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Jim Biancolo

Wow, too bad. Unsurprising, but still unfortunate. I wish I had some insights for you. I'm not sure if it's a blog thing, or just another symptom of the seemingly universal decline in customer service (PR being customer service for the press). Well, keep at it! Grow this site big enough and they won't be able to ignore you.

Sam Gallant

I suggest that everyone that reads this send a request to customer service to be more communitiy friendly. I prefer companies who embrace the community that supports them and realize that it benefits them in the long run. (ie:. Tivo) Below is a link to send an email to Netflix customer service department.


Dave Winer

As I started to read your post I was sure you were going to say that their lawyers had told you not to use their name in the title of your weblog. I think you should count your blessings. I remember the kid with the NY Mets fan site, that they shut down by lawyers because he had used the Mets name in the title of his blog. You've done the right thing, told the story, and it's not so bad, and of course I'm happy to point to it. Dave

Susan Mernit

This is surprising--and sad. Given that Netflix is a disruptive channel, you'd think they'd be more sensitive.
Have you considered sending the same request to one of the senior managers (who live in Silicon Valley, where many people are plugged into blogging) with a CC to PR and seeing what happens? It may require someone more senior wanting to make this a priority.
Good luck--I love what you do here and visit regularly.

John Stanforth

In re: contacting senior managers, I've forwarded this to a friend who is a chief architect there. No guarantees of anything except that someone (very intelligent) outside PR will see it. There still may be 101 reasons they don't want to get involved here; companies (even disruptive ones) are hesitant to discuss possible arrangements when the entire discussion is already being public reviewed and taking a negative slant. Perhaps not how the world ought to work, but often how it does.

Steve Rubel

Mike, I applaud your professionalism in handling this matter. I love how you elected not to publish the name of the PR rep you are dealing with. I wish more of my colleagues in the industry would reach out to bloggers. It's a regular practice at my firm.


I cancelled my Netflix subscription recently ... This simply confirms my decision.

Shannon J Hager

For those of us still on the fence and gathering data, NetFlix blew a good chance. This negative action on their part will not cause too much damage in to my opinion of them but they wasted the chance to put a slew of free publicity in front of my eyes. I have to assume that ever answer they gave would show them in a good light and would have added more to the [+] side of my fence.

Shannon J Hager

For those of us still on the fence and gathering data, NetFlix blew a good chance. This negative action on their part will not cause too much damage in to my opinion of them but they wasted the chance to put a slew of free publicity in front of my eyes. I have to assume that ever answer they gave would show them in a good light and would have added more to the [+] side of my fence.


It is a bit disconcerting that Netflix isn't a bit friendlier with it's customers. But actually there have only been a few big companies that I would consider friendly with us common folks.

Gary Potter

Sadly, blogging is still not embraced in the corporate space. And I very much agree with Steve - you handled this very professionally. I'm a Netflix subscriber and will continue to be but I think they missed an opportunity. Perhaps one of the blog readers in the print media will pick up on this.

Chris Dickens

And now that you've been linked to Scoble I'm sure your readership just went up! I'm another netflix member who just subscribed to your feeds.


I think part of the problem Netflix may have is the name of your site. Just what does "Hacking Netflix" mean if it's supposed to be a friendly and helpful site? "Pissing Off Netflix" makes about as much sense. Why not try "Netflix Fan Club"? Then they'd be more likely to listen...

Michael O'Connor Clarke

Utterly clueless. This is precisely the kind of wrong-headed PR "control" that gives my profession a really bad name.

It's clear that the Netflix flacks know about your blog - which presumably means that they've read it and realised that you're not some crazed moonbat. What on earth they hoped to gain by turning down this innocuous request, I don't know.

As is often the case - an ill-advised attempt to control the communications channels on their part has quickly turned around to bite them.

This goes against one of the cardinal rules of PR - it is absolutely impossible to manage or control the channels through which your news gets distributed. All you have control over is what you choose to put into the channel. Just as you can never control the outcome of an interview: you can only control what comes out of your mouth. (self promoting link: I blogged a list of what I believe to be the cardinal rules almost a year ago, here: http://tinyurl.com/2v6hv)

And if you choose not to put anything into the channel (declining to comment) we're left to have all sorts of fun speculating as to the reasons why.

Oh - and by this point you don't get to play anymore, I'm afraid. You already abnegated your ability to comment when first you were asked. Don't come crying to the media (including bloggers) after the fact if you don't like the treatment you're receiving.

