My Netflix Experience

Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I have now been a member of Netflix for a little over 3 months. Thus far I can't really complain. In the last 30 days I have received 22 movies, that's right 22 movies. I paid a total of $19.47, less than $1 a movie. I haven't always gotten my top priority movie but that is because the way Netflix determines who gets what movies.

There has been a raging debate about whether Netflix throttles its customers. That is, the more your rent, the worst your service gets. You don't get your top priority movie, they delay the shipment of DVD's, etc. Well I guess Netflix has finally owned up to it. This is ganked from another site

We receive rental returns Monday through Friday, except holidays. We process nearly 100% of returns the same day we receive them. When we check-in a return, an e-mail is automatically and promptly sent to you to let you know that we have received your DVD.

Our goal is to ship you the DVDs listed highest in your Queue. We try to ship you DVDs from the distribution center closest to you so that you get movies quickly. Often, on the same day that we receive a DVD from you, we will ship the next available DVD from your Queue. In certain instances, your next available DVD will not ship until the next business day following our receipt of your returned movie. This can occur, for example, when your top choices are not available to you from your closest distribution center or the number of shipments to be processed by the distribution center on that day has been exceeded. When this happens, your DVD will ship on the next business day and may come from an alternate distribution center.

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those members who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their Queue more often than our other members. By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members. Those that rent a lot of movies get a great value and those with lighter viewing habits are able to count on our service to meet their limited needs.

I have definitely experienced some slowdown but since I obviously still get a lot of DVD's it isn't that bad. I often get movies with a "very long wait" designation which didn't use to happen before and I will often get next day shipping instead of same day.

I don't really have a problem being "throttled". I did have a problem when Netflix wouldn't admit the practice as it was clear to me that it was going on. As long as businesses are fair and honest with their customers I have no problems with practices like this. Netflix has a vested interest in keeping their other customers happy, I happen to cost Netflix money since they pay more in postage then they get back form me. As long as I know the rules I have the ability to very loudly complain by not giving them my dollar.


Kat said...

all things considered, i think throttling is brilliant. there are more customers who rent few dvds than customers who rent nearly one per day, right?

netflix has finally made me like living in vegas, because we have a distribution center here. i mail a movie monday, they receive it tuesday, and i get my next movie wednesday. ahh. sweet netflix.

T said...

I don't know if throttling is "brillant". I think it is fair so long as they are honest about it. For many months there was debate if it really happened with each side calling the other nasty names.

Netflix denied anything was going on but those who it was happening to knew better.

I also then have a problem with them claiming you get "rent as much as you want". This is not the case. They put a soft upper limit on the number of DVD's you can rent.

Obviously there is always a limit but it is one thing when there is a natural limit to how fast DVDs can move around because of the US post office and quite another when the company itself is creating an artifical soft upper limit.

Again, not really complaining. If I was that upset I would just stop my service.