Friday, January 11, 2008

Community Effects

It's friday night and i should be doing something else, but the kids are finally asleep and my wife is downstairs having tea with a friend. And i'm wondering if you'll allow me to think outloud.

Netflix has got almost 100,000 titles.* A lot of content. Some of it has been seen by lots of folks and some by few. Some is quality and some is crappy. I've watched a lot of it -- some of y'all have watched TONS -- but as individuals we've still only scratched the surface... having seen about 2-4% of this catalog would make you fanatical. And more comes in all the time.

You're the "community" at Netflix. The people who like movies, watch a lot of movies, and talk about movies with some frequency. I wonder how you can help us find movies to get, help us identify the good stuff, and then help spread the word to other (less exploratory) people? What is the best way to do this? Really. How would you propose we maximize our collective wisdom about movies and get that in front of other people? The studios pay a fortune to generate interest in their super expensive movies. It's easy to find those. The new releases, as current debates would indicate, have plenty of interest in them. The question is how to discover hidden gems and generate interest in them.

Sophisticated searching tools will help some people, certainly. But most people don't use them, and instead rely on either netflix's predictions, or other people, to help them find something good to watch. While Todd and team work to make the predictions better -- my bet is that a community of people can be a better tool to find, vet, and recommend movies. So how can we do a better job of that? Help me prove this is a more powerful recommendation tool.


(*I'm not trying to overstate this; it was 85K, then 90K, it will sometime be 100K and soon after that even more. The point is this is a big number.)


  1. Very Difficult!!! The problem is the Masses are the Masses. I believe that it is almost a lost cause to think that "the masses" will even want to think about these so called hidden gems. I believe they are only gems to the low percentage of almost or already fanatical movie watchers!
    The people who for the most part watch alot of movies because it is kinda like art collecting. Watching their favorite directors, cinematographers, actors and so on...
    I think the Mass amount of people watch movies that are over advertised... Flashy.... The most popular celebrities of NOW! And then all the moms that get the cartoons for the kids.
    They are not interested in the art of film. So they aren't going to be interested in looking for smaller known films or even earlier films of their favorite actors.
    They need their fill of Big Bang Action....Sexy 20 something comedies.. and Sandra of Julia making them cry about something or another....

    You have the top 10 list thing.. which is somewhat of a good idea.. but as you can see.. everybody and their mother makes a horrible list of movies that nobody wants to go through..

    But I do want to say that I truly wasn't trying to sound mean or talk bad about the masses... They are what they are... And it works that way in about every business...

    And the AMOUNT of movies that Netflix makes available is the greatest thing on earth... I hope it never changes it's view on having all those movies available even though they aren't rented so much.

  2. itunes has a celebrity playlist section. maybe you guys could try a similar thing where famous directors, actors or other random celebrities recommend their favorite movies. this would probably be more interesting to a lot of people than your extensive critics' picks section.

  3. I agree that there needs to be a better recommendation system. I've rated almost 2,000 movies, and all the suggestions that the site gives me are pretty terrible. It usually only gives me TV Shows and Music videos, which...I have no idea why.
    A few suggestions...

    The 200 character limit for movie notes to your friends is way to short.

    Every time you show a movie title, all me to rate it. (i.e.- on the Community pages' recent reviews)

    A better system to recomment movies for netflix to carry. I've asked for several titles, that are readily available for sale from places like Amazon, and I never received a response back, and the movies were never added.

    I've had at least 1 movie go from being in my que to being switched to Saved and not available, within a week of it's release.

  4. This may not be feasible in terms of server capacity, and when a few of us suggested this before you seemed rather nonplussed, but I really think that if you had an alphabetised list of your entire inventory (ideally with mouse-over synopsis/BOBs), with, say, 100 movies per page, people would start poking around and finding offbeat stuff that sounds intriguing to them. I know that I, and every film lover I know, would. Sure, we could go through Halliwell or Maltin and see if you have it, but that somehow feels too much like work.

    I actually find the recommendations pretty good; but also a bit patronizing in a odd way - I mean, who likes to think that some computer 'knows us'? Maybe that's one reason you get so many dismissive comments about them on this blog? So I often rather contrarily ignore them, and go searching for my own choices. But where, when (to your point) we're only offered a minute pre-packaged fraction of what's available ? That's when I'd head over to the G's or P's or N's in your index and start rifling through to find some 'hidden gem' for myself. But maybe that's just me?

    Thanks for inviting suggestions. Will ponder some more.

  5. I wonder how you can help us find movies to get,

    You mean movies you don't already have that are out on DVD Region 1?

    After a quick look at my saved section, do you mean movies like "African Queen" and "Zentropa (aka. Europa)", movies that have been released here in the US, but you just don't have?

    Or are we talking about Netflix beginning to import region 2-5 movies to release them as R1 here? (There are tons of those, I'll happily recommend a couple.) Isn't that how the Weinstein brothers started?

    help us identify the good stuff,

    I thought that was the entire purpose of ratings and reviews. A simple way might be to calculate the star-average of the 5-10 reviews voted most helpful (even though that has a strong bias). But if we're talking rarely-rented movies, there might not even be that many reviews. Or are you thinking along other lines? I'm not sure I understand what you're after.

    and then help spread the word to other (less exploratory) people?

    That one is sooo easy!

    Just add them to the new New Releases sliders! People will happily click anything on that page - your own data support that.

    None of those dunces, erhm "less exploratory people" will notice that a few of the movies aren't exactly new. Just use the DVD-release date instead of the production date. The Maltese Falcon (2000), for instance. No problemo.

    (That just leaves us "2-4% fanatics" out in the dark when it comes to new movies, but we'll just have to "get over it" and "move on" - after having helped Netflix make more people rent the less-asked-for movies you have in so abundant stock... Sigh. Now off to bed, before I get depressed.)

  6. improve the social nature of the profiles.

    look at, implement some of what they are doing. give us charts on most watched or highest rated directors. we get a little of that now, but nothing ranked, and it doesn't seem that inclusive. also i can't even see what director are popular with me, on my profile.

  7. If we come up with something really, really, REALLY good, do we get the $1,000,000? Just askin.

  8. What's a strategy for using what's already on the site? Say I want to use "Members With Similar Tastes to You". I select one of the people from the lower left-hand corner of my Community page -- and then what? I get lists of genres and directors, neither of which are of obvious use. Where can I find movies that my dopplegänger likes that I haven't rated?

    Any other strategies?

    I've had identically zero Suggestions for well over a year -- until last week. Now I have two, both awful. How no one has earned that $1MM is beyond my ken.

  9. @Minckster

    Oh no! You're missing a crucial step in the process, my friend. Once you get to their profile you click on the 'ratings' tab to the right, and you'll see all their 5 star movies. Those that you've seen and rated have yellow stars, and those that you haven't will have red stars. That should help you a little more, no?

    @Michael. How are those instruction videos coming along?!

