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Netflix Changes Its Mind, Will Keep Profiles Feature 267

Posted by timothy
from the you-can-finally-sleep-at-night dept.
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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Netflix Changes Its Mind, Will Keep Profiles Feature

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  • Kudos to Netflix (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dreamchaser (49529) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:03PM (#24008063) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by snowgirl (978879) * on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:26PM (#24008405) Journal

      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?"

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:31PM (#24008469)

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

        The market says otherwise.

      • Re:Kudos to Netflix (Score:4, Informative)

        by mdmkolbe (944892) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:27PM (#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 [tutor2u.net].)

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

        • Re:Kudos to Netflix (Score:4, Informative)

          by stussymo (1082469) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:48PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

            by mdmkolbe (944892) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:29PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by FooAtWFU (699187)

            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.

            I think you're just considering "willing to pay" one thing (dude goes: I am fine and happy with gas at this price) and the economists are putting the bar a little higher (which includes a dude going: I just went out and paid this price, and I'm really upset that it was that much, but when you get down to it I suppose it IS worth it in terms not-having-everything-fall-apart-on-me). And the

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by kidgenius (704962)
            Just as a comment, yes, oil production costs have increased. When oil is @ $40 / barrel, it's economical to only go after certain supplies. That may mean that you can't drill through 5 miles of rock to get at oil, because it's not profitable. But, when oil is $100 / barrel, it now may make sense to go get that oil that is harder to extract, because you won't lose any money on it.
          • In ECON 101 you should have learned that the Petroleum Industry does not follow "market economy" rules.

            Perhaps it doesn't. But it behaves an awful lot like an industry in which both demand and supply are quite inelastic, and pricing is efficient.

            That is to say: if it doesn't follow "market economy" rules, whatever rules it IS following sure are approximating "market economy" uncannily well.

            Now sprinkle in some hard returns next time, you paragraph-eschewing rant-monkey.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by joshuaobrien (588416)

            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.

            No. OPEC and you decide the price per barrel. By definition, nobody pays more than they are willing to, so it's reasonable to say most people are paying less than they are willing to pay. Watch the price rise next week. Watch people continue to pay.

            OPEC decides how many barrels to produce each day (as a way to alter or skew the S&D curve).

            OPEC can influence supply. Consumers control demand.

            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).

            There are many alternatives you've chosen not to pursue. There are many choices you've made in the past and are now experiencing their outcomes. You decided to risk a livelihood that was exposed to the price of

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by dubl-u (51156) *

            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.

            Hear that rushing sound? It's me crying you a river.

            There is plenty of choice.

            A lot of Americans have chosen to commute long distances. To buy houses in suburbs where driving is the only option. To drive large vehicles. They've supported more highways, less transit, and zoning that favors cars over walking and biking.

            At the national level, they have chosen to support a full-on war against a major oil-producing nation. And they've chosen to accompany it with a lot of imperialist, anti-Islamic rhetoric that s

      • by mattack2 (1165421) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:30PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by snowgirl (978879) *

          I do have a choice, and that's why I started riding a motorcycle. I only use a car now in order to get groceries, and only then when I need A LOT of groceries.

          Does it mean I end up driving in crazy rain (like Seattle is known for)? Yeah, it does, but I bought good gear. If you want to talk about beating the pants off of a hybrid, my 600cc motorcycle cost me $2.8k, and gets about 47mpg at 80mph (I don't even think hybrids can DO 80mph). At that rate, paying off the extra $19k that the hybrid costs? Wow, t

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Abattoir (16282)

        "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."

        Uh, that isn't really out of the question. IBM has an internal IBM-ified Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution that any employee who wants to use that instead of Windows is welcome to.

        This has evolved over the years and when I last worked for IBM, I used it on my company-issued laptop for the last year I was there. All the IBM-required tools, like Lotus Notes and Sametime, work perfectly well. Office is handled with OpenOffice (integrated into Notes w/ version 8).

        Of any of the companies out there with a lar

    • by Heembo (916647)
      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 (Score:4, Interesting)

        by prockcore (543967) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:28PM (#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.

        • by jnana (519059) on Monday June 30, 2008 @09:46PM (#24010533) Journal

          Where did you get the 3% number from?

          I'm curious because the first night that they announced profiles were disappearing, customer service initially said to many users that "only 1%" of users used profiles, and that half of those who used it were employees (don't ask how a company with less than 2,000 employees can have 0.5% of 8 million users [40,000] be employees).

          After a few hours, customer service started saying that "only 2%" of the users used profiles. And then they stopped giving numbers altogether, and the next announcement said it had nothing to do with upgrades or the backend but was being eliminated solely because users found it too complicated.

          Did you get the "only 3%" number from Netflix? I'd be seriously impressed if they changed the numbers yet again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fm6 (162816)

      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 sa

      • 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.

