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My Netflix Journal: 4/05 - 5/05

By Manuel Villanueva
October 24, 2003
Last updated January 8, 2007

 

May 20, 2005

I started a new page.


May 19, 2005 (8:15 AM EST)

Walmart's Online DVD Service Shuts Down.

Walmart has announced it's closing down it's online DVD rental service, effective next month, and sends its customers to Netflix.  What's strange is Walmart is a financial giant compared to Netflix:

"It takes Wal-Mart less than a day to surpass Netflix's 2004 sales of $506 million." -- Michael Liedtke

Now, David Andelman is a guy who shares my point of view.

"So now, Netflix and Wal-Mart have hooked up. A marriage made far from heaven--probably in that other darker, warmer place. Yet anytime you sprinkle Wal-Mart fairy-dust over some supplier, it's bound to send investors into a convulsion of buying."

I see other strange partnerships in the future like Blockbuster and Amazon.


May 16, 2005

Broken Blockbuster DVD # 4

My replacement copy of Argentosoma vol. 3 was also broken which leads me to believe that Blockbuster Online's entire inventory of this title is damaged.  Which leads me to believe that Blockbuster Online and Netflix both purchase their DVDs from the same crappy distributor.

New Rule:

  1. When I receive a broken rental from Netflix or Blockbuster and the replacement is broken as well, order the title from GreenCine next time.

We can all assume that DVDs from Netflix and Blockbuster get damaged in the mail.  However, the probability of the US mail damaging the exact same title is very low.  I've already made the point before that mailmen do not have x-ray vision allowing them to selectively destroy DVDs at will.  I've mentioned before that I ordered Jungle Emperor Leo from Netflix then received it cracked.  I thought my luck would be better ordering it from Blockbuster except it was also cracked.  Then I ordered it from GreenCine and it without any damage.

Comments:

I see on your site you have the following comment:

"However, the probability of the US mail damaging the exact same title is very low. I've already made the point before that mailmen do not have x-ray vision allowing them to selectively destroy DVDs at will. "

This is incorrect. Well, not the x-ray vision part, but the damage to the exact same title part.

All DVDs are not all created equal. Some are made of higher quality materials than others. The key is the flexibility of the disc. The more flexible the less prone to breakage they are in the USPS automated sorters. It's very likely that this particular anime title is one of the more brittle DVDs.

You are correct in that GreenCine does have a more protective mailer than Netflix or Blockbuster. However, GreenCine mailer's cost is quite high in contrast to the aforementioned paper mailers. I'd be willing to bet that when all costs are included ( postage, mailer, breakage ) that the paper envelopes are more cost effective in the long run.

/me wonders what the odds of this actually being
mentioned on the site are?

 


May 12, 2005

Anime: Netflix Versus GreenCine

I've finally checked my rental histories at GreenCine, Netflix, and Blockbuster to see if I've missed any volumes of anime.  Using, NotePad, FrontPage, and Excel I was able to create an entire history of my anime rentals.  It turns out there's a long list of shows I didn't finish.  There's several reasons for this:

  1. Netflix had spotty anime selection when I joined over a year ago.  I would watch trailers for new shows and see if Netflix had them.  Half of the time Netflix didn't carry them.
  2. Some shows weren't worth watching.  It doesn't happen often but anime that I give 3 out of 5 stars didn't pique my interest. 
  3. Some volumes had not been released yet.  This is frustrating.  You start watching a series then wait for the next volume to be released except you forget all about it.
  4. On several occasions Netflix has deleted rentals from my queue.  I figured their database crashed and they backed it up with data that was days or weeks old.  This was frustrating as I realized months later what had happened.
  5. My own fault.  There have been times I've forgotten to add the next episode to my queue.

I consider GreenCine to be the standard for anime rentals.  I searched for titles I had rented using GreenCine.  It took days to finish but I was surprised by a few things.

