Yesterday Netflix announced that it was discontinuing the Profiles feature that allows users with one account to keep separate queues and ratings of movies and tv shows. This absolutely sucks. I have come to rely on this feature and will be looking for alternatives to Netflix before the feature is eliminated on September 1st. I will look at DVD by mails services like BlockBuster or Intelliflix as well as on-demand services like cable/satellite providers or Apple TV. And yes I would switch regardless of the fact that it is likely that no other service offers this feature, just because of the way this has been handled.
What is even worse than the dropping of this feature, however is the way Netflix has handled it. Today I received this email:
We wanted to let you know we will be eliminating Profiles, the feature that allowed you to set up separate DVD Queues under one account, effective September 1, 2008.
Each additional Profile Queue will be unavailable after September 1, 2008. Before then, we recommend you consolidate any of your Profile Queues to your main account Queue or print them out.
While it may be disappointing to see Profiles go away, this change will help us continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers.
They aren’t giving any indication as to why they are pulling the feature, just vague allusions to making the site better.
There is a petition to show Netflix that there is support for the feature. Not sure how far that will go in light of recent claims by the company that is is the “final decision”. Here is more from the Hacking Netflix blog.
While discontinuing the Profiles feature is not desirable for the passionate folks who use it, the decision will ultimately benefit all Netflix members. By discontinuing the feature, we will be able to put more focus and resources site and service improvements that benefit everyone, consistent to how we have grown the service over the years.
Netflix makes it sound that only a few passionate users will be affected by this and perhaps the feature was under-utilized. And maybe the folks who use that feature and will be pissed off by this are not the most profitable customers for Netflix (i.e. they watch more movies and so cost Netflix more money) but they are forgetting an important thing here. These customers are the Netflix evangelists. I have told countless people about how I love Netflix since my membership began in August of 2000. I know I have been responsible for at least a half dozen people signing up and who know how many people have read my write-ups here on Alt Text.
Netflix is making a big mistake in killing the Profiles feature but are stepping into an even bigger blunder with the patronizing messaging around the decision. Read more on MetaFilter.