  10. Your content acquisition department leaves something to be desired. You have many great titles but have some glaring commissions as well. I routinely request these titles and get ignored. For instance...Zentropa, Twin Peaks Gold Box Definitive Edition(netflix has season 2 of TP only), and Andromeda Season 1(you have all other seasons). It seems to me that netflix should have a forum or blog where content acquisition can see what films people are passionate about that aren't in inventory. They could also look hard at the films designated as unavailable or have a saved tab to replace some of the films that have been lost or damaged.

    Also... the ability to see 4 star recommendations for people who are similar to me would add lots of films to my queue. When I compare 5 star lists, I've seen most of the films with a few that I've missed and often add to my own queue, the ability to see four stars would open up many more titles to me.

  11. How about the ability to see just 4 and 5 star movies from people similar to me that I haven't rated yet?

    That should cut to just a list of movies that would be likely candidates for the queue.

  12. I suppose this would only service that part of the community that engages in such activities, but...

    I wonder if you'd be interested in setting up a BB-type message board/forum. I can't think of an easier way to instantly set up the lines of communication between members of the community.

    I suppose that also opens up a can of worms about administrating and policing such an entity...

  13. I might suggest designating certain "fanatics" with some sort of honorary title based on their overall participation on Netflix. Those who rate/review the most and are obviously passionate about film might be ideal candidates to help promote "hidden gems"...although that description may be arbitrary. Once person's hidden gem is another's pile o' garbage!

  14. I find the lists of movies that users have created to be very useful, especially for finding lesser-known movies. The problem: finding these lists is random. I usually resort to the most popular or new additions or recommended lists that show up on my account.

    It would be helpful to users, and meet your goal of publicizing the lesser known films, by making it possible to search and sort user lists and to retain those lists. I realize there is no one system for naming lists but there are similarities this would give us access to more movie recommendations from users.

  15. 1) IMO, Netflix is very good at spreading the word. Ratings, lists, friends, enjoyed by members who enjoyed, and so on. The only better source for me is Facets Multi Media, with Rotten Tomatoes a close third.

    2) An easy way to spread might be to change the movies on the home page. Those chosen based on my interest in three random movies are good, as is the New Release For You. But the Other Movies You Might Enjoy seem weak, and the Local Favorites in Your Town is pushing the masses (and counter intuitive to your RTW argument of relieving the pressure from the most popular films at your local distribution center). That's 17 slots that could use better suggestion pools. Some of those slots could be derived from more obscure films. Some of those slots could be derived from films chosen from our 4 & 5 star ratings that are not in our rental histories. Some could be generated from Members With Similar Tastes To You.

    3) A hard way may be to expand the community blog to multiple forums, where we could push our favorites. For instance, I've been pushing "Save the Green Planet" to my friends this week. A Netflix forum could be a place to push "Save the Green Planet" at those I don't know.

    4) If there was a way to select another person's list or ratings for extra credit in red star ratings, that could boost community suggestions. For instance, I have a friend whose most Unique Favorite is "Dogville." Should I select him for extra credit, then "Dogville" might rise significantly in my red star ratings. Without seeing the Unique Favorites of someone selected for a review, list or Most Similar to You, a selection button could be helpful.

    5) Most suggestion for a DVD to add to Netflix should generate a Saved movie page. For instance, "Stealing Heaven" has not been released to DVD. It still should have a Netflix entry with a Saved status and a prominent disclaimer. Among other things, having a page for "Stealing Heaven" would permit ratings and list inclusion.

  16. I think charon is right about the avid users of "community" but would narrow that down a bit by assigning each person a Genre!

    It was hans richter that hit the nail on the head, though. A message board would work for me. I ran one for a couple of years and found it quite fun. It is a lot easier to follow who is saying what, when you have avatars and message threads to follow.

  17. Others have said that you might not want to turn Netflix into a social network, but maybe that is precisely what you do want to do if you are looking to promote more user/movie interaction.

    Many people learn about lesser known movies by talking with each other, discussing the qualities of the movie and eventually renting and/or buying them.

    Here's a few suggestions:

    1.) Increase the character limit on movie notes (already suggested). My friends get around this simply by leaving several notes on the same movie, so they can get their idea expressed.

    2.) Increase the character limit in the user profile section. This is extremely limiting and does not always allow for other users to understand what a "potential" friend is actually about.

    3.) Create a website homepage for each user (a bit like myspace) but limited to options Netflix gives, so that it is related to movies and the movie watching experience.

    4.) Create chat, so that friends can easily chat with each other in real time, instead of relying fully on notes to communicate.

    5.) If a user has asked for a title that Netflix does not currently have, make it obvious in the user's homepage that the movie has been attained. Give the option to that user's friends to see that information as well.

    6.) Make it easier to read movie notes. Currently, it can be difficult to follow a thread because there is no indentation on the thread; just "You" in regular type-face.

    7.) Allow users to use a limited set of HTML within their reviews. Bold and italics can do so much more to get a point across.

    8.) Allow the use of paragraphs within reviews. It's a bit daunting to see a 500 word review without any paragraph separation. I think you will see more people voting if they easier to read.

    9.) Go ahead with your plan to make listed "helpful" or "not helpful" but let the list make choose if he or she wants the list voted on. Many users create lists just for themselves and their immediate friends.

    10.) Create a forum (within the Netflix site) that allows multiple threads at the same time. PHPBB comes to mind.

    Now, get to work, ya' slacker :)

  18. Why don't you voluntarily collect other non-movie-related information about people and then match us up (a la a dating service) so we can find others with similar interests who may enjoy similar movies? You can then figure out which non-movie traits correlate most to successful movie taste prediction.

  19. I'm gonna toss this out there, and if you want we could make it a top level posting...

    This is slightly off topic (my bad), but what would y'all think of an annual Netflix Power Users Group conference? Or something like that. One day in Los Gatos. Present some new ideas. Explain how more complex things work. Check out a major distribution hub. Meet the PMs (and, I guess, Reed), have some forums on a few topics... would anyone really care that much? As we add APIs and such, it could have a "developers conference" angle, but I wondered if anyone thought this was interesting? We'd have give-aways and maybe... maybe we even have something special for the top 1000 reviewers or something...

    would anyone come?

  20. I honestly don't know if it would necessarily help but making the total rental count for a title available and being able to search/sort on that might be interesting. Given that some of the titles in the system are obviously going to be closer to the 0 rentals point and some are going to be closer to the 1,000,000 rentals point a simplified "heat" system might be appropriate, though I'd rather see the raw number.

    One point where that can start to break down though is with films with multiple releases since it might be possible for a widescreen edition to have very different rental activity than the pan & scan edition.

