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Netflix Changes Its Mind, Will Keep Profiles Feature

timothy posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-can-finally-sleep-at-night dept.

Businesses 267

xChange writes "I too was disappointed at Netflix's decision to remove the Profiles feature, and let them know via email and telephone. I was surprised to find the following email in my inbox today: 'You spoke, and we listened. We are keeping Profiles. Thank you for all the calls and emails telling us how important Profiles are. We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused. We hope the next time you hear from us we will delight, and not disappoint, you.' I thought that it sounded too good to be true, and went to their blog to confirm, finding this entry. Netflix decided to listen to its customers, and keep a feature that many of us find essential for our use of their service. I am surprised, and very pleased."

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Kudos to Netflix (3, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008063)

Making a bad decision is one thing. Recognizing that bad decision and listening to your customer base is another, and admirable in this day and age when fewer and fewer companies seem to care at all about the people they service.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (5, Insightful)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008405)

Bad decisions are made all the time. A lot of time, companies will listen to consumers if enough of their customers scream and holler.

Situations where you end up with bone-headed decisions get pushed through despite what the consumer thinks are places where consumers are essentially hostages anyways. For instance, Microsoft... "What? Are you just going to mass migrate all of IBM from Windows? HAH! We'd like to see you try. We'll talk to you again in a week, after you realize it's financial suicide." or "What? You're going to Linux/Mac? Who cares, we have IBM, bitch." Also, gas stations, and oil companies, "You don't want to pay $4.40 a gallon? Hah, let's see you not use gas then..."

The later really bugs me a lot... it's like every year the oil company has been saying things like "we're only making 7% profit, which is the average for a company like ours in a different business." But what they don't see is that they're making a profit in a situation where they SHOULDN'T. Your costs are exceeding the price we're willing to pay... the only reason we still are is because we don't have a choice.

There were a bunch of large companies in IT that imploded because they weren't making money, and this happens all over the place (where companies don't have hostage consumers), so the question should be, "do you deserve to be making 7% profit even though your model is technically failing?"

Re:Kudos to Netflix (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24008469)

Your costs are exceeding the price we're willing to pay...

The market says otherwise.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24009103)

Which market is that then? The cartel/monopoly that is Big Oil or the other non-existent one?

Re:Kudos to Netflix (1, Insightful)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008555)

I'm not sure I see the logic that oil companies shouldn't make *any* profit. Should the margins be lower given the HUGE volume they sell and the necessity of their product? Sure. No profit at all? Nah.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (3, Interesting)

kidgenius (704962) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008883)

OK, what should appropriate profit margins be then? Would you rather discuss actual profit instead of a margin? Whom, and by what authority, should decide this, and with what criteria?

Re:Kudos to Netflix (1)

djp928 (516044) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009221)

I don't think that's what he was saying. I think he meant that they were arbitrarily jacking their profit margin past the point the market will bear. So according to the laws of market economics, they "shouldn't" be making that much profit.

The fact that they are, indeed, making that much profit would seem to prove him wrong, though. But we'll see how long it can continue, I guess.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (3, Informative)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009201)

In a free market the economic profit should indeed tend toward 0% but the 7% you mention is accounting profit which doesn't include things like opportunity costs.

Also, "willing to pay" doesn't mean "the price you think is fair". It means "the price at which you stop buying". It would be better termed "willing to buy". But actually that doesn't matter since a true free market actually charges less than some people's "willing to pay" price and more than other people's "willing to pay" price because some people are willing to pay more than others even though the price the item is sold at is (usually) the same for everyone. (Exceptions include coupons, student discounts and a whole host of tricks known as price descrimination [] .)

ECON 101, possibly the most important course anyone who wants to have an informed political opinion could take.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (4, Informative)

stussymo (1082469) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010043)

In ECON 101 you should have learned that the Petroleum Industry does not follow "market economy" rules. I don't think anyone in America believes they are paying less than their "willing to pay" price. We pay what they tell us to pay because we don't have a choice. OPEC decides the price per barrel. OPEC decides how many barrels to produce each day (as a way to alter or skew the S&D curve). There is no choice. We *must* drive to work, we must take our kids to the doctor, we must go to the grocery store, etc. Sure, people are cutting down the amount they drive as much as possible, but in many cases you can't cut out a substantial amount of driving (i.e. oil consumption). I think what the original comment was saying is that due to the 'nature' of this market, the fact that the consumer doesn't have a choice, the Oil companies are not forced (by normal market conditions) to increase efficiencies or compete for the lowest price per barrel. OPEC shields them from being forced to compete for consumers' monies! If a company makes a widget for $1 and the market is willing to pay $10 for that widget, then yes, the company deserves 90% profit (obviously not taking into account other costs & distrution scenarios). In this case, the consumers have a choice to buy the product and normal 'market economics' takes effect. There is no 'market economy' in oil. Period. So, do the oil companies still deserve 7% profit? It's debatable. Btw, how accurate is that 7% number? How much has the price of Oil increased over the last 10 years? Has the cost to produce and distribute oil gone up that much also....why?

