My Netflix Journal Present
Oct 07 - Dec 07
May 07 - Sep 07
Jan 07 - Mar 07
Oct 06 - Dec 06
Apr 06 - Sep 06
Jan 06 - Mar 06
Sep 05 - Dec 05
Jul 05 - Aug 05
May 05 - Jun 05
Apr 05 - May 05
Dec 04 - Mar 05
Nov 03 - Nov 04

What is Netflix?
My Disappointment
Consumer Advice
Customer Opinions Present
Apr 05 - Nov 04
Nov 04 - Nov 01

Add Your Opinion
Netflix Employees
Netflix Calculators Turnaround Predictor
Price/Rental & Turnaround Time
Broken Rental Ratio & Percent

My Goals
Netflix Alternatives
Links

My Netflix Journal: 9/05 - 12/05

By Manuel Villanueva
Last updated January 8, 2007

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January 4, 2006


December 28, 2005 [bookmark]

Netflix Rental Arrives 1 Week Later

Netflix notified me they shipped Zenki vol. 2 on December 21st.  I had no idea they shipped it from Houston, Texas 1,100 miles away.  Service is going to hell in a hand basket.


What's The Difference Between Netflix & Blockbuster Online?

Answer: The return address!

Netflix Return Address
Albuquerque, NM
Blockbuster Return Address
Lansing, MI

These addresses themselves don't mean much until you realize I live in Warren, Michigan.  Albuquerque, New Mexico is 1,360 miles (3 days mail) from my home.  Netflix also has a distribution center in Lansing, Michigan, only 80 miles (1 day mail) from my home.  Netflix saves money by shipping rentals from far away locations.  How?  Netflix spends the same amount on postage regardless of which state they ship from.  Shipping from distant locations ties up your rentals in the mail thus you rent less and Netflix saves money on shipping.

Netflix has recently admitted in their terms of service they ship from distant centers to throttle "heavy users:"

As a result, those subscribers who receive the most movies may experience that (ii) delivery takes longer, as the shipments may not be processed from their local distribution center.

This rental I received from Albuquerque, New Mexico took 6 days to arrive by mail.  My only remedy is to change the address and barcode so my Netflix rentals are returned to Lansing, Michigan.  It doesn't change the fact this rental spent 6 days in the mail although a one-day return to Lansing, Michigan provides some consolation.  Currently, most of my Netflix rentals have remote return addresses.  How annoying!


December 26, 2005 [bookmark]

Service Plans Compared: Unplayable Rentals

Service Rentals Broken
Rentals
Scratched
Unplayable
Rentals
Rentals
Lost In
Mail
Total
Unplayable
Rentals*
%
Unplayable
Rentals
Ratio
Unplayable
Rentals
Netflix 696 24 1 0 25 3.6 1 out of 27
Blockbuster 172 7 0 1 8 4.7 1 out of 21
GreenCine 138 0 0 0 0 0 N/A
Total 1,006 31 1 1 33 3.3 1 out of 30

Total unplayable rentals are the sum of broken rentals, scratched unplayable rentals, and lost rentals.   Percent and ratio calculated using the Broken Rental Ratio & Percent Calculator--I substituted broken rentals with unplayable ones.


December 13, 2005

"Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" Part 11

The Netflix web site finally addresses the "nearest" facility issue in their help section:

Q: My envelope doesn't have a return address. It says "Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility". Will it be delivered correctly?

A: We've worked closely with the US Postal Service to ensure that even if an address is not listed on your Netflix mailer, the movie will be returned to the Netflix shipping facility closest to you.

So the rumor that envelopes are returned to the "nearest" facility regardless of the return address is false.  What took Netflix so long to post this information?  Lately, most of the movies I receive are from across country.  Recently, Netflix acknowledged that subscribers will have their shipments deliberately delayed (throttled) in this manner according to the revised Terms of Use.  If you receive a glut of rentals from out of state you've been marked as a "heavy user."

Related posts:

"Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10


December 12, 2005

Blockbuster Online in-store coupons used to rent Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith and The Cat ReturnsRevenge of the Sith was disappointing. The Cat Returns (Neko no Ongaeshi) was much more appealing.


December 3, 2005 [bookmark]

Blockbuster Online 1 Year Later

It's been one year since I joined Blockbuster Online.  I would say Blockbuster is comparable to Netflix although Netflix has more selection and better availability.  There are many titles that I rented from GreenCine and Netflix because Blockbuster did not carry them.  All too often, I moved titles from my Blockbuster queue to GreenCine or Netflix because of "long waits" or "coming soon" notices.

Blockbuster Online vs. Competition

During the last 9 months (March-November 2005),  I've maintained 3-at-a-time subscriptions at Netflix, Blockbuster, and GreenCine.  Here is a summary of my findings:

  1. Blockbuster delivered just as many rentals as Netflix during this period.  Actually, Blockbuster delivered a few more than Netflix.  GreenCine delivered the least amount.
  2. I experienced numerous problems with Blockbuster and Netflix concerning broken, unplayable, and lost rentals.  No problems with GreenCine.
  3. Blockbuster has the lowest subscription price and lowest cost per rental ($1.20).
  4. According to TallRock.net, Blockbuster delayed my rentals by 9%, Netflix delayed my rentals by 37%, however no delays were attributed to GreenCine.