  21. I find current but lesser-known films by watching festival coverage closely. Maybe you could tap into that coverage somehow and feature festival releases more prominently...especially since some of them don't get distribution, it would be nice to have some festival-centric pages that would delineate which films are being released and when. (I mean, that would be helpful for me, since my current method is listing all festival releases in Excel and then spending a few hours checking Netflix every month or two to see if you have them, but generating interest in general by having pages for the major festivals would push forward smaller films, like you're saying, plus if you had a way of voting based on interest in the film or something, you might be able to push for distribution or get ideas for what Red Envelope should pick up.)

  22. Regarding an annual Netflix Power Users Group conference...

    I'd be interested in participating in an on-line conference.

    I'm not sure what the logistics or expense would be, but I've participated in such conferences for software roll-outs (Adobe), where engineers and designers walked us through features and allowed us to chat and interact with them and each other...

  23. The power conference sounds like a lot of fun for the more socially functional power users, but -- with all due respect to them (notice I don't say 'us'!) -- I'm not sure how helpful it would ultimately be to you. Having worked on many multi-media industrial shows in my time, I'm all too aware of the dismal 'tangible achievement' to 'time' ratio at these these things.

    But I do think that adding a 'suggest ideas to Netflix' underneath that 'suggest movies....' might bear valuable fruit over time. I know you have it rolled into 'contact us', but how many people discover that? Here you have a self-selecting and highly motivated contribution pool.

    I also agree that it would be good to be able to see people's 4 star movies as well as their 5, which inevitably vaccuum up all of the same 'Citizen Kane', 'Godfather', 'Raging Bull'... almost because we don't want to seem like ignoramuses by leaving them out. No, I bet our individual voice only really starts to emerge in our 4 stars lists, and is likely to be a richer seam for the kinds of movies you're trying to 'get out there'.

    Bless you for caring!

  24. i find out about obscure, unheard of movies/docs/etc via the releasing this week page which you guys took away....bring it back!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. @Misstiajournal :

    Not Michael's bailiwick, and we're trying to move on, but DUH!

  26. I vote for searching movies by rating. The highest rated movies on Netflix should be pretty compelling. Or the highest rated movies which you've never seen (if there's relatively few people rating it).

  27. "Movie of the Week"?

    Netflix nominates a number of "obscure movies" (high ratings, low rental numbers) and let people vote on which they like best. The winner is next week's Movie of the Week.

    If you keep it open (i.e. people need not have seen it to vote) and make sure the movies are obscure enough, I think it might be something interesting. And a small box with a cover on shouldn't take up too much space on whichever page it ends up on.

  28. Addendum: You might emphasize that the movie is selected by Netflix users and not something that Netflix is trying to ram down people's throats.

  29. This is a quote from a very nice gentleman on another thread :

    "I did not know there was a page for national or language subgenres. What an incredibly useful tool."

    I mean, you could have knocked me over with Buckyball. I think we're so used to exploring every nook and cranny of this site that we forget that there are probably many millions of members that don't know what a treasure trove they already have at their disposal. So instead of adding more stuff, let's first make sure that every member is fully conversant with the site as it exists now.

    Not sure how : mouse-over instructions? (too annoying?)... accessible yet highly informative videos like that RSS one ('you can lead a horse to water but not make him drink' syndrome?)... question mark widgets dotted around the site that take you directly to the relevant FAQ (much too annoying?)... Well, this isn't my area of expertise (clearly, dear), but a lot of people are evidently missing out on a lot of good stuff, and opening up the candy store to them as well would seem to be be a very good start for your current mission.

  30. Amazonstyle! to each movie its own forum...To each forum related to a movie accessibility to all including non Netflix customers.

  31. How about putting the 'releasing this week' link back so I'll keep my Netflix account open to search for movies. I mean, if you're stupid enough to get rid of that and not realize how useful it is, you have no business being in charge of anything. I use to work in an independent video store. I've seen thousands upon thousands of movies, and as sure as hell don't need any recommendations from you, considering I've SEEN all the movies you list for me to see anyway.

  32. "If we come up with something really, really, REALLY good, do we get the $1,000,000? Just askin."

    I already made that suggestion, but I haven't gotten my check yet...

    I think adding writers/authors to the database would make for a huge improvement to both the recommendation system and searchability.

    There is currently no way to find all the movies based on books by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King, Mark Twain, Arthur C. Clark, John Steinbeck, H.G. Wells, etc. etc. etc.

    There is also no way to find movies by screenwriters, like Douglas Adams, Sidney Howard, Frank Darabont, Murray Burnett, J. Michael Straczynski, Reginald Rose, John Michael Hayes, etc. etc. etc.

    The script is more important than star power, a big name director and a huge budget. Hidden gems tend to be lacking in 1 or more of these.

    A good script can make a great movie.

    A bad script can only make a bad movie.

  33. You might steal some thunder from Madison Avenue, home of lowest common denominator.

    How about a festival-style monthly theme - actor, genre, writer, cinematographer, title similarity, director, subject matter, locale, award & film festival nominees, etc. (Similar to TCM's blocks of programming.)

    High-brow or low, "free" appeals. Offer one or two bonus rentals a month from the "festival" list. Include a few blockbusters for the mainstream, but focus on your little-rented titles and "hidden gems".

    Seconding some of the sound suggestions already posted, I'd enjoy a cinephile forum, an easier way to request a title, a page featuring film festival titles, and better follow through on Saved titles. Good luck!

  34. I may be missing the boat here. Were you talking about which films Netflix should add to their library or simply how to generate more interest in existing titles?

    I'm thinking that Netflix might be interested in sponsoring some more titles for release on DVD--I believe I've rented a few of these. If so, I can think of two ways to determine which would have the level of interest and quality desired. Put all films, tv shows on your website, as requested, then see how many people review/rate them and how they review/rate them. If this would cost too much, surf or team up with them. I know that amazon has a Netflix-like business in the UK and has considered one here, but there may be room for co-operation. Totally out of line: More St Elsewhere, please.

    I agree with others here that with wider cast listings (rather than the top 2-6 stars) and writers, finding new films would be simpler. I don't know what guideline should be used to determine cast listings for films. Clearly 'bartender with purple shirt' and 'woman in phone box' needn't be listed and wouldn't be helpful unless the bartender or woman became famous later. But I've seen major and important secondary players omitted. Writers should certainly be listed. Producers and cinematographers might be nice too. That would broaden horizons while exploring.

    I also agree with pt. Your system is eerily good at predicting ratings. A few people I know who don't think so aren't using the ratings properly. They're rating whether a film is great or poor, rather than how much or little they liked the film. There's a huge difference. I've given 2-stars to great films and 5-stars to rubbish. Netflix is solely responsible for introducing me to many great works I'd have never, otherwise, seen because of your ratings predictions.

  35. "I don't know what guideline should be used to determine cast listings for films."