  1. Out of a 684 anime titles GreenCine lacked one title Netflix had.  Super Atragon (Shin kaitei gunkan) could not be found at GreenCine.  By the way, my GreenCine queue was built out of anime Netflix didn't carry.
  2. Netfix carries adult titles!  Won't Netflix be surprised they carry adult anime.  Initially, I thought there were more titles that GreenCine didn't carry but I searched to include adult titles and there they were.  The titles are My My Mai and Strange Love.

There were a few minor differences in Netflix and GreenCine's anime selection.  For example, different title names were given for the same title. (i.e. Netflix's Escaflowne vs. Greencine's Vision Of Escaflowne).  

GreenCine's
Vision of
Escaflowne
Netflix's
Escaflowne
GreenCine Netflix

Some of their versions differed as well.  While Netflix carries the rerelease of Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yugi), GreenCine carries the previous version.  Similarly, GreenCine carries both the original release of Evangelion and Evangelion Platinum while Netflix only carries the original version.  Netflix also likes to sneak individual releases into serials with the same name.  Overall, I find GreenCine is more consistent and reliable in listing their anime titles.  Between the titles I have in my queue, on my wish list, and those incomplete in my history I'll be watching anime for a long time.


May 11, 2005

Broken Rental Ratio & Percentage Calculator

enter total # rentals
enter # broken rentals
% broken rentals
ratio broken rentals

Receiving broken movies from Netflix and Blockbuster Online has become a fact of life.  Maybe if they shipped rentals in padded envelopes like GreenCine this wouldn't be a problem.  I made this calculator for myself as a time saver and figured someone else might find this useful.  The calculator also has it's own page if you'd like to link to it.


May 10, 2005

Broken DVD #3 from Blockbuster Online

Today I received Argentosoma vol. 3 broken from Blockbuster.

Service Rentals Broken
Rentals
Scratched
Unplayable
Rentals
Total
Unplayable
Rentals
%
Unplayable
Rentals
Rentals
Lost In
Mail
Ratio
Unplayable
Rentals
Netflix 589 22 1 23 3.90 0 1 out of 25
GreenCine 65 0 0 0 0 0* 0 out of 65
Blockbuster 63 3 0 3 4.76 1 1 out of 21
Total 717 25 1 26 3.63 1 1 out of 27

I'll report Argentosoma vol.3 as broken to Blockbuster.  In my experience reporting broken rentals to Netflix slows down my service.  I'll see what happens.  I just noticed I made a mistake the last time I reported this data.  It's not easy pulling this all together.  Several things make this difficult.

  1. There is a delay in receiving my history when requesting it from Netflix.
  2. Both GreenCine and Blockbuster have your history online but they span multiple pages requiring multiple copy & paste jobs.
  3. Both GreenCine and Blockbuster's history are formatted in HTML which requires me to copy & paste to FrontPage allowing me to make changes so Excel will count my rentals properly. 

When you rent DVDs online broken rentals become a fact of life.  GreenCine may cost me the most of them all but I've never received a broken rental from them.  Shipping in padded envelopes really makes a difference.

*While I did report a rental as lost to GreenCine it arrived in the mail a couple of days after reporting it.


May 8, 2005

Wrong DVD #1 from Blockbuster Online

Last night I watched one of my Blockbuster rentals entitled, Ghost In The Shell.  It's a great anime which I saw in the movie theater almost 10 years ago.  However this was not the title I ordered.  I should have received Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex vol. 4.  I should note it was shipped in a sleeve that said Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex vol. 4.  I didn't mind watching the movie again since I had forgotten its plot and the TV series I'm renting is based on the movie (actually the manga).  I would have rather rented this anime at my local video store instead of using up a slot at Blockbuster Online.

Censorship At Blockbuster Online (Updated 5/18/05)

Update:  While checking Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex vol. 3 at Amazon I also noticed the same blacked out cover listed for the special edition but didn't pay any attention.  An anonymous e-mail today says Blockbuster Online carries the special edition--that's why the cover looks as it does.  Well, I checked Manga Entertainment Inc. and the special edition is blacked out.  I believe the special edition actually comes in a black box.  Next time I go to Media Play I check for myself.  I will point out Blockbuster online does not carry all the special edition volumes.

