How Netflix manages its throttling

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Jim, Feb 17, 2006.

  1. Jim

    Jim Guest

    We have been Netflix customers from about two months now. and we have
    noticed something curious about the service. We live in Hawaii, and at
    first the Netflix DVDs would arrive in a return envelope that said it
    was from "Nearest Netflix center" with a Honolulu address. Very nice.
    And yes, the service was fast.

    And then today we returned the latest DVD that we watched last night,
    and guess what????? Surprise!!! The return address for the DVD was
    "Nearest Netflix center" in COLORADO. Not the nearest, seems to me.

    There are a number of possibilities here:

    1. The DVD had to come from (and be returned to) the Colorado center
    because it was the only place it was available. Possibly, it might not
    have been a very popular selection.

    2. Netflix is now letting the USPS throttle things down by deliberately
    routing the requests to Netflix processing centers that are far enough
    away so that it is guaranteed to take an extra day or two. If we see a
    lot more of our Netflix DVDs from faraway places, then that is probably
    the case.

    3. Even Machaivelli says not to suspect a conspiracy when incompetence
    is obvious, but I think that this is not one of those cases. Netflix
    seems to be pretty well organized so that if they are using a routing
    algorithm that automatically delays things this way, it is probably on

    Jim, Feb 17, 2006
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  2. Well, don't feel bad--
    I go through the Worcester, MA center, and recently got a documentary
    with a Honolulu mailer.
    Not surprisingly, it was an obscure title from a small company, and less
    likely to be stocked at every regional center.
    Secret #1 to Increased Availability through regional centers--Importing
    less frequently rented titles to lower-end users, allowing more
    sub-centers to stock their own catalogs.
    2 - Weak red-herring suspect; 3 - Non-parsimonious supposition.

    Best advice given is, unless you're renting "Cheaper By the Dozen 2", or
    some such Blockbuster-fodder, check your return-envelope mailer to make
    sure which address it's returning to (nine times out of ten, it'll be
    local, BUT)--And if it's from Out of Town, keep mailer and disk readily
    near each other to avoid confusion with your local rentals.
    It won't speed the rental loop *too* noticeably, but it will save a
    happy nameless Colorado customer from your disk getting an extra day or
    two in Hawaii by mistake....And yes, my Honolulu copy went straight home

    Derek Janssen (it's the new equivalent of "Be Kind, Rewind")
    Derek Janssen, Feb 17, 2006
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  3. Jim

    wunnuy Guest

    On the plus side, you can go "I'm getting throttled like everyone else,
    but, at least I live in Hawaii, so I've got that."
    wunnuy, Feb 17, 2006
  4. Jim

    Von Fourche Guest

    All of my disks come from and go to the Netlfix Indy shipping
    department. I did order Have Gun Will Travel Season 1 Disk One a few weeks
    ago and it came from Colorado. I just had The Rat Patrol Season One Disk
    One and it came from Indy.
    Von Fourche, Feb 17, 2006
  5. Jim

    Shadow Guest

    2. Netflix is now letting the USPS throttle things down by deliberately
    You Netfix conspiracy theorists really amuse me.

    My DVDs always go to Worcester, MA. 40 miles from here. They get to me the
    same day they're shipped or the day after. I'm guessing that your situation
    has other factors to it besides Netfix's nefarious plan to get you off your
    couch once in a while.... like perhaps the ratio of volume to available
    staff to facilitate the fastest turnaround possible? Maybe this week there's
    less traffic in Colorado than in Honolulu. Here's an idea: why not call them
    and ask them about how it works. I doubt that the phone drone who answers
    can tell you that but if you act like a human being when you talk to them
    I'm sure they can escalate the question appropriately.

    paranoia, paranoia everybody's coming to get me....
    Shadow, Feb 17, 2006
  6. Jim

    Bob Guest


    Does NF hand deliver them to your door?


    "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined
    nor determined to commit crimes...Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and
    better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides,
    for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
    --Thomas Jefferson
    Bob, Feb 18, 2006
  7. Jim

    Bill's News Guest


    In a way, I'm inclined to agree. Attributing motive to every nuance
    only creates ulcers. I've been a NF customer for a while longer than
    2 months and have certainly received a few out-of-area shipments (tho
    they are predictable from NF's posted ship/arrive dates). Also, some
    discs have arrived here with my address page clinging to the shipper
    by little more than a Florida-chad-thread. And 2 or 3, which hadn't
    arrived here, were subsequently reported by NF as having been received
    by them - so I assume that my address page had been shredded
    completely during handling. In each of these cases, when I reported a
    disc un-received, NF promptly (next day when reported early in the
    day) delivered either the replacement I asked for or a different
    movie, if I chose that option (which I did when the lost disc was
    obviously from out-of-area).

    Oh sure, that cuts down on the "constant stream" of discs from NF to
    me - but it hardly happens so often as to cause upset about it. I
    wouldn't mind if NF would add the source location of the available
    discs (or at least "not local") to the queue info, but that seems
    unlikely, eh?

    Since my memory is not too good, I keep a record of movies I've seen
    and I usually rate them too as (+) I'd watch again, (0) I watched all
    the way thru, (-) self explanatory! Looking at the list of NF
    deliveries to date since 7/1/05, I count 188 or just under 6 per week.
    (23.8 per month for the last 6 months of '05). Which is actually a
    tad above my goal of having one in the DVD player and two enroute (one
    