If you haven’t heard yet, the Netflix profile feature is going away. If you’re not using it you may wonder, what is this feature? Well it is a very valuable feature for those who know how to use it. In fact it is the main reason Netflix works so great for my family.
What is the profile feature, and the big deal?
Basically I am able to separate my account into different profiles based on who uses the account. I have the Netflix 3 movies out plan. I have created another profile for my wife, and gave her 1 of the movie slots for the account. I now get 2 movies out at once. This solves the problem of micromanaging your queue, as each person has their own queue to manage as well.
This feature works beautifully for us. My wife tends to get chick flicks and I tend to get sci-fi and action movies. Needless to say she doesn’t like all of the movies I like, and vice versa. The profiles feature allows us to not argue over what movie is coming next, as we each get our own pick. It also allows us to use the ratings system. I mean I would not have rated those chick flicks very well at all. If we shared an account, this would have affected the types of recommended movies for my wife. Basically this feature allows families to live in movie bliss as everyone in that household is happy.
One of my Netflix friends has 3 kids. He uses this feature to give his kids the ability to choose the movie they want, but also set parental limitations. In fact it won’t even show the movies that do not meet the parental control. This is great, as again it gives everyone what they want. Mom and Dad can also select the movies they want to watch without having to reset the rating limits each time.
We have been strong evangelists for Netflix, so we have lots of Netflix friends that we post note to and keep up with each other’s movie recommendations. This is great as I have several friends that have the same movie tastes as I do. I can see their rating and know instantly if a movie will be a waste of my time or not. Unfortunately if you are a created profile, you will lose all of your friends. Talk about a bummer
What will happen to your profile on September 1st? via Netflix.
- All DVDs currently at home or in transit will be associated with the main account Queue
- All Profiles rental history will be added into the main account rental history
- Your additional Profile Queues will be eliminated. If you would like to keep a copy of each Profile Queue we recommend that you print them out
- Prior to Profiles going away, we will also email you a copy of your Profile Queues
- Profiles movie ratings and Profiles Friends connections will no longer be available
- You will not be able to transfer your Profiles data to a separate new account
- You will be able to set a maturity filter on the main account
The bottom line
To put it simply; Netflix is screwing over their heavy users. They mention that this feature is not widely used and will only affect a minute group of people. First off, one of the major reasons that it is not widely used is that Netflix virtually does nothing to promote this feature. I used the service for a couple of months before even realizing it was there. It kept me with Netflix, as I realized that the service would not work for us sharing one queue. If Netflix would simply ask you if you would like to set up a profile when initially signing up, or feature it more prominently on their site, you would see a much larger rate of users, and I suspect a higher level of customer retention.
To the statement that this only affects a small group of users, the heavy users, well this group happens to be the loudest group and the ones that evangelize Netflix the most. On the Netflix blog there are roughly 1000 comments (mostly negative) regarding this topic. There are trackbacks to dozens of huge stories regarding this issue. Buzz Out Loud episode number 749 talked about this Netflix move, as well as how it affected everyone on the show. In an age when new sites and services can popup at any time, you would think that Netflix would be adding features, not taking them away. If Blockbuster has this feature by September 1st I will be moving my services, or looking into other options. I was going to pick up that Roku Netflix streamer this week, well AppleTV here I come. Here is what I wrote to Netflix just airing my grievances.
I am extremely disappointed that you are doing this. This is a horrible idea and you are going to lose members because of it. I plan on canceling my account and moving to another service as of September 1st if this is taken away. It’s simple; I do not want my wife’s rating and movies in my queue. Nor does she want mine. By sharing one profile it makes it virtually impossible for families to use your recommendation system and your service as a whole
What’s even more upsetting is that you didn’t even provide an alternative to this. You basically state “While it may be disappointing…” or as I see it, “tough cookies”. I would even be willing to pay a little more for this valuable feature as it is one of the major reasons I have stuck with Netflix over the years. I do not think, however, it is worth getting a whole new account for, which by the way is the only alternative you have left us with. With the growing adoption of online rentals, steaming, and digital downloads on demand, one would think Netflix would be adding more features, not taking them away. I can already download high def movies on my Xbox360, and now I am strongly considering picking up an AppleTV. Up until this point I have not been that interested in using these other services, as I have been extremely satisfied with the Netflix service, that is until now.
The worst part of this all is that you will be losing a huge Netflix fan. I have introduced several family members and friends to Netflix over the years. Additionally, I have purchased accounts for 2 sets of parents. You can bet that I will now be advising them to move their service elsewhere. I really hope you realize what you’re doing and that penalizing your members is not a way to keep brand loyalty.
Soon to be ex-member