(Update 6/6/05)  I went to Media Play today and looked over the special edition of Ghost In The Shell.  It's in a black cardboard box.

While we're on the subject of Ghost In The Shell, I noticed that Blockbuster has censored the artwork on the cover of Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex vol. 3.  Take a look at Blockbuster's version and compare with GreenCine's version.

Title Blockbuster GreenCine Netflix
Ghost In The Shell: Stand Alone Complex vol. 3 Cover as seen at Blockbuster Cover as seen at GreenCine NO COVER

You could criticize/praise Blockbuster for their censorship except Netflix deserves even more criticism/praise for not showing the cover for this volume at all.

Comparing Services When Rating Serial Volumes

The nice thing about GreenCine and Blockbuster Online is they let you rate each volume of a series.  This has two advantages: 1. While a series as a whole might have a average rating, members could see that a particular volume is worth watching because it rated high or avoid a particular volume because it rated low.  2.  I can tell where I left off in a series by rating the last volume I rented.   Netflix used to let you rate each volume in a series but changed this over a year ago.


May 7, 2005

Postal Worker Says Don't Blame Us

Posted by: Jim on June 16, 2004 10:43 PM 

i work for the postal service. We have a lot of problems running the Netflix envelopes through the sorting machines because of two reasons. One is the way they are designed. The floppy loose end of the mailer must go through the machine first, which sometimes folds over and covers the address. If Netflix would turn the mailer over, and the solid end would be going to through the machines first, that would solve a lot of missorts, double feeds, catching onto other pieces of mail, and jams, etc. The second problem is the lousy label and barcode that Netflix attaches to them. Usually they are at an angle and the machines can read them much better if they are on straight. Also, a lot of times they are blurry and the machines wonít read them correctly. When Iím loading the machines, I usually pull the Netflix out and send them to manual sorting (unless a supervisor comes by and forces me to run them) but the biggest problem is their design. I would also like to comment on other complaints, people not getting their mail. The facility I work in is very small compared to some, and the amount of mail we get each day that ends up going to dead letter is unbelievable. People stop writing addresses in the middle of a letter, (like the phone rang, or the door bell rang), lots of no return addresses, no postage. We try to return the mail if possible to correct, but so much we are not able to return. Then of course, it becomes the lousy post office lost my letter!!! We really try everyday to deliver every letter. Itís not just a slogan!!!

Netflix (& HackingNetflix) is quick to blame the USPS when it creates the problem itself by using shoddy mailers.  Did you know there's actually products available for mailing DVDs?  Every single one of these retail products is 10 times better than the envelopes Blockbuster and Netflix use.  Is Netflix worried about broken and lost DVDs?  No.  Why worry when you pass the cost down to your customers.  Netflix customers should understand they pay for broken and lost rentals--rentals they were never able to watch.

E-Mailed Netflix Complaints

This is an apology to Netflix customers sending me complaints.  If your e-mail includes the word "blockbuster" and your e-mail could be construed as advertisement for Blockbuster your e-mail will be censored.  I apologize for censoring your e-mails but Netflix stockholder's discount my site as a paid Blockbuster advertisement.  If they took the time to read my journal, instead of blackballing me, they'd see I'm actually a GreenCine fan (my GreenCine profile).   This only applies to references to Blockbuster.  If you would like to plug another online service be my guest.  Letters from anonymous "Netflix employees" will not be published unless I have confidence your letter is genuine. 

