Wednesday, July 4, 2007

RSS Feeds and Your Reviews

Like y'all, we've noticed a few strange things in the RSS feeds. As far as we can tell (so far), these are problems on the receiving end, as all looks fine on the sending end. Different browsers, websites and blogs handle these feeds in different ways, and clearly some do a better job than others. Still, we're exploring some of these issues and hope to get them handled quickly. Looking ahead, we're adding two key RSS functions in the next few weeks.


RSS REVIEWS. You'll soon be able to feed all your reviews to your own sites, which maybe easier than copy/pasting your reviews between sites.

RSS CUSTOM LISTS. You'll also be able to feed any individual custom list you've created out to your own site. At first glance this might seem lame, but i think there are some cool applications possible, particularly if you combine the feeds of Reviews and some lists.

Let's say you're an organization. Maybe USC Film School. Maybe a Pilates Club. Maybe a Neighborhood Association. Or a magazine. You've got a website and your own members and everything. Some of your members may be Netflix members too, but some may not. Regardless, you can use your Netflix profile (or create a special sub-account with its own queue) to some special advantage. From this sub-account, add your iconic avatar (a logo or something clear at this small size), and a nickname that works for you (organization name, most likely). Then review movies that are relevant to your members. Make Custom Lists that are relevant. (Think: Best Computer Generated Movies, Films We're Watching This Month, Movies Shot in Baltimore...) and feed these reviews and specific lists to your site.

This way, when Netflix members are looking at a movie, they can see the review from your org. And the members of your org can see all your reviews at your orgs website. It's a nice dynamic. I'd like to hear about anyone using the reviews and lists this way. Any particularly inspiring examples might get showcased here. Anyway, I'll let you know as the release of these features gets closer. In the meantime, just know we have a little work to do still on cleaning up the RSS feeds. Happy Fourth.

19 comments:

  1. Like... totally awesome dude. Bring on the feeds. I've been waiting for this.

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  2. NETFLIX TOTALLY ROCKS! What has happened over at Netflix? It's like you're on fire! Is it my imagination or is there a tidal wave of innovation suddenly sweeping through your company? Don't stop. Please don't stop. You people are born again and I like it. Keep it up and BBI will be toast.

    I never doubted Netflix for a minute.

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  3. Re reviews : I ditto anonymous, kudoswise, and know they're working round the clock on the various software compatibility issues, so this certainly isn't a whine, but I'm curious how many others are finding the edit/delete and helpful/unhelpful buttons inoperable beyond the first page of single column reviews, and whether this is a Mac vs PC thing [my OS being Mac 10.3.9, using Firefox 2.0.0.4.]. Thanks.

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  4. michael, from netflixJuly 4, 2007 at 10:37 PM

    harry: explain this to me. I'm on a Mac and in my reviews area, I can edit/delete on either of my two pages of reviews. But there are no helpful/unhelpful button in my reviews, so what are you talking about? the helpful/unhelpful buttons are on the movie reviews pages attached to the movie display pages. These are also working fine on the first and latter pages (although I admit its not always immediately clear that they are working when you click one). A little more clarity would help - and yes, if others are having these problems, please shout it out here (until it's sort of clear that we have a big problem).

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  5. Appreciate the reply, Michael [do you ever sleep?], even if the gist of it was that I'm an idiot! I'm certainly no techno-wizard, but know the basics. The 'helpful/unhelpful' buttons are obviously on other people's reviews, and the 'edit/delete' on mine, and none of them, or 'next page', function [except right at the top of the page, strangely] once I've clicked on 'see more of -----'s reviews' and get to the 2 column section. From what you say the problem is obviously at my end, which kinda makes it worse, having tried Safari, Netscape and Internet Express as an alternative to Firefox, all with the same or worse results. Might there be something I need to download? I have all the standard media interfaces [flash/Quick Time/Media Player/etc...]. HOWEVER, I hasten to add, when the edit/delete buttons ARE operable, on that first, single column page, everything works SENSATIONALLY! Thanks.

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  7. Wow, i didn't even realize RSS feeds were available at all. This will be great for adding a feed to my netvibes page. There is a Netflix module already, but it's a little clunky, doesn't have a lot of options, and is half broken. Maybe if I can muster enough energy to make a new one I'll post it here.

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  8. Harry & Michael,

    The same thing (buttons not working) happens to me on Firefox 2.0.0.4 and Windows XP. It doesn't happen using Internet Explorer.

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  9. Thanks Mort. Tried Explorer, but the Mac version got mothballed years ago so it's a real dinosaur at this point [5.2.3]. But it's no big deal, and I'm sure it'll get resolved soon enough.

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  10. Quick suggestion for the drag and drop queue:

    A "X" button you can click to instantly delete a movie from your queue, rather than "Checkboxing" and then hitting "Update Queue". An X would be quick and painless, so long as you made it so the page would not reload after Removing the movie.

    Just a thought, hope you guys are reading over there at Netflix :)

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  11. I don't know if there's something wrong with this RSS Feeds now. I posted a review tuesday,through the usual method on the netflix page, was able to see it friday, and now it no longer appears! (I am sure the content was not objectionable and I didn't delete it myself)

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  12. This is awesome! What about adding a feed similar to the new releases feed that covers movies that are newly available on the Watch Now service?

    Now that would be great.

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  13. Just noticed the RSS Feeds link on the Friends tab. What an odd place to put it. What does that have to do with friends? It seems like it should be in account settings along with signing up for newsletters and similar things (which by the way I never receive... do they even send any out?).

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  14. michael, from netflixJuly 13, 2007 at 7:27 PM

    This is just a link to the RSS page which has long been on the site, always linkable from the bottom of all Netflix pages (see it down there between "Tell a Friend" and the "Netflix Prize"?)

    Anyway, we added some functions to the page, but we didn't add this page today. All we did was make the link to it more obvious, which is why you just found it.

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  15. Since many people only seem to read the first page or two of reviews you inevitably get a to-him/her-that-hath-shall-all-be-given effect [whoops, word too long!], while equally 'helpful' reviews [i.e. informative, NOT right or wrong!] get tossed into the back pages after only a couple of overnight hours in the 'most recent review' section [which is why I stopped wasting my time writing anything for heavily reviewed movies]. A possible solution [not to be original, but to help create groundswell] might be to allow us to also bring up reviews according to various different criteria : 1) star ratings, 2) date posted [many haven't seen the dvd version yet], 3) page number [to avoid all that scrolling to get to some of the 'unhelpful' ones languishing in Siberia), 4) political affiliations [I kid]. I'm sure others could add some that would work better for them.

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  16. Wow...love how I have a RSS feed of my reviews. Any way we could have our star ratings displayed as well?

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  17. How about real-time reviews. It seems to take an eternity to get a review to pass the seemingly stringent review process. Can't we just have house rules and flag those that are deemed offensive. Takes a bit of fun out of the review process and is a real conversation killer. After a couple of days, the discussion has kind of lost its pop.

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  18. What happened with the RSS dev? Where is the custom lists? Where is the Watch Instantly Que in RSS.

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  19. Okay, they've been working for well over a year now to fix the timeout issue on MyYahoo! when trying to paste the RSS link. Could someone let me know what's going on with that, please?

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