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Be Careful What you Click on

February 14th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

I don’t think Jared Spool had Netflix in mind when he wrote about end user licenses but his point fits none the less. Apparently, Netflix throttles down their service if you’re a frequent user. People who rent more than a set number (known only to Netflix) of films a month find that their next DVD is delayed and that popular releases are dolled out to new subscribers. Of course Netflix advertises an all you can eat buffet but apparently that’s only true if you don’t come back for seconds. In other words, if you threaten their profits, you’ll find you get a different tier of service…for the same price as someone that isn’t taking full advantage of what they are paying for. But it’s all OK – they revised their terms of use about a year ago so buyer beware right? Take this quote out for a spin:

In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service.

Personally, I think this is just a horrible way to treat customers and I’m frankly amazed that they continue to have such high customer satisfaction ratings. Imagine if your health club did this – come in once a month and we’ll make sure your favorite elliptical machine is waiting. However, if you dare come in more than 3 times a week…well, we have a rusty stationary bike out back you can use. Don’t get my wrong, I understand the motivation for the executives at Netflix (heck, they’ll probably roll out a “premium” service for $29.99 a month that actually gets you unlimited rentals and drops you at the head of the line for the latest Hollywood blockbuster) but is this really a good way to treat users? Should I poke you in the eye with a sharp stick so long as my end user license says I can?

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