Complete Comparison Results

Note: there's a slight difference in the averages mentioned on the comparison page and in my journal.  My journal compares rentals returned or received per month.  The comparison page compares rentals returned or received per billing period.


November's Rental Stats

Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Rentals
Delivered
Broken
Rentals
Cost/Rental
(playable movies)
Turnaround
Days
Netflix $19.07 14 0 $1.36 2.2
Blockbuster $15.89 17 1 $0.99 1.9
GreenCine $21.95 7 0 $3.14 4.3
Total $56.91 38 1 $1.54 0.8

Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during November 2005.  Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.

Averages: Last 9 Months
Service Turnaround
Days/Rental
Rentals/
Week
Rentals/
Month
Price/
Movie
Netflix 2.2 3.1 13.6 $1.40
Blockbuster* 2.3 3.0 13.2 $1.20
GreenCine 3.3 2.1 9.3 $2.36

These averages exclude broken and missing rentals (see data).  *Correction 2/10/06: Blockbuster results incorrectly reported as 3.1 rentals/wk, 13.3 rentals/mo, and $1.19/movie.


November 29, 2005 [bookmark]

Netflix Ads Are Irritating

The Netflix credo must be "by any means necessary" as they commence a no-holds-barred advertising campaign to lure in more suckers.  I can't read my Yahoo e-mail or use Webster's Online dictionary without being barraged with ads like this.  Even though I have pop-up's disabled, Netflix manages to sneak them in by hacking my web browser.  Recently, AOL members have also fallen victims to hideous Netflix ads.  Virginia Heatwole of Rockville, Maryland was shocked when she found Netfix ads "flashing and screaming" at the top of her intimate blog about nature and spirituality.

By the way, you won't find pro-Netflix sites carrying this story:  it's bad business.


November 24, 2005 [bookmark]

Netflix Google Bombing (Googlebombing)

It seems likely Netflix has hired their own "geekoids" to Google bomb (Googlebomb) negative Netflix sites:

"So, we now have hired our own geekoids who are spending their time Google bombing (yes, he said "Google Bombing") positive info about Quixtar so that the negative sites will be buried way down at the bottom of the Google list when a prospect types in 'Quixtar.' Nobody will even be able to find the negative sites anymore."

Greg Duncan

Netflix has successfully used Google bombs to push Netflix-friendly sites to the top search results when Googling "netflix."  Netflix did a good job too--there's a bunch of anti-Netflix web sites at the very bottom of Google's search results. 


November 22, 2005 [bookmark]

39 Rentals Missing

While comparing the online version of my rental history with my old e-mailed history I discovered that 39 rentals were deleted from the online version.  The majority of these were broken rentals.  Some were wrong shipments although there's a couple that were mistakenly shipped either through fault of my own or Netflix.  I also reported a couple of the 39 rentals damaged as they had difficulty playing although I was able to watch them--as a favor to Netflix and their subscribers so they would be repaired or removed from circulation.

I've never calculated how long it took Netflix to send replacements for problem rentals so it was interesting to find out it took 8 days on average for Netflix to send my replacements.  I would also point out all 5 copies of T.T.S Airbats disc 2 were shipped broken.

Returned Receipt

I finally received a signed returned receipt from Netflix.  This is proof I sent my letter opting out of the settlement.  I noticed the postmark had the same date that we received a call from a supposed Netflix lawyer.

Broken Blockbuster DVD #7

Today Silent Mobius vol. 1 arrived cracked in half.  It and another Blockbuster Online envelope appeared crumpled as if they were squashed under the weight of something heavy.


November 20, 2005

TallRock.net Workaround [bookmark]

Along with deleting years worth of subscriber's records, Netflix prevents customers from analyzing their rental histories at such sites as TallRock.net.  Netflix has already been sued over their delivery times--Netflix doesn't want other customers to do the same.  Here's a workaround so Netflix customers can still analyze their rental histories at Tallrock.

Here's the results of TallRock's analysis using my current rental history:

  • You have rented 676 DVDs over 28 months. (That's an average of 24 DVDs per month).
  • On average, 26% of your rentals were delayed (i.e. 'throttled') by Netflix.
  • In your most recent month of data (11/2005), your rentals were delayed 60% of the time.
  • In processing the input data, the program found 5 problem rentals and 27 multiple rentals. 

Unless you save your rental history within 90 days, you will loose information about "problem" and "multiple" rentals.  This hides the fact Netflix mailed you broken or damaged rentals as well as other problems.  Also, you won't be able to find out if Netflix has been delaying (throttling) your shipments.

Combine Your Old E-Mailed & 90 Day History

Here are instructions for combining both your e-mailed Netflix history (if you have one) with your online 90 Day history so your records will be complete.


November 19, 2005

Netflix Withholding Subscriber Data [bookmark]

Netflix used to provide detailed rental data however the company has recently deleted years worth of subscriber rental histories due to a recent class action lawsuit involving delivery times reminiscent of the Enron paper shredding.  GreenCine and Blockbuster continue to provide complete subscriber rental histories.

