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Subscribers to Netflix: The thrill is gone

The recent changes at Netflix are enough to give many a once-satisfied customer whiplash.

By Karen Datko Oct 11, 2011 11:29AM

Angry subscribers won a victory when Netflix aborted Qwikster, a separate service for mailed DVDs. On top of a recent 60% price increase, the move would have required customers to access two different websites to manage their DVD and streaming accounts. 

 

So, are Netflix customers -- a very vocal group -- again enchanted with their once-beloved company?

 

It doesn't seem that way. Subscribers are finding other flaws to complain about. Trust has been strained, and that's hard to rebuild in any relationship, no matter how good it was. 

 

The decision to drop Qwikster in its tracks was announced Monday in a short email to subscribers from "The Netflix Team." The same brief note was posted on the company blog and signed by CEO Reed Hastings.

 

It said in part:

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.
This means no change: one website, one account, one password … in other words, no Qwikster.

No big apology, like the one contained in an earlier post that also announced the creation of Qwikster. And perhaps just a whiff of suggestion in the wording above that subscribers aren't clever enough to handle two accounts instead of one. The message also announced that more content recently became available for streaming. Post continues after video.

What did customers have to say? Many readers of the Netflix blog simply thanked the company for listening. But not all. Here are some samples:

  • "Months after a firestorm of protests, we still have to hover over titles to get the title text when it should be visible at a glance and the horizontal scrolling is a frustrating implementation."
  • "When does this miraculous 'more awesome videos' thing take place?"
  • "Stop sending patronizing emails."
  • "I'm offended you didn't apologize in this statement for taking your customers on these silly rides."
  • "MORE MOVIES! I can't make it any clearer. I want more movies on streaming. More recent movies as well."

And then there's:

Surprise, they don't have YOUR best interests at heart, just their revenue. People need to stop complaining and realize it's a company. Sheesh.

Some wondered what all the fuss is about.

If only we gave as much of a damn about things that matter: cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's, child literacy, hungry kids in Africa ... I could go on. If we gave that much of a damn where it counts, we could really make a difference.

Is that reader right? A friend of mine, who asked that I identify him only as "the smartest person I know," thinks customers have too grand a sense of entitlement. (He's the No. 1 fan of Louis C.K., who also talks about such things.) He was unfazed by the Qwikster plan and thinks some have protested too much:  

Any movie I could possibly want will appear in my mailbox within days; or, even better, on my TV screen immediately if I punch a couple of buttons on my remote.
BUT GO TO TWO WEBSITES? OH MY, THE WORLD IS ENDING HOW CAN THEY DO THIS TO ME BLAH BLAH.

Regardless, Netflix should have known how angry customers would be. "Clearly, the two business moves (price hike and Qwikster) were in the firm's best interest. But, somehow, the company seemed to have the notion that customers would happily support what was in the company's best interest -- without any pushback," Gloria Goodale of The Christian Science Monitor wrote.

 

Me? I'll continue to be a Netflix customer, although the thrill is gone. Is Netflix back in your good graces or are you moving on?

 

More on MSN Money:

120Comments
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I really like Netflix and don't mind a price increase, just wish it had been a little less. With my current budget I had to choose streaming only. I love this feature, but miss that I can't get some newer titles sent to me on dvd. My kids use the streaming service alot so I can't complain because it is definitely better than cable.
Oct 11, 2011 6:34PM
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How greedy can you be, your stock is trading near $300 and you are thriving, but you look for a ways of increasing margins.  This was a mistake and I don't believe netflix will rebound from it.  The ceo's mass emails are irritating too and show how out of touch he is with reality.  We're in a recession, and what made netflix soo attractive was their pricepoint.  Idiots.
Oct 11, 2011 6:34PM
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gone and forgotten - all of the changes that companies are making lately that either add more fees (netflix) or turn profile pages into newsfeeds (facebook) makes me realize that I should just get away from the computer and television. We don't need them!

Who's pocket do you think your padding - the top level corporates laughing all the way to the bank.

Oct 11, 2011 6:32PM
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Netflix,

 

Enjoy your     G R E E D    you have lost me as a customer. I do not appreciate your  C E O

"implying"  that I am not bright enough to manage two sites in order to use your product!!!

 

Rather its a matter of convince---MY CONVIENCE---not your companies.

 

All the worst luck that can come your way,

 

K.V.

Oct 11, 2011 6:28PM
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Blockbuster is a much better value. Until Netflix improves their video quality and offers a much much better selection of videos, I'll stay where I'm at.
Oct 11, 2011 6:22PM
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I forgot to cancel my netflix account. Well the payment was made automatically from my credit card. I WILL cancel this month before my payment is Due. Good bye NETFLIX.
Oct 11, 2011 6:13PM
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I cancelled but the recent changes were excuses to cancel more than anything. The streaming selection seems to be getting worse, and updating the movies/shows to netflix streaming devices is to infrequent (new shows on website but not on streaming devices??). The original price was already low and an increase does make sense, but at least try to convince your users that a 60% increase for no change/improvement is worthwhile. Instead, a retraction announced in a slightly degrading way to the very people that made netflix the monster it is today...?

Oct 11, 2011 6:13PM
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Now that Dish Network and Blockbuster are paired, it's rolled into my existing account for no extra cost.  Hey Netflix!  See ya!
Oct 11, 2011 6:08PM
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Hoorah for  Redbox! I just tried it the other day, netflix didnt seem right for me....I worked for blockbuster, but it went out of business for me so im out a job, but i tried netflix, and realized im watching 1 movie a week pretty much cause of school and stuff, and then they increase prices...they didnt for a split second thing of those customers that dont watch as many movies or bother to make a better plan....damn i miss blockbuster.  But, 9$ a month for 9 redbox movies works for me.

 

@kaitywhales: Thanks to people like you, that's the reason im out of a job. Bootlegger.

Oct 11, 2011 6:05PM
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I recently signed up for myflicks. They provide great customer service and really good quality DVD's.

 

The company works like multi-level marketing. There are no products to push or carry, everything is done online...basically a cheaper option to NetFlix.  If you and your friends already use NetFlix, rent movies switching is easy because you already use the product.  
 
Take a look at it and see what you think.  
If you like it you sign up as a distributor on my site below and then you make your site (probably 2 minutes) and then you try and get people under you...
 
No pressure, just wanted to give you the opportunity.
http://www.myfliks.n​et/for/Fabiolus.
Oct 11, 2011 6:05PM
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This article speaks in general terms to generate publicity.  Not all Netflix members are angered. Some, like myself, are tolerant, but keeping an eagle eye. All I know is, before Netflix, I was spending at least forty dollars per month at amazon purchasing dvds plus cds. I also found it an inconvenience finding storage space, dispensing with plastic containers, and putting them into disc binders. Finally I said enough.  Netflix has helped me curb my dvd disc spending, plus the need for going out to expensive movies every week. This has really helped my budget immensly. It still much cheaper than a cable subscription for unlimited streaming, and I also get to choose the entertainment I want to see. So far, it has been a plus. We'll see, but for now, I'm still rooting for Netflix to continue with its great service, and let it be known, not all are disgrunted consumers.
Oct 11, 2011 5:59PM
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Why are you so wishy washy... this is how you run your company?  Let me worry about other important things in life instead movies.  Everyone......... lets all leave this company alone.  They have no idea how to run a company
Oct 11, 2011 5:58PM
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well, i think it's funny people pay for these services when any movie or television show you could ever want to watch is online..there are tons of streaming sites like alluc.org and download sites like torrentreactor.net that relase shows immediately after they're on television.  it boggles my mind that anyone would pay for movies or television when you can watch it all on the internet for free.  you just have to do a little searching and i'm sure you'd be amazed at all that you can watch.  majority of major networks like abc, cbs, mtv, ETC all post episodes of shows the next day if not at midnight.  why waste your money?
Oct 11, 2011 5:57PM
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I thought Netflix was the greatest thing. I was a member ever since it was announce for the XBOX360 console. It was great being able to use Netflix on my console. It was also great that I also had the option for DVD and such in the mail. I think the price hike was a huge middle finger to  the subscribers because the streaming portion is lackluster and is not really updated with new movies as often. I think they just need to go back to the old business model because I know once Blockbuster offers a streaming service through Apps on Smart TV's , Phones Home Consoles and other forms of home entertainment  Netflix would be in trouble.

@nina willis not trying to badger you or anything but nothing is being peddled to anyone its all options. Thats why on the website you are asked to like and dislike all the movies so it filters out similar movies that you do like and one's that you don't.
Oct 11, 2011 5:54PM
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I had planned to stick it out....I knew they were in business to make money. After the email from Reed stating that he screwed up, oh but we are splitting the service and blah blah blah, I had enough.

This is another perfect example of a company's leader being so out of touch with the business they are in that they think any decision is a good one. Here's a hint, Reed. Your company is a customer service company. You provide a service to customers. The minute you started thinking anything other than that is the minute your idiotic ideas began the drag-down. Customer Service. And how many fewer of those customers do you have now? Your goal is to improve service and increase retention while growing a new customer base.

How's that working our for you?

Oct 11, 2011 5:48PM
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I canceled, and won't return, because they are greedy and too inconsitant for me. Amazon is way better. There are many more good choices.Dumb move in tough times.

Humility is a good thing.

I like what Nina Willis says also. Good for you.

Oct 11, 2011 5:35PM
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I left Netflix several years ago and subscribed to an online Christian movie rental service when I realized how much immoral and demonic crap is being peddled to young people and families on mainstream Netflix. Now I happily pay $10 a month membership for unlimited movie rentals in return for the comfort of knowing my monthly fees are not supporting the peddling of thousands of profanity laden, smut-filled movies with terribly irresponsible and stupid meaningless garbage to millions of Americans - so many of my fellow Americans have become numb to all the evil seeping into their homes and daily lives - who do longer feel it is our responsibility to how we live our daily lives and what we expose our hearts and minds to. So many are utterly 'asleep at the wheel' when it comes to demanding enrichment and good role models for our hearts and minds. Rent Courageous and then get back to me.

Oct 11, 2011 5:33PM
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WELL - We did well getting the message to NETFLIX!!!. For once, the consumer wins - congratulations everyone!!!

 

NOW - How do we get the message to congress? I think the marches are a great start, and who knows, it was the marches and sit-in's that got us out of Viet Nam!!!!

Oct 11, 2011 5:33PM
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Regardless the cost, Netflix is just a bunch of old movies.
Oct 11, 2011 5:31PM
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If I am paying money for a product or service I am entitled/have the right/have paid, to be happy with said product or service. I did not pay to be unhappy and dissatisfied with my purchase.  If I am not happy with said service or product then I  am entitled/have the right/have paid to, be able to complain to the company making a profit from my business.  Good for consumers that they yelled loud enough to be heard by the company. Now if only we could yell that loudly at big oil and big banking. Those are the industries really taking us for a ride!!!
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