    Simple. Just copy BB's. They have it dead right, the wily deviants, and even include the names of the characters, as well as the DP and screenwriter/s. And if you feel bad about lifting their lists just send over a few thousand of your customers in exchange, and call it quits. But what am I talking about? You're already paid up in full, so feel free to start plundering, Team. ;)

  36. Sorry, no DP, it turns out (that could be an NF coup), but much more comprehensive.

  37. The recommendations based on my ratings are always laughably useless to me. Just because I like japanese anime doesn't mean that I want a list of cartoons. Just because I liked the maliciously gay themed Chuck and Buck doesn't mean that I would get within ten feet of the smarmy I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. And just because I like Asian cinema doesn't mean that I like all foreign films. The categories are just too broad. It's like racial profiling for films.

    I also fail to see why movies that I've already rated are being recommended to me. Or if I rent the special edition, I'm offered the regular edition.

    The fact that there are two ratings also drives me nuts. Just give me the overall rating. I'm not interested in what you think that my rating should be for the movie.

    The tool that is really useful is the page that pops up when I add a movie. Since it usually consists of films from the director that I just added, it makes sense.

    I'm that customer who is looking for more obscure films. I don't need recommendations. I need a search engine that allows me to input multiple criteria.

  38. "I need a search engine that allows me to input multiple criteria."

    Not sure I'd like to have drink with this grouch ;-), but this is a great idea. You input : 'Early French New Wave' or 'Between the wars German Expressionism', and kaboom, a month's worth of pure gold. Well, for me anyway. Magic! I know it can all be done with web searches, and then transferring that to the NF search engine, but we're all busy busy with other things and come here for movie one-stop-shopping. Like, say, the weekly new releases...... ;-(

  39. The categories are just too broad. It's like racial profiling for films.

    This has to be the worst analogy of the day. At least it made me smile.

  40. One thing that has been mentioned a couple times that has always helped me find movies.

    Raw Numbers Lists!!!

    I love to see what people are actually renting.

    Netflix obviously tracks what movies are being rented and how many times by your "Top 100 List".

    I would love to see that go alot further! What would be the harm in showing the customer how many times every movie has been rented?
    I don't know maybe it would.

    I love ranking lists! By the numbers. Even if they do wanna make me puke at times.

    But like others have mentioned. You could show rankings of most rented films by someone similiar or by power users..

    Raw numbers lists would be great. And you could even put like a "hot" or whatever sign next to a movie that has gotten alot of attention recently..

    Anyway... the point is .... Raw Numbers .... And you could build from there

  41. Feedback from Netflix would be nice. I've suggested many titles but all I've received back is the automated message. It would be nice to get a message back saying yes or no and if no why. The library has a similiar system where you can recommend titles and what's nice is that not only do they respond to your title request, they also add it to my wait list automatically if they order it. I would love it if Netflix would do that. Maybe even have a section labeled, Titles Suggested by Customers.

  42. "Feedback from Netflix would be nice."

    I'll say. There really is a sense that it all goes straight into the shredder. In my experience the new Customer Service team is truly terrific, but you really do need e-mail support as well in this day and age. And automatically adding a requested movie to someone's queue - zowIE, now wouldn't that be something!

  43. my friends and I all agree, of all the movies the one that we are most confused about you not having is

    "WR: Mysteries of the Organism".

    I mean.. you HAVE "Sweet Movie" by the same director, and they came out on the same day.

  44. Want to improve?
    1. Get rid of the "very long wait", "long wait" messages by purchasing a few more copies.
    2. DVD's that have been released for over a year that still reside in my "saved" section. Repeated request to "customer service email" are ignored with only a stupid form letter response. YOU need REAL email support dude! not form letters.

  45. Ummm, I've skimmed recent entries here, and I don't see anything about the Community page being down in any way, but my Latest Member Reviews section has not been loading the last two days. Did I miss something, or am I the only one with this problem?

  46. "Did I miss something, or am I the only one with this problem?"

    No, it's been mentioned on other threads (see #1 'Message Board').

  47. The best thing Netflix could do to help people would be to show them the new releases. Real new releases, not the movies being shown on cable tv pretending to be new releases. Before you worry about improvements how about you worry about fixing what you broke.

    -Bob in Seattle

  48. "You input : 'Early French New Wave' or 'Between the wars German Expressionism', and kaboom, a month's worth of pure gold."

    That's the idea. iStockPhoto has a search engine that works sort of like that. You input keywords and it translates them to analogous keywords that it uses. When unclear, it offers disambiguation.

    Sometimes it's a mess, but most of the time, it works pretty well. To the extent that it fails, it's probably because keywords are entered by image uploaders who put in inappropriate keywords to try to get more traffic. Netflix wouldn't have that problem unless you allowed users to tag films with keywords.

    And I'm not a grouch.

  49. who am I to judge my brother?January 13, 2008 at 1:14 PM

    And I'm not a grouch.

    OK. How about 'world weary'? But s'truth, I'd be a tad grouchy too after suffering that amount of trauma to the head. Feel better, and I really hope they adopt your idea.;-)

  50. I certainly admit this would require loads of work on your part, but you need to have a dedicated page that lists all directors and all actors.

    Imagine a "Directors" link and an "Actors" link. (I would also personally love a "Writers" section, but for now directors and actors will do). You click on "Directors" and you'll find listed every person that's ever directed a single film, ever. Sorted alphabetically, of course. You couldn't possibly fit all that onto one single page. Further sort criteria could include decades(i.e. 1940's), genres, award winners, language, etc. This would give your customers that are so inclined the tool necessary to truly browse people and not just genres.

    I also think it's important that you have a page for everything, regardless of whether it's even available on dvd or if you carry it. Amadeus: Director's Cut comes to mind. You don't carry it, and I can certainly recommend it (as if that ever does anything), but I'd never know it existed unless I found it elsewhere. Add a page for it, so people can review it and people can know it exists. I hate that I can't find movies you don't carry.

    I made this suggestion in the RTW thread, and of course it got lost. Reviews! Reviews have got to get tweaked. I don't want to go to a movie page and see three 5-star reviews right on top. That does nothing for me. So what? The first three people (give or take, of course) that wrote reviews loved it. That's all that means to me. I want to see, of those three reviews, a cross section. Show me the highest rate 5-star review, the highest rated 1-star review, and the highest rated 2/3/4-star review. I shouldn't have to dig through pages of reviews looking for a handful of well written dissenting reviews. I just think that would be much more helpful than the current system.

  51. @Mark - Sounds like you want to merge IMDB and Netflix. While I think that would be cool, it would likely create a lot of confusion if Netflix listed a million titles they don't carry. You might have better luck trying to convince IMDB to put "Add to Queue" buttons on their movie pages.

    I do like your idea about the top 3 reviews being varied though. I too spend a lot of time digging through pages of reviews looking for differing opinions. 3 reviews that only heap praise are of little interest to me.

  52. You might have better luck trying to convince IMDB to put "Add to Queue" buttons on their movie pages.

    Ha! You're right about that. And yet, that's not a bad idea either.

  53. I use IMDB every day, so I certainly wouldn't mind seeing buttons there.

    Maybe Netflix could get a small banner ad right below the Amazon ads for movies they have in stock. Its all set up to link with Amazon's movie database, it might not be that hard to link it with Netflix's.