Blockbuster Online

Blockbuster Online User History

GreenCine

GreenCine User History

2 Weeks No Receipt!

It's been 2 weeks since I mailed my request to opt-out of the Netflix settlement.  Unfortunately, it looks like the address Netflix used is bogus.  My letter was sent certified mail with return receipt.  If I don't hear back soon I'll send the same letter to Netflix's corporate office.

Anonymous Phone Call

On November 16, 2005, my wife received a phone call from someone claiming to be a lawyer representing Netflix.  The call was from a private number.  They asked to speak with me except I was sleeping after working a 12-hour midnight shift.  He asked my wife what my intentions were since I was opting-out of the settlement.  He also mentioned this web site.


November 18, 2005 [bookmark]

Backing Up Your History

If you haven't backed up your history yet it's too late.  Netflix knows this is important evidence for your lawsuit.  Check your e-mail for any histories you may have possibly requested in the past.  I've created instructions for backing up your history from the Netflix web site.  In the past, Netflix provided spreadsheet-friendly rental histories:  this is no longer the case.  The best solution I could come up with is using MS Excel.  Here's the instructions.  

Here is my entire Netflix history combining my 90 day activity (available on the Web) with previously e-mailed rental records.  I'll have to update my records every 90 days as Netflix deletes my history online.


November 13, 2005

Missing Data In History [bookmark]

I just noticed Netflix has changed its method of displaying user's rental history.  In the past, Netflix would e-mail user's history which was annoying due to the wait (see example).  Yet, these e-mailed histories contained valuable information such as shipping and received dates.  Netflix no longer e-mails your history.  Instead, histories are made available on their web site however my history produced a 558K web page with significant download time.  I also noticed the new histories are incomplete.  Netflix has omitted broken rentals, shipping dates, and possibly other information.  Note, the new histories hinder your attempts to analyze your rental activity with spreadsheets or with web sites such as tallrock.net.  It's almost as if Netflix doesn't want you understand your rental activity--possibly due to the recent class action lawsuit involving delivery times.

If you haven't backed up your Netflix history, start now.  Netflix will only keep receive dates and other information for 90 days then it's lost.  


November 6, 2005

Hold Out For More Cash [bookmark]

Send a letter certified mail with return receipt to Netflix stating you wish to exclude yourself from the class action lawsuit, Chavez vs. Netflix (case number CGC-04-434884).  Write your wish to preserve your right to bring a lawsuit against Netflix concerning the Released Claims.  Send letters to:

Netflix Opt-Out
5654 Geary Blvd
#210511
San Francisco, CA 94121

Sample Letter

Here's the letter I sent today.  My postage came to $4.42 for certified mail with return receipt.

I for one will not accept Netflix's measly payoff--a free upgrade for 1 month.  It's only worth a paltry $6.00 dollars .  I intend to hold out for more cash.  I intend to sue Netflix too!  Anyone know a good lawyer?

Although I'm opting out of the settlement, I don't view it as a failure.  Frank Chavez had the determination to look "cocksure" braggart Reed Hastings, in the eye and say "you're a crook!"  Hastings flinched changing Netflix advertising to exclude "one day delivery" and "same day delivery" from his advertising.  Hastings also forced himself to admit most subscribers receive shipments the next day.  Furthermore, Hastings reluctantly changed his Terms Of Use somewhat acknowledging the act of throttling his customers:  Netflix finally admits they deliberately withhold shipments and deliberately ship from far away distribution centers to throttle their customers.


Fighting Spirit!

Netflix is under the impression that the anime Fighting Spirit is an eight volume series.  It isn't.  Volume 9 hasn't been released yet and Netflix won't let me "save" this title in my queue.  However, GreenCine does realize this series continues and I've "requested"  Fighting Spirit vol. 9 from GreenCine.  Requesting a yet to be released title assures me that I won't forget about watching the rest of the series.


October's Stats

 
Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Rentals Delivered Broken Rentals Cost/Rental
(playable movies)
Turnaround
Days
Netflix $19.07 12 0 $1.59 2.5
Blockbuster $15.89 12 0 $1.32 2.5
GreenCine $21.95 11 0 $2.00 2.8
Total $56.91 35 0 $1.63 0.9

Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during October 2005.  Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.  Add in the 2 free rentals I received from Blockbuster and the cost per rental decreases to $1.13.

It's been a while since I've received a broken rental from Netflix.  I wonder what happened?

Averages: Last 8 Months
Service Turnaround
Days/Rental
Rentals/
Week
Rentals/
Month
Price/
Movie
Netflix 2.3 3.1 13.5 $1.41
Blockbuster 2.4 3.0 12.9 $1.23
GreenCine 3.2 2.2 9.6 $2.28

These averages exclude broken and missing rentals (see data).


October 27, 2005

Blockbuster Online In-Store Coupons

I made use of my Blockbuster Online in-store coupons this week.  They're useful for occasions when no rentals arrive in the mail.  I rented Vampire Princess Miyu vol. 1-2.  The store only had these volumes and I'm renting the rest online.  GreenCine was the only one that had volume 3.  Neither Blockbuster Online nor Netflix has volume 3 even though the series is still in print.  Subscribing to 3 services helps fill in the availability gaps.