Netflix Using Wikipedia For Shameless Self Promotion

If your not aware Netflix stockholders are using the free online encyclopedia to boost their stock.  Anyone can edit this encyclopedia and Netflix stockholders have painted a pretty picture for Netflix at the same time demonizing Blockbuster.  They're even suppressing information about Netflix's inventory allocation and delivery practices (throttling).  When someone added throttling to Netflix's entry this is what happened:

  • 00:55, 9 Jan 2005 Gunter (i'll let it go since this week dvd's have arrived on time again, but 3 days not 1-2 ever...)
  • 23:20, 8 Jan 2005 216.15.51.39 (Removed assertion regarding new delays in shipping, after examining comments on the topic at "Hacking Netflix")

I encourage everyone to edit Netflix's and Blockbuster's entries at Wikipedia.  GreenCine needs an entry as well.


May 6, 2005

2nd Update On Missing Blockbuster DVD

I received a replacement copy of Get Backers vol. 3.  After looking at the Blockbuster envelope it appears I was lucky to receive it at all.  Not only was the envelope opened; the flap with my address was almost torn off.  Blockbuster needs to redesign their envelopes so they don't open in the process of being mailed.  Also, they need to change the design so the mailing address doesn't tear off the envelope so easily.  The first step to providing a good online DVD rental service is ensuring your customer receives their rentals.

I'll be renting Get Backer's vol. 4 from GreenCine instead of Blockbuster as Blockbuster doesn't carry that volume.  I could have rented it from Netflix but I have too many DVDs in my Netflix queue.  I've mentioned if you're renting series keep your queue no more than 10 DVDs otherwise it will take forever to see the next volume.  I could add the whole series at once to my queue but then volumes arrive at my mailbox out of order which is irritating.

April's Stats

Service Monthly Cost (tax included) Movies Delivered Broken Movies Cost/Rental (playable movies)
Netflix $19.07 12 0 $1.59
Blockbuster $15.89 12 1 $1.44
GreenCine $21.95 9 0 $2.44

Services compared using rentals received during April 2005.  Cost/rental computed using Price/Rental Calculator.


May 3, 2005

Update On Missing Blockbuster DVD

I was able to account for all the movies in my queue except Get Backers vol. 3.  I called Blockbuster's Online customer service (1-866-692-2789) and was immediately transferred to a customer service rep.  I explained what happened (see previous entry) and they sent me another copy of Get Backers vol. 3.  In fact, as I hung up the phone I noticed my queue at BB had changed.  Unfortunately, BB says they have no plans on changing the design of the envelopes.  I've never called Netflix's customer service number for issues but have heard the stories of long waits on hold.  If customer service is of any importance I foresee a lot of customers headed to Blockbuster.


April 30, 2005

Anatomy Of A Blockbuster Envelope [bookmark]

ARRIVES IN MAIL LIKE THIS MAIL LIKE THIS
A B

Blockbuster's rental arrives in reusable envelope.  To open tear flap where indicated.  To mail tear portion of flap (fig. A) with your mailing address off.  You're left with (fig. B) using the remaining portion of flap to reseal the envelope and mail to Blockbuster's distribution center.  Today, I received (fig. A) with my mailing address but no envelope or DVD.  I'll assume the envelope ripped apart due to it's flimsy construction at the post office.  Then I'll assume:

  1. While the envelope is not sealed it's contents will remain inside and the post office will return my rental to Blockbuster.
  2. While the envelope is not sealed the DVD fell out and Blockbuster will not receive my rental.

I've mentioned last month that Blockbuster's envelopes are poorly designed in .  Not to say Netflix's envelopes are any better but Netflix has shipped me over 580 movies without an incident like this.

Need Your Help!

I remember hearing Netflix specifically gives trial members preferred service.  Could someone find any documentation that Netflix does this.  A Netflix source would be great.  Just  with the information.


April 24, 2005 (Bookmark)

Is Google Manipulating Data For Netflix?