Re:Kudos to Netflix (4, Informative)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010369)

I don't think anyone in America believes they are paying less than their "willing to pay" price.

There is no choice. We *must* drive to work, etc.

As I indicated in my post, if they are still buying the product then by definition they are willing to pay. It's called an inelastic demand and market forces work just fine there. Maybe you forgot that from ECON 101.

I never said that Petroleum is a free market, but rather that the GGP has an incorrect understanding of "willing to pay" (which you seem to share). Petroleum is indeed a prototypical example of an oligopoly based market. However, the reasons it is not a free market have nothing to do with whether you buy gas (i.e. elasticity) and everything to do with from whom you buy gas (i.e. oligopoly). The GGP is blaming the wrong cause which is no help to anybody.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (5, Insightful)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009229)

You do have choices:
* Mass transit/carpool
* Bicycle/walk
* Buy a more fuel efficient vehicle
* Much more drastically, change jobs so you are closer to your work and can use one or more of the above.

None of those are easy, and I admit I'm mostly just paying the higher prices too, but for a long time I've known that my next car (I drive relatively little, my first new car is 10 years old and only has around 56000 miles on it) will at the very least be a hybrid...possibly a used one.

I hate to burn karma but... (0, Offtopic)

rubypossum (693765) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009633)

This is our own fault. We allowed ourselves to become dependent on a single energy source. It's yet another case where homogeneous systems lead to failure. The good news is, the prices have risen enough that alternative energy has become economically feasible. In fact, several different energy sources have moved into the range of being cost-effective. This will allow a whole new generation of billionaires to capitalize on our energy lust.

They will be heralded as heroes, praised as brilliant entrepreneurs. And they will deliver to us light and heat and transportation. Just as the roughnecks, oil prospectors and oil "barons" once were. Then one day the energy sources they come up with will become eclipsed by something else. And the cycle will begin again.

I'd say that getting angry at the profits is a little of an over-reaction. After all, profit is the motive force. It's the reason all those men are spending their lives pushing around paper, digging oil wells and driving and building tankers (instead of playing World of Warcraft.) Contrary to current rhetoric, they aren't doing it because they like you as a person.

We just need to find alternative energy sources. If I ever move out of my parents basement (haha, I mean crappy apartment), I'd like to buy a place in the mountains where I could set up a micro-hydro [] system. It's one of the few systems that's both inexpensive and large enough to actually work. Then I would be one electric car away from energy independence.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24009681)

it's like every year the oil company has been saying things like "we're only making 7% profit, which is the average for a company like ours in a different business."

First, grow up about oil companies already and get some education because a) profits aren't bad and b) this notion that oil companies are out to screw you is fantastical delusion.

A small percentage of vast amounts is still vast amounts. To the simple minded (read mass media news outlets) seeing "record profits for oil companies" sure sounds like "oil companies" are the "big bad wolf", but anyone who's got half a brain for critical thinking knows what "profits" means.

It means jobs. Lots of jobs. A profitable company is one that pays well and pays often. It also means research and development. Were do you think these alternate energy funds are coming from? It's not all some kind of magical government subsidy. Energy companies are spending billions of dollars on finding ways to produce more energy for cheaper. Of course, this money they're spending also means... jobs.

Oil companies are not price fixing. How many times do you want the oil companies executives hauled up in front of congress and investigated on price gauging in a 1 year period? What would it take for you to understand this? Nothing obviously. You're the kind of person who prefer having a scapegoat to point a finger at and blame. Let alone the fact that you cannot understand that a) Oil is priced in dollars and the value of the dollar was devalued to obscene levels (blame Bush and Bernanke for that) to help to stave off the housing market crash. b) Continued explosive demand for oil as (particularly) China continues to grow as well as India. c) Most oil fields, particularly in the middle east, are mature and are not capable of producing more. d) world conflicts as Iran and Israel ratchet up the rhetoric. e) some say speculation, but I'm not quite familiar with these mechanics.

Your costs are exceeding the price we're willing to pay... the only reason we still are is because we don't have a choice.

You have a choice, they're just not the convenience you want at the price you want it. That's simple economics. You want cheaper oil costs? Ok, then add more product to the supply or reduce demand. What's the best way to do that for oil? How about we get more of it from the one of the largest un-tapped reserves... USA.

Nope, you won't agree to that because of equally over hyped and biased reports from places like CNN who give these poor mathematical estimates of supply and hyperbolic imagery that drilling for oil in ANWAR will cause some kind of near atomic explosion to the entire ecosystem. Forgoing any critical idea of true supply and demand, producing from American companies (trade deficit and jobs anyone?), very restrictive American (see lobbyists) regulations on environmental protection, and the like.

I assure you that drilling in the US will have a far greater impact than some silly CNN reporter doing clearly flawed napkin math can prove. Except, said CNN shepherds are the only ones to overwhelming number of sheep will follow. Maybe they have nice ties?

