Netflix CEO Apologizes for Abrupt Price Hike Announcement, Then Drops New Crap Bomb on Users

 The Netflix fracas of summer 2011: Netflix abruptly announced it would be charging twice as much for its streaming and DVD services, which had previously been bundled, starting in September. The internet collectively palpitated: double the price for streaming, when the streaming selection is garbage? And when we're only getting one DVD a month? #Netflix, the hashtag, trended on Twitter. Subscribers pre-emptively canceled their accounts in disgust. September came, and the price hike happened. I personally forgot to cancel after being initially irate, but continued using the service—and when my bill came up as $14 instead of $9, I quietly accepted the rate. Which, one might imagine, happened for a lot of people after the initial tornado of disdain.

But Reed Hastings, CEO and co-founder of Netflix, does not, apparently, employ PR. Because on Sunday, he posted a lengthy apology for the way the hike was handled, but justified it by explaining the ins and outs of rising costs and movie-watching trends in the fast-paced internet world. All of which was fair. But then he went on to explain that Netflix is in fact splitting its DVD and streaming services entirely—ruining all the weird "recommended"categories it's invented for you over the years. Not only that? The new DVD service is called "Qwikster." Seriously? Oh Reed:

Another advantage of separate websites is simplicity for our members.Each website will be focused on just one thing (DVDs or streaming) and will be even easier to use. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the and websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.

There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as the current charges.

Seriously? No integration? Is this 1998? Hastings goes on to say that his co-founder, Andy Rendich, will be the separate CEO of Qwikster—between that and the hasty announcements, we're gonna go out on a limb and say there seems to be internal turmoil afoot. Either way, we're going to have a hard time adjusting to getting mail from something with such a banal spelling. As a Twitter friend suggested, our neighbors might think we're qwybabies.


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at September 19, 2011, 6:10am

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