Last month I wrote about Netflix customer account info ending up on search engines like Google.  Google responded to the incident by deleting all their pages in question.  Clearly, it wasn't Google's fault Netflix customer account info wound up on their server:  Netflix's web site has some security issues.  Now, I've discovered something interesting with Google concerning Netflix.  Last year, and the year before, Michael S. Muegel's page entitled, "An Analysis of Netflix's DVD Allocation System," ranked very high on Google.  In fact, I believe it ranked 2nd on Google at one time when searching "Netflix".  Mr. Muegel's paper was the first to describe Netflix's practice of providing preferred service to "low cost" customers.  It was a popular article that exposed Netflix's business practices and many people linked to it including myself.  However, this article is now buried in Google's search results which seems unlikely considering it's popularity and the number of web sites that have linked to it--that is how Google determines it results.  I've searched the word "Netflix" on several search engines to see how easy it was to find Mr. Muegel's paper:

Search Engine An Analysis of Netflix's DVD Allocation System Ranking Using The Term "Netflix"
Dogpile
AltaVista
Ask Jeeves
AllTheWeb
MSN
Yahoo
Google
22
8
3
8
6
8
146

Mr. Muegel's paper is very damning for Netflix and I can understand how Netflix would want to hide it.  I assume Google is the most popular search engine so it would make sense to encourage Google to bury Mr. Muegel's paper in their search results.  What's even more suspicious is searching for "Analysis Netflix DVD Allocation System" won't even produce Mr. Muegel's paper on the first 100 results although there are numerous results referencing his paper.  So my question still stands--Is Google manipulating data for Netflix? 

Mike Kaltschnee points out Mr. Muegel's page is old and that's why Google ranks it so low.  I don't know about that.  My cocker spaniel's page is a lot older and Google has no problems finding it when searching "Gabby's Page."   I will point out Google will lower a web page's ranking if the author purposely manipulates keywords on a page.  This is not the case either.

Recognizing Misinformation On The Web

If you partake in a online discussion about Netflix please realize there are many posters that are not real customers.  They're what I call shills (spokesperson or promoter).  These posters have financial interests in Netflix (ie. employee, stockholder, paid poster).  Their purpose is to sell you Netflix.  Here's a perfect example:

While I did experience throttling in the past, I no longer do. Lately I have been sent a new DVD every day, without fail, with no sign of slowdown, even if I return each DVD immediately, for weeks on end.

Has Netflix miraculously changed their ?  No.  Most of these posters are anonymous.  You have no idea whether or not they're real Netflix customers.  I've been writing about Netflix since 2003 after becoming frustrated with their customer service.  There's not that many Netflix users that have documented their experience as I have.  Although I might have my opinion, I have provided objective data such as my cost per rental.  I've provided tools such as a price per rental calculator which allows consumers to understand their memberships better.  I really want people to understand what Netflix is before they sign up.  Know that there are plenty of alternatives to Netflix:  I've used GreenCine and Blockbuster and can recommend both.

Why I Started Using Netflix [bookmark]

  Welcome to Netflix

I signed up with Netflix while shopping at Media Play.  I was interested in buying anime but there were so many titles and I wasn't sure which ones I would like.  Plus, anime are expensive costing around $25 dollars so the sales clerk encouraged me to sign up with Netflix.  Although Netflix's anime selection was lacking when I first signed up, I had no idea just how many anime titles actually existed.  Early in December 2003 I wrote, "I'm reaching the point where I've seen all the interesting anime that Netflix has to offer."  I was wrong and Netflix's anime selection improved.  Since then I have signed up with Blockbuster and GreenCine as well.  Almost 2 years later I can say I've seen quite a few anime but nowhere close to have seeing them all.

I know there are anime series I haven't completed because Netflix didn't carry the entire series--the reason I joined GreenCine.  Netflix also deleted titles out of my queue when their web site had glitches.  Plus, there were times I forgot to add the next DVD in a series.  I wanted to look through my history for series I haven't completed but it seemed rather daunting.  However, I was able to use Excel to make the job a bit easier.  I've combined my rental history from Netflix, Blockbuster and GreenCine sorting each title in alphabetical order and created an all anime rental list.  I've watched 658 anime (rented 685 -25 unplayable DVDs and 4 wrong titles).  If each one cost $25 dollars, it would have cost $16,450 dollars to purchase them.  I don't even think my local video store has 658 DVDs.