Not only will it add more supply (and no, it won't take 10 years if proper support), it will be an American supply, which will significantly reduce the American trade deficit and create more jobs, it will drop all speculators flat on their faces, lower the cost of oil (and therefor gas) which will in turn stimulate the economy (more so than some tax rebate check will), which will in turn save jobs (like the numerous automobile jobs being lost), which will have further impact on the economy, and so and and so forth.

Is it a magic bullet? of course not. Is it a short term fix? You bet. That's exactly what we need as oil companies and others continue to dump billions of dollars into R&D for other forms of energy.

But this asinine notion of "your model is technically failing" is coming straight from the mouth of someone who clearly has no grasp on reality and probably thinks some orgy fest of chocolate choo-choo's can magically appear across the United States for free, powered by the sun and your uncle's farts, instantly, without destroying the economy of the worlds largest charitable nation (what kind of impact do you think our poor economy is having on the 3rd world? Whom, the US is the biggest financier?)

Ah, screw it. You're too ignorant to even bother wasting my time trying to wake you up to the much more complex and larger picture besides this "grass is greener" sheepish mentality of yours of "Waaaaaaaaahhhhh, They're making billions of dollars! Waaaaaaaaaah".

What's next? Let me guess. Someone who works harder, has a better education and makes more money than you, so they're suppose to give you their money so you can sit at home and eat frito lays while playing World of Warcraft on Government dole. Am I right?

Well, here's a news flash. You know who makes larger profits? The government! It's 100% pure profit and they're making a hell of a lot more than oil companies! If you're so up in arms about profit, how about you go after them? They've even TAXING oil! Oil! That drives the milk tucks that put food in babies mouths! Won't anyone think of them!

Re:Kudos to Netflix (1)

TopChef (1308767) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008739)

Too late. Between this and getting rid of the new release feature, I ended my subscription. So far, Blockbuster has had a quicker turnaround on movies.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (1)

Heembo (916647) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009079)

What really shocked me was the Netflix told their subscribers that they were removing the profiles feature - but tried to pass it up as a service improvement. FUD! But I do give them credit for hte reversal. I'm very fond of this feature.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (3, Interesting)

prockcore (543967) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009217)

No they didn't. They tried to remove profiles because it was making upgrades to the frontend more difficult and only 3% of their users actually used the feature.

So by removing a feature that fairly few people used, they could speed up development. That's how it benefits us, and they told us this up front.

Re:Kudos to Netflix (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010373)

I'm not sure I understand why the decision was so bad. They obviously did it so that people who watch movies separately would have to buy separate subscriptions. Aside from the fact that they weren't honest about why they were doing it (a repeat of their behavior when they were throttling heavy users, and pretending they weren't), that actually seems pretty equitable.

Say 4 people are sharing a 4-at-a-time account using 4 queues. (I hear this is pretty common in dorms.) Then they basically are getting the same service as 4 people with 1-at-a-time accounts, but for $6 each instead of $9 each. That extra $3 is not exactly a budget breaker, and yet the $9 total seems a pretty reasonable fee to rent 4 or 5 movies a month. Considering that the postage alone probably costs nearly $5.

It makes sense to give people with a single queue a discount per movie, because you either have a one-person household, or a household that watches all their movies together. So a household with a 4-at-a-time membership is probably not watching 4 times as many movies.

Not that it's a big moral issue either way. Netflix seems to be making money (though obviously not as much as they'd like) and people are getting entertained pretty cheaply (though obvious every $ counts, perhaps too much!).

Anyway, cue the flames.

woot (1)

Dale512 (1073668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008067)

I was pleasantly surprised to find the same email (and submitted to Slashdot) on this. I look forward to continuing to use this feature.

Re:woot (5, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008379)

I was pleasantly surprised to find the same email (and submitted to Slashdot) on this. I look forward to continuing to use this feature.

Same here. I look forward to continuing to use the slashdot submit feature, too!

Re:woot (1)

Hawke666 (260367) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009331)

Now all they need to do is add weighted round robin queue selection, and I'll be totally happy.

zOMG (5, Funny)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008081)

And if you should find businesses listening to their customers, be not afraid, for you are in Elysium, and already dead!

Isn't it a little sad ... (5, Insightful)

TechnoWeenie (250857) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008097)

that it is surprising that a company listens to its customers.

Re:Isn't it a little sad ... (2, Informative)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008133)

It may be sad, but it's also the delightfully hard fact of reality. This is one of those rare situations where wishful thinking and reality actually met up, had coffee, and decided to go home together.

Re:Isn't it a little sad ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24009333)

met up, had coffee, and decided to go home together

Damn, I miss Portland.

Re:Isn't it a little sad ... (4, Interesting)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008353)

In general yes, but I'm not too surprised that Netflix is one of them. They are one of the few companies that haven't pissed me off to the point of looking for alternatives. I've always been happy with their customer service.

