It's not often that you see Netflix
The company is abandoning its Profiles feature, a sticky offering that allows subscribers to split up an account into several queues for individual family members. Come September, all of the DVDs in the secondary queues will merge into the primary accountholder's list. It's Obit City for your spouse's movie ratings and your daughter's stand-alone list of discs she wanted to see.
Anyone who knows Netflix can realize how stupid this move is. Netflix is a company that prides itself on its data crunching. It delivers recommendations based on the films you like, by comparing your movie ratings to others with similar tastes. I have always felt that if the optical disc goes bust, Netflix could make a cozy living as an online matchmaker. Now, though, it's more like a homewrecker.
Why would Netflix risk the integrity of its recommendations? After all, once it sees your kid's Pixar flicks, your mate's tearjerkers, and your penchant for buddy-cop celluloid all mixed together into one mangled stew, won't Netflix know even less about you?
Why would Netflix destroy its ability to get to know more of its subscribers' families as individuals? It's not as if families will bite the hook and open multiple accounts.
"While it may be disappointing to see this feature go away, this change will help us to continue to improve the Netflix website for all our customers," explains the company's website.
Really? Don't tell me that all of the Profiles data was hogging up the servers. Let's not pretend that a simple app was leaving an entire IT department rocking on the floor in the fetal position, unable to develop new site enhancements.
I've been a satisfied Netflix subscriber -- and shareholder -- since 2002, and I'll admit it: I've never used Profiles. That's not the point. Even if I didn't take the time to invest in creating the family profiles, like many unhappy people venting in cyberspace yesterday did, I am still affected by the credibility issues. Will I really want to use the Friends feature, if it too may go away? Why should I invest $99 in the Roku player for TV streaming? Can I trust you, Netflix?
I think I can. I am not anchored to yesterday's truths. Membership prices will fluctuate. Technology will force changes, like when Netflix and Blockbuster
I'll consider it an improvement when I can stream most Netflix films through my TiVo, Microsoft
I loves ya, Netflix, but I'm rating this move one star.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Netflix subscriber -- and shareholder -- since 2002. He also owns shares in TiVo. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.