April 22, 2005

Amazon Pairs Up With BlockBuster Or Netflix?

The big news is Amazon announced it will enter the DVD rental market.  However, Amazon fears it can't do it alone so they're courting Netflix and Blockbuster for a partnership.  No one knows who Amazon will pick but I'm hoping Blockbuster.  Netflix shills have harassed me to no end so I see it as retribution.  Amazon can do better than Netflix.  When I think of Amazon I think of reliability:  when I think of Netflix I think of poor customer service.

Mike Kaltschnee Becomes Notorious!

just published an article recommending businesses start there own blogs for damage control, PR, sales, and manipulating consumers.  They list Mike Kaltschnee's HackingNetflix.com as a perfect example:

Now Netflix feeds info to Kaltschnee, and he passes along what he's hearing from the fans. Sounds like he's half journalist, half consultant -- though he insists Netflix doesn't pay him.

Mike can't help himself.  It goes with being a greedy businessman.

More Hate Mail From Netflix Insiders

Netflix shills, employees, or whatever continue to send me hate mail although they're being more secretive about it.  Now they send me messages filtered through Anonymizer's server.  Anonymizer.com is required by law to disclose your identity and personal information if your engaging in illegal activity.  Now you've given them your credit card number and address which makes you even easier to track down.  They're based in San Diego so they have to comply with US law.

Drop In Netflix Customer Complaints

Service must be improving as I'm receiving less and less e-mails complaining about their service.

Advantage With Multiple Online DVD Rental Accounts

Argentosoma: Getting Even vol.2 was listed as "long wait" on my Blockbuster queue.  I got tired of waiting and put it on the top of my Netflix queue and it shipped right away.  Originally, Argentosoma: Getting Even vol.2 was on my Netflix queue but Netflix shipped me a broken copy.  I didn't want to take a chance on Netflix sending me a broken replacement so I put it on Blockbuster's queue instead.  This is an error.  I did not originally order Argentosoma through Netflix. (edited 5/10/05)


April 10, 2005

Better Business Bureau Responds

It took a long time (1 month) but the BBB finally responded to my complaint about Netflix.  The BBB wrote that it appears I have settled my problem with Netflix when Netflix agreed to credit my account for $35.98 over the next two months (2 free months).  This was for my complaint of receiving 21 broken discs and 4 wrong titles.  A Miss Angela Thomas, Administrative Correspondent for Netflix Customer Service answered my complaint.  Her response made no mention about wrong titles but did address broken rentals.  Here's a statement she made in her reply:

In the future, we will be unable to issue monetary credit for these discs.  All damaged discs will be compensated with a replacement copy.

Here's my concern.  Netflix needs to define what a "replacement copy" is.  In my opinion, adding a title back to your queue does not qualify as a replacement.  If Netflix sent an extra disc (in addition your membership limit) this would qualify as a "replacement copy."  Netflix treats broken rentals as an act of God:  It's not their fault therefore no compensation.  The fact is the customer pays for his own "replacement copy."  For example, all the movies you received last month are broken.  You can report them as broken and request replacement copies however you still paid full membership price and received nothing in return.  Yet, this is my favorite analogy:  You rent a DVD from your local video store.  You tell the staff the DVD is broken and you would like a replacement.  The staff says we can't give you a replacement but you're more than welcome to rent it again--That's the Netflix business model!

The Inside Of A Netflix Distribution Center

Here's an article that describes the inside of a Distribution Center.  I was surprised to hear the workers suffer from paper cuts and have Band-Aids at their work stations:


April 9, 2005

Distribution Center Codes

In my last post I mentioned the code on the return Netflix label that identifies the originating distribution center.  I received all three Netflix rentals yesterday but I noticed neither of them were shipped from my local distribution center (Lansing MI).  Two rentals were shipped from Philadelphia (14 PHIL - 0017).  The third was shipped from Flushing/White Plains NY (06 FLU - 0050).  Now I'm wondering what happens if I don't put my rental back the correct envelope?  Do I screw up the inventory in Flushing NY when I send them my rental from Philadelphia?  I've never noticed this information before so I'll be checking all my Netflix rentals from now on.

