Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Seriously starting to wonder...

...if Netflix practices red-lining. My friends who live in ritzier neighborhoods don't seem to have these problems.

UPDATE: After sending the url for this post to the press contact listed on the web site, with a note inquiring if there might be a story in it for this for an enterprising freelance writer, I was startled to get a call on my cell phone in the middle of the afternoon from a man in "corporate communications" for Netflix.

The oddest aspect of his explanation of oddities of availability like the one shown above was that I bought it. It made perfect sense to me. The gust is that when supplies fall short, priority is given to people who have not received very many high-demand films from the company over the past few months. In the spirit of "it's only fair." Of spreading the wealth around.

I suppose a cynical spin could be put on this, to wit, that Netflix policy favors people who routinely demand less for their subscription money than the rest of us. Makes sense that these would be the folks they're most concerned to keep happy. No red-lining is possible, according to this very pleasant gentleman, because customers are identified only by e-mail address; labels are printed only after the discs have been allocated.

I suppose the only way to test this explanation would be to adhere closely to the patterns Netflix says it favors: Order fewer high-demand films and leave them lying around longer on the coffee table. And then see what happens. But that would, as they say, mean that they've won, and by the diabolically clever stratagem of convincing us that we've won.

A "win win," IOW, though not in the usually accepted sense.

1 comment:

Christian Lindke said...

Their algorithm favors people who do not have a quick turnover rate. To be fair though, I would expect these to have a wait. There is no wait at Best Buy.