October 26, 2005 [bookmark]

HackingNetflix: Consumer Advocate Or Shill Blog?

I was thoroughly disgusted with the tall tale Mike Kaltschnee (HackingNetflix) told reporters at the :

 "It's sort of like the unadulterated truth about Netflix," Mr. Kaltschnee said. "We hope that Netflix reads these things and notices trends and fixes them."

HackingNetflix is "unadulterated truth?" When did Kaltschnee become a consumer advocate?  Remarkably, Kaltschnee's 2nd statement sounds just like my goal statement for this journal.  What a hypocrite!  Mike has already proven HackingNetflix is far from being "fair and balanced." Historically, HackingNetflix has made Netflix look good and dissatisfied customers look bad.  Here's some statements Kaltschnee made concerning Netflix's practice of throttling customers:

"I'm sick of this topic"

"Manuel, I saw your post, and also the Channel 7 story , but it's the same thing over and over. I'm sick of this issue."

"I was hoping this would close the issue and we could all get on with our lives."

Kaltschnee hardly sounds like someone concerned with Netflix subscriber satisfaction.  In fact, for someone who claims he'll blog about "anything" related to Netflix, Kaltschnee ignored an important exposé ABC news did on Netflix's customer throttling.  Kaltschnee and his shills did their best in persuading subscribers throttling did not exist.  It doesn't take long for someone to figure out what's going on at HackingNetflix.  If you want my opinion, Kaltschnee has the company's interests at heart, not its subscribers.


October 23, 2005

Throttling: Epilogue

It's been a year since the big debate over the intentional delay in shipments to Netflix customers.  Since then the company has admitted it provides service on 2 tiers:  profitable customers receive better service.  As I look back, it's painfully clear Netflix shills were working on damage control.  Here's a 7-page discussion over throttling from last year.  Customers complained about being throttled then were viciously attacked by Netflix shills denouncing their complaints as lies.  Netflix customers had no proof back then they were being throttled and took the abuse.  Throttling has been exposed yet customer abuse continues at HackingNetflix.


October, 19, 2005

"Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" Part 10 [bookmark]

On October 15, 2005 I sent an inquiry to Netflix customer support asking what does "Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" mean.  Today, I finally received a reply:

Wed, 19 Oct 2005 11:43

Hello Manuel,

Thank you for contacting Netflix.com customer support! 

Mail is sent and returned using the guidelines set forth by the US 
Postal Service. Movies are returned to the address listed on the envelope
which is typically your Nearest Shipping Facility. 

Please rest assured if an address is not listed on your Netflix mailer, 
the movie will be returned to the Nearest Shipping Facility.

More information about US Postal Service requirements can be found at:

http://www.usps.com/

If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to 
contact us. 

Thanks,
xxxxxxx,
Netflix Customer Service .

Lately, most of my rentals have been from out of state (i.e Phoenix, AZ).  I've been adding my own labels so they get returned here in Michigan.

Related posts:

"Nearest Netflix Shipping Facility" Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9


October 14, 2005

Netflix, GreenCine, & Blockbuster Online:  A Comparison of Customer Satisfaction [bookmark]

After renting nearly 1,000 DVDs online, I've experienced the intricacies, quirks, and pitfalls of online DVD renting.  I started out renting from Netflix 2 years ago then subscribed to Blockbuster Online and GreenCine a year ago after becoming dissatisfied with Netflix's service.

