For a low monthly fee,
you rent as many DVDs as you want. Here's how it works:
go to their website, netflix.com, choose DVDs, and they
ship them to you, three at a time. Keep them as long as
you want, and when you're ready, mail them back in the
prepaid envelope. As soon as they get a DVD back, they
automatically ship you the next one in your queue.
There's no late fees, and their easy-to-use, streamlined
website helps you quickly find the movies you'll like.
Read here how Netflix began when its founder, Reed
Hastings, was charged a $39 late fee by Blockbuster for
returning "Apollo 13" a week late. Or read David Pogue's New York Times article, visit regular-folk Netflix members at Kamel's blog, Quo Vado?, Elkit, Mike's
List, and, of course, Cootie Hog.
Ponder Netflix's unknowable mysteries with Netflix
Fan and Hacking
Compare Netflix with
unless you rent something, but... $4.92 for each
new release movie and $3.45 for each non-new
release movie, and each franchise may set their
own fee to be even higher!
None. Keep each DVD as long as you
Late fees, Blockbuster's traditional
main revenue source, can average $20 per movie
per week if you're not careful. Although
Blockbuster says they're "ending" these
fees, you still have to pay a "nominal
restocking fee" if you return a movie even
one day past the one-week grace period.
Netflix ships you the top three DVDs you've
selected along with a postage-paid return
envelope: whenver you're done, put the DVD in its
envelope, and put the envelope in any mailbox.
Once Netflix gets the DVD back, usually in one or
two days, they immediately ship you the next DVD
in your queue.
separate hassles, grouped under six categories
for your convenience:
The drive: you must drive to
the store through traffic and weather
only during times in which the store you
drive to is actually open, and find
parking, wasting your valuable time (and
costing you gas and car wear & tear).
The store: while the
soundtrack to "Shrek 2" blares
overhead, you must select the movie you
want from their limited
offeringgood luck if that movie's
not "Shrek 2"!peering
between the pillar-like, Spandex-encased
thighs of the customer in front of you,
try to see if that video in the bottom
row is in stock or is it just an empty
The wait: wait in line next
to the junk food rack while a customer
argues about the new no late fee policy.
The drive, part 2: drive
home from the store through traffic and
weather, and get home later, scrape the
gum off your shoe.
Returning the movie: some
movies must be returned sooner than
others, so you have to drive back to the
store and repeat the whole process
whenever the due date of the earliest-due
The late fee: grace period
or no grace period, even under the new
plan, you still pay a late fee (oh, I'm
sorry, a "nominal restocking
fee"). All this new policy
guarantees is more customers holding on
to their movies longer, and that means
what I mean: view The Onion's
"Blockbuster Video Living
25,000 titles, and growing.
streamlined, and uncluttered, the Netflix website
makes finding movies informative and fun.
powerful database makes surprisingly apt
recommendations of other movies you might like
that you didn't even know about.
more about movies you might like to check out:
see previews, read reviews written by
professional critics and other Netflix members.
the crowds, the posters, and the blaring
"Shrek 2" soundtrack, it's hard to even
think straight, much less select anything
interesting at Blockbuster.
origami with Netflix envelopes, as shown on Netflix origami.
Blockbuster's inelegant envelopes do not easily
lend themselves to this ancient Japanese
competitors like Wal-mart, Movieflix, and Amazon may try
to copy Netflix's website, but I predict they'll fall
short, because behind Netflix's awesome website exists
real strength: astute management, key patents, and studio
connections. No wonder customers like me love Netflix!