Re:Isn't it a little sad ... (4, Interesting)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008977)

Hear hear! Netflix are one of the only big businesses I've ever dealt with that treats their customers like humans.

I was absolutely shocked last year, when Netflix sent me a tiny postcard informing me that they were cutting my bill by $1/month.

These days, it's a pretty standard practice to lock customers in to multi-year contracts, and not pass on any price-cuts to existing customers. Kudos to Netflix for doing the honest thing. I also move around a lot, and they don't seem to have a problem with updating my address every few months to keep track of me, or suspending my account if I leave the country for an extended period.

Similarly, they're astonishingly trustworthy of their customers when it comes to lost or missing DVDs. If a DVD doesn't show up, or you get a bad disc (a rare occurrence, but not completely impossible), simply fill out a web form, and a new one will be on its way immediately. There's no inquisition, and no accusations of theft. They apologize and fix the problem right away.

I think it's funny (4, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008129)

While I applaud Netflix, I think it's odd/funny/sad/hilarious that we make a big deal when "companies listen to their customers".

Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing?

Thanks for fixing the issue, Netflix (really). I'm not trying to pick on you individually. I just find it hilarious when we write headlines about things that are supposed to happen. (cue Chris Rock jokes)

Re:I think it's funny (4, Insightful)

SputnikPanic (927985) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008219)

It's really unfortunate that so few companies do customer service right these days. Off the top of my head I can think of only two that have provided me with exemplary customer service: Amazon and American Express. You call either with a problem and it's quickly resolved. Practically everyone else and it's like pulling teeth.

Re:I think it's funny (4, Insightful)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008375)

Practically everyone else and it's like pulling teeth.

That's because with practically everyone else, you're dealing with people who can't figure out change for a dollar. It takes 45 minutes of explaining the problem before you get to the end of their script and they escalate you to someone capable of understanding what's wrong.

Re:I think it's funny (4, Informative)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008507)

I agree and would add that service for my Thinkpad via Lenovo was also outstanding. I erred when I filled out the online form, they called me within an hour to clarify (operator in Texas), offered to send me a part (!) for it or let me send the machine in, included a checkbox to NOT allow them to reformat it in the shipping box, and it was fixed FAST. The DHL driver actually picked up the box with the laptop in it within hours of my calling it in as ready to be taken - at like 7:00PM. I thought sure it would be the next day so his beeping the horn in my driveway was a pleasant surprise. Oh and the laptop was fixed on the first try and NOT formatted. Wow!

Likewise Amazon has been good. $50 coupon for my HD-DVD purchase, good service when things have gone wrong, they don't SPAM me to death, and in general do it right. Even their product recommendations are for things I might actually like instead of crap. not the cheapest but I like them - ordered a Kindle tonight actually.

I use AMX for corporate travel. Once when stranded due to an airline FUBAR I called them. The ticket guy told me, loud enough for the AMX guy to hear, that it was too late for the agent to book the flight. The agent said in my ear "watch this" and I was ON that flight - boy was the ticket guy pissed off! AMX ain't cheap but they DO customer service WELL.

So yeah, some companies do it right and those that do stand out and get talked about. I like many others was thrilled to see Netflix reverse on this - my SO doesn't lose her movie list as a result :-)

Re:I think it's funny (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008735)

Lenovo is a prime example of extreme customer-service. I submitted a warranty ticket around lunch time on a Tuesday. The support rep called me back by 4pm that day. The spare part was at my office by 8:30am the following morning.

Didn't cost a cent either.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

tmalone (534172) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008947)

I've never had a problem with service from, but man do I hate their website. I can't think of more cluttered website than I run a somewhat underpowered PowerBook, but it's more than capable of loading most pages in a timely manner. Not They include so much useless information.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009267)

I had a bad battery with Dell. They said "lets replace be motherboard first." So they replaced the MB. That didn't fix it, so I called back on my laptop with an extended 5-year warranty and was told that, even though the first call was done within a year, that because it was just after a year that they wouldn't replace the bad battery (it was bad from the begining, it always shows 100% charge, even when almost dead, so no power management features based on battery left or estimates could be drawn from the battery, but the life was what it should be so it took a while to notice). Eventually, I got escalated to a level where someone could help me. He explained it was my fault for not knowing that extended warranties do not cover power supplies or batteries (even though there is no place that says that, just the regular waranty that says the standard coverage is 1 year on those). After I hounded him for a few months to get them to replace the bad part I called in about before the warranty period was over (my first call where I said "the battery is bad" was within the 1 year period, but they did not replace it then), he said he would. I gave the information for shipping, and nothing ever came.

Dell did not honor their warranty and a Dell representative lied to me about what they were doing with my problem. And they are about average for customer service, sadly.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

Bashae (1250564) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008979)

I have no experience with American Express, but Amazon does indeed have excellent customer service. For me at least.