  1. Community Friendliness: There is no doubt Netflix has a hostile Google search the site with racist terms and you'll be surprised by the results.  Netflix members often chastise others for renting titles they object to.  I've experienced friendly interactions on GreenCine's message boards.  Blockbuster doesn't have an online community at this time.
  2. Rentals Per Month:  Both Netflix and Blockbuster provide me approximately 13 rentals per month while GreenCine provides approximately 9 movies per month.  The difference is due to location.  Both Netflix and Blockbuster have distribution centers 80 miles from my residence while GreenCine's only distribution center is over 2,000 miles away.
  3. Price Per Rental:  Correlates with the rentals per month.  My Netflix and Blockbuster cost per rental is approximately $1.39 and $1.22 respectively while GreenCine's cost is significantly higher at $2.34 per rental.
  4. Anime Selection:  GreenCine has the best anime selection.  In fact, I built my GreenCine queue with anime Netflix didn't carry.  Netflix continues to make improvements however GreenCine has the edge, especially with older titles.  Blockbuster's anime selection is not as comprehensive which makes it difficult utilizing their service.  Personally, I believe Blockbuster should hold off raising their subscription price until their online service improves in order to compete on equal footing.
  5. Foreign Film Selection:  I've recently compared all three's foreign film selection and all did poorly although Blockbuster did slightly better than the others.
  6. Adding Volumes To Queue:  If you're watching a serial (i.e. Cheers), Netflix and GreenCine make it easy to add additional volumes to your queue.  Just click the volume in your queue and additional volume information will be displayed.  Blockbuster makes you type a search to add additional titles.  However, all three allow you to add the entire series to your queue--this doesn't always work well as rentals often end up in your mailbox out of sequence.
  7. Envelope Quality:  Blockbuster should redesign their envelopes as they often come apart during shipping.  One Blockbuster rental was lost in the mail as the envelope came apart and the DVD fell out.  Unlike Blockbuster and Netflix , GreenCine pads their envelopes to protect DVDs.
  8. Playable Rentals:  My pet peeve!  If I had to choose one reason for disliking Netflix it would be the number of cracked rentals they've sent me.  Over the past 2 years Netflix has sent me 2 dozen cracked rentals, 1 scratched rental that would not play and 4 rentals which I did not order.   Blockbuster has also sent an alarming number of broken rentals--this is the result of mailing fragile DVDs without any type of protection.  Occasionally, all three services ship rentals that have minor playback difficulty due to scratches.  None of the 116 rentals I've received from GreenCine have been broken or unplayable. 
  9. Ethical Business Practice:  Netflix is the only company that I've had concerns over honesty.  Last year, I noticed a significant decrease in my rentals per month and I complained online.  The Netflix community ridiculed my complaint and accused me of being paranoid.  Finally, the company admitted providing customers service on 2 tiers--more profitable customers received better service.  Furthermore, Netflix has been using spyware on the public to steal customers from Blockbuster, GreenCine, and others.  Also, Netflix insulted consumers' intelligence by promoting a customer satisfaction survey which remarkably omitted Netflix customers. 
  10. Rental Recommendations:  98% of the titles I rent are anime yet Blockbuster and Netflix consistently recommend other genres.  GreenCine recommends anime--I'm not that hard to please.
  11. Title Availability:  Here's another area Blockbuster can improve on before raising their prices.  Too many times I have moved titles from my Blockbuster queue to Netflix or GreenCine due to seemingly indefinite "coming soon" or long waits.
  12. Free In-Store Rentals:  Blockbuster provides a solution for those occasions when mail isn't delivered or when rentals didn't arrive in the mail.  Currently, Blockbuster also offers free used DVDs on selected titles.
  13. Rating Individual Volumes:  This is a feature that Netflix had at one time but chose to discontinue.  It's useful to know a volume's rating.  Depending on the rating you may choose whether or not to rent a particular volume.
  14. Volume Information:  Netflix usually provides information on each volume except GreenCine is more in-depth.  In this example, GreenCine provides volume information on the anime Lost Universe.  Not only does GreenCine provide volume number, they include the volume title as well--Netflix does not.  GreenCine and Blockbuster also provide the DVD cover for each volume as well as a separate page with information on each volume.  Netflix omitting this information is a minor inconvenience.  Granted Blockbuster Online is still organizing their web site, however they occasionally omit basic information like the volume number which sends me to GreenCine looking for information.  Both GreenCine and Netflix are more reliable for basic information such as volume number.
  15. Search Engine Results:  I have no particular opinion on Blockbuster's or Netflix's search engine.  I will say GreenCine was able to find the anime Seven of Seven while Netflix could not.  Netflix lists this title as "Nana Seven of Seven" probably as this title in Japanese is Shichinin No Nana (Seven people of Seven).

Instrument

In order to provide a meaningful review of the 3 companies, I created a 15-item questionnaire utilizing a 5-point Likert scale.  The questionnaire's objective is to measure Netflix, GreenCine, and Blockbuster customer satisfaction.

Findings

After administering the questionnaire to myself I determined that GreenCine provided the best customer satisfaction:

OVERALL SCORES
Netflix = 2.7
Blockbuster Online = 2.7 
GreenCine = 3.5

Blockbuster's service is still new and constantly improving.  Making a few much needed improvements should put them ahead of Netflix in customer satisfaction.  You're more than welcome to compare your results with mine.


October 9, 2005

One Year With GreenCine [bookmark]

10/6/04 - 10/6/05
  Rentals
November 8
December 10
January 9
February 9
March 9
April 9
May 9
June 11
July 9
August 10
September 11
October 9
Total 113
Average/month 9.42
Average cost/rental $2.33

Does GreenCine Throttle?  You might compare my Netflix and GreenCine average rentals per month and conclude: GreenCine sends you less rentals therefore they must be throttling.  I've found this unlikely to be true.  First, compare the distance from my home and each distributions center.  

My home to Netflix's Lansing MI distribution center = 80 miles

My home to GreenCine's San Francisco CA distribution center = 2,080 miles

Next, I used USPS's site to calculate the number of days it would take to mail my rentals to each distribution center.

