Well, That Was Qwik

What Would Be Is No Longer – and that’s a good thing

And we are back to being just Netflix.

Netflix DVD staying

After a few months of wacky and idiotic decisions that have cost the online streaming/DVD rental by mail company a lot of value and almost a million subscribers, Netflix is back to being just Netflix.

Back a few weeks ago, Netflix announced they were spinning off their DVD rental service to a separate site called Qwikster. Whatever prompted this split [my guess is the studios and license owners had a small, but significant part in this], it wasn’t the most thought out of decisions. Two webs sites. Two logins. Who came up with this idea?

Other Missteps

It seems that this once “can’t do no wrong” company has made a lot of major changes to its business, that personally didn’t need to be made. I’ve already blogged about their price hikes and separation of DVD and streaming subscription plans. But this next misstep is one that’s confusing, to say the least.

There was a saved list at the bottom of the instant queue where movies that were not available could be added, and when they became available, would be added to your instant queue. Well, while this list is still available, it’s not being shown on the Netflix queue. To the average user, it’s gone and appears to be deleted. They did address the decision in an official blog post, but that doesn’t help the subscribers that used that list now that it’s effectively gone.

Turns out that if you do some digging, you will find a web site called Feed Fliks that can show you this list.

The question is: why would Netflix keep this data yet take away the ability to see it on their own site? Baffled is the nicest word I can use here. Fucking with your loyal users is the term I would equate this decision with. While they may have their reasons, it’s just a dumb decision.

So now that they have corrected some of their illogical decisions, can they return to the glory they once knew? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see if they can stabilize their business model – and hopefully without losing more subscribers in the process

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  1. Ren says:

    Minor clarification: I don’t think you were ever able to add items to the Watch Instantly saved list. Rather, it only contained items that you had previously added to the Watch Instantly queue and were no longer available for streaming.

    As I was checking eBook prices for the Steve Jobs biography this morning, I realized that what annoys me much more than the Netflix shenanigans are the eBook shenanigans. I’m tired of not being able to lend out or resell my eBooks. I added the physbook of the biography to my wish list. As I understand it, Amazon now sells more eBooks than physbooks, which doesn’t bode well for any of these issue to be addressed.

    1. martymankins says:

      Thanks for the clarification. I had thought they were added to my queue once they were available.

      As for the lending and resell of eBooks, Amazon and Apple need to follow Barnes & Noble in at least offering the lending. I’ve preordered the Steve Jobs book to my Nook list, hoping that I can at least lend it to someone. I’ve not done much with iBooks or Kindle yet, with the exception of getting a couple eBooks. Most of my reading is still physbook.

      1. Ren says:

        Clarifying the clarification, stuff on the saved list did move to the queue if it became available for streaming again, but there was never a way to explicitly add something to that saved list. In contrast, for DVD queues do allow you to explicitly save unavailable items.

        I suppose I could get the Nook version, but my impression was that lots of books aren’t actually enabled for lending and even those that are enabled only allow a one-time, two week lend. Almost pointless as far as I’m concerned.

        1. martymankins says:

          Yes, this is true that there was no way to directly add streaming titles to the saved list. That would be a nice feature, using Netflix to manage your entire movie viewing experience.

          I was always under the impression that all Nook books were lendable. Is this not the case? If so, that’s backwards thinking. It all comes down to licensing. I really need to get back to my blog post in draft on the licensing issue and how it’s hurting digital media.

  2. whall says:

    I’ve been a netflix customer since they started.. I think I left them for a short time once (less than a year) and came back because their service couldn’t be beat. I didn’t have a problem with the price increase and didn’t understand the collective shouting and berating at them – it’s as though some of the complainers thought they had a “right” to the service at whatever price seemed fair.

    I’m glad to see Quikster go away, though. Didn’t mind it too much but would rather not have to deal with the differences.

    1. martymankins says:

      Like you, I’ve been a member for a long time (joined in late 1999). I think the berating of the price changes was too much, although I admitted in my blog post that a 60% increase in anything is a bit high. More of a not very well thought out business decision than anything.

      Qwikster was just a bad idea, and a very funny twitter account.

  3. Sybil Law says:

    I had no issue with the price change, but Qwikster was just an ill conceived idea. The whole point of online services for damn near anything is supposedly to make our lives simpler, and having to use a different company for services once offered by one was hardly convenient or simpler. I didn’t really panic or freak out about Qwikster – I just thought, “Well – guess I won’t be using *that* service”, so I’m glad to see someone finally said, “Are you people fucking stupid?!”

    1. martymankins says:

      The simpler concept is sometimes lost on those that make changes. For Netflix, I hope their dumb decision days are over.

  4. Lisa says:

    I didn’t really have an issue with the price, but it did prompt me to cancel the DVD part of it and just keep the streaming. The brouhaha over the price increase reminded me that I had the same 3 DVDs on my tv stand for at least 3 months in a row, and I still hadn’t watched them, so clearly I wasn’t using it enough to make it cost effective. The whole Qwikster thing was a mistake from the beginning, but didn’t affect my decision.

    1. martymankins says:

      We only had one DVD out and it sat too long, which is the main reason we canceled the DVD rental and kept the streaming only plan.

  5. kilax says:

    I was really happy when I saw this on Monday. The split made no sense to me! I’ve gotta wonder what is really going on with Netflix.

    1. martymankins says:

      I’ve been wondering the same. Hoping for clearer decisions in the future.

  6. delmer says:

    I dropped NetFilx when they announced the price hike. I thought the 60% hike in one move was too much — not so much because of the value — but because of the arrogance that came with it.

    1. martymankins says:

      Agree that the price hike did carry a bit of arrogance with it, especially considering they are using those funds to help add more content instead of adding more content then doing a price hike.

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