On the other end of the spectrum are our telecom companies. Pulling teeth is a walk in the park compared to trying to deal with them.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009099)

Amazon, Newegg, and Fujitsu have all been good to me. The worst has been Wells Fargo and Verizon. Wells Fargo must purposefully hire idiots.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009151)

You forgot Newegg.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010331)

I'd have mentioned NewEgg but I have spoken to folks who have not had the best of experiences with them. Like TigerDirect it seems that not everyone loves them. I have had success with NewEgg but then I've also not ever had to return anything. Sadly Mwave seems to be falling behind NewEgg - I used to find them nearly equal but NewEgg's site rox and so do their prices usually. Monoprice is another decent site but again - never had to deal with a return with them. Their prices are cheap enough however that if I bought something accidentally I'd just keep it and order another. (lol)

Re:I think it's funny (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008437)

While I applaud Netflix, I think it's odd/funny/sad/hilarious that we make a big deal when "companies listen to their customers".

Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing?

Netflix and Profiles feature... check.
Microsoft and the XP sales... Stop 0x0000001e (c000009a 80123f36 02000000 00000246)
Unhandled Kernel exception c000009a from 8123f26
Address has base at 80100000 steve.exe

Actual Customer Service vs. story of C/S (2)

redstar427 (81679) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008915)

I think is refreshing to see a company actually listening to their customers, and providing the services the customers request.

Yes, it's true, all the companies should do this, but many see that other companies can still make money even when they try to "tax" their customers, or try to force the customer to choose products they don't want. Yet others even call their customers criminals and insist the government make the customers pay, regardless of service.

So, when a company like Netflix does a good thing, I am going to tell them I appreciate good service.

Isn't that what they are supposed to be doing? (1, Flamebait)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009069)

No, they're supposed to be maximizing shareholder profits.

Re:I think it's funny (1)

ristonj (1195983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010177)

(cue Chris Rock jokes)

Netflix: We're keeping profiles!
Chris Rock: What you want, a cookie?

Damn (5, Funny)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008151)

I was really hoping that tons of people would end their subscriptions over this. I wouldn't have to fight to receive my own rentals then. Seeing "very long wait" beside so many films in my queue is awfully annoying.

Re:Damn (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008467)

This would have been pretty stupid on their part. We have a 2-out unlimited account, divided into two queues. I watch 1-2 a month on mine (more if I had time), and my wife watches one every three months on hers (but won't cancel it despite my suggestion). For that we pay $15 a month.

Were they to eliminate this feature, we'd absolutely switch to A) a once-every-other-month allowance for her to buy DVDs, and B) a 3-a-month 1-out account for me. That costs Netflix like $7 a month for no change in the number of movies we watch or postage they pay.

Re:Damn (1)

SupremoMan (912191) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008665)

This is why I switched to blockbuster. That and the fact that since I moved it takes an extra day each way for the dvd to travel. I mean I had some stuff on my list for over a year, and it wasn't just movies, stuff that is part of a series. I watched Farscape and didn't notice that they didn't have disks for the middle of season 1, I put in the next dvd and there is a whole new person on board, I was like WTF? And year on they still haven't replaced the missing disks.

Coke II (5, Interesting)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008171)

Hahahha. Sorry for the laugh, but I thought the whole shebang was a Coke II ploy from the get-go.

I.E., Netflix was never going to cancel profiles. Instead, they pretend they are going to do so, which brings attention to the fact that they offer profiles, unlike one of their competitors.

Just like Coca-Cola introduced the "New Coke" in the 80s simply to draw attention to their brand, meanwhile planning all along to reintroduce "Coke Classic"... which eventually became the only Coke available. (Though I'm still not sure if the switch from cane sugar to corn syrup had anything to do with it.)

Well, what can I say, Netflix... it appears to have worked. As a Blockbuster Online subscriber, I'm thinking of changing to Netflix because of profiles, which I wasn't aware of. It turns out the advantage of Blockbuster (being able to pick up rentals/drop them off at B&M stores) hasn't been heplful to me, so maybe I'll switch over.

Good jorb on the marketing ploy.

Re:Coke II (4, Insightful)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008501)

I'm not sure why you were modded troll.

Saying you're going to take away a feature, then backtracking, does not make you a hero.

Other analogies:
1) "Unleaded" gasoline. When unleaded gasoline came on the market, it cost more than leaded, even though lead was an additive. But the refineries acted like it was some new process to "remove" lead.

2) When a US federal budget is proposed that cuts funding for a program, then in the final spending bill funding is restored to the previous year's level (which may itself have stagnated for many years), and Congress acts like it added funding. What really happened is that funding still gets cut because it doesn't get adjusted for inflation.

While it's still news (because it negates their previous announcement), Netflix does not deserve to come out looking good. At best, it's neutral, because they're simply doing their job and nothing happened!

Re:Coke II (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008599)

It does, however, draw attention to a feature advantage they have over their competitors :)

Re:Coke II (1)

7grain (583823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008727)

It's my understanding that the lead in "regular" fuel (regular meaning "with lead", not regular = lowest octane) is added as part of the refining process. And that subsequent removal of the lead, therefore, costs more.