The code on Blockbuster's return label gives no clue where it's shipped from.  Maybe someone will post this information as well. 


April 5, 2005

Last Month's Stats

I've started yet another journal page on Netflix.  I see most Netflix bloggers are using PHP and database driven tools such as Blogger.com.  I don't have a very good understanding of PHP or MySQL so I'm sticking to FrontPage 2000 to publish my journal.

Service Monthly Cost (tax included) Movies Delivered Broken Movies Cost/Rental (playable movies)
Netflix $19.07 15 2 $1.47
Blockbuster $15.89 13 0 $1.22
GreenCine $21.95 11 0 $2.00

Recently I created a price per rental calculator to easily compute the table above.  All I do is enter the movies rented and any applicable sales tax then choose my plan.  Either I got lucky or the Netflix 3-at-a-time membership is a better deal than the 8-at-a-time plan.  I recently switched to 3-at-a-time membership and the cost per DVD is $1.47 per rental.  I was paying $1.96 per rental using the 8-at-a-time membership.  Plans were compared by counting all the rentals marked as "received" by each company during March.

Blockbuster Broken DVD # 2

Metal Fighter Miku vol. 2 was received broken in the mail.  This will go on next month's cost/rental stats. 

Service Rentals Broken Rentals Scratched
Unplayable Rentals
Total
Unplayable Rentals
%
Unplayable Rentals
Ratio
Unplayable Rentals
Netflix 577 22 1 23 4.00 1 out of 25
GreenCine 54* 0 0 0 0 0 out of 54
Blockbuster 46 2 0 2 4.34 1 out of 23

GreenCine has the highest cost per rental but the lowest ratio of unplayable DVDs.  I guess with GreenCine you're paying for quality of service not quantity.  That's what I'm really looking for--a reliable source of anime.  I did some recent comparison with Netflix and GreenCine.  I built my GreenCine queue out of titles Netflix didn't carry but I've recently discovered Netflix now carries most of the titles in my GreenCine queue.

*Number inaccurately reported as 45 previously.

What About Amazon?

According to Francine Brevetti, business writer for InsideBayArea.com, "Amazon.com is expected to offer DVD rentals this year."  Netflix has been throttling their customers for years.  Now we can sit back and watch as Amazon throttles the life out of Netflix.

A Netflix Rental We Didn't Watch

My wife ordered Miss Congeniality (2000) by mistake.  She meant to order Roxie Hart (1942).  I don't know how she made the mistake but we didn't bother to watch it when it arrived.  I guess Netflix's web site is difficult to use if you're not used to it.

Hate Mail [bookmark]

I continue to receive hate mail from Netflix "fans."  I've pointed out the fact I know they're e-mailing me through their company's server, "mx.netflix.com."  I think they took my subtle hint.  "Aw give me a break,"  I can tell you're shills because you always have something to say about Blockbuster.  What makes you think I'm a shill for Blockbuster?  If anything, I've been praising GreenCine.  When I think of Netflix "fans" religious freaks come to mind.  They profess their love for Netflix with blood in their eye and savagely attack anyone complaining about Netflix.  I encourage all of you to seek psychotherapy.  As a public service I've included a helpful search that will assist you in finding psychotherapy in your area.  Many clinics are free and some base their fee by income on a sliding scale.