  54. Show me the highest rate 5-star review, the highest rated 1-star review, and the highest rated 2/3/4-star review.

    Kind of like Amazon's style of "The most helpful favorable review/The most helpful critical review". It's a great idea, especially including the middle ratings.

  55. Including full filmographies is probably impractical for Netflix. It would be expensive to add and maintain that info for 100,000 movies.

    It's a common misconception that adding a title to Netflix just costs them the $20 or so for the DVD. I'd be curious as to the real cost, but wouldn't be surprised if it were more than $1000 just to add a single disc of a new title. Requiring more info for every disc would make them even less likely to add obscure titles.

    iMDB is a subsidiary of Amazon so they have a special relationship that is probably not available to Netflix. Netflix customers could start their own database, but for most just using iMDB and adding titles manually is more practical.

  56. Here are a few ideas to generate some movie buzz:

    Chat rooms broken down by genre.
    People love to express their opinion and share their thoughts. They also like to hang around like minded people. To create Genre structured chat rooms will invite people to discuss movies they have seen or heard about thus generating interest with others.
    Celebrity Favorites
    People are always trying to connect with the celebs in one way or another. With the Actors being directly involved in the film industry they have an insite to titles we might never have realized existed. This might generate a buzz for films that missed the heavy hollywood glitz.
    Best of the lesser known
    True movie lovers often watch a lot of films that are not on the Hollywood Hit list. We also tend to rate more movies than the average Video renter. As such maybe a search option that will list/highlight TOP RATED LESSER KNOWN TITLES - if a film gets few hits/searches/rentals but seems to rank high in the "ratings" for likeability factor it would appear on this list.
    Friends Search
    If we were more connected to people on Netflix we'd be more likely to check out/consider their opinions of movies. I have found it difficult to locate people I know on here that I assume have netflix. With the popularity of sites like MySpace & Facebook there must be a way where we can create mini communities within this site to be able to connect with other film lovers. As a result, their reviews and top ten lists will be more readily accessible to us to review and consider when searching for films to add to our list.
    More Search Options
    What about having a search engine where you can choose to search key words that are in the description of a film and having the option of including member reviews. Then being able to narrow your search results by rating (G, PG, PG13, R, NR etc...) and even Years (1930's, 1940's, 1960's, 2000 etc..) You can even include the option to search genre (romantic comedy, foreign, drama, action, etc..) There have been many times where I was looking for a type of movie or a specific title but I had no idea of the name. Had I been able to search by keywords relating to the film (Exmp: Mail= The Lake House, P.S. I Love You, The Love Letter, Dear God) and better yet, having been able to narrow those results from 4k to something more searchable like 200. It would expose me to films I might not have other been aware of but fall in line with something I am looking for.

  57. "iMDB is a subsidiary of Amazon"

    As much time as I spend there, I should have noticed that. That certainly decreases the chances of links or banner ads (by a lot), but anything is possible. Amazon has been the king of making alliances, especially with their competition.

  58. I would suggest improving the "Similar to you" algorithm used for non-friends, or just using the same algorithm that you use for friends.

    I realize that speed of coming up with a figure is an issue, but I find that the sim percentages just don't work when all you're doing is comparing favorite genres - plenty of people like sci-fi and fantasy like me, but lots of them like the crappy ones (IMHO), so I have no reason to listen to their recommendations on film.

    On the other hand, the algorithm you use to get the sim percentage for your Friends works GREAT since it looks at individual movie ratings, regardless of favorite genres.

    If I and others could rely on the sim percents listed all over the Netflix site (which I can't now), it would greatly increase my ability to find people who actually have similar tastes to me, and therefore bring all those hidden gems that I would love to the forefront.

  59. "I find that the sim percentages just don't work when all you're doing is comparing favorite genres"

    I totally agree, and have come to pretty much disregard the site-wide sim%. But thinking about the difference between making 1 to 30 multi-point calculations and over 7 million....'s probably just not do-able within a reasonable time frame. Even as it is my spinny-thingy sometimes takes a while to pick my 4 clod hopping dance partners (no, offence!). I may be wrong, but I fear that we have track down all those member hidden gems before we can share their booty.

  60. I hate to beat a dead horse, but the most useful tool I have ever used for locating less-known titles on Netflix is the Releasing This Week page. Second most useful: the page that pops up when I add one of those new releases to my queue, showing similar movies.

  61. "....I hate to beat a dead horse..."

    Except that when we're being asked how best to locate and disseminate obscure but wonderful titles, one has to bite one's tongue not to suggest that obvious yet now un-nameable source, with at least one or two guaranteed gems every week.

    So, why not just leave off the big marquee titles, People, and give us back the rest (on the site, not just the blog, before someone re-posts the link!) We'd really be fine with that!!

  62. To turn the question on its head...

    I don't have a shortage of movies I want to watch - I have a shortage of time to watch them in! My queue often overfills to the point where it would take me years to watch everything on it. I then need to prune it back (only to watch it fill up again, of course).

    I would like the netflix interface to be more helpful to me when I have to prune my queue. Two things that would really help are:

    * Showing the IMDB score. I am sorry guys, but for me the Netflix prediction is nowhere as good as the IMDB score in weeding out really bad movies. Partly because if I like actor X and have rated 4 out of 5 of his films highly, Netflix will recommend me with a high predicted rating the 5th movie even though it is a complete and utter turkey. I'd love to see the IMDB score in my queue (though I understand this may not be possible due to intellectual rights).

    * Secondly, and I asked for this years ago through the Netflix suggestion mechanism, I really would like to be able to store a short annotation when I add a movie to a queue along the lines of "Recommended by Joe". Then when the last 3 movies recommended by Joe turned out to be bloody awful, I can quickly remove all other Joe-recommended movies from the queue. If you think with 100+ movies in my queue I can remember how most of them got on there, think again.

  63. How about, for users that do not maintain their que, to automatically send out a movie of Netflix's choosing. Sorta like the CD of the month or movie of the month Model. If they don't like the movie, they can turn off that feature in their profile or simply fill up their que.

    You could also add an opt in for users that do maintain their que "Allow Netflix to ship a random recommended movie once a month".

    What do ya think of that?


  64. @robert
    Yes, the processing issue certainly is daunting when you think of what it would take to come up with good sim% for everyone.

    Maybe Netflix could make a list of the 1000 movies, cross-genres, that most people have rated and base the "quick" sim% off comparing the movies just from this list that both parties have rated?

    Clearly it wouldn't be as good as the full comparison we get for Friends, but I think it would be a whole heck of a lot more useful/accurate than what we currently get (which is hardly useful at all).

  65. Reading between the lines, I suspect that having built the Community Features to help people find great movies, they're finding that - useful they are for the minority of us that bother to use them - that hasn't affected the rental habits of the vast majority of their members, who tend to rent all the schlock that they missed, or didn't want to spend $20 a head on (inc. snacks), at their local multi-plex.