Re:Coke II (3, Informative)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009033)

Lead was added because older engines benefitted from the lead coating. It had to do with high compression ratios and unhardened blocks. I found an article that seems to support my conclusion that lead was simply added, and not some necessary component for refining oil.

Tetra-Ethyl Lead: The End of an Era for a Well-Known Molecule []

But I also learned something new. I didn't know NASCAR was burning leaded gasoline as recently as last year.

Re:Coke II (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009239)

Piston engine aircraft are still burning leaded gasoline today, and will probably continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Re:Coke II (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009581)

Lead was added to reduce or eliminate "spark knock" or precombustion of the fuel. There were stories of valves requiring it for cushioning, that turned out to be all false. There are cars still running today that were in the "required lead" category.

Re:Coke II (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24009043)

I think he was modded troll because he was spreading a ridiculous urban legend [] .

Re:Coke II (3, Interesting)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009531)

The urban legend was the "conspiracy" part. Coca-cola was just merely incompetent. The facts are that they switched formulas, then they switched back to the "original" formula, except that cane sugar was dropped for high fructose corn syrup.

Despite what Ms. Mikkelson says about blind taste-testing, there were still many people who could tell the difference and didn't like New Coke. I could always tell the fast-food joints that had New Coke over Coke Classic. I'd order a "coke" and in an unmarked container would be the beverage. Because I was in a drive-thru, I wouldn't know ahead of time or see the name on the tap. New Coke had a definite weird aftertaste.

Pepsi is another that claims people can't taste the difference between Coca-cola and Pepsi. But, I was able to taste the difference when I was at one of their "taste-test booths", with a cold, too.

The problem with these taste-test results is that I think there are a lot of people who can't taste the difference between X and a cow's backside. Can I prove that? No. But I know that at least for me (and a few of my friends), it wouldn't be an issue.

And yes, I can taste the difference between cane sugar and HFCS, too.

Re:Coke II (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009117)

"Unleaded" gasoline. When unleaded gasoline came on the market, it cost more than leaded, even though lead was an additive. But the refineries acted like it was some new process to "remove" lead.

The cost of something isn't just production; it's also affected by demand and one-time costs of ramping up production. By the above logic, I should be able to get milk in the store without vitamin D added (but otherwise just the same product) for cheaper, or orange juice concentrate in an 11.5 oz container for less than the 12 oz container.

Re:Coke II (1)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010187)

I was sort of with you for the milk analogy (doesn't the vitamin D milk cost more? or at least the same?), but you lost me with the 11.5 oz vs. 12 oz FCOJ containers. And there isn't any harm in adding vitamin D, unlike adding lead.

But your argument really falls flat because unleaded gasoline started out higher in price and never came down compared to leaded. The gasoline companies pretty much said they were removing lead from gasoline, which is false because not adding it is not the same as removing it. If they didn't say this outright, their advertising campaigns sure made it look that way.

This whole thing is also reminding of the current hands-free cellphone that's being mandated in CA. The industry is going all out in their campaign to market headsets to people. Except that any phone that has speakerphone will satisfy the law. Just don't hold it near your ear. And dialling does not need to be hands-free. Put it on a mount, on your dash, or in your lap, on speakerphone after dialling and voila, you're in full compliance. If sound quality is an issue, then buy the headset, but not before you've tested out your speakerphone.

Re:Coke II (1)

BLKMGK (34057) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008531)

Yup, this is indeed possible. But as a profiles user I'm glad it's staying and am happy for it no matter what the motivation might have been. It really is a nice feature for families who's members have different tastes.

Re:Coke II (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008547)

Is it really that hard to think that a company would pull a stunt like that?

Seriously, I know it's tough to handle the thought that the campaign to get profiles reinstated was successful thanks to the efforts of slashdotters and others, but...

Do you really think that Netflix would get rid of one of the major feature advantages they have over their biggest competitor?

Anyway, I know I shouldn't be responding to the fact that I got modded a troll, and maybe I could have phrased the parent better. So whatever, this post should be modded offtopic... I've got the karma to burn.

Re:Coke II (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24008641)

I thought the whole shebang was a Coke II ploy from the get-go.

I used to work there, and I assure you that that was not the case. Profiles caused pain with almost every product development / feature planning session we/they ever had, and I'm surprised that it got a reprieve given the tiny fraction of the customer base that uses/used it.

Re:Coke II (4, Interesting)

MerryOtter (1296519) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009717)

I'd like to understand why Profiles should cause any pain. It's all a database, right? How hard could it be?

Re:Coke II (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24010411)

It's all a database, right? How hard could it be?

Oh, if only there were a "+1, Sadly Hilarious" moderation. I'm guessing you're not a database programmer.

