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Comments

Edward R Murrow

Looks like Netflix engineering has hit the wall in making multiple profiles work in a performant manner which seems to be the root cause for profiles being factored out.

All engineers are *not* created equal and Netflix continues to prove my point with every release of the website that their work continues to be sub-standard.

Chris

If netflix goes through with this major down grade of getting ride of seperate profiles I will switch to blockbuster rental service just to teach Netflix a lesson. I liked netflix a lot until they did this to your customers. I hope netflix will reconsider this.

Gowan

If part of the problem is that not enough people use profiles, how about getting everyone you know to set up a secondary profile before September 1st?

I haven't enjoyed myself in such a long time reading all these upset postings.
When BB got rid of the old Total Access, so many laughed that BB didn't care about customers...
When throttling was brought up so many said it was in Netflix's best interest to keep rates low and had no problem with it (of those who admittd they do throttle)...
and now when it hits home for 2% of users that Netflix is a business and the bottom line comes first, I can't help but laugh.

Brian

They explained why throttling was important. Please explain what is gained by eliminating profiles?

Simple...throttling is a business decision to keep costs in line, and eliminating profiles will help keep costs in line as well so they can divert resources to other priorities. It's a business decision and a correct one.
And just like throttling, many now feel they won't get their money's worth. too funny

Brian Greer

What costs?

That's up to them to determine what those costs are, and since none of us work in the inner circles of Netflix, we don't know. We have to assume they know what they are doing...they have the numbers, we don't. End of story

Brian

Ah. So they "made the right decision", although you don't really know anything about it?

nycebo

Frankly, I'm not even capable of understanding how having multiple profiles slows the website. Each profile username signs on individually. The website looks identical. It's just as though Netflix has a few extra 'subscribers' is all.

I was particularly interested in two points made in these comments. First, I completely agree that the profiles addition must have been a hack. Each new iteration of the website likely requires the 'hack' to be 'hacked' over to the new website and it's probably a total pain. However, why not charge extra for the profiles, as suggested earlier? I'd gladly pay upwards of $1.00 for the feature. It would actually become a profit center without requiring much effort...and generate over $2m a year.

Second, I really think that they are trying to drive users to 'open' new accounts in order to compensate. It's sneaky, and it's probably the truth.

What really confuses me is that they are alienating the consumer. DVDs are not the future. Queues are the future. Distribution is the future. Movies will just stream to your TV set, but Netflix should be positioning to be the gateway. Instead, they are alienating their power users, the ones most likely to be most loyal and most willing to try new features. It's just an inherently stupid course of action. Call it penny wise, pound foolish.

Last, and on an aside, their ratings will become total crap. Mixing families together does not provide more information and better suggestions. Profiles allow Netflix to gleam a lot more information about the viewers since their queues are fantastically more representative instead of marginalized by different viewing habits.

It's a critical error on Netflix's part. I'm hoping they come to their sense like Microsoft did with MSN Music.

Will say it one last time, Brian...they have their information, we do not. they made their decision based on that info. They know what they are doing and it is a correct decision based on what they know. It is as simple as that. (It's the same thing people do every day in their lives)
And for anyone to assume it is incorrect without knowing any of the facts, as you don't know, is ridiculous. They say it's for "the good", so I believe them. It's their business for God's sake.
It really is not hard to understand if you keep emotion out of it.
Have a good day!

Brian

Sure, they know what they are doing. Everybody in every business always knows what they are doing...but they are not always right, which is where you and I differ. You think anything somebody does, regardless of the fact that it is based on information you are not privy to, simply must be the correct decision. I don't buy that, else businesses would always be doing "the right thing" and we know that is not the case.

Brian

Thankfully, I don't base my decisions on faith alone, especially not when it comes to corporations in America. I base my decisions on information. The information available says profiles are going away to improve the website. Given the lack of any other improvements, announced or otherwise, it is hard to justify the decision.

You place faith in their analysis and decison-making skills. I want explanations.

Nichole

The ability to split up the queues is the sole reason we use Netflix over Blockbuster. I emailed Netflix as soon as the email came in. If they go through with this, I'll definitely be canceling.

Jason

(A letter I wrote and faxed to Netflix, am considering sending in a paper copy as well)

Reed Hastings and Netflix Management
Netflix
100 Winchester Cir.
Los Gatos, CA 95032
Fax: 408-540-3737

Dear Mr. Reed Hastings and Netflix Management:

I have been a happy Netflix customer for a number of years now, an avid user through multiple locations I have lived and with numerous roommates and most recently a partner.

