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I haven't used them very much, so I can't say if this applies to extreme viewers like me. I own 36 of the 44 movies on the sample list. The other 8 I could probably get locally. My rental queue consists almost exclusively of movies at the bottom 5% of all rentals, such as documentaries, foreign films, indie films, etc. Stuff I'll only see once, and am too cheap to buy, like a Fassbinder film with a low imdb rating.
 

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I've got 410 titles in my Netflix queue and I've been a member since January 2001. I haven't done any "testing" like the author of that article did, BUT I DO see the behavior (in terms of delayed shipping times) he describes, but in a different way.


Sometimes, I'll have a 1-day turnaround on DVDs I rent. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area and my closest distribution center is in San Jose. I consider 1-day turnaround to "optimal" for me.


Sometimes, I'll see a 2-day or LONGER turnaround and I just figured they were "swamped" or something. Also, I've seen their system take a LONG TIME sometimes to figure out which title to send me next. In one case, it took then almost 2 full days to determine which DVD to send next.


The bulk of the titles in my queue are "catalog" titles that I haven't seen yet and at this point, about 70% of the titles in my queue are available now. Given that I'm renting mostly catalog titles right now, I don't understand ANY delay in sending me the next title in my list at all.


I haven't kept close track of how many movies I rent each month but I DO know I'm not able to "maximize" the number of titles I can rent due to shipping delays.


Still, given the number of movies I'm able to watch in one month, I'm saving money by using their service. At least I think I'm saving money. :) I'll have to see what my local Blockbuster's rental rates are these days.


I'm using the 5-disc plan.


Thanks for posting the link! :)


Peace...
 

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I suspected that something like this was going on. I guess the only way around it is to close one account and open another one every month.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you have a 5 out account just open two 3 out account and split the titles between the two accounts.
 

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But then you would be paying 38.90 for what you should be getting for 29.95. Also, the only way to make that work would be to have one account very active for the first month and a relatively empty que in the other one. If both accounts were active then the same slowdown would happen the next month for both accounts.
 

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I tried an experiment today. All of the new releases on my list say "Long Wait" or "Very Long Wait". I have my friend who works with me add them to his list and they all say "Available Now"! I'm pissed. I e-mailed them but I may just call to discuss their business practices.
 

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Man, that sucks :( I will be interested to hear what they say.
 

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Heheh - I've been saying for a long while that netflicks sucks :p


It's a GREAT business model, until people find out about it!


Suckker them in with fast turn round and good service, which you can't maintain across all your customers, so you tail off the service to your older customers to make sure your new ones are happy happy happy, and hope that the old ones don't notice the decline as you do it gradually.


Gonna be interesting to see how Netflicks reacts now the cat is out of the bag...


- Rick
 

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I'm sure the response I get from Customer Service will be weak. I also sent an e-mail to the Customer Acquisition dept to see what they'd say.
 

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Wow! Deja vu.


I was a charter member -- then left for a couple of reasons, all service-related, but primarily because of the increasing number of unavailable titles in my queue. Funny thing was, they were not recent blockbuster or high-demand films, but I reached the point where they were all either short or long wait.


Facing a shortage of storage space and a high interest in foreign and independent titles that aren't stocked in the local video shop, I re-enrolled this month. It took them a couple of days to ship the first titles, so I wrote to ask why. Their response:


"Thanks for your message. A title in a Shipping status means our system has chosen that title to be the next movie shipped to you. Generally we try to ship all orders within 24 hours of their Shipping status. However, the processing of an order (locating the copy, quality inspection, and packaging) can sometimes take up to 2-3 days. Please note, due to inventory issues, an order can be in the Shipping status for up to 5 days. If this occurs, our system will automatically cancel the shipment and add the title with its initial priority back to your Rental Queue."


Five days to ship seems steep to me, especially when paying a fixed monthly rate, but it is, however, right in line with the topic of this thread. It will be interesting to see how this develops. Hopefully, the end will be less sinister and more reasonable, as Netflix continues to be an important option with little effective competition.


Michael
 

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Well..I just re-joined last month after several years away and the trial period was amazing. I would send my titles back and they were logged in and a new one sent to me the same day. Total turnaround time was 2 days! and these were all new releases.


Now the trial period is over and things are slowing down :(
 

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I joined them last month after trying a few different clubs and see that they were excellent in their trial period and their turnaround was just 2 days so far. After going through a few clubs, I know that I would experience delay and less titles availability in couple of months. Perhaps, it is better to cancel and rejoin.
 

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The only reason I won't cancel and rejoin is I got a good offer from them. I have unlimited rentals (two out at a time) for $13.95. My buddy who joined only gets a total of 4 per month for the same price.
 

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I've been using Netflix for a year and still get 1 day turnaround most of the time. I have noticed that if a new release is coming out, I try to have my return arrive the night before or on that day and 90% of the time I will get a message saying it is shipped, in reality it will probably take 3 days. But if my return hits Netflix on Wednesday or Thursday that new release will move to a long wait indicator.


I still think it beats the Blockbuster late fee scam. I think my average is about 7 per month which is about all I can handle, and my kids usually want there movie for 3-4 days at least.
 

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Its VERY true. I used to be NetFlix member but then quit since I couldn't get any new releases anymore. After BB went with their P&S thing I joined back several months ago.


I was shocked to see that I could get any brand new titles immediately for the first 2 months. Ah, they've figured it out I thought. As of last month, anything fairly recent or otherwise popular is suddenly long wait or very long wait. It's forced me into getting older classics and foreign films, but its still a pisser.


Getting 2 accounts and opening and closing them every other month looks like the way to go.
 

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I got some e-mails back from them with the usual by the book answer. When I responded back they sent another e-mail saying they would forward my e-mail to someone higher up. We'll see.
 

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This is from the email I received today -


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When demand temporarily is greater than supply we ship to customers who rent fewer movies because they have fewer opportunities to get a

particular movie. We do this to give the best experience to as many

members as possible.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

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AHA! They confess!!! Then my question is, why don't they tell people like me that buy the Ulta package for $40 bucks a month that priority goes to $15 a month customers. Ridiculous.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by shakti
This is from the email I received today -


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When demand temporarily is greater than supply we ship to customers who rent fewer movies because they have fewer opportunities to get a

particular movie. We do this to give the best experience to as many

members as possible.


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This is indeed troubling. Assigning higher priority to new customers for a short period immediately after enrolling is ok and even makes good business sense. Managing queues and showing preference is not. Netflix is not all that it seems to be -- but not in a good way.


People interested in this thread should go back to the original link in mrwilson's first post. It has been updated and is now much more informative. The thesis there is that this is a way to control postage costs -- the biggest variable cost in their business model and the difference between profit and loss.


Michael
 
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