Re:Coke II (1)

thisissilly (676875) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009779)

I wouldn't have minded them eliminating profiles, IF instead of combining profiles back into one account, they instead split profiles off into separate accounts, but kept the billing amount the same. My wife and I have 4 at a time 2/2 split. Two accounts of 2 at a time would have cost us $4/month more than our 1 account.

Re:Coke II (1)

Artuir (1226648) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008775)

Yes, and humans never really landed on the moon, either. Conspiracy theories are tiresome and stupid.

Re:Coke II (0, Redundant)

mgh02114 (655185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009359)

There is a good explanation of the New Coke / Classic Coke fiasco at this site: []

Basically they argue that, just like Netflix today, Coca-Cola simply screwed up.

Re:Coke II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24009597)

Hahahha. Sorry for the laugh, but I thought the whole shebang was a Coke II ploy from the get-go.

Boy I would love to hear the back story on this. Does anyone believe it?

Marketing Scam (0, Redundant)

the-pdm (685864) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008173)

Seems like a big marketing scam to me. Cancel a beloved feature, get lots of attention, bring back beloved feature!

Marketing Handbook Trick no.24 (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008565)

It's the new coke/classic coke.

alright (3, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008207)

Congrats to those who wrote in about this. Now we just need to convince them not to charge a higher price to those of us who rent Blu-rays.

Re:alright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24009231)

They charge a higher price for bluray? I never saw this anywhere (I'm not renting bluray yet). That blows.

Re:alright (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009643)

Why? Each disc is more expensive on the whole, and the number of users is smaller. The cost of providing the service, per user, is considerably higher for BD customers than for DVD customers, and since the DVD customers can't use the BD, why should they have to subsidize those of us wanting BD titles?

If it's just an extra buck or two per month, it'll be more than reasonable. Remember that prices of BD went up after HD-DVD crapped out, and that with the economy the way it is, BD uptake hasn't exactly exploded. Hell, HDTV penetration isn't even all that impressive yet, nationwide.

The don't. Mod parent -1 uninformed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24010087)

See subject.

Re:The don't. Mod parent -1 uninformed. (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010329)

No, they currently don't. But they have stated publicly that they are seriously considering doing so.

tagged: suddenoutbreakofcustomerservice (1)

Mr. Sketch (111112) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008213)


Remember BBO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24008261)

Hey Keyes, how is Blockbuster Online doing?

Yeah, not so hot! Maybe your plan to sell slurpees in the stores will help.

To fast for my own good. (5, Interesting)

heresyoftruth (705115) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008287)

I appreciate that they kept profiles. I found them invaluable. Unfortunately, when I was told they were going away, my husband and I painstakingly moved his profile to a different account. Instead of a 3/3 = 6 account, we now have two 3 disk accounts. Damn for being so quick and efficient, I guess.

Re:To fast for my own good. (1) (443482) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008801)

Instead of a 3/3 = 6 account, we now have two 3 disk accounts.

I indicated by email that MY second account would be with Blockbuster.

Re:To fast for my own good. (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009197)

Well, at least you're saving $2/month this way, anyhow, right?

huh? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008349)

Never heard of the Profiles feature until today, yet I've been a Netflix customer since 2001. go figure. I guess it's for families with kids old enough to pick their own movies or for couples who have very different tastes in movies.

Re:huh? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008519)

My queue is filled with low-grade sci fi / adventure, Futurama DVDs, and TV shows I missed on the air.

My wife's queue is filled with Sex and the City, Victorian biographies, and documentaries.

Interestingly we watch a lot of the same stuff: Dr. Who / Top Gear / Graham Norton Show / Good Eats / Daily Show / Colbert Report / Law & Order. We just don't want the same thing sitting around whenever one of us decides to watch a movie.

Re:huh? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009443)

my gf and I only watch our netflix dvds together. (usually around 300-400 movies in my queue, down to 332 right now). I think that Roku netflix box sounds interesting for people who may want to just watch a quick show by themselves without having to put it into the queue.

Re:huh? (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009845)

I use profiles as the sole user of the account. Admittedly, it's somewhat of a 'workaround' to the 500 item limit in a queue. I said this in the original thread about removing profiles. I admit I should remove 99% of the movies in my queue since I'll never watch them, but I tend to add interesting-sounding movies to my queue, even though I move other ones to the top of my queue usually.

Though even beside that, I keep my main profile (that gets allocated 3 movies) generally with movies, and my other profile has TV shows in it with one allocated at a time.

I was VERY seriously considering going down to the lowest unlimited movie amount if they really went through and removed profiles. I'm grandfathered in 4 at a time at the rate new people pay for 3 at a time... but sometimes movies sit for a long time. So they've succeeded in getting more of my money for at least a while longer. Good for them.

Remember Blockbuster Online? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24008397)

Hey Keyes how's that working out for you?

yeah, not so hot. Maybe your plan to sell slurpees in the stores will help!