As a user who has made good use of the various features your service over the years, it is with confusion that I received a notice via e-mail yesterday that you were cancelling the "profiles" feature of Netflix on September 1st, 2008.

This news was met with surprise by both my partner and myself. The "profiles" feature is a great feature of Netflix, and its loss can only serve to lessen our experience. The options presented to us over the phone by Customer Support when we called to ask about it were not particularly useful or satisfactory.

In essence what we were told was:

1) All movie preferences from the profiles will be collapsed back into the main queue. - This makes no sense as the profiles have been customize to be individuals. Collapsing the movie watching preferences of all the profiles into one can only serve to invalidate all the preferences of the individual users. As an employee of a company who relies on past history of individuals myself, I cannot see how this can help your system better decide what a particular person might like.

2) We should collapse our separate queues into a single queue - Again, this makes no sense for similar reasons above. Movie suggestions are made based on prior history which relies on individual data. This also forces issues such as "who's movie comes next" onto the end user, increasing both the effort required and frustrations experienced by your customers.

3) My partner and I are welcome to maintain a common queue we both add movies to. - The Netflix Terms of Use specifically states "You are also responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of your account and password and for restricting access to your computer or mobile device." In order to allow the behaviour the customer representative stated, we must, by extension, allow more than one person to use the account. This is a security issue at the very least and against all best practices for account usage on any system.

4) Netflix is making this change to save space on the website. - I cannot see how removing profiles will help this goal. Currently the only space "profiles" takes up any significant room is on the "Your Account" page where there is a single link to "Account Profiles", and on the drop down along the top of the page beside the "Your Account" link. This is certainly a specious argument.

5) Maturity filters can be set on the "main account". - Once again, this only lessens the Netflix experience. By setting a maturity filter on the account, Netflix will not recommend titles considered "mature", and I would be unable to preview "mature" titles. The fact that I would still be able to search for such titles by name is hardly useful at that point as you have already broken the suggestion and referral system with this.

Given all the above, I am forced to the conclusion that this decision is being driven more by the desire for money than to serve your customers. The only way to keep the features we currently use would be to establish multiple accounts, thereby paying more to Netflix every month for the service we currently enjoy today.

I feel that I must inform you that we are very unhappy with this decision. Over the years other online/mail order video sites have cropped up but we have stayed with Netflix as we enjoy the selection and the features. This move detracts much from the enjoyment and removes one of the biggest features of the site. If the removal of Profiles goes ahead on September 1st, 2008 we will have to re-evaluate our movie watching needs and begin looking elsewhere for a place that will offer the features that allow us to enjoy the movies we like in a fashion we control.

I urge you to reconsider this course of action.

Sincerely,

Usman

600 signatures? I've never used profiles so it doesn't matter to me, but it really sounds like only a tiny minority of Netflix users are going to be affected by this.

A working brain

You people sound functionally retarded.

Profiles are saving one guy's marriage? Another one will have to sit through things his girlfriend likes? What? Why? On noes! Another might have to move things in their queue! The horror!

I love the "what costs?" bunch.

"Der! Duh! You means it costs money to do stuff? I thought money was what I got in my welfare check and spent down at the liquor store. Duh."

Also great is the "they do it for the money!" contingent!

ZOMG! A business is trying to make money, and thinks a feature used by less than 2% is not an good return on investment. For eff's sake you sound like a pack of ignorant socialists who have no effing hint of the beginnings of a clue how an economy functions.

Oooo! Making money is evil! Oooo! Netflix should do it all to satisfy my lifestyle! Not having profiles will kill my pets and give my children horrible diseases! DVD rentals are the most important thing in the universe!!!!!!!!! Ack! Hack! Spit!

The lot of you should drop dead. The world would be better off without you whiney, pampered, pointless cretins with nothing better to do in life.

Brian

If you know what the costs of "profiles" are, then speak up. Don't act like an asshat without evidence to back up your claims. Assuming the profiles take up space in a database, and only 2% of the users have them, just how much space is it costing them considering that disk space is so cheap these days that people have terabyte drives in their homes?

B13

"What do we do when we have a real problem? We deal with it. What do you do, B13? Sit on the sideline and spit venom."

I'm not having a problem, and spitting venom at useless, prissy crybabies is great entertainment. Thanks for biting cleanly on the hook, by the way, idiot. :-)

"I am going to be canceling my Netflix account if they don't undo this (or replace it with something just as good).

Who cares? You represent about 1% of their customer base. Real adults recognize when they are a niche market and accept that, and many will realize maybe DVD rentals are not something to get so emotional about, or bawl like a little girl about. Would you like a hankey?