        No, they did it because of online DRM content distribution. People were already complaining that they could only stream DRM movies from their

    • 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.

      Yes, today listening to your customers is so rare that it is front page news. Look! Netflix listened to it's customers! Hurrah to Netflix!

      This is sad. I stay away from anything without a public bugtracker nowadays as much as I can.

      On second thought, Netflix got some free publicity and public goodwill out of this. Every company should deliberately announce that they are going to ruin their service, just to 'listen to their customers' and get some nice PR.

  • zOMG (Score:5, Funny)

    by PakProtector (115173) <cevkiv@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:05PM (#24008081) Journal

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

  • by TechnoWeenie (250857) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:06PM (#24008097)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      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.
    • by Maltheus (248271) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:23PM (#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.

      • by moosesocks (264553) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:08PM (#24008977) Homepage

        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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tacokill (531275) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:08PM (#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)
    • by SputnikPanic (927985) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:14PM (#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.

      • by Scutter (18425) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:25PM (#24008375) Journal

        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.

      • by BLKMGK (34057) <morejunk4me@@@hotmail...com> on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:34PM (#24008507) Homepage Journal

        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 :-)

        • by tmalone (534172)

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

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          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 th
        • by story645 (1278106) *

          I agree and would add that service for my Thinkpad via Lenovo was also outstanding.

          They're also pretty good when they screw up the first time, which I appreciated. I had to send my tablet in (basically painless process) and it came back still broken. Called up, sent it in again, and they fixed it, but then DHL lost the laptop. They were really good about helping me find it, they called up DHL and provided me with lots of updates and I didn't feel totally out of the loop. (Ended up getting my laptop back just fine.)

          • by BLKMGK (34057)

            Funny you mention being kept in the loop. When they were straightening out my error the guy needed to transfer me from Texas to the repair center in Georgia. The guy started the transfer, stayed on the phone till they answered, told them who I was and why we were calling, and made sure the handoff was smooth!

            Do you know how many times I have called Verizon abut an issue only to have their automated POS system dump me into the ether and drop my call? About 10 times easy - it's what they do when their network

            • by story645 (1278106) *

              Do you know how many times I have called Verizon abut an issue only to have their automated POS system dump me into the ether and drop my call? About 10 times easy

              Call at 2am it's the only time I've been able to get half decent service with them. Granted, it's still half an hour of scripts, then escalation (though usually they do explain things to the next tech) and I've had it drop on me between scripts and escalation.

              Though what's more annoying, with various companies, has to be all those "notes" that are supposed to be on the account aren't, so I've gotta clear up something for the zillionth time before moving on to the next step.

              • by BLKMGK (34057)

                I actually had a tech in a switching center call me - he concluded it was an issue with one of their peers when I could only hit certain sites intermittently and a few just fine. However when I finally got enough functionality to hit DSLreports.com I found a zillion others in my area with the same problems - days after Verizon declared it "fixed". I knew things were dorked when ONE machine out of 5 in my household worked and no others did despite multiple reboots. I never got an explanation except and only

            • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @12:35AM (#24011773)

              This is easily the most annoying thing about phone support.

              First the automated system asks you to enter your account number, telephone number, or what have you. Then you get to sit on hold while they scare up a human.

              Then you get to the human. What's the first thing they ask? "What is your account number?" My god, I could just kill them!

              But it doesn't stop there! First-level support is useless, so you get past them and they transfer you along to someone more useful. Once you arrive, what's the first thing you hear? You guessed it! "What is your account number?"

              Doesn't this repetition cost these companies valuable time and thus money? Is it really that hard to make a support system that will hold on to my information as my call is transferred through your organization?

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

      • by sconeu (64226)

        You forgot Newegg.

        • by BLKMGK (34057)

          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

          • by sconeu (64226)

            Their customer service rocks.

            My first order -- from a brand new email account. Got spam on it an hour later. I wrote to them to complain; they apologized and sent me stuff.
            Turned out to be from a dictionary attack. I wrote them back to apologize.

            One DOA (DVD-RW drive). RMA was no problem. Came the next day.

            One moderately expensive rackmount kb/lcd. Vendor shipped the wrong cables -- not Newegg's fault. Newegg sent me the correct cables at their expense. No muss, no fuss.

    • 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

    • 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,

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

      • by gnick (1211984)

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

        That is depressingly accurate and insightful. It would be wonderful if all businesses listened to their customers. And hopefully this move by Netflix will be a good move to keep the customers happy and subscribed. But, as a publicly traded company, their obligation is to maximize their stock price through whatever ethical means necessary.