    Elitist snob? Perhaps, but it's hard not to think otherwise when I read review after review decrying the fact that wonderful movies like 'Letters from Iwo-Jima' and 'Pan's Labyrinth' are (OMG, the hoh-roar!) sub-titled. I mean, where does one start trying to turn around that kind of mindset, and introducing people to a Bunuel or a Bergman? It requires a whole re-thinking of the word 'movie'. I only wish I had a suggestion as to how one even begins to get people to do that.

  66. Does Netflix plan to make the "watch on your computer" option available for Mac users? I would love to take advantage of this feature.


  67. NetFlix is already doing a lot of great stuff with the community features, expecially lists, that have helped me find hidden gems. I agree with other comments that most users are not really interested in finding more obscure titles. A few additional ideas:

    1. Allow users to sort reviews by the reviewer similarity.

    2. Allow for a search of the most similar users.

    3. Allow us to see the 4-star, as well as the 5-star, rated movies of other users.

    4. Bring back the Releasing this Week page---the best way for me to find those hidden gems.

    Regarding the "Power Users" conference, I would be interested in that depending on the expense involved.

    Best, (781 283)

  68. In my time as the E.D. of a film arts org. I saw that very few people are adventurous enough to spare 2 hours on something 'new'. Kind of like trying to get that one friend to just even try Sushi. Once. One bite. Nope, won't do it. Keeping my mouth shut!

    I saw that it took 'safe' people spreading the message. The Today Show, Leno, a Pastor, more than a few friends.

    I like the idea of celebrity playlists. Not filmmakers - most people don't know or care what they think. They want the talking heads from TV and stars. Get Ellen or Rachel Ray or Matt Lauer to recommend some of your indies and your work is done. You'll be running out of them too.

  69. Finding hidden gems would be a lot easier if there was a way to search peoples top lists rather than the computer just showing random lists based on your queue.

  70. "Get Ellen or Rachel Ray or Matt Lauer to recommend some of your indies and your work is done."

    Sad, but true.

    Best not to get Oprah's recommendations, her fans are beyond belief.

  71. It is sad. Compare some of the high profile foreign films to some of our high profile films and it makes our stuff look like studios are paying the kids from Back Yard Wrestling to make their movies.

    "But those films have 'words'" and indies are actually "Bombs made by big actors". That is the kind of thinking we are up against.

    All about education and safety. I'd bet that if you had a regional or local "safe" figure post his or her name and picture with their film recommendations the local news would pick it up in some areas and you'd have more subscriptions and many of them would start out with those films in their queue.

  72. I think the netflix search system sucks.

    For instance:

    "Your search for 'andy warhol' resulted in 3468 general search matches and 563 matches to watch instantly in the following categories:"

    Any match to 'andy' or 'warhol' shows up and there are a ton of andys out there.

    Being able to search for "andy warhol" instead of 'andy' and 'warhol' would be great. As it is right now, many searches get so many responses they are useless

  73. @Dirk

    What are you on about?? Both 'Warhol' and 'Andy Warhol' bring his films up first, followed by some biographies, exactly as you'd expect. The only problem one might have is with just 'Andy' (DUH!).

  74. I think the point that Dirk is trying make is : just compare what happens when you type 'Andy Warhol' into Netflix' search engine and IMDb's! Because here there's no distinction between his being the director/producer of his own movies ('Empire', 'Eat', 'Batman Dracula', 'Vinyl', 'Chelsea Girls', etc...) and his being the subject of other people's. But maybe this is a perfect example of when we should save Netflix' resources for other things (like buying more DVDs!) and go do our research on another site. And once we know what we're looking for, we then check to see whether Netflix carries it. That strikes me as a pretty fair distribution of effort and resources.

  75. The recommendation tools almost never worked for me because I have eclectic tastes in films ... I like bad 1950s-60s science fiction, good drama, and certain themes. I tried looking at the films preferred by people Netflix rated similar to me and they were not similar at all. The one really useful tool you had was the Releasing This Week feature ... and for some reason you took that away. Now I find Netflix pretty useless.

  76. I think the community features on Netflix are great and go a long way toward helping users find new things to watch. However, it would be nice if it were easier to find friends that had Netflix accounts. A lot of social networking sites have the option to provide your gmail id and pw and it will search your address book to look for people with accounts and it will ease the process of inviting them to be your friend. That would be great.

  77. I've said this in the message board; you should have more magazine-like features about film within the Netflix website -- in particular. Netflix should host "minisites" for all the "Red Envelope" releases prior to release, where the filmmakers can communicate with the Netflix community (who actually, though indirectly, helped to finance their film) and let us know how our dollars are expanding the art.

  78. I realize this is a little late, after having posted several suggestions, but in light of recent developments (or rather lack thereof) I was left wondering this:

    Can you, Michael, give us one good reason to help Netflix expand the horizons of other "less exploratory" users, when Netflix is unwilling to even comment on the biggest issue that "power users" seem to have? Why should we lift a single finger to help Netflix out, when we only get the silent treatment after one of the best "power user"-resources has been removed?

  79. @Knaldskalle -

    I share your frustration and sense that Netflix is giving us the cold shoulder (even though they're probably just trying to make really sure that they 'get it right' this time before making their next move, in light of recent events), but I think that what Michael is trying to suggest is that if more fast-food-movie watchers can be persuaded to ingest something more nutritious, it will take the pressure off the relatively few hyper-requested titles, and spread the demand more evenly across their entire inventory. Ergo : "Please help us to help them so that we can help you."

  80. voice of treason said: I think that what Michael is trying to suggest is that if more fast-food-movie watchers can be persuaded to ingest something more nutritious, it will take the pressure off the relatively few hyper-requested titles, and spread the demand more evenly across their entire inventory. Ergo : "Please help us to help them so that we can help you."

    I don't think I see what you mean, VOT (love that name, btw). If "power users" get their food, sorry, movie supply cut off, how are they supposed to be able to point other "less exploratory people" (LEP'ers..?) to other more nutritious movies? And if they could, why should they, it's not like it's going to give us any advantage, other than shorten the waiting time for the BlockBusters that we're not really that interested in anyway... In other words, since Netflix took RTW away, what's in it for us to help Netflix out? Nothing much, as I see it. Mutually exclusive desires, as Michael put it.

    We've received somewhat conflicting messages about the RTW. On the one hand, we have Michael who tells us that the RTW caused too many people to queue too many movies. On the other hand Netflix told USA Today that the RTW was hardly used by anyone.

    "Confused? Not after this episode of Soap..."

  81. i just started to use your community feature and think the "members top ten list" is a fun idea. Top Ten lists seem to make movie recommendations a bit easier to read.
    But, I do wish this was a little more interactive. There are a lot of lists I wish I could respond to, like make suggestions for additions, as I personally would love to hear other people's recommendations for lists I create.
    And also, I wish there was a feature where you could make a little note for each specific title for why you think it deserves to be on the list... just for readability's sake. One long paragraph in the description is a turn off.
    We're movie watcher's not book readers!