That's how adults deal with companies that make reduce the quality of their service.

You aren't "dealing" with anything, microbrain. Netflix won't even notice. Good riddance to bad gas.

Perhaps you just blink and pretend it did not happen, but real adults deal with these issues.

Now you're just incoherent. If I was pretending it didn't happen, I couldn't comment on it, now, could I, vacuumhead?

OK, I'm done with you.

Brian

I didn't bite a hook. I asked a question. I am not dealing with it? I see something I do not agree with, and I inform the company about that. That is dealing with it.

You are an infantile troll, B13.

A working brain

Brian: you are being narrowminded and a total idiot. Maybe the costs are, as others suggested, developing what is a kludge into something cleaner and better coded, and it's not worth that cost to support a tiny market slice of crybabies and people who seem unable, by their own words, to function in the rest of their lives without profiles on a DVD rental site.

Your storage argument is what is known as a strawman, and it is the refuge of fools. OK, the storage argument might not make sense. Is there room in your handful of semi-functional neurons for another explanation? Somewhere there is an explanation that makes sense to the people directly involved in the decision making and have all the facts.

And, sorry, but saving money is NOT an unacceptable answer, no matter how much that reason threatens to breah your ideological safety blanket.

And as for costs, I was arguing against people who implied there are *NO* costs involved. Maybe you should replace one or two DVD viewings a day with some reading and comprehension lessons.

And some of us like acting like asshats when there is a whole crown of cretins who so justly deserve every last drop of the derision I piss upon them. :-) Now open wide as I piss upon your utter uselessness again.

B13

Brian: No, I'm a very good troll. Fight that hook! Fight it, bitch! ;-) Click. Click. Click. Ah, the sweet sound of a fine Shimano reel!

Ooo! You sent an email! What a warrior! What a mighty soldier for the rights of all wailing, crying consumers everywhere!

Brian

Providing non-answers continue to not answer questions. The answer provided is, "Assume they are making the right decision, for the right reasons, based on the right data."

It doesn't really matter anyway. If they can't continue profiles, or simply don't want to, doesn't change the fact that my account will close the very day that profiles are discontinued and not covered by a new method of accomplishing the same thing.

See, as a customer, I get to choose whether I continue to be one for any reason that I want to. I see the loss of profiles as a loss of value in the service for me. I see it forcing me to spend more time evaluating the queue and manipulating it to make sure the family is happy with the choices being sent by Netflix. I feel like I don't want to spend my time doing that.

So, Netflix doesn't want to spend the resources continuing the part of the service I consider vital. I don't want to spend resources working around their refusal to continue it. We must be at an impasse. The solution is that they will not get my money.

That's fine by me. I, personally, would like them to make a different decision, but I don't mind kicking them to the curb if they don't want my business. I've done it to much larger corporations in the past and don't mind doing it again.

Ah jeeze, the Ayn Rand/Dittohead/community college logic class troll brigade have arrived. If you're so logical what's with the ad hominem attacks?

Brian

B13, yeah, I sent emails, made phone calls, and sent a snail mail letter.

You troll at hackingnetflix.com. I suppose you should be really proud of yourself, too.

Miggity

Wow. HORRIBLE IDEA. Proflies is why I switched to Netflix from BBOnline in the first place.

SEE YA!

Mister Mark

Jive. Jive. Jive. The worst corporate-speak I can imagine. Horrific PR. Dreadful. Here's this thing people love and is so family friendly, so we'll get rid of it. Oh, no, we don't have any cool gadget to replace it. We're just stupid, we'll give you cool stuff later... or something. Students in high school marketing class know better than to pull something like this.

VerdureVision

I wrote an e-mail to Corporate. I called and spoke to a CSR. I signed the on-line petitions. Dunno what else to do, really.

My husband and I are pretty frustrated and disappointed in the hamhanded way this decision was handled. I wanted to cancel yesterday; I was so angry. But he said (always the voice of reason), "Nah, let's wait until September and see what they roll out." Fair enough.

But we agreed, we're NOT paying for two accounts if that is indeed one of the true reasons behind this change. Chances are VERY good we're canceling in a couple months. Way to go, Netflix. >:-[

B13

Brian: Click. Click. Click. Someone get the net!

Aw, just a small fry. I'll toss this one back. :-)

Oh, and check the latest news update to see how hilariously WRONG you have been.

B13

Ayn Rand? I hate that whore. Limbaugh? That fat GOP tool who got his loser self addicted to a pain killer? LOL!

Meanwhile, beyond the tiny kingdom of False Dichotomies...

Scooby

I think Rick at the Motley Fool has made a good, impartial assessment about this situation.

