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netflix Archives - Jeff Finley

Netflix Gets it Wrong

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I’m fed up with Netflix’s profiles and friends features. They are terribly executed and frustrating.  I’m not the main account holder, my wife is.  So according to Netflix, I’m not able to access the Watch Now feature, Facebook Connect, or even get notification emails when my movies are shipped or returned.  A year or so ago, Facebook threatened to remove this feature entirely!  This would delete my 3-4 years of ratings, reviews, notes, and rental history. It’s kind of a journal of mine.  They wanted to remove this feature without the ability for customers to back up their data.  They were just going to kill it stone cold.  Poor move!

The backlash was huge.  Customers got pissed.  Netflix did a 180 and kept the feature.  But it seems as if it’s got no love or attention ever since.

Their friends feature blows.

I have friends who sign up for Netflix and want to check out each other’s ratings, queues, etc.  But of course, there is no way for them to “add me as a friend” like every other site.  I have to dig and find a url for them to click on so they add me as a friend.

Ok so they do that, now they are friends.  But they show up as a series of numbers and letters “npk 1886515”.  Great, I only have 10 friends, and 6 of them have some randomly generated code name.  Who is who?  It’s so helpful when I see that NPK has rated a movie 5 stars and that SFY gave it two stars!  Confusing enough?

It gets worse.

So I tell my new Netflix friend to change his name in the site.  He writes me and tells me he did.  But he still shows up as “npk 1886515” in my friends list.  Hmmm.  So I say, “maybe you should change your “nickname” cause that might what it’s referring to.”  He changes his nickname and still no luck.  There doesn’t seem to be a way to change it! Ack!!!

Also, my wife had her maiden name when we signed up.  Since we’ve been married she’s updated her personal information everywhere on the site, but her maiden name still shows up in my friends list.  Why doesn’t SHE have a code name? She never did actually.  We looked around on how to update her name, and there is no place on the Netflix site to actually do that. Is her info “locked” or something in their system?

My friend also said he was not able to upload a new profile photo no matter what format, jpg, gif, png, or what size.  It told there was a problem.  Ok, so yeah that’s not a huge deal but still.

Netflix doesn’t care.

Also, to show how much Netflix really cares about this feature, they have removed the “community” tab from the main navigation and changed it to “friends” and placed it into the footer of the site.  Out of sight, out of mind.

Now I’ve been a Netflix member since 2005 and when we signed up, my wife put her information in because we decided if she paid for Netflix, I’d pay for another bill.  That’s the only reason she signed up as the main account holder.  My profile was created as a “profile” and I thought it was amazing to have my own queue and ratings, but little did I know that I would NOT be able to use all the cool features Netflix added over the years.

What do I do now?

I have over 1,000 ratings and Netflix told me I’m NOT able to simply change the master account holder to myself.  In order to obtain these new features I would have to sign up for a brand new account and manually rate all the movies I’d seen and start from scratch, eliminating my rental history and everything else.  Blah! There’s no way to switch main account holders without losing everything.  I know because I talked to customer service on the phone.

Netflix just kinds of shrugs it off. They added Facebook Connect as a way for people to be social about the movies they watch.  So if it worked for me, I’d rate something, it’d show up on Facebook and my friends would see it.  Then they could comment and we could share opinions and have a conversation about it.  That’s amazing, and something I really want. But I can’t do it unless I sign up for a new Netflix account and start from scratch. Only the main account holder gets to use Facebook Connect.

Netflix, I even own stock in your company. You do a lot of great things, but you really drop the ball here.  I request that you make it easy to transfer the account owner.  Or back up my data and make it easy to merge to a new account.  Or allow access to all features in ALL profiles or sub accounts.  Make it so friends can actually update their info!  Make  it so you can go to their profile page with a single URL and see their queue, rental history, ratings, etc.  Why on earth do you have friends when you make it so hard to find them?

I’m seriously considering signing up for a brand new account and manually rating everything all over again.  It’s going to take days, weeks, maybe a month.  I’m not looking forward to it, but then again, I just watch to use the Facebook feature because their friends section totally sucks.  Am I really going to spend this much time so I can use the Facebook feature?  Yes, I am afraid so.

What would you do?

You can start by clicking “I like this idea” on this GetSatisfaction page: http://getsatisfaction.com/netflix/topics/data_ownership_portability

Hacking NetFlix: Who Owns Your Movie Rating & Reviews Data?

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I have nearly 4-5 years of ratings and reviews and interactions on Netflix.  Wouldn’t it be nice if I could use all my data?  Export it, mash it up with other content?  Great article. Hacking NetFlix : Who Owns Your Movie Rating & Reviews Data?

This is a long-told tale here on Scripting News. The classic example are the movie rating data held in silos by sites like Netflix and Yahoo Movies.
But whose data is it??

Seems it belongs to the users and they should be able to take it where they want. Sure Yahoo is providing a recommendation engine, that’s nice (and thanks), but they also get to use my data for their own purposes. Seems like a fair trade. And I’m a paying customer of Netflix. They just lowered the price but I’d much rather have gotten a dividend in the form of being able to use my own data.

Think of the mashups that would be possible.

Wouldn’t it be great to link up Match.com with movie ratings to find dates that like the same movies?