Days to Netflix's Lansing MI distribution center = 1

Days to GreenCine's SF CA distribution center = 3

Based on this information, I've concluded that I should receive 18 Netflix rentals and 9 GreenCine rentals per month.  I also compared these results with TallRock's Rental Simulator and FrogCircus' with the following settings:

 

Based on number of rentals received per billing period (6th of every month) at a price of $21.95 every month.  History available.
TallRock FrogCircus
Plan = 3-at-a-time Shipping Days/Month =22
Postal Days:

Netflix=1 (100%)
GreenCine = 3 (100%)

Plan = 3-at-a-time
Keep Days = 1 (100%) Transit Time:

Netflix =1
GreenCine=3

Throttle = 0% Turnaround Time=Same Day

TallRock calculated 24 Netflix and 9 GreenCine rentals per month.  FrogCircus calculated 22 Netflix and 10 GreenCine rentals per month.  My actual rental averages are 13.7 Netflix and 9.4 GreenCine rentals per month.  Based TallRock and FrogCircus' results, I've determined GreenCine's throttle rate is 0-6% while Netflix's throttle rate is 38-43%.

In summary, while GreenCine's rentals travel a vast distance to my home they are shipped out immediately.  In contrast, Netflix rentals travel a relatively short distance yet spend lengthy detentions in their distribution centers. 


October 6, 2005 [bookmark]

Netflix Funding Spyware?

For the record, Netflix admits to using spyware, "Companies including Netflix Inc. and Orbitz LLC have acknowledged using adware" to promote themselves online according to Adware Report (July 6, 2005).

What is adware?

adware (n.) A form of spyware that collects information about the user in order to display advertisements in the Web browser based on the information it collects from the user's browsing patterns.

Webopedia.com


October 4, 2005

Netflix Linked To Pornography [bookmark]

As part of my research on Netflix spyware, I found another article:

What circumstances could bring pornography, Air France, Apple Computers, Vonage, Netflix, and J.P. Morgan Chase together...approximately 281 ads (just over 34%) served up were for adult-oriented (pornographic, gambling and sexual health) advertisers. The consequences of ads of this sort showing up on a PC used by the entire family are not difficult to imagine.

Blogcritics.org

Read the story: Spyware: Follow The Money

Related Posts:

Netflix Use Of Spyware Undisclosed To Subscribers
Netflix Settles Over Infringement Of Spyware Patents
Netflix Fan, Netflix, & Spyware
Netflix & Spyware:  "Where's The Proof?"
Blockbuster Traffic Rerouted To Netflix!
Netflix Reroutes Traffic Through Security Holes!


October 1, 2005

September's Stats [bookmark]

Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Rentals Delivered Broken Rentals Cost/Rental
(playable movies)
Turnaround
Days
Netflix $19.07 15 0 $1.27 2.0
Blockbuster $15.89 15 1 $1.13 2.2
GreenCine $21.95 10 0 $2.20 3.0
Total $56.91 40 1 $1.46 0.8

Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during September 2005.  Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.

 
Averages: Last 7 Months
Service Turnaround
Days/Rental
Rentals/
Week
Rentals/
Month
Price/
Movie
Netflix 2.2 3.2 13.7 $1.39
Blockbuster 2.3 3.0 13.0 $1.22
GreenCine 3.2 2.2 9.4 $2.33

These averages exclude broken and missing rentals (see data).

Service Rentals Broken
Rentals
Scratched
Unplayable
Rentals
Rentals
Lost In
Mail
Total
Unplayable
Rentals*
%
Unplayable
Rentals
Ratio
Unplayable
Rentals
Netflix 661 24 1 0 25 3.8 1 out of 26
Blockbuster 134 6 0 1 7 5.2 1 out of 19
GreenCine 113 0 0 0 0 0 0 out of 113
Total 908 30 1 1 32 3.5 1 out of 28

Total unplayable rentals are the sum of broken rentals, scratched unplayable rentals, and lost rentals.   Percent and ratio calculated using the Broken Rental Ratio & Percent Calculator--I substituted broken rentals with unplayable ones.


September 30, 2005

SkipDr Saves The Day

SkipDr is cheap and flimsy but it works.  My copy of Rurouni Kenshin vol. 11 from Netflix played except I was unable to access the main menu as well as the Japanese audio/English subtitles.  Listening to Kenshin in English was not what I wanted.  Plus, I wanted to see the liner notes in the main menu.  I could see the scratches that were causing the problem so I used the SkipDr to remove them.  I used it 4 times unsuccessfully although each time I got further through the AnimeWorks (distributor) animation before the DVD froze.  I used SkipDr a 5th time and decided if it didn't work I'd listen to Kenshin in English.  My DVD player had a difficult time although it finally accessed the main menu and I was able to enjoy Kenshin in Japanese.

If anyone comes across a copy of Rurouni Kenshin vol. 11 with funny swirls on it, that would be the one I rented.


September 29, 2005

Netflix Sued! [bookmark]

NETFLIX INC.: Consumers File Fraud Suit Over DVD Delivery in CA

Netflix, Inc. faces a class action filed in California Superior Court, City and County of San Francisco by ***********, individually and on behalf of others similarly situated.

The complaint asserts claims of, among other things, false advertising, unfair and deceptive trade practices, breach of contract as well as claims relating to the Company's statements regarding DVD delivery times. The complaint seeks restitution, disgorgement, damages, and injunction and specific performance and other relief. 

Who would have thought.  Oh, something about a "settlement" and "lowered" profits.

Forbes: Netflix Lowers Earnings-View On Lawsuit

Looking for case information on Netflix?  Visit the Superior Court of California County of San Francisco Electronic Information Center.  Click the "Name Search Query" button and enter "netflix."  Install the plug-in to view their documents.


