Speed is everything online and I'm not talking about slow loading video or laggy audio.
I'm talking customer service/awareness and responsiveness.
PR-wise, Netflix has been taking some hard hits over the last few weeks. First, the pricing changes separating streaming video and mail order DVD subscriptions into two fees. Then, the Internet is raging over the fact that you can only stream Netflix on one per device per household at a time.
This article from PCWorld articulates the issue with single streams very well. If you have multiple people in your home and multiple streaming capable device, why shouldn't you be able to watch Netflix on both devices at the same time.
Buried somewhere in their agreement Netflix has mentioned multiple streams are only allowed if you take the multiple DVD at a time rental option. Of course, now that has been recreated as a separate option the old wording doesn't even make sense.
StoptheCap.com had an article yesterday saying they received notice from Netflix that multiple streams should not be a problem and is in fact, just a technical glitch. They go on to say that at least some of their users are still reporting the issue.
My main issue with all of this is not the inconsistent stories or the technical problems. My problem is with the lack of communication from Netflix themselves!
Where are they? Why aren't they blasting the "technical glitch" story all over their blog and main website? This is not a new problem and people are fuming; over 5000 negative comments on the Netflix site already. Who knows how many emails and phone calls are being traded. Meanwhile, all of the media I see from Netflix is firmly stuck in broadcast mode blithely spewing happy little ads about their new content and ignoring the PR storm blazing all around them.
Speed counts. When there is an issue, respond to it and fast. Don't leave it for others to speculate on while you figure out the best PR spin tactic to use. Tell us what's going on before we move to one of the rapidly appearing competitors.
Oh, and Netflix; while you formulate a response to my questions, have someone update your Facebook pages too. There's not a whisper of any of this on the Canadian page. Plenty of other complaints mind you.
For you, the reader, keep in mind that even if you stick with the cheapest $7.99/month streaming only plan, you are still paying for that bandwidth from your ISP. Watch your limits and decide if that 5 year old B movie is worth it.
Ok, seriously. First there was the scare I had when I updated to FF 5 and FireBug was gone again.
Now, Google Toolbar (GTB) won't be supported on FF5+?! FireFox may not be a sinking ship but the rats are scattering like it is.
I suppose it makes sense for Google to distance themselves from Firefox. Their own browser, Chrome, has been gaining a lot of traction. Why should they actively encourage users to utilize another browser?
At least the Google search box is still safely ensconced in the top right of Firefox. There, and of course if you type search terms directly into the address bar. But you knew that right?
Google search is practically ubiquitous already. I don't think Google is worried about losing search share by taking away support for this toolbar. I think what you will see is continued updates to Chrome's built in functionality to poise it as the go to browser for developers and non-developers alike.
Check out the list of built in Google Toolbar-like functions in Chrome.
FYI - the Google Toolbar is not officially supported for FireFox 5 but that doesn't mean you can't use it still. As near as I can tell there isn't anything broken yet. The announcement is more likely a heads up. You can go ahead and download the toolbar here, and then the compatibility reporter add-on here in order to enable it.
There is also an unofficial Google Toolbar add-on called Google Toolbar Lite. I have yet to try it.
Any other alternatives out there? Can FireFox keep up with all these changes? Every time something drops off without warning, there's another group of users waiting to jump ship.