The Dark Side of Netflix

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9/22/2011

NETLOSS


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5 Netflix and Qwikster Alternatives

If you are looking for alternatives to Netflix and Qwikster, Jeffrey Van Camp at Digital Trends has a few suggestions in the article, "5 Netflix and Qwikster Alternatives."

9/19/2011

Qwikster on Twitter, Oops!

Netflix really did not think this Qwikster thing through.  Check out Jason Castillo's Twitter account.

@Qwikster

Jason Castillo's finances are about to get a lot better. He is about to get a big, fat check from Netflix.

Jason Castillo, hold out for huge money, and consider hiring an attorney so Netflix does not rip you off in the contract. Netflix is worth billions of dollars, and they will have to spend millions advertising Qwikster. Do not let Netflix take advantage of you.  Think of all the money you could ever expect to get from Netflix and then triple it. Netflix needs to buy your Twitter account more than you can possibly imagine. Do not be afraid to get greedy. Netflix never is.



-- Update 9/22/11 --


As of the morning of 9/22/11, Jason Castillo's @Qwikster account is showing some odd activity. A couple of days ago, he made mentions of offers to buy his Twitter handle, negotiations, and contracts. Now, however, all of those mentions have been removed. The pot-smoking Elmo image was one of the first things to go. At the time of this update, Jason Castillo had no tweets since 9/19/11, leaving a gap of a few days.  Curiously, the tweets end the same day Reed Hastings stunned the investment world by announcing Qwikster as part of a half-hearted apology.

Jason Castillo must either have someone advising him to remove mentions of Netflix, or maybe Netflix has requested he not mention any negotiations. Clearly, something is going on. Do not be surprised if Netflix/Qwikster owns that Twitter account pretty soon. Hopefully, Jason Castillo has someone smart guiding him through this process.


-- Update 9/23/11 --


Jason Castillo suddenly came back with a flock of tweets late last night.  The pause in Tweet activity was strange.  One must wonder if Netflix realized Qwikster is a ridiculous name and they decided to go with something less cheesy. 

Qwikster, the Netflix Version of New Coke


New Coke
 
On Mashable, Chris Taylor sums up what most marketing executives are probably thinking today about Netflix's horribly bungled launch of Qwikster. Yes, Qwikster just could turn out to be Netflix's New Coke.

"Qwikster From Netflix: The Worst Product Launch Since New Coke?"

Netflix Quickly Takes Cover with Qwikster

Facing an overwhelming backlash from subscribers, Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings has come forward and apologized for what has probably become the biggest public relations debacle in the history of Netflix.

When Netflix abruptly spilt its DVD-by-mail service and streaming video service into two separate services and effectively increased subscription fees by 60%, many--perhaps millions--of Netflix's subscribers became angry and threatened to close their accounts. Arrogantly, Netflix did little to manage the crisis. Netflix's attitude seemed to be: We are the leader in the video rental business. If you want our services, you will accept delivery however we choose, and you will pay whatever we tell you to pay.

Netflix did not use those exact words, but that is what the public heard. Rightfully so, the subscribers rebelled and began canceling their subscriptions.

Under such pressure, one would assume Netflix might retreat and come up with a plan to assuage consumer anger, but Netflix did not do that. Sure, Reed Hastings/Netflix apologized for being arrogant and communicating poorly, but that is about it. In a further act of arrogance, Netflix has chosen to rename its original DVD-by-mail service and permanently break it off from Netflix (as if that will fool enough people).

The new name is Qwikster. Yes, Qwikster is a cheesy hipster appellation, and this playfully misspelled name is so 1990s. Sure, Qwikster sounds like some shady file-sharing Web site from Romania, but it is actually a repackaging of Netflix's DVD-by-mail business.  (Yes, this probably will fool enough people.)

If you want to be a member of Qwikster, you are going to have to pay for it, and it will show up as a separate charge on your credit card each month. Even if you maintain a Netflix subscription for streaming content, your credit card statement will have a charge for Netflix and another charge for Qwikster.

Adding to the inconvenience for subscribers, Netflix and Qwikster are to function independently. For example, if you review a movie on Qwikster, the review will not appear on your Netflix account, even though you may be paying for both services. Also, if you need to update your credit card information, email address, home address, phone number, or other account information, you will have to do so twice: once on the Netflix site and once on the Qwikster site.

Some consumers may feel more comfortable with paying for two subscriptions when the subscriptions are under different names, but the reality has not changed. Netflix has reduced subscriber benefits and is charging significantly more for significantly less. If making payments under two different company names makes subscribers feel better about it, then so be it.

9/18/2011

Alternatives to Netflix

With Netflix hiking prices aggressively, consumers are being forced to consider closing their Netflix accounts and finding better entertainment values from other sources. If you would like to help those soon-to-be-liberated Netflix subscribers, click on Comments below and post your recommendations for finding inexpensive entertainment while enjoying a Netflix-free lifestyle.

Get creative. For some people, one entertainment source may not be adequate. The best solutions probably involve combining multiple options to get the most for the money. Netflix competitors, downloads, used DVDs, kiosks, stores, Web sites, set-top boxes, pay-per-view, on-demand video, consoles, cable, satellite, DVRs, etc. are all on the table. Never has then been more ways to easily access millions of hours of entertainment. There should be excellent alternatives to Netflix for nearly every situation.

9/17/2011

Greedier Than Netflix (for Now)

In, the movie, Wall Street, Michael Douglas (as Gordon Gekko) uttered his most famous line: "The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit."

Wow, that's great screenwriting, and it has some raw truth to it.  The quote also sounds like something one would expect to hear at a Netflix shareholder meeting.

On the topic of greed, many people feel Netflix is getting greedy by taking advantage of their huge market share and hiking fees on many subscribers by up to 60%. Netflix may, in fact, be a greedy company; however, in Netflix's defense, there are actually some greedier entities. Here is a partial list of those that may still be just a little greedier than Netflix.
  • professional gamblers
  • casino owners
  • used car salesmen
  • car dealership service advisors
  • automotive finance specialists
  • credit card companies
  • two-year-old children
  • drug dealers
  • politicians
  • bank robbers
  • mortgage brokers
  • Hollywood executives
  • record companies
  • pimps
  • dirty cops
  • third-world dictators
So maybe Netflix is not so bad. If Netflix wants to compete in the big leagues of greed, however, they will need to take things up a notch with at least one more big fee increase to gouge the subscribers. That just might put them over the top. Hmm, do you think Netflix will be able to hold off on that next fee increase until next year, or will they, in the spirit of competition, just go for it?

9/16/2011

Canceling Netflix? You Are Not Alone

Angry subscribers warned Netflix, but Netflix did not listen. Netflix subscribers threatened to cancel their subscriptions if Netflix raised prices. Netflix raised the prices anyway, and many subscribers appear to be following through on their threats.

If you are one of those incensed subscribers and you are ready to exit Netflix, you are not alone. Read "Higher Netflix Prices Equals Fewer Subscribers" by Michael Liedtke for the details.

If the Netflix member cancellations continue, it could possibly become fashionable to drop Netflix. These customer backlashes tend to take on lives of their own and snowball. Just ask the last company who dominated the video rental business, got too cocky, and started screwing around with their customers. How did that work out?

With the added revenue from much higher subscription fees, Netflix may very well weather this storm, but the New Red Menace may have gone a bit too far this time. We will just have to wait and see how many subscribers are going to continue taking the abuse from Netflix and how many are going to find somewhere else to wait weeks for new releases, rent scratched DVDs, and have their ISPs and computers blamed for streaming video problems.