  82. "I don't think I see what you mean"

    By 'help us', I meant that if more members were watching a greater diversity of movies, NF might be more inclined to bring back the RTW page, even if in a slightly modified form -- like say, having a 'save' button instead of an 'add' one if a movie already has more people waiting for it than there are copies. People deal with the cold hard realities of supply and demand much better than they do with the disappointment of being made unrealistic promises (ie. "you'll all get every movie you want the very next day" -- that's just silly).

  83. voiceoftreason said: By 'help us', I meant that if more members were watching a greater diversity of movies, NF might be more inclined to bring back the RTW page, even if in a slightly modified form -- like say, having a 'save' button instead of an 'add' one if a movie already has more people waiting for it than there are copies.

    Ah, that make more sense to me (sorry if I seemed a little dense). Actually, maybe just changing the buttons to "save" instead of "add" might do the trick. Netflix could then keep the movies in the saved section for one, two or seven days and then move them up into the bottom of the queue. That way the number of people who move the queued movies up to the top of the queue might drop - and we could still have access to the information about what's coming out. No "locking" movies in place in the queue, no hiding actual new releases (or substituting them with "newish" releases) and (perhaps!) less pressure on the inventory.

  84. @Knaldskalle

    Interesting. This, by the way, is a fine example of an idea that might be good enough to test, and to test it this would take on a scale of weeks to months. Now imagine there are a handful of pretty good suggestions and folks here are debating which ones to test, and how best to test them, or already testing them. The results might be to turn this on to everyone, or the test might show it makes things worse in some way, so we wouldn't. I believe this is precisely why you won't hear anything official from netflix for an indeterminate amount of time. People are working. And there is nothing to report in the meantime. And no possible idea of what the outcomes will be, other than the promise that people are seriously thinking and working on these kinds of things.

  85. @Knaldskalle - That is an excellent idea. It would likely confuse a bunch of people at first, because they would think it meant Netflix didn't have any copies of the movie. But, they would complain here, we would inform them, and word would spread.

    Netflix might want to add a 3rd section to the queue called "On Hold" or "High Demand Delay" or whatever with a link to an explanation for why movies are there. "When you add a high demand movie to your queue, it will remain in this section for up to 2 weeks, before being moved into your regular queue. If demand drops it will move immediately to your regular queue." Or whatever.

    The top 16 movies in my queue have wait times (plus 6 others not at the top). The #2 movie in my queue has been at "short wait" for about 2 months. I constantly feel like people who have just added these movies to their queue are getting them long before I do.

    I would love to see Netflix add this as soon as possible.

  86. I believe this is precisely why you won't hear anything official from netflix for an indeterminate amount of time.

    This is, as with all the snippets that you convey to us from on high/the nether regions (?), good to know. But how come the Powers That Be haven't yet grasped the simple fact that taking to us directly would go a long way to mollifying us. Even if they're not really saying anything, along the lines of :

    "We understand that many of you are unhappy about our decision to change the New Releases page, and are currently trying very hard to find a way to reconcile your wishes with our need to maximize the number of DVD's we can ship to a maximum number of members - which, at this point may or may not turn out to be possible.

    In the meantime, we thank you for your feedback, some of it very helpful, and ask for your continued patience. Your Fiends ;-) at Netflix"

    Would that really be so terribly hard?

  87. erratum : ...towards mollifying us...

  88. "We understand that ...."

    Would that really be so terribly hard?

    It's hard to tell if you're being ironic or not. That's pretty much a short version of what Michael said a few weeks ago.

  89. @Sam -

    Good catch, Sir! I had exactly the same problem when I read it back to myself!! Let's just call it 'cheek in tongue'; because who's ever 100% right about anything?

  90. Michael said:Now imagine there are a handful of pretty good suggestions and folks here are debating which ones to test, and how best to test them, or already testing them. The results might be to turn this on to everyone, or the test might show it makes things worse in some way, so we wouldn't.

    This is pretty much what people have wanted to hear, I think. I know it pretty much satisfies my desire for being informed about what Netflix is doing about the whole RTW-situation. Instead of "we're working on it" (which could mean anything from "we're working on making you appreciate the new page" to "we're working on bringing you a new version of RTW that fits into the new page designwise") all you had to do was "we're currently debating and/or testing new implementations of an RTW-page that'll hopefully satisfy your demand. It'll take a while before the results are back in." Of course, I'm just imagining this going on...

    "You sending the wolf? Shit negro, that's all you had to say!" :-)

  91. Interesting. This, by the way, is a fine example of an idea that might be good enough to test, and to test it this would take on a scale of weeks to months. Now imagine there are a handful of pretty good suggestions and folks here are debating which ones to test, and how best to test them, or already testing them. The results might be to turn this on to everyone, or the test might show it makes things worse in some way, so we wouldn't.

    How do you know which ideas are good enough to test? Here's one way:

    Establish an open market where people can submit their ideas and then allow us to wager on the results. Those who have rock solid proposals will be willing to back those ideas with real money, and the crackpot/wishful thinking ideas will fall by the wayside.

    Real money has a way of clarifying ones thinking that you do not find by just nattering on in the interweb.

    I'm betting big against the baff/knaldskalle submission for a couple of reasons, fwiw.

    The main one being that I don't see how it is materially different than the idea I posted several weeks ago about temporarily locking these movies at the bottom of the queue. Not that I expected my idea to be wholeheartedly embraced either, it was just intended to highlight the hypocrisy and vacuous arguments of the RTW crowd.

  92. I don't see how it is materially different than the idea I posted several weeks ago

    It's not. It's just that people like Baff and Knaldskalle, but very much wish that you'd slither back into the hole that you unfortunately slithered out of several weeks ago. We humans are funny that way.

  93. @Roger - Easy now! Although it's hard not to agree with your diagnosis, even if I wouldn't have put it quite so .... uhm... zoologically.

    But don't forget the additional credibility that a registered name gives a Baff or a Knaldskalle, as compared to a 'Sam', a 'Roger' or an 'Anonymous'. Because how can we not wonder why a person isn't prepared to stand fully accountable for what they say by insisting on remaining masked?

  94. I'm not running for office, so the words are more important than the identity.

    But I'll stand behind anything I've said. I'll defend it, clarify it, or even retract it if I've misspoken or been proven wrong.

    That is far more credibility than most of those with registered names have earned.

  95. @Sam - If it was in one of those 2 monster threads, I probably didn't see it. I did glance at most of the posts, but after reading 20 anon rants in a row it was easy to zone out and lose interest. Or maybe I did see it and forgot it after reading 20 more copy/paste "bring rtw back now or else" posts.

