Judging by the reactions to the Netflix price hike--posted on Twitter feeds, Tumblrs and comments forums across the web--the streaming video and DVD-mail service might want to consider another change to its pricing plans, or at least the way it announces adjustments to them. A community has not been this upset about a decision since Clevelanders learned that Lebron James was taking his talents to South Beach.
Netflix, in case you missed it, delivered a major blow to its users by surprising them with a significant price hike. The company announced that the incredibly popular $9.99 "all-you-can-eat" streaming and DVD rental plan would be scrapped and be replaced by three separate plans: all-you-can-eat streaming for $7.99, or all-you-can-eat one-at-a-time DVDs for $7.99, or a combo for both at $15.98.
Netflix users are not just angry at what they perceive to be the company's unjust greed; they are stung that one of their favorite companies could ever do something like this, and without any warning at all.
The Netflix blog post that announced the pricing change was gamely left open for comments and as of press time, there are about 8,800 pages of comments. Not 8,800 individual comments themselves, but 8,800 pages of comments. And guess what? Most commenters aren't asking for an address where they can send a thank you card.
Indeed, Netflix delivered a rude shock by upping prices 60 percent overnight. Now, its subscribers are taking this as though they are on the wrong end of a shocking breakup. They are going through all of the emotions of the jilted: the betrayal, the disbelief, the heartbreak.
Below are some of the more representative reactions from the Netflix's old flames, who seem to have just three questions for the ex they used to love and who they trusted. Listen up, Netflix. This isn't going to be easy, but there's something that we need to get off our chests:
HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME (I'VE BEEN SO LOYAL)? I am really disappointed. We have been Netflix customers for over 5 years and a $10 a month increase is way out of line. I think there should be a discount for those of us who want both streaming and DVD's. Otherwise, I have to seriously consider dropping our plan, returning to our one local Independent Video store and the library for our DVD's. -- Bob
This is terrible -- how is this possibly a "terrific value" for everyone who's stuck with you and grown your business. We've told everyone how great your service is over the years, resulting in new subscribers and more revenue for you. Thanks for screwing us! -- Sean, Boca Raton
Netflix I have been one of your biggest supporters, getting my parents, friends and other family members signed up, but I can no longer promote a company that does this to its customers. I have been loyal a long time and its a shame that you disrespect and undervalue your customers so much. -- Brett, Ohio
I know that this move increases their profit by going to only streaming...the problem is, I feel so alienated by them that I'm also looking for the next streaming alternative. I will look at amazon's streaming very seriously...it's not like netflix streaming selection is very good anyway. I feel betrayed and angry. -- Matthew, Purdue University
YOU THINK I SHOULD DATE WHO??? (STREAMING IS TERRIBLE) Will you be upgrading your movie selection on the streaming side? The only reason I continue to get DVDs is because most of the movies I select are only available that way. I'm happy to stream to keep costs down, but a better selection is required to keep me as a customer. -- Jocelyn, Missouri
I would not mind your unlimited streaming option if you actually listed new, up to date movies on it. I can't tell you how many times we have tried to search for a movie on line and it is not available but rather must be ordered through the mail. Why not offer online everything you offer by mail? -- Laura
My account will be gone August 31st. I get the logic in splitting them out into two distinct plans, but the pricing is just insane. I'm not going to pay $8 a month to stream movies that come on USA every weekend. Unless the streaming catalog starts to mirror the DVD catalog, I see a lot of Red Box in my future. -- Tiffany, Virginia
I've always treated the Streaming portion of Netflix the way Netflix seems to have done -- as an afterthought. The selection of titles available for streaming is mediocre at best, and I rarely find myself using that service, though I'm glad to have had it available when the mood strikes me to just browse for something I'd never heard of before. I guess I'll keep my DVD subscription and just switch over to my (free) Amazon Prime Instant service to get my mediocre-film-streaming fix. The idea that Netflix seriously thinks its DVD service was just an "add-on" to its streaming service seems disingenuous and, if true, delusional. -- Gerry
HOW IS THIS BETTER FOR ME (YOU GREEDY, GREEDY JERKS)?
I think you should fire your marketing department. Anyone that comes up with a 60% price increase scheme and forgets to NOT include even a minimal increase to the service or content at the same time to distract, confuse, bamboozle, or lie to your customers is just stupid. -- Blake, Virginia
Netflix: Great job guys, increase prices by damn near doubling them and don't offer anything additional. How's that working for you? I tolerated the lousy streaming selection because I could get the new stuff by DVD, but now you want me to pay 8 bucks for the lousy streaming selection and an additional 8 for the DVD. Heard of Hulu and Red Box? I have. If you are not competitive on the September 30 switch date color me gone. -- Lynn, Missouri
That has got to be the worst spin job I have ever heard. How is it a great deal for me when my price increases by 50% with no increase in service? It wouldn't be so bad if I could combine limited dvd/blu-ray with unlimited streaming, but you don't offer that option. This is nothing but a "money grab".-- David, South Carolina
Charging $15.98 a month for a combined plan crosses the line. The combination of such a huge increase over the current combined plan price and the lack of a discount for a new combined plan will only anger customers, as these comment treads show. -- Sven, California
Want more? Here's a slideshow of Twitter reactions from Netflix users.