Expect Fewer Anime Titles [bookmark]

Anime NationRenting anime is the reason I subscribe to Netflix.  Initially, their selection was poor yet Netflix improved over time.  Now, another hurdle may hinder anime availability.  Just as Netflix increases its anime selection, the anime industry decides to scale back.  Anime hasn't lost its appeal with fans yet sales are flat.  Although anime continues to grow in popularity, the industry has overestimated its growth.  The hype over Pokeman and Dragonball spurred the industry into flooding the market with new titles.  Retail giant Target recently decided to take anime off its shelves hinting sales are poor.  

"'There's way too much supply and not enough demand. Publishers overshot their estimates and had way too many returns. Target just started scaling back their anime section, and I don't blame them. They got burned,' said Tibbey."

Wired News

Other factors dissuade the industry from distributing anime in America.  As the popularity of anime grew so did distributing costs here in the States.  Distributors such as Geneon, ADV, and Bandai see little gain in releasing lesser known titles with poor profit potential.  

"Companies are going to be more selective in what they release... Five years ago, there was a huge demand for just anything because there wasn't as much of a saturation. But consumers are savvy now. They know what's going on, what the buzz is behind and they're going to key in on those."

Anime Insider

Also, fan sites are distributing anime straight from Japan before it has the chance to be sold in America: why buy it when you can download it.  Cartoon Network's latest anime hit, Naruto, is freely distributed on the Net even before it has an opportunity to be sold (Google "naruto").  The Netflix community hasn't helped matters either.  They're quick to criticize members renting anime and Japanese culture itself.

Interesting Anime Facts:

  • the average price of an anime DVD is $26.00
  • more than 120,000 anime episodes are downloaded from BitTorrent each day
  • 5.7 million anime DVDs are sold per year
  • there are 3,100 anime DVD titles available at this time
  • anime account for nearly 7% of all DVDs
  • 2004: anime industry worth $500 million (compare with video game industry $9 billion)
  • 1st quarter 2005: Anime DVDs account for 1.5% DVDs sold outselling foreign films (1.3%), documentaries (1.1%), and musicals/music videos (1.2%)

References:

Anxious times in the cartoon underground
Anime dvd low sales
Hello Anime! The Documentary DVD Behind The Scenes Of Anime
Ask John: Is the American Anime Industry Dying?
Anime, the Next Generation
Target Phasing Out Most Anime


September 28, 2005

Dragon Drive Finally Arrives From Blockbuster

Yesterday, I finally received my replacement copy of Dragon Drive vol. 9 from Blockbuster Online.  I requested a replacement copy from Blockbuster on 9/9/05.  About a week ago, I phone Blockbuster customer service to ask them what the hold up was.  Although Dragon Drive vol. 9 was no longer in my queue, it was marked as being "In My Queue."  Customer service told me this title was placed in a "virtual priority list" and would be shipped out as soon as possible.  I didn't imagine it would take this long.


September 27, 2005 [bookmark]

Voice Your Opinion

Someone recently wrote:

While I read lots of "tough talk" and possible law suit action, isn't the easiest solution just to send a message by discontinuing service ??? Doesn't seem like that big a deal, and lost revenue will be noticed by Netflix faster than any other communication.

How does this help out the next guy deciding whether Netflix is right for him?  We subscribers know Netflix has problems yet no one else does.  Don't be shy, spread the word.  Last week, the term "netflix" became a top 10 search keyword on this web site.  People are Googling "netflix" for information and reading My Opinion of Netflix.  They get to learn about all the broken rentals I received, throttling, and discover "unlimited" rentals is just a come on for service they'll never get. 


September 15, 2005 [bookmark]

Product Review: SkipDr

Yesterday, I received Kaze No Yojimbo vol. 4 from Netflix.  Unfortunately, my DVD player would not play the last two episodes.  Surprisingly, the rental didn't look any more scratched than your usual Netflix DVD.  I also tried using my PC's DVD player without success.  Kaze No Yojimbo is one of my favorite anime mysteries.  Having it stop in the middle was disappointing to say the least, although it's not the first time it happened.  I purchased Kaze No Yojimbo vol. 1 for the same reason.  My choices were:

  1. reorder the DVD from Netflix
  2. purchase it
  3. repair it

SkipDr $30.00I've had bad luck with replacement DVDs shipped from Netflix.  Plus, Netflix takes forever sending out replacements.  I usually end up waiting for a week.  Purchasing a DVD works well if you don't mind spending the cash--sort of defeats the purpose of renting.  I've tried repairing a DVD using toothpaste without any luck however, I wanted to try a commercial product.  I took a chance and purchased a DVD scratch remover tool called SkipDr.

First, SkipDr is a shoddy product.  It's made of cheap flimsy plastic.  I've seen sturdier children's toys.  Customer's deserve a more robust product for $29.00 dollars.  Next, SkipDr does not come assembled.  I had to force the resurfacing wheel into its slot hoping it would not break.  Finally, using SkipDr was a dissapointment.  According to the directions, cranking the handle is supposed to resurface the DVD while rotating it at the same time.  My skipDr did not rotate the DVD.  I had to take the DVD out rotate it, put it back in, and turn the handle.  Imagine doing this a hundred times!  But I wasn't finished yet.  I spent about another 10 minutes painstakingly buffing my rental with a piece of felt cloth.