        I sincerely hope that the "listen to your customers" and "provide a good service for a reasonable price" strategy works out, though. I'd love to see those principles ex

      • by hazem (472289) on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @04:25AM (#24013037) Journal

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

        Actually, their fiduciary responsibility is to maximize shareholder value. Adidas could make a lot of profit (for a while) by firing most of their employees and licensing their brand for use on all kinds of things like power drinks, car air fresheners, condoms, and breath mints. This would, however, diminish the brand as well as the value of the company to the shareholders.

        While value and profitability are closely linked, they are not the same thing.

    • 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?

      Yes, it is what they are supposed to be doing. And that is exactly why we should make a big deal out if it.

      If the only time we speak up as consumers is to tell a company that they've f'd up and we're pissed at them-- then that is the only image companies will have of use as consumers. Their default assumption of us will be that

  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by morari (1080535) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:09PM (#24008151) Journal

    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.

    • 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 numbe

  • Coke II (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:10PM (#24008171) Journal
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by statemachine (840641) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:34PM (#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!

      • It does, however, draw attention to a feature advantage they have over their competitors :)
        • They've drawn attention to it, but in a negative way, and they've generated a lot of ill will in the process. Their email and initial response was a horrible way to talk to customers. They trashed this feature the entire time, gave nonsensical excuses, and basically told 1-3% of their customers (numbers out of their asses?) that they would just have to suffer.

          Considering they never advertised this feature in the first place, it seems unlikely that was their point here, but even if it was, the cons far outwe

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

        • Re:Coke II (Score:4, Interesting)

          by statemachine (840641) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:54PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by noidentity (188756)

        "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

        • 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

          • Re:Coke II (Score:4, Interesting)

            by CTachyon (412849) <chronos@NOspam.chronos-tachyon.net> on Tuesday July 01, 2008 @03:02AM (#24012615) Homepage

            As I understand it -- and I may be off base here -- when leaded gasoline was phased out, fuel refineries had to stop using cheap lead as a substitute for expensive octane.

            "Pure" gasoline, before additives, is a hodgepodge of various no- and low-branch alkanes that averages around 6 to 7 carbon atoms per molecule. But linear heptane burns a bit too fast for the liking of a lot of engines, and hydrocarbons with even slight branching burn much faster than that. Enter "octane", which burns slower than "pure" gasoline and autoignites at a higher temperature, thus preventing premature detonation, or "knocking". ("Octane" is in quotes because, in the context of gasoline, "octane" is a function of the burn speed, not the number of carbon atoms. "Octane" doesn't strictly mean 8-carbon linear alkane, as it can also include heavier molecules with a small amount of branching.)

            Raising the "octane rating" requires a more involved refining process, because the alkanes in the gasoline-diesel-kerosene spectrum all have very similar boiling points and are hard enough to distill cleanly when making "pure" gasoline. 8-carbon molecules are toeing the line, and heavier ones push pretty solidly into diesel territory. As an educated guess, refining high-octane gasoline probably cuts into diesel yields and reduces overall profits. It probably also requires a more expensive hydrocarbon cracking process, because branches are even less desirable in high-octane gasoline than they are in "pure" gasoline, and a lot of catalytic cracking processes are quite happy to spew out branched hydrocarbons.

            Presumably, the reason "regular unleaded" gasoline is more expensive than "regular leaded" is the same reason that high-octane grades of gasoline are called "premium", and priced accordingly.

    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      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.

    • 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 whatev
    • Re:Coke II (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:44PM (#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.

  • alright (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:12PM (#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.
    • 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 expl

      • Are the costs really that much higher though? I'd assume that the majority cost to netflix are licensing, and that they're probably paying more per disk than the retail price (though perhaps being so large, they can command a lower price for replacements)

        Anyway, based on the prices in stores, the licensing can't be too much higher for blu-ray.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mr_matticus (928346)

          DVDs: ~$15-20. BD: ~$25-30. Yes, that's a significant expense.

          Netflix has over 55 million discs in its warehouse(s), though how many are BD is not clear. They certainly do not pay more than retail for discs, though the extent of their discount and any independent licensing agreements they've reached with studios are obviously trade secrets.

  • by heresyoftruth (705115) on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:18PM (#24008287) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 30, 2008 @06:43PM (#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.)

  • 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.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Artuir (1226648)

    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.

  • 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.
    • 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.

    • by Fnord666 (889225)
      It is under "Your Account" in the top section ("account information"). The link is titled "Account Profiles".
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by AK Marc (707885)
        If you don't already have profiles set up, you won't have that option. They will be turning it back on later.
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Monday June 30, 2008 @07:32PM (#24009247) Journal
    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.

  • 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. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Trelane (16124) on Monday June 30, 2008 @08:34PM (#24009921) Journal
    So they'll bring back a feature that is used by "1-2 percent" (http://blogs.reuters.com/fanfare/2008/06/25/netflix-courts-heartbreak-with-end-of-profiles) 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.

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