It will serve Netflix right when bloggers and blog-readers grok their cluelessness and switch to something genuinely net-savvy, such as Peerflix.com, for example.

bill gates

i completely agree with Netflix's decision. Why would they in the least bit want to be affiliated/connected to a website called "hackingnetflix". Would you think microsoft would ever even consider reading an email from someone at : @hackingmicrosoft.com ???
And also you got what you wanted, which is more readers to your site by posting this. Some lame wanna-by journalist who want to tour the Netflix distribution center, what a joke. Does microsoft/yahoo/sony etc etc also joe-shmose with a blog to come tour their centers? They have alot of better things to do than sit here and worry about your 1k readers who have nothing better to do with their lives than sit in front of a computer and read your thoughts.


I'm interested to see how long this DNS lasts... Netflix could go either way.


I share your curiosity. I'd love to see the setup at the local DC.


I think this attitude towards blogs will change with time in the corporate world.

I'm not speculating on the effects your site's name would have on their decision, but its also true that a lot of companies don't have policies in place with regards to how to handle such requests.

Also, they may not have the bandwidth to take on this kind of a responsibility. Despite your request to let them answer "at their leisure", they just may not have the bandwidth to take on this sort of a public Ask a question type of service at this point.

Surely a customer of Netflix can e-mail questions and get a timely response directly? I know I expect that when I'm paying a monthly fee!!


Sad, but they're getting too big for personal service. Obviously you are on their side, but they are just plugging in the form letter at this point.
I had a problem and used their email help system, so obviously a keyword response that after 3 times around the ring, I gave up.

They're still the best, and I can't imagine anyone else catching up with their total package.

Hey-you gave it a good try.

I am totally unsuprised as well. Working at a large midwestern telecommunications company, our marketing/pr people periodically talk about engaging users by setting up some sort of "community" [they mean blog or forum], totally disregarding the existing, highly robust extant community that already exists.

If any big enterprise was to underwrite such a thing, btw, I am sure that it would be highly censored and monitored. I had hoped that NetFlix would be more techno savy (like, be aware that hacks are okay and not evil, cracks -- for example -- are not); I guess be lucky that they didn't send a cease and desist over use of their name. That's what I thought was gonna happen when I started reading this also.

Derek Scruggs

Re: the name. Anyone ever hear of the best seller "Google Hacks?" I think Google was quite happy with its name.

Google is uber powerful, has hundreds of thousands of advertisers, and has trucks dumping cash in their backyard, and yet they still have reps who monitor and post in forums like this. I suspect if this got further up the chain to the CEO or someone in marketing, they'd change their tune.

Mike Schinkel


Aron Miller

I understand the distress here. Like you, I spend a lot of time following this company. And like you, I've attempted recently to get past the wall there with no success. In my case, I wanted to help them understand what makes their churn reporting inaccurate. In both our cases, it would be worth their time.


I heard about netflix on a tech show called "the Screensavers", i thought it was great and subscribed. 2 years later and i look forward to the demiss of this company.

I cancelled this month as i will not pay higher rates for bad service.
What i would like to know is if this company is stilled owned by the original creator?


Marc B. Randolph and Reed Hastings were each founders, presidents, and CEOs of Netflix, but Marc Randolph appears to have sold his share in the company, so only Reed Hastings is left running the show.

keith knutsson

clearly a company that does not understand that the internet, especially weblogs, is a great communication medium.

Wait, wait, wait ... just to be perfectly clear, this is not "a resposne from Netflix." This is one person within the Netflix organization that responded to an e-mail. Isn't this whole thing getting blown out of perportion? This could very easily have been an oversight, or just someone having a bad day. Give em a break.


Tiny blog which is created as a "fan" to corporate america, titled "hacking" doesn't get its rump kissed by corporation. Chaos ensues.

Give me a break.

Give you a tour of their distribution center? Act as a proxy between them and their customers? Why can't their customers just contact them directly? So instead they can come to a page that advertises their rivals?

Many blogs offer insight, and value not found in other traditional media outlets.

This is not one of those blogs.

This blog is akin to a 13 year old girl making a power rangers site, and then demanding that she get to tour the studio. When she doesn't get her request, she cries to mommy. Your post only high-lights the reasons they responded correctly.

