockBuster, but there's definately a limit to the number you can get in one month.

Their use of the term 'unlimited' is accurate and true. It's only misleading if you choose to misunderstand it.

Like most I get slightly more disks from blockbuster than netflix.

I especially like that blockbuster is more likely to get me new releases. I think that is due to the fact that they sell so many disks afterwords and thereby can get enough new releases in stock.

hall

There are definitely more than one definition of the word "unlimited". Quite simply, consumers have one version and companies have a different one. This comes up all the time in regards to broadband internet especially when an ISP "throttles" a user for excessive usage. People cry "but it's unlimited service". The ISP means you can use hundreds of times each day, any hour of the day, any day of the week, and for as long as you want at a time. The consumer thinks it gives them the right to download/upload hundreds of gigabytes of data each month. Read the TOS...

PlungeBob


For me, there has always been a slight delay
in getting returned movies acknowledged,
with BB's service.

But this delay has gotten better instead of
worse, for me, while shpping times have improved.

As usual, with BB I have little idea of what is
coming next, where NF gives some predictability.

This is never been a killer for me.

Throughput is king, and that is BB at the moment.

manuel

"they (Netflix) call it "smoothing" internally"

Yes. Netflix also refers to their customers as "pigs" and "sheep."

netflix throttles best

In my experience, Blockbuster rarely waits a day to send new DVDs. It happens maybe 5% of the time. With ThrottleFlix, it happens just about all the time. Plus, TFLX never sends a movie on Saturday or Sunday. BB works harder for your money. And they have tons of movies that TFLX doesn't. BB would have to cut the service by 40% for TFLX to match what BB can deliver for me in a bad week. BB's speed and catalog rules, despite what the shills say.
Netflix: Enjoy the Throttling!

netflix throttles best

"The consumer thinks it gives them the right to download/upload hundreds of gigabytes of data each month. Read the TOS..."

I DL and UL hundreds of GB a WEEK and my ISP has never complained... Perhaps you need to find a better service provider. Not all ISPs suck as bad as yours does. Greedy jerks. We want FIBER, but these cash WHORES are still dragging their feet with pathetic broadband. Countries like India, Korea, and Japan have already surpassed us in internet speed. It's laughable to call 1.5-6.0 Mbps "broadband." I would call 1 Gbps broadband. That's what I want. But industry has stalled every advance in technology, so they can keep exploiting the customer with crappy DSL and cable. Ha!

Curt Hibbs

Hall, There are two barcodes on the envelop. The short one under the address is the one that USPS uses to wrote the envelop. The one at the top (preseumably) identifies the movie in the envelop for Blovkbuster.

"This comes up all the time in regards to broadband internet especially when an ISP "throttles" a user for excessive usage. "

What are you talking about? no ISP in the states do this anymore.

Sanjin

You conveniently omitted the fact that September 10 was a Saturday. Of course Netflix the King of Throttlers doesn't even work on Saturdays.
Nice try, but Netflix still rules when it comes to Throttling or Smoothing or Braking, or whatever Reed calls it.


hall

"What are you talking about? no ISP in the states do this anymore."

Talk to Cablevision users.... Besides, I was only using that as an example of the different possible definitions of "unlimited". Otherwise, it's off-topic.

I have the 3 a month plan from Netflix and have always received on average 23 DVDs per month. But they throttle me also and even send me DVDs for severion other states in an attempt to slow me down. If they did not throttle me I would receive on average 9 DVds per week for a average of 35 per month.

My question is why no one has filed a class action lawsuit about this and there advertiset unlimited DVD per month.

HP

I have never been throttled by BBO. I have been consistently receiving 20+ movies a month. Heres the breakup.

month 1: 22 movies
month 2: 20 movies (i slowed down. BBo has been very prompt on mailing me movies the same day they receive)
Month 3: 20 movies

I could have received more but i have been sitting on movies for days. Also when I complain about bad or unnplayable dvd's BBO gives me a bonus dvd that doesnt add to the 3 at a time. Also, I havent used their 2 rent it from B&M coupons in the past 3 months.

Also in the past 3 months, I have received 2 free dvd's to keep. I have absolutely no complaints about BBO. I do not beleive in the small guy vs big corp thing. I work hard for my money and I stay with who so ever gives me a better service. So far BBO is doing that without any problem.

bluemooh

"Plus, TFLX never sends a movie on Saturday or Sunday. BB works harder for your money."

Wow - your irrational stupidity is almost fun to watch. Do you not understand the USPS postal stream? When was the last time you saw a mail carrier pick up or deliver your mail on Sunday? BB and Netflix don't vary too much in what they can push through on the weekend, you really should watch less Vampire:Bloodlust whatever the crap is and get some fresh air. Seriously, how much harder DOES BB work? I can tell you they certainly work harder to put together REALLY ignorant and boldfaced lies in their marketing - and it's just fun to watch how they are throwing good money after a really bad program. I am so loving all the lawsuits that finally hit when BB had to admit their so-called "end of late fees" was really more like creative wordsmithing. Isn't advertising FUN??!!

