Thursday, March 08, 2007

Not a Competitor

Anyone out there use Blockbuster Online's movie rental service? I haven't as I'm a loyal Netflix subscriber. It seems like some Blockbuster Online subscribers aren't getting any movies. This would seem about in line with how this company usually works. One of the reasons I moved to using Netflix was the crappiness of Blockbuster stores in St. Cloud and Rochester. The stores were run by idiots, staffed by idiots, never had niche titles, and were usually out of many popular new releases. This often left you to pick out something from crappy-ass, second-rate new releases and crappy-ass, second-rate, old releases.

Joining Netflix was like having a cornucopia of movies magically, instantly available to me. I was able to queue up just about any movie I could think of and get it within a week. For the most part, Netflix still meets my expectations, but there have been some blemishes starting to appear on the once supermodel gorgeous Netflix.

For one, it's ridiculously hard to get new releases. For example, I've had Hollywoodland at the top of my queue since before it was released and I still haven't gotten it. And I'm sure that my #2 movie, Babel, will be on there forever. I'm sure a lot of this has to do with their ever expanding user base, but it gets kind of frustrating when I never get to see the top 5 or so movies in my queue.

I've also found that certain niche titles are also impossible to get a hold of. For example, I had the Whose Line is It Anyways 2 disc set in my queue since it came out at #3 and #4 and I only just got it this last week. It's not a popular title, but obviously held some niche value so it was hard to get.

The final thing that's been getting to me is the sometimes slow turnaround. In years past the day that Netflix received my movie, the next one in my queue would be in the mail. Now it is routine to not have my next movie sent out until the day after the movie I sent in is received. This is annoying not only for the fact that it is slower for me to get movies, but because they'll often receive a movie I send in on Friday and since they don't mail things out on Saturday, I have to wait until Monday for them to even send it.

Anyways, these quibbles aside, it still seems like Netflix is mopping the floor with Blockbuster Online, and I hope they continue to, but Netflix shouldn't rest up atop their throne. Pretty soon a company not nearly as inept as Blockbuster will come along to show them a thing or two.

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