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2008/06/20/no-thank-queue-netflix.aspx

I think a lot of people are focusing on the wrong things. The fact is, we have no facts. So anything we complain about in regards to "numbers" is complete conjecture. What makes me upset the most with Netflix about this announcement is 'how' they did it. They treated their customers with disdain and disrespect.

Regardless of numbers, I believe that this is a foolish move on Netflix' part. This feature is beneficial to customers as well as Netflix itself (in regards to information gathering). If only 2% of customers are using this feature (which I consider to be a disreputable fact), maybe Netflix should encourage more users to use it. Doesn't Netflix benefit more in the long run when they have more detailed information about its customers? I think a lot of customers may not even know that this feature exists or how it may benefit them.

Also, if only 2% are using this feature how much "profit leeching" is really happening?

There are a lot of arguments on both sides to this issue. I would like Netflix to stand up and give some hard facts and reasoning. Yes it's a business to make money, but Netflix relies on its customers just as much as we rely on them to provide a service.

Chuckles

I'm amazed that they keep using this line, "By discontinuing the feature, we will be able to put more focus and resources site and service improvements that benefit everyone..." What the hell is that supposed to mean?! This is such a load of crap that I'm considering dropping my account before Sept. 1. Biggest boneheaded move I've seen a company make in a long time.

Selune

Profiles is one of the best features of Netflix. It allows my brother and I to maintain separate queues. Now he's going to have to come to me every time he wants to add a movie, because I'm sure as hell not going to give him my password to rearrange all the queue movies to put all his first. Shame on Netflix for not listening to the customer. What happened to "the customer is always right?" Pathetic Netflix.

brian

Hilariously wrong? Let's see... Netflix poorly developed their site, which now is biting them in the ass, and forcing them to remove features. You think it's my fault or something? You think I am supposed to say, "Oh! I should just keep my account because Netflix does a poor job developing their web services!"

If anything, it encourages me to move on. Reed Hastings makes a big deal about "average performers" being given severance packages. I'd say the dev team that created that pile of crappy code needs to be handed those severance packages, if they have not already been shown the door.

leonardodicrapio

Some of us have heard it all before. Of course since 1% (HD DVD owners) of the 2% (Profile users) amount to less than 1,000 customers, they really don't care about schmos like me.

"Tuesday, February 12, 2008
From:
'Kristy Grey'
Add sender to Contacts
To:
[email protected]

Dear Mr. DiCrapio:

Thank you for your email. Mr. Swasey makes every effort to read each and
every email that is sent to him, but is unable to personally reply to
all of them.

We appreciate you taking the time to provide us with your feedback and
comments regarding our recent announcement.

Please know that we have very carefully considered our transition and
feel that it will ultimately benefit our customers that wish to view
titles in high definition format because we will be able to focus on a
single format. We can now allocate inventory to one format, rather than
two, which will provide our customers with a wider array of titles and
availability.

Please know that we remained agnostic for as long as we could. We have
carefully monitored the trends and feel that we have made the best
decision for our customers."

leonardodicrapio

More of the same, the original e-mail that Kristy was responding to:

"Tuesday, February 12, 2008
From:
"Leonardo DiCrapio"
Add sender to Contacts
To:
[email protected]
Steve,

I received a rude e-mail from Netflix, which stated
the following:

'In order to provide the best selection of
high-definition titles for our members, we have
decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.'

How, exactly do you think this is providing me with
the best selection? How stupid do you think I am?

Also, in your press release, you stated:

'Going forward, we expect that all of the studios will
publish in the Blu-ray format and that the price
points of high-def DVD players will come down
significantly.'"

ratchet

It would be unfathomable for me to be able to manage and organize my queues without this feature. Each queue is set up as a major genre and then each queue is categorized by subgenres and each movies is 'linked' to the ones preceding and following it.

sarah

I've yet to read one single positive comment. This is going to cause us to consider dropping Netflix. The main reason we've kept it has been the convenience of having two queues for my husband and me. We have rather different taste and this was a unique feature that will be sorely missed.

Nancy

Intelliflix has "sub accounts" plus a couple of other features NF doesn't (like putting a DVD in your q on hold, or telling them you're returning a DVD so they send the next one immediately). My family's considering this one!

Susan

The day I received the Netflix email about profiles going away, I switched from 4 at a time (23.99) which was perfect since everybody in our family had a Profile and a movie, to 1 at a time (4.99) since it was no longer worth the effort to manage who's got what movie coming next. Hey, if Netflix doesn't mind losing $19 a month per customer, I can adjust to this change.

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