BTW - I don't believe any company worth their salt refers to their customers as "pigs" and "sheep" unless they are a meat packing facility. You really are a piece of work, man.

"That bar code is for the USPS and their automated sorters. It doesn't tell anyone what movie is inside. What if you have (2) movies out and return them in the "wrong" envelope ?"

No. The bar code is for BBO. USPS just happens to be able to use it as well and that is why the agreement for scanning returns was made. If BBO didn't have access to scan technology, how do you think USPS relays the info to them? It's Blockbuster's bar code.

"I am so loving all the lawsuits that finally hit when BB had to admit their so-called "end of late fees" was really more like creative wordsmithing. Isn't advertising FUN??!!"

That law suit everyone keeps bringing up...you know Blockbuster didn't actually lose right? They agreed to give a small settlement just to shut them up. Some coupons, and maybe some small refunds in some cases. But they didn't admit to being wrong, and they certainly didn't pony up enough money to justify losing a law suit.

It was more like "We weren't wrong, you just didn't read dickheads...have a coupon and a few bucks and stfu."

Anywho, I am actually responsible with my returns so I didn't get any freebies.

geekzapoppin

Although anyone who reads a site like this knows all about throttling and can spot it when it happens it's pretty near impossible to prove unless internal documents surfaced that described the process. A lawsuit would be a waste of money.

Simon

To me, Netflix's initial service was so consistent and predictable when they started throttling me it was blatantly apparent. After I switched to BB, I really enjoy their availability of new movies (horrible at Netflix) and their overall throughput, but I'm afraid their delivery is not as predictable so if they eventually did decide to throttle me it may take me a while to notice.

Either way, the fact that BB ships on saturdays, send you a new DVD right away when you report slow delivery, and have more new releases available make it a hands-down winner for me.

snowpuff

I don't agree with their business practice, but any reasonable person would find watching more than 25 DVDs in a month would accurately describe the consumer's expectation.

Suing for throttling would be an extremely weak case...

On the other hand, NetFlix's free trial sign-up is EXTREMELY misleading and almost undeniably actionable. Any reasonable consumer would assume that the free trial is for the first month and NetFlix makes the consumer go through to 1...2...3...4 different pages to find that it is a two week trial.

This is outrageous and is almost the legal definition of misleading.

In short, if most reasonable consumers are signing up thinking the trial is a for a month, it doesn't matter what you have buried somewhere.

RAYMOND KNIGHT

What I am beginning to notice is that BLOCKBUSTER is cutting back on their free coupons. What I have always done in the past is that if BLOCKBUSTER would screw up and send me the wrong movie or send me one that is unplayable, I would call them and ask for two free coupons. Now, everytime you call them they are always out of the coupons. I am still waiting for two free coupons which they promised me four-weeks ago when they sent me the wrong movie. The last time I called they said that they could no longer put any free coupon requests in the queue for when they get more in. I also noticed, that at one point they seemed to be doing what NETFLIX started doing, the return envelope is marked with the return address of the place where it came from. Since, I hardly ever receive anything from the Philadelphia distribution center it would not be advantageous for me to keep BLOCKBUSTER. They seem to have stopped that policy though. I also noticed that they seemed to have added an extra day to the three day return reporting ability. I used to be able to report a movie as returned on the third day now it is on the fourth day that you can report it as returned.

No BBO "throttling" here (Atlanta). I've been with them since the service was first offered to the public. What I have noticed lately (for the past month or so) is EXTREMELY quick check-ins. I usually leave the DVD in my mailbox (at my house, not the P.O.)... Mail carrier picks it up around 2:00PM. It's checked in at BBO by the middle of the next day. Usually the next movie ships back to me that night (technically the following morning). This turnaround is about 2 days faster than my experience with BBO over the past year or so. I'm happy...

Steve

Throttling? BBO is shipping all the DVDs from 2 states away and it takes 2 to 3 days each way for sending and receiving. Can't really get any more throttled than that...
But if I'd stuck with Netflix I'd still be on "long wait" for several new releases I've already enjoyed from BBO...

netflix throttles best

"When was the last time you saw a mail carrier pick up or deliver your mail on Sunday?"

If you knew anything about the postal service, you would know they sorted mail 7 days a week. And Blockbuster sends and receives on Sundays, so they don't have a back-log on Monday, like ThrottleFlix does. Again, BBO works harder for your money. Sending Saturdays gives 20% more value than Netflix. Add the fact that BB also has new releases for me, unlike ThrottleFlix.

netflix throttles best

"I don't agree with their business practice, but any reasonable person would find watching more than 25 DVDs in a month would accurately describe the consumer's expectation."

