Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Netflix says, "I'm Sorry!" and, "Goodbye!"

Well, it seems that when people vote with their wallets, companies listen. Sort of. Kinda. Or, not at all. Whatever, Netflix.

After the price-hikes it appears that hundreds of thousands of customers have cancelled their Netflix accounts. This doesn't even account for the hundreds of thousands who have cancelled either streaming or disk rentals! Well, this doesn't make shareholders happy! The stock has tumbled from just under $300 to lower than $170. OUCH!

So, I received an e-mail from Reed Hastings, co-founder of Netflix. He says, "I messed up." What he DOESN'T say is that he'll take back the price increase. According to Dr. Randy Pausch of Last Lecture fame, there are three parts to an apology: I'm sorry, I was wrong, What can I do to make it right? It seems that Mr. Hastings forgot about that last one. Simply explaining your business plan isn't going to make us forget about paying more each month and not getting anything extra in return!

What is the brilliant business plan? To split Netflix streaming and DVD services into two groups. The DVD service will be renamed Quikster and will be totally independent of the streaming service. Wait.. say WHAT? That's right - the two services won't communicate at all! So when you're looking at a DVD you won't be aware that it is also streaming on Netflix. Ummm... Stupid.

The comments are the best. Clearly NOBODY is happy with this move. Netflix would have done better to just shut up and stick with their guns instead of offering this fear-induced, half-hearted apology/explanation. Here's a sampling:
Cary J Hill
Excellent....I enjoy watching an entire corporation suicide itself! 
Ben Cornue · Chicago, Illinois
Well, after 7 long years enjoying Netflix, this appears to be the end.
Kile Golder · The Walt Disney Company
Dear Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO, Netflix,

I am a little unsure what exactly it is that made you so angry at me. For so many years now, I sent you money and you sent me DVDs in the mail. I felt our relationship was going well. At one point, you offered the opportunity for me to watch movies instantly online, and later, directly on my television. In turn, I felt it was right to send you more money, and I gladly continued to do so. And again, we both seemed to be quite happy with our relationship. But recently, you've changed. Sure you are still happy with taking my money, but now it seems like you want me to give you more, while in return you give me less.

Well, I guess Netflix isn't as important as I thought it was. If I want to be entertained I can just read the responses to Mr. Hasting's blog post here.

Oh, and here's his worthless video explanation:

Is it me or does Mr. Hastings look like he's smirking?

1 comment:

  1. Another bad decision is this "Quikster" thing. You spend 7 years establishing a brand name that now is synonymous with red envelopes in the mail. How long before society gets accustomed to "I have a Netflix subscription" meaning strictly "I have streaming."

    It's also interesting that the streaming service was an offspring of the movies-by-mail service, yet keeping the name NETFLIX seems that the streaming is now the parent service.

    Perhaps they see the writing on the wall. That 7 years from now movies-by-mail will become an inconvenience. Especially if the post office jacks up their prices and stops Saturday delivery. So if it tanks, "Quikster" tanks, not "Netflix."