Good PR? (0, Redundant)

microbee (682094) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008459)

1. Spread rumors about pulling off a good feature 2. ???? 3. Profit!

Re:Good PR? (4, Insightful)

brjndr (313083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008855)

2. Announce feature will not be pulled.

Re:Good PR? (1)

kiehlster (844523) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010317)

2. The Revolution Will Not Be Realized

So... (1)

TheFrunk (1096377) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008581)

Can anyone tell me how to access this feature? I'm stumped.

Re:So... (2, Informative)

Genocaust (1031046) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008983)

Under your account there should be a profiles link, or here's the direct one: []

I love the feature, and like others, wrote to say I'd be canceling without it. Letting my wife and I keep separate queues and not constantly re-shuffle our lists is great as we have wildly different tastes in movies.

Re:So... (4, Informative)

Chrismith (911614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009475)

Actually, that link just takes me to my account page -- I think that since they were going to cancel the feature, they removed the profiles capability from accounts that didn't already have it set up (so that people didn't start using it just before it was removed). This makes me think that this is probably a real case of backpedaling due to customer feedback, and not just a marketing ploy. If they were trying to push profiles, there'd be a big link on everyone's account page.

Re:So... (1)

Genocaust (1031046) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010127)

Yeah, I actually read on their blog link after posting that link that they will be re-adding it for people who weren't using it already in the coming weeks. Only those of us who had already setup profiles in the past still get to use it right now.

Give it time; it's worth the wait :)

Netflix is a great company (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24008623)

Every time I've ever had a problem with Netflix, namely receiving broken disks or having disks stolen/lost in the mail, they've always sent me new disks right away, without any fuss.

Once when they continued to charge me after I'd canceled (poor student, blah blah), I was forced to email their billing support. Amazingly, my email was answered within about an hour by a *real person*. No form emails, no PR bullshit, just a terse plain-text email. This blew my mind. Not only were they polite, but they refunded my money the same day.

That said, this doesn't surprise me at all. Netflix has always been a pleasure to do business with.

(I don't work for them or anything. Hell, I'm not even a customer anymore. They're just one of the few companies that I don't mind giving my money to.)

Nth-ed (1)

wdavies (163941) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008779)

yep, great news, Kudos Netflix. I was one who called and complained as well. Funny thing was that even the rep was bummed at them removing profiles.

Sigh.. (2, Insightful)

Artuir (1226648) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008819)

Queue the sound of thousands of tinfoil hats being put on everywhere. Also queue the sound of billions of keystrokes per second of wacko negative conspiracy theorists that believe this was simply a stunt, like 9/11 or the moon landings.

And just like that... (1)

thatoneguy_jm (917104) | more than 6 years ago | (#24008823) marriage is saved.

Never knew it existed, still can't find it (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009081)

I never knew this feature existed until I heard it was going away. I definitely need it for my wife and I. Now that it's staying, I don't see anywhere on the site to set it up. My Account, My Queue, Friends and Community... Where is this stupid feature?
/I may be retarded.

Re:Never knew it existed, still can't find it (1)

Nightspirit (846159) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009121)

I must be retarded as well because I can't find it anywhere. Maybe they locked it so that while people with profiles don't get canceled, but those without them can't add them.

Re:Never knew it existed, still can't find it (1)

Fnord666 (889225) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009213)

It is under "Your Account" in the top section ("account information"). The link is titled "Account Profiles".

Re:Never knew it existed, still can't find it (2, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009505)

If you don't already have profiles set up, you won't have that option. They will be turning it back on later.

Rather than reply individually to multiple posts.. (4, Informative)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009247)

For those looking for the Profiles feature, he says in the blog (linked to in some comment above) that they had already deactivated adding new Profiles for anyone who didn't have them already, and it will be back up in a couple weeks.

For those who have them already, the rest of us don't have an "Account Profiles" link in on our Your Account page. I guess we'll get one in a couple weeks.

Can you move from one profile queue to another? (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009539)

I tried the profiles thing a long time ago, but didn't like it because you couldn't move a movie from one queue to another. I wanted to separate out my movies from my wife's, but they were already queued up. As far as I could tell, the only way to split them out was to delete from one, and add to the other. As far as I was concerned, eliminating this "feature" didn't affect me at all.

If this still isn't the case, perhaps I'll try it again...

Stupid. (4, Informative)

Trelane (16124) | more than 6 years ago | (#24009921)

So they'll bring back a feature that is used by "1-2 percent" ( of their customers. But they won't provide "instant watching" to Mac and Linux users (5-10% of the global userbase, let alone the tech-savvy Netflix base), rather they'll charge the same price for fewer features?

FAIL. You may now no longer claim that Linux or Mac marketshare is negligible.

Re:Stupid. (1)

mattack2 (1165421) | more than 6 years ago | (#24010183)

You're right, that (not supporting the Mac) is another thing I would have said if I lowered my subscription (I'm very unlikely to cancel entirely) if profiles went away. I personally would accept a free Roku box as a 'good enough' solution if they really won't support other OSes.

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