Enter your state or city*
(results vary with city)

Tips On Watching Serials With Online DVD Rental Companies

  1. Keep Your Queue List Small
    1. I hear some people have hundreds of movies in there queue.  If you like you can order your series consecutively but that doesn't mean they arrive in the mail like that.  I was renting Neon Genesis Evangelion at the time.  To say the least, its plot is convoluted.  I received several of the 8 volume series out of order.  This made understanding it's twisted plot more difficult.  My solution is to order the next in the series only after seeing the prior volume.  This puts the next volume at the end of your queue solving the issue of receiving volumes out of order.  My queues at GreenCine, Blockbuster and Netflix are around 10 - 15 DVDs long--Any longer and you'll have difficulty remembering the story line.  At home, make a list of serials you'd like to see instead of adding them directly to your queue.  That helps keep your queue list short.
  2. Stagger Your Serials
    1. This tip goes along with the first.  Instead of ordering your serials consecutively, stagger them.  For example:
      1. Fruits Basket vol. 1
      2. Rurouni Kenshin vol. 1
      3. Gungrave vol.1
      4. Urusei Yatsura vol. 1
      5. Fruits Basket vol. 2
      6. Rurouni Kenshin vol. 2
      7. Gungrave vol2
      8. Urusei Yatsura vol.2
      9. Fruits Basket vol. 3
      10. Rurouni Kenshin vol. 3
      11. etcetera...
    2. That's the pattern.  Just add more serials than the 3 I used for the example.
  3. Avoid New Releases
    1. It's great to watch just released serials.  The problem is if the next volume hasn't been released yet you can't add it to your queue.  You might forget you were watching it.  I would wait until all volumes have been released before renting it.

Netflix Employees Stealing Customer's Rentals

Any good Netflix shill will tell you the US Postal Service is the reason behind Netflix's poor customer service.  Well, how about the truth?

In June 2003, Netflix, Inc., a major retailer that rents DVDs via the U.S. Mail, asked Los Angeles Postal Inspectors for help when it encountered problems with mail theft. Inspectors tracked the cause to four Netflix employees who worked in the mailroom and an outside co-conspirator, who together were believed to have stolen more than 1,000 DVDs-plus another 403 on the day of their arrests. The employees opened the DVDs in the mailroom and placed them in the trash, then paid a collaborator to pick them up from Netflix's outside garbage dumpsters. They sold the stolen DVDs for $2 to $3 each.

Source: USPS 2003 Annual Report of Investigations.

How Much Does Netflix Pay For Postage?

"The rate for first-class postage was $0.34 prior to June 29, 2002 and increased to $0.37 thereafter." Source: Netflix 2003 Annual Report.  Say I rent 29 DVD from Netflix using Netflix's 8-at-a-time membership which used to be the case.  I pay Netflix $47.99 for 29 DVDs.  Netflix pays $21.46 in postage and reaps a $26.53 dollar profit.

Where Did My Netflix Rental Come From?

Thanks to Listology.com a has been compiled of known Netflix distribution centers.  Take a look at the shipping label on your next Netflix rental.

Netflix Shipping Label

Of course, you see the return address but on the upper right corner is the code of the distribution center's location.  Mine says "11 LAN - 0011."  According to Listology, this rental was sent from Lansing Michigan.  Check your rentals next time and see if they were shipped from your closest distribution center.

Netflix & Blockbuster Behave Similarly

I think I'm noticing a pattern with my rentals.  I was hoping that having accounts with different services would prevent my rentals from arriving all at once.  Netflix routinely ships my rentals Wednesday through Friday with the bulk arriving Thursday.  This is not convenient because 1) It's hard to watch all your rentals all at once (I think that's Netflix's objective--they want those rentals to stay in your house as long as possible).  2) It's timed so your rentals are likely to stay with you over the weekend (Netflix doesn't operate on weekends & mail isn't delivered Sunday).  These are days when your rentals sit idle at home or in the mailbox so Netflix doesn't have to mail you more rentals thus increased profit.  3)  It's much more convenient (and enjoyable) to have your rentals arrive throughout the week little by little (Netflix makes less of a profit that way).  Now it looks like Blockbuster is following in Netflix's footsteps.  I haven't received any rentals yesterday and none today.  I'm expecting to have my mailbox stuffed tomorrow :(


November 28, 2004 Through March 31, 2005 (previous Netflix journal entries)


My Netflix Journal Archive


 

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