Does SkipDr work?  Yes!  Is it worth the hassle?  That's debatable.  After using this product I was able to watch the last two episodes without difficulty.  A final note:  the makers of SkipDr claim it can by used 50 times without replacing the resurfacing wheel.  My wheel was visibly worn just after one use.

Recommendations:  This product is a must for Netflix subscribers.

Recipe for making a Netflix rental DVD (bookmark)

  1. Buy one perfectly brand new DVD
  2. Lightly scour the DVD with fine sand paper
  3. Grab a kitchen fork and randomly gouge the DVD - just a few times and not too deep
  4. You're done!  DVDs just like Netflix uses!  Bon appetite!

September 9, 2005

Broken Blockbuster DVD #6

Dragon Drive vol. 9 arrives broken.


September 6, 2005

Foreign Films:  Where To Find Them [bookmark]

Aventurera (1950), Director: Alberto Gout Both Netflix and Blockbuster Online claim to have the best film selection.  Out of curiosity, I conducted a test to see which service had the best foreign film selection.   Several months ago, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) aired several popular and award winning films to celebrate the golden age of Mexican cinema.  Unfortunately, I did not get to see them.  I searched GreenCine, Netflix, and Blockbuster for these films hoping they would be available.  I wasn't sure what to expect and was disappointed to find all three carried few, if any, of these films:
Title GreenCine BlockBuster Netflix TCM
Los Olvidados (1950)       Yes
Nazarin (1950)       Yes
Viridiana (1961) Yes Yes Yes Yes
El Ángel Exterminador (1962)       Yes
Simón Del Desierto (1965)       Yes
La Perla (1947)       Yes
Maria Candelaria (1944)     Request Yes
Enamorada (1946)   Yes   Yes
Dona Barbara (1943)       Yes
El Compadre Mendoza (1934)   Yes Yes Yes
Vamanos Con Pancho Villa (1936)   Yes Yes Yes
Aventurera (1950) Request Yes Yes Yes
Macario (1960) Request   Request Yes
Ahi Esta el Detalle (1940)   Yes Request Yes
Calabacitas Tiernas (1949)       Yes
Dos Tipos de Cuidado (1953) Request   Request Yes
Ansiedad (1953)   Yes   Yes

*Request means these films are not available at this time although you may request it.  I've had Yukikaze vol. 2 on request for a year now from Netflix. Results updated 11/28/2006

I was surprised by the results.  I expected GreenCine to carry the most yet they didn't have any of these films on hand.  While each service faired poorly, Blockbuster did the best of the three.  I had already known Netflix had a poor selection of Mexican films since that was one of the first things I checked after signing up with the service.  Keep in mind these services may have more foreign films than what my test found.   Hopefully, TCM will show these films again next year.

Deja vu:  Holidays = No Rentals

Another Memorial day has passed with no rentals in the mail.  This time I used my Blockbuster Online coupons and rented Saiyuki: Requiem and Once Upon A Time (Windaria).  Both were enjoyable except I was disappointed Windaria was an English dub only.  I forced myself to listen to ADV's mediocre screenplay and hack acting.  By the way, Netflix has mistakenly listed Once Upon A Time as a subtitled version.  It is not!  Check ADV's catalog.  I've tried to point out mistakes to Netflix before but no one listens.


Too Many Complaints!

I've fallen behind reading my e-mail.  I've posted some of e-mailed Netflix customer opinions sent early August.  It does take a while to sort through these.  I do screen them.


September 4, 2005

August Rental Statistics [bookmark]

Service Monthly Cost
(tax included)
Rentals Delivered Broken Rentals Cost/Rental
(playable movies)
Turnaround
Days
Netflix $19.07 18 0 $1.06 1.7
Blockbuster $15.89 17 1 $0.99 1.9
GreenCine $21.95 11 0 $2.00 2.8
Total $56.91 46 1 $1.26 0.7

Services compared using rentals "returned" or "received" during August 2005.  Cost/rental & turnaround computed using Price/Rental & Turnaround Calculator.  Please note, Netflix knows about this site.  Are they sending me extra rentals to manipulate my statistics?  Who knows.
Last 6 Month Averages
Service Turnaround
Days/Rental
Rentals/
Week
Rentals/
Month
Price/
Movie
Netflix 2.3 3.1 13.5 $1.41
Blockbuster 2.4 3.0 12.8 $1.24
GreenCine 3.3 2.1 9.3 $2.35

To be consistent, these averages now exclude broken and missing rentals (see data).

My Complete Rental History

This is the most current rental history that I have which includes Netflix, GreenCine, and Blockbuster.


July - August 2005


My Netflix Journal Archive


Turnaround Predictor | Price/Rental Calculator & Turnaround Time | Broken Rental Ratio & Percent | My Opinion of Netflix | My Netflix Journal | Customer Opinions