Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Netflix loses some Instant pix and user data

Oh, Netflix, when will you learn? First, they got rid of the ability to share lists with friends, and now they've deleted all the personalized info from Member Reviews. No longer will you, the site user, see names associated with reviews, just a steady series of them. Netflix actually entitled their press release, "Minor Update to Member Reviews."

What you actually have is a total deletion of everything but the opinion. You just get a star rating, the written review, a group rating of the review ("X out of X members found this review helpful"), and an option to rate the review. Then a dashed line and the next review. It's kind of un-thrilling, and sadly depersonalizing.

Worse still, it's not a very useful change at all. Anyone who's read through a handful of comments knows that some reviewers are better than others. Hopefully, you feel that way about my site as well...

At the very least, the news they released the next day (Friday, June 17th) is not about bad decision-making. This time, it was about something beyond Netflix' control - Sony and Starz are having "a contract issue." The result: all Sony movies are no longer available through "StarzPlay." [I think it's a section of Instant Viewing. I don't have that much time, y'know?]

The video rental giant hasn't provided any further explanation or detail; at least they claim the absence is only temporary. They also provided a nice sop for their customers, stating that "In the next few weeks, look for... titles like The Fighter, Skyline and Iron Man 2 as well as the first four seasons of Mad Men, all to watch instantly."

It's pretty nice cover, but then again, "throw on some movies and the kids will leave us alone for a while" is not a rare attitude in the US...

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