Tuesday, March 07, 2006

The Netflix Neighborhood Challenge

So over the last few months my Netflix exchanges have been slow. Until recently Netflix was always pretty snappy, they would have my return and the next movie shipped on the day after mailing. But since the new year, it's been taking a day or two longer for them to receive my returns. Then a couple weeks ago I left my oh-so-humble SpaHa abode and forgot to drop the dvd's off in my usual mailbox that's across the street. I ended up in a building on the Upper East Side, in the sixties. I dropped my dvds off in the mail slot and I swear it seemed like when I got back home a couple hours later, Netflix had already received, checked in and shipped a new movie. I felt, despite the Flushing mailing address, that I had dropped my dvd's off directly at netflix HQ.

Since then my own exchanges have remained slow.

So now I'm thinking there's probably some "neighborhood priority system" going on behind the scenes at the 'flix. And I'm planning to break the case. I'm going to be bringing my netflix returns around with me to the various neighborhoods I visit in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And we'll see who gets the shaft, and who gets [insert smart funny line that plays off the 'who gets the shaft' setup here].

Do we have any other case studies on this matter? Have you noticed any difference in Netflix return speed based on your neighborhood, or um, level of education/body odor?



these people do not live in Spanish Harlem

18 comments:

  1. I read that Netflix gives priority to new customers in order to increase retention, meaning that long-time customers have to wait longer and longer with less and less priority for new releases. I don't know if it's true though.

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  2. Could it also be the post office of the box where you mailed it? Maybe not a Netflix bias, but ...

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  3. I don't know that couple in at photo but I don't them...

    I have no advice on the netflix problem...

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  4. Type Netflix throttling into google and you'll find out what's up. I wouldn't be surprised if they also gave certain zip codes priority as well.

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  5. I live on the upper west side and always get my netflix promptly.

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  6. CNN.com has an article about how they prioritize the way movies are sent out.

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/02/10/netflix.penalty.ap/

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  7. So I just read that article above. Seems to make sense, but I would be interested to know what happens with your 'experiment'.

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  8. i'd like to see the results of your experiment before i read the article.

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  9. I live in New Rochelle and get Netflix deliveries pretty promptly, but we've had a hell of a problem with scratched DVDs. Very annoying.

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  10. I hope you're not a victim of postal theft:
    http://www.nymag.com/news/intelligencer/15961/
    (Sorry, the article appears to have lapsed to subscriber-only status.)

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  11. I'm a new and slow-to-return customer. I hung onto the last three movies for at least a month, and finally popped one in the mail on Monday. I got the next DVD in my queue today, zoom zoom. I don't mind Netflix's "throttling" practice described in the CNN link in Mark's comment above, since I'll probably always be poky enough to be in the top-priority group.

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  12. Surprisingly (or maybe not so), Netflix is the one delivery service we can receive in Central Harlem... now if we could just get Fresh Direct on board...!

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  13. Your "shaft" referance was appropriate as Gordon Parks died today. But I just can't come up with a snappy retort...

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  14. i heard netflix was fuckin with their regular customers and slowin the exchanges...so may not be related to neighborhood, but related to suckaaas!

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. TAN, if I were you I'd send and receive my DVDs via the US Postal system only. Do not be walking around your little town carrying DVDs, k?

    Just trying to look out for ya bud.

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  17. Anonymous3/12/2006

    Zip codes matter but it's based on postal routes; not Netflix. Midtown/lower Upper West side has best mail service - those boxes are hit like 6 or 7 times a day. Your Spa Ha neighborhood probably doesn't have as good service. I live in a nice part of Queens where it can take a day or two; but if I drop it off in flushing (not as nice but near main street where pick up is more frequent) I get a faster turn around.

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  18. Anonymous4/21/2009

    The more "turn" there is in your area, meaning the faster people watch and return movies, the more likely they are to slow down your zip. Also, if your area tends to order "in-demand" or "hit" movies more often, that could also slow things down, as they spike in popularity and need to be rationed. Both of these things could apply to a single account as well, probably moreso.

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