What YOU expect is not the legal definition of "unlimited." We would have to survey a broad cross-section of people and also test what is technically possible assuming 48-hr turn-around from the time you return a DVD until you get the next one. It's well within their capacity to give 48-hour turn-arounds. They do it for the trial customers and light users. They bait-and-switch everybody else. Why can't Netflix just define the limits so there is no chance of misunderstanding?

"Throttling? BBO is shipping all the DVDs from 2 states away and it takes 2 to 3 days each way for sending and receiving. Can't really get any more throttled than that..."

My movies from BB usually take 1 day coming and going. And there is rarely any delay on sending new movies after one is received. As a result, I get 20-40% more from Blockbuster than ThrottleFlix. Plus, I can actually get New Releases from BBO - unlike ThrottleFlix. What a strange concept - New Releases!

PlungeBob


"What I have noticed lately (for the past month or so) is EXTREMELY quick check-ins"

I commented on this also. This is an area
where BB seems that have gotten better.

If new releases are most important, especially
getting them immediately after release, then
one should consider the BB in-store program.

This program allows a user a truly unlimited
experience (the clerks at my local store commented
on a heavy user who occassionaly returned the
same day for two more disks, but they expressed
no problems with his activity, just humor)

I get to see the new releases tuesday night,
and probably rent about 20 disks a month from
them all together. It is a nice service.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

netflix throttles best

"Yes, we all know that Netflix throttles high-volume customers"

But there are still dingbats who deny it...

"(they call it "smoothing" internally)."

Unfortunately, it still doesn't capture the flavor of what they're doing. I was always partial to "braking." That's less ambiguous than "throttling" (which can mean strangling someone or accelerating a vehicle). Braking makes it perfectly clear what theya re doing to people - draggin their feet deliberately.

Smoothing is more accurate. The practice of prioritizing shipments increases the number of disks low use customers get and decreases the number high use customers get. It smooths the service across the customer base.

You seem to have a very egotistical view. Screw other customers - where are my disks.

netflix throttles best

"You seem to have a very egotistical view. Screw other customers - where are my disks."

You seem to have a very naive view of their business. There is no "shortage" of discs. I don't mind if they can't send me my #1 pick. But they CAN send SOMETHING. And it would be nice occasionally to get new release the day it comes out. Which BB has no trouble doing. The problem is that NFLX doesn't have enough copies of new releases. They delay shipments unnecessarily with flimsy excuses.

It has nothing to do with inventory. They've got other movies - millions. Your excuse is laughable. Heavy users don't deprive light users of discs. There are plenty of "discs" to go around, with some to spare. Ho hum... Just the usual tired arguments trotted out by the Netflix cheer-leading squad.

Simon

I have to agree that they "delay shipments unnecessarily". When they throttled me, my movies in the queue would at first say "shipping today", then it would change later in the day to "shipping tomorrow". How does Netflix know that the movie will be available to be shipped tomorrow? The delay was always exactly one extra day. I think the possible explanation is that they hold on to your DVDs for one extra day. How does that increase shipment to the low volume renters? The dvds are just sitting in their warehouse to be shipped. What a waste...

Sanjin

Throttling is just step one of Netflix's bad customer service techniques.
When I was going through Six Feet Under Season One, they suddenly put the last disc for that season on Long Wait.
It had no wait until it hit my #1 queue spot.
Talk about screwing with you. I waited five weeks then quit Netflix.

gofl

It should be pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain that there's no such thing as "unlimited" anything. There are practical limits to everything, and in the case of DVDs-by-mail, the limit is when the money they spend on postage, labor, etc is more than you're paying per month. Nearly any semi-intelligent business owner would start "throttling" at this point.

The only company I can think of that would be inept enough at running a business to continue shipping movies past that limit is Blockbuster. It's good to see that they're starting to grow some sense in that area now.

Prioritization has little to do with the number of disks in the distribution centers. It has to do with shipping capacity.

To simplify, NetFlix has a customer base. Customer base translates into revenue. Shipping disks costs money, so revenue translates into shipping capacity. Capacity has to be spread out over the customer base.

So yes, for a heavy user to get one extra disk, a light user has to get one disk less.

You seem to think NetFlix has unlimited shipping capacity. I say that's naive.

Just want to be treated fairly

I am a member of both BB and NF. Both have provided less than expected. Both delay shipments and deny receipt of movies. With the local distro centers my movie turn time should be 3 days. Ship Mon, arrive Tuesday, watch and send back Tuesday, arrive at distro on Wednesday. Repeat cycle.

My actual documented turn times are running 7-11 USPS working days.

Out of both, I choose BB simply for the 2 local coupons which make it easier to get new releases.

In as far as a Class Action, I too am amazed it hasn't happened to both yet. The average consumer interprets Unlimited to mean without limits. Neither service even comes close to providing that level. Remove the term Unlimited from their advertising and people will stop bitching (at least about that part)

I would like to see both service forced to remove the Unlimited claim, and also fined a hefty amount for deceptive advertising.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Sponsors

Third-Party Netflix Sites