Grow up, get a grip.



is it possible you overestimate your importance? or the importance of blogs in general?
maybe they will be interested in a netflix bbs.
my bbs for pet rock owners is really flying high these days.

but seriously, don't you hate it when big, successful companies decide for themselves what information to share and what 'media' outlets they choose to share them on?

but i understand your frustration. after all, i simply bought "www.pissingonnetflix.com and "www.netflixsuxmynutz.org" and i got a tour of the ceo's guest house.

others responders are right: just come away feeling lucky you got a polite, but negative, response from the company, instead of a cease-and-desist order.

most complaints about customer service are that they either did not respond or were rude, which this case is neither.

i encourage all readers to visit my bill gates fan club website (http://www.kidnapbillgatesandholdhimforransom.com) so that my unique visitor count* will be enough to get me invited over his house for dinner.

best wishes,

* most of my visitors are random, 2 second hits form people curious about the title of my site which appears as the #12 result on google when people look up 'bill gates' and then go back to google once they realize the site is a blog.

Very useful comments - good to read




I just heard that DVDBarn.com is opening up 30 more warehouses nationwide on Monday the 20th of Sept. Looks like they got some bigtime funding and are going head-to-head with Netflix. They also sent me an email with a promotion code that is supposed to give me a 3 out at a time plan for only $12.95 per month and apparently it is not just a promotional deal. They say if I signup I'll get grandfathered at that rate.

The code for that plan is dvd-4me if anybody wants it



does anyone at netflix even care anymore? customer service doesn't answer calls... i've been on hold for an hour now so i'm cruising the net trying to find a different number and came upon this website. the dvds are usually scratched and unplayable. even if you send a damage report you get an auto reply with no satisfaction. they even want us to send them our friend's email addresses so they can span them and send them bad dvds! omg, i think i'll check our ken's solution above! totally unsatisfied with netflix. no wonder they took their phone numbers off the site ~ they sure don't like hearing bad news. i think us "loyals" to the flix should all cancel our subscriptions. did you hear me reed?


Neflix has turned into a joke. Their service is going from good to lousy. The quality of their rental stock is terrible. It seems to me there ought to be a law against what these people are doing; it's borderline fraud. I'm returning the second disc in a row for cracks in the disc making them inoperable; it'll probably be mailed right back out to some other poor subscriber.
Any company that removes it telephone numbers from their web site obviously has problems... are you listening Netflix!!!
I'm looking around for alternative rental sites and have started the ball rolling by joining Blockbuster. They have a ways to go in terms of stock but they'll get there.

Jerry Fitzmaurice

To put it mildly I am a bit put off. Seven (7) of the last twelve (12) disc have been defective. As a customer I am unhappy. As a stock holder I do not see how we can stay in busines.

Jerry Fitzmaurice


Interesting comments on this site. I ran across it by accident looking for a Netflix user forum to find out what the general perception about the company is, among other customers. Here is my Netfilx story, which has become increasingly negative of late...
I've been a loyal Netflix customer since Feb 2001, and have probably rented close to 1000 movies in that time. I'm a movie nut and want to watch a different movie every night. TV, cable or satelite don't do it for me because they either have nothing on that I want to watch or I've already seen it. So I choose the Netfix route and was very satisfied until about a year ago. I used to subscribe to the 3-out service and found that I could watch a movie every night and have at least 6, sometimes even 7 movies a week. I live in the Bay Area, so I am close to the original DC in San Jose. 98 out of 100 times they had a same day turnaround for the returned movie and I had the new disc by the next day. Then they stopped working on Saturdays, which eliminted Mondays as delivery days for new movies. Then they started sending movies from other DC's which increased the ship time to 2,3 sometime even 4 days. All over sudden I was down to 3-4 movies a week. So I upgraded to the 5-out service. Great move. I was back to 7 sometimes even 8 movies a week, even though I felt that the cost for the upgrade was a little high. Well guess what, in the last 2 month's they have reduced or eliminated the same day turnaround for getting the next discs shipped out. So now I am back down to 5 movies a week. I contacted customer service via e-mail, but only received an automated response. I tried again, and this time received a response from what appeared to be an real person (it had a name in the return address), but it still did not address my concern. Just talked about the fact thay they have no cotrol over the US postal service and that I should always expect shipping to take at least 2 days.
So in the end, I am paying more for reduced quality in my Netflix experience, and I am seriously thinking of cancelling the service and trying another. To me it seems that Netflix does not really care about customer retention anymore.
This turned into a somewhat lenghty post. My appologoies.



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Jeb Simons

I'm not sure what the hold-up is... maybe they have re-thought their stance on how this is going to actually make the company any money. Or perhaps their lawyers pointed out the liability of providing agents a platform to stick their feet in their mouth. Whatever it is, it's hardly something I'd claim as being "Well done".

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