Tag Archives: Netflix

What were they thinking?

instagramWhen are companies going to learn the power of social media? People now use Twitter and Facebook to complain about their problems and get action on them. They also use social media to vent their opinion about new policies and procedures that impact all users. Yet time and time again we see companies making irrational changes that spark outrage among customers. Then, the company is forced to change their course of action to react to the outrage. It leaves me asking – what were they thinking?

Facebook, a social media company that knows the power of that medium, is the latest company to make a decision that upset many users. The company owns Instagram,  a photo sharing app that allows you to quickly treat your photos with filters. The new terms included some complicated and clumsy language which made it seem like the photos you upload through the app are up for grabs by advertisers without notifying you or paying you. Of course, that sparked outrage. Users threatened to delete their accounts before the changes in mid-January.

The negative publicity sparked Instagram to change the language and make their point more clear. The company now says you  own the photos you upload with their app and they won’t be used in advertising.

Maybe Facebook didn’t think the negative pressure would be that intense with Instagram. After all, they make decisions all the time that spark outrage. Remember, the growing pains with Timeline? Facebook usually continues on with their plan despite the negative comments. People predicted Google+ would take over as king of the social media world after repeated changes at Facebook. That never happened. This move was unique for the social media company. They don’t always cave to social media pressure.

netflixThis is not the first time a company took a beating in the social media world.  In 2011, Netflix was under fire for the decision to change its name and pricing structure. The name Netflix made the company famous; then it decided to split the company’s DVD and streaming business by adding Qwikster. The backlash led to a change in position weeks later.

On the Netflix blog; the CEO wrote, “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs. This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words no Qwikster.”

What is wrong with these companies? Don’t they use focus groups to test new products and ideas? If these companies are so easily persuaded by social media pressure, which I would argue they have no choice, why don’t they propose the changes they are thinking about instead of announcing the implementation? That way they don’t need to apologize or backtrack if the Twittersphere or social media landscape reacts poorly.

Some companies don’t cave to public pressure as they’ve clearly evaluated their business decisions before announcing them. For example, the stores that opened on Thanksgiving evening around 8 PM received pressure for opening on a holiday. While the publicity was intense, these companies knew the majority of customers would still shop on Thanksgiving. The businesses even said their decision to open earlier was based on customer demand.

For a few weeks, the stores endured some negative attention. In the end, their cash registers rang and rang as they racked up unprecedented sales. Opening on Thanksgiving was a huge business win, and a win they expected because they obviously did their research before they made the decision.

Social media is powerful especially when your customer base is a tech savvy bunch as in the case of Instagram. One could make the argument that companies don’t think this through on purpose because they want any and all attention. Whatever the case may be, these crazy business decisions have me asking over and over: what were they thinking?

What do you think? Weigh in below by clicking comment.

Related links you may like:
Netflix changing DVD service to Qwikster
Netflix gets rid of Qwikster
Navigating Facebook Timeline
Facebook Timeline privacy

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo DVD made to look pirated

Pirated movies are a big business, so it’s to be expected that movie renters are shocked when they look at the cover of DVD for the movie, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The DVD is plain with no label. The title of the movie appears handwritten with a Sharpie.

When this DVD popped out of Redbox this weekend, we didn’t know what to do. We thought it was definitely a pirated movie.

We thought about calling Redbox so we wouldn’t later be held responsible. If it wasn’t a holiday weekend, we probably would have called first.

We popped the movie in the DVD player, and it played great. The typical warnings were displayed prior to the movie, and we never had an issue the entire length of this long movie. That dismissed my fears it might be bootlegged.

So, why was the label so plain? It turns out, Sony did this on purpose to the #1 DVD rental. On the Redbox website, there’s a note to renters that says, “The handwritten look on the disc of this movie is legitimate and is intended to look like a burned DVD.”

It’s a nod to the hacker in the movie. If you look closely, you can see that it’s not a handwritten note. You can see the digitization of the writing since it’s mass produced.

What do you think of the handwritten look to the DVD? Click comment below.

Netflix gets rid of Qwikster

What do you think of Netflix’s reversal? I was surprised when the company announced Qwikster and two separate websites for mail order DVDs and streaming. It just didn’t make sense for customers who were already outraged about the company’s new pricing plan. Instead of just announcing the reasoning behind the pricing, the company announced a new company. Well, the outrage got the best of Netflix again and now they are reversing their two websites. Sorry, they’re not reversing their pricing plan just yet.

In a blog post, the CEO wrote, “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.”

What do you think of Netflix killing Qwikster? Click comment below.

 

Netflix changing DVD mail service to Qwikster

Netflix is changing again, but the CEO says only the name will change and not the price of the service.  The streaming video feature will keep the name “Netflix” and the DVD delivery to your home will become Qwikster.

In issuing the latest announcement, the CEO issued an apology to try to appease the critics who have been upset with the company since it announced a new pricing structure for DVD delivery and streaming video. The CEO said he’s realized that streaming and DVD by mail are two different business with different cost structures.

The Qwikster name will take effect in a few weeks, but the company says consumers won’t notice many changes on the website even though you’ll go to qwikster.com to order your movies. There will be a new option for video games although it will be an upgrade like Blue-ray.

The one downside is that you will go to two separate websites if you subscribe to both services. The sites will not be integrated.

In announcing the changes the CEO and Co-Founder, Reed Hastings, said, “I messed up. I owe everyone an explanation.

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology.”

The CEO goes on to mention Borders and AOL dialup adding that some companies that do one thing well “do not become great at new things that people want (streaming for us) because they are afraid to hurt their initial business.” He said companies don’t die from moving too fast, but perhaps they get things wrong.

“In hindsight, I slid into arrogance based upon past success. We have done very well for a long time by steadily improving our service, without doing much CEO communication. Inside Netflix I say, ‘Actions speak louder than words,’ and we should just keep improving our service.

But now I see that given the huge changes we have been recently making, I should have personally given a full justification to our members of why we are separating DVD and streaming, and charging for both. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would have been the right thing to do,” Hastings said.

What do you think of the changes and new name? Click comment below.