The Dark Side of Netflix

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Boston Globe Silent on Netflix Throttling

Today, The Boston Globe ran a story about the DVD-by-mail industry. While the article includes a lot of information, it fails to mention anything about Netflix’s practice of throttling.

You can read Bruce Mohl’s story at the link below. If you think Bruce Mohl left out some important details about the way Netflix operates, please email him about your experiences with the company and politely request that he write a follow-up story on Netflix.

Regular Netflix Underground readers will remember that David Pogue with The New York Times made a similar omission in March. Due, in large part, to your contacts with David Poque, The New York Times ran a follow-up story that mentioned Netflix’s practice of throttling. Perhaps, Bruce Mohl by will set the record straight in The Boston Globe once he has all of the facts.

The Boston Globe Story
"Customers Win in War of Online DVD Rental Firms"

Bruce Mohl at The Boston Globe


Spamalot: The Land of Netflix Solicitations

If you are currently a Netflix subscriber, you have the distinct pleasure of receiving unsolicited Netflix marketing emails. These emails encourage you to upgrade to more expensive plans, market Netflix to your friends and family, etc. These emails can be annoying, but Netflix can justify sending them out by classifying them as "subscriber benefits."

If you cancel your Netflix subscription, you’ll be surprised to discover that Netflix does not stop sending marketing emails to you. This spam is basically a series of messages begging you to come back to Netflix. A new invitation to rejoin will probably arrive in your mailbox every few weeks.

The fact that Netflix is using non-subscriber contact information for sales purposes is bad enough, but the really insulting element is the content of the messages. Like a lot of spam, these emails are misleading. For example, Netflix might imply that they have made improvements that will get DVDs to you faster. They might offer you their cheapest, most basic plan but give you the impression you are eligible for a special discount on your previous plan. Netflix will attempt to woo you back with numerous ploys, but be aware that generally Netflix will not offer anything to you that isn’t available to the general public. (Most likely, Netflix makes exceptions for former subscribers who rented few DVDs and were therefore highly profitable.)

If Netflix is spamming you, report them to your Internet service provider. Most ISPs make reporting spam very easy. All you have to do is flag the message as junk mail when it arrives in your mailbox. If this does not fix the spam problem, you will need to manually unsubscribe from Netflix’s mailing list.


Netflix Admits Plan Limits (Well, Sort Of)

On June 1, 2005, Manuel’s Netflix Journal reported what seems to be an indication that Netflix is beginning to subtly admit the limits of their unlimited rental plans.

Netflix’s Terms of Service now states, "Most of our subscribers rent between 3-11 movies per month." This somewhat ambiguous and non-committal statement is far from a confession, but at least Netflix is giving customers a hint they may be disappointed if they hope to watch more than eleven DVDs per month on a three-out plan.

Perhaps Netflix is feeling the heat from outraged customers, or maybe Netflix is just hedging in case they get hit with lawsuits. Regardless, at least Netflix is giving customers a little more information.