    Whoever's idea it was, I think its a good one. Obviously some here will oppose it just because you suggested it, but all that matters is that Netflix gives it due consideration. I hope they give it a shot in whatever form.

  96. Hey Samornot, care to settle a small family wager? My wife , real smart but can't for the life of me get her to blog has you pegged for ColdOne on the new message board from the way you write, topisc you pick and times you both post. Confirm or deny? I'll spilt the $20 with you if your not!!

  97. "Whoever's idea it was"

    Didn't Michael say it was Knumskulle's, suggesting that maybe it's time we retired this amusing but undeserved soubriquet?

  98. Whoever's idea it was, I think its a good one.

    That particular suggestion was in one of the hackingnetflix threads, but as you say, it really doesn't matter where it came from and a good idea is likely to be thought of independently by multiple people.

  99. My wife , real smart but can't for the life of me get her to blog

    That by itself, makes her smarter than the two of us. I wouldn't bet against her.

  100. Sam said - I wouldn't bet against her

    Oh sure NOW you tell me! First the Packerderms and now this. But Susie is being a real sport and calling it a wash on account of your "plausible non denial". What was I thinking, marrying a political science/pre-law major?

  101. Thanks for replying, by the way.

  102. I'd like to see a tie in with Rotten Tomatoes, so I could instantly see the Rotten Tomatoes rating within Netflix. And then searching the Netflix archive by Rotten Tomatoe rating (all movies about 80%, etc). That would be very powerful.

  103. Is there a way to formally submit a proposal to Netflix? We have an outline for a recommendation engine that doesn't fall within the guidelines for the "Prize".

  104. misstiajournal said...
    i find out about obscure, unheard of movies/docs/etc via the releasing this week page which you guys took away....bring it back!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 12, 2008 11:07 AM

    anonymous said...
    @Misstiajournal :

    Not Michael's bailiwick, and we're trying to move on, but DUH!

    January 12, 2008 2:00 PM

    why are we "trying to move on"? I've not seen an answer to this anywhere. can someone point me to the thread where it was discussed? it won't make me feel any better about losing the page, but I have yet to hear a sensible rationale for the removal of MY FAVORITE PAGE on the site.

    signed, one of "the fanatical"
    (if we come to your "conference" can we have RTW back?)

  105. but I have yet to hear a sensible rationale for the removal of MY FAVORITE PAGE on the site.

    I've heard it's because Netflix hates its customers and wants them all to go to Blockbuster? Is that sensible enough? ;)

    This has been explained and discussed ad nauseum. If there's a particular part of the explanation that you find to be nonsense, please point it out and maybe someone can help you.

  106. @Prophet Margin - Probably best to call head office to get this info. Good luck!

    (408) 540-3700

  107. This doesn't help share, but it does expose more people. I would like two features:

    1) A notes section to keep notes of "why" I put a movie in the queue, possibly with URLs. I often read a review that inspires me to put a movie in the queue, but then my wife questions why it's there and I can't remember.

    2) I'd like to be able to put in movies that are not in the netflix database yet. I read a lot of reviews of movies at sundance and other film festivals. By the time they actually get purchased I've often completely forgotten about them. It would be nice to be able to note these (and perhaps have a button to let Netflix suggest matching titles). This might have the upside for you of anticipating demand for movies that your Red Envelope Entertainment could buy.

    I guess what I'm saying is that the next step for me is making Netflix into more of a movie notepad, where I store everything about movies. Not just about movies that you guys carry.

    After that, I'd like to see some way of sharing these "pre-reviews". It would be nice to be able to look at someone else's queue. Say, "Why is that in their queue", click on an icon and then read their explanation and be able to find a link to a movie review (or ad campaign, etc).

  108. Don't discount the important of power searching tools. The single most aggrevating thing about the Netflix site is when I can't search the way I want to find a movie.

    For example, a search on "Robert Deniro" (quotes used in search) should NOT return 1571 people matches.

    Simply unexcusable.

  109. Today I was trying to find 'Killer Clowns from Outer Space'

    I spent at least 15 minutes looking through the search results with no luck.

    I went to google - typed the same phrase in - and discovered the spellilng was 'Killer Klowns...'

    Even the IMDB seach engine was smart enough to recommend 'Killer Klowns' when I searched for 'Killer Clowns'

  110. The joke is that if you just type-in 'kille', there it is, 3rd one down! Its auto-fill is much smarter than its alternative spelling, I've found.

  111. This may have been mentioned already, but I didn't see it in the posts I skimmed. I would like to see lists of movies that were nominated for awards, not just the winners. So nominees for Academy awards going way back, Cannes, Sundance, etc. By listing the nominees for each year, and not just the winners, a much larger group of very good films will get exposure that they wouldn't otherwise.

  112. anon said:
    For example, a search on "Robert Deniro" (quotes used in search) should NOT return 1571 people matches.

    Why not? You obviously failed to notice that the name that comes out top is "Robert De Niro" -probably the name you were really looking for.

    Okay, if that wasn't it, there's a whole lot of other names that the search found, but why complain when it gives you exactly what you want, right up top?

  113. @Qhartman : Great idea! Because how often do those clowns ever get it right!!

    @Knaldskalle : You are correct, Sir. The only problem I've had is when the movie I'm looking for is in position 1572 in the Watch Now listings that follow all the others. QUITE annoying!

  114. I hate, hate, hate the new New Releases page. You have no idea what came out on the most recent Tuesday. It's just showing the same old junk that's "popular". This week, I'm seeing the same new releases I saw last week! I HATE it!

    I also don't like that there's nowhere on the site to make comments or suggestions. At least not that I could find. So now I have to come comment on the blog, because I don't know if there's anywhere else to go. The site's never been very friendly to open-ended questions and problems. Love a lot of things about Netflix, but I hate the New Releases page and I hate that it doesn't seem to welcome comments and suggestions, or anything that might involve an actual person helping us. (This blog notwithstanding.)

  115. I also don't like that there's nowhere on the site to make comments or suggestions.

    For what it's worth there's this from the 'Contact Us' link at the bottom of the site page (but no living, breathing humans in evidence) :

    Suggestions - Tell us how we can improve our website or service.

  116. Plus, everyone at customer service (via the 'Help' link) is now very on-the-ball and affable, and would certainly pass on a suggestion to the appropriate department; as long as that suggestion didn't entail taking a flying leap off anything. Or worse.

  117. I haven't gone through all the comments...maybe this has been mentioned... What if you do a Netflix member of the week? Make your "star" someone who has seen those rarely viewed films. You could put a box to click on our home pages with their % of similarity and avatar. Give this person a chance to list and shortly describe their favorite films. It would make people feel nice to been chosen, let us get to know each other a bit better and broaden our movie viewing horizons...

  118. I'm *still* waiting for a Facebook app. Yet another Facebook friend has asked for Netflix recommendations. If I could show what I'm watching/recently watched, a la GoodReads, I could share my ratings with my Facebook crowd.