The Dark Side of Netflix

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Qwikster? What Qwikster?

Netflix has done another 180. Customers got angry about all of the ridiculous changes at Netflix, and now Netflix is trying to un-ring the bell on the stupidest move the company has made in years.

Qwikster was ridiculed as a stupid name, but now the name seems sort of fitting, because the fledgling company did not last very long. The Qwikster spin-off (Netflix's answer to New Coke) proved so profoundly unpopular with consumers, Netflix scrapped the new company, which was really just Netflix in disguise. For now, Netflix plans to keep its DVD-by-mail and streaming services under one name and one Web site.

It is interesting to see how quickly Netflix will backtrack when the company realizes customers have become unacceptably angry. Also note Netflix did not kill Qwikster until well after the consumer backlash got out of control. The Qwikster name was already showing up in advertisements. It was practically a done deal. This mistake had to cost Netflix a lot of money, and it has cost the company a huge amount of credibility. The stakes were pretty high on this Qwikster launch. If the subscribers had not revolted so harshly, there is no doubt they would have gotten stuck with Qwikster.

If you were hoping Netflix is going to take back the 60% rate hike and two separate plans for DVD-by-mail and streaming, keep hoping. The higher fees and service split are here to stay. Although, past behavior indicates that Netflix will reverse its course if enough subscribers cancel.

Netflix has truly failed on this split of DVD-by-mail and streaming. What was once a beacon of innovation (for some) in the business world now looks like a sad, reactive, desperate, and pathetic company. With this whole service-split debacle, Netflix sort of came off looking like, well, Blockbuster a few years ago. Way to go, Netflix. Start imitating the company you once humiliated.