The Dark Side of Netflix

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6/20/2008

Netflix to Eliminate Profiles Feature

Netflix is planning to eliminate the Profiles feature on September 1, 2008. Some customers use this feature all the time and love it. Others do not care. Regardless, why would Netflix take away a feature that many customers like so strongly? Could the Profiles feature really cost Netflix that much money? Is this just a publicity stunt? This move just does not make sense. If you have any theories or thoughts about why Netflix would make such a strange move, please post them here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Let Netflix know that you do not approve!

Spread the word!

http://www.keepnetflixprofiles.org

http://www.cafepress.com/keepflixprofile

Jake said...

My open letter to Reed Hastings:

Mr. Hastings --

First, sorry to spam every permutation of your email address. Second, if you have heard enough crazy talk from your fanatical customers about eliminating profiles, feel free to take note of another complaint and move on. Third, hope this email finds you well.

My husband and I have severely divergent tastes in movies and, because of such, have a 4-DVD account with my queue getting 2 and his queue getting 2. I get campy old movies and he gets the slasher horrors. I hate his movies and he hates mine. (But we love each other. Go figure.) So post-profile-and-queue-destruction, when one of us logs on to our account, we're going to have this mash of horror/campy movies being recommended? Or because I use the site more, they will all be my films recommended and he won't have any fun recommendations to discover? And we'll have one gigantic queue requiring us to manually stagger the movies so we both have something to watch? And if I forget to manage the queue, sometimes I'll have nothing to watch but "A Nightmare on Elm Street 5" instead of something fun like "Auntie Mame"? Do you realize what that would do to our marriage?

Doesn't this sound like a big dose of crazy? (The unified queues and profiles, not my ramblings ...)

Let me guess: you empowered some VP muckity-muck to "increase shareholder value" and said VP got an MBA operations-type to figure out where the company was "losing revenue". She did an analysis and found out a couple people are gaming the profile queue system to get discounts and her answer was to destroy it. Big bonuses for her and Vice President Muckity-Muck when they have their reviews for increasing ROI.

Lame! You're a smart guy Reed, so I don't have to tell you this: ROI isn't just about the measurables. You need to factor in the intangibles of damaged brand and poor user experience that are ruined by a hare-brained scheme that looks good in a pivot table. Netflix used to get this. Netflix used to be better than this. My fear is all the advocates for effective design and good user experience are being trumped by the operations people squeezing blood from the turnip. BOO!

So yeah, in all seriousness, supremely disappointed in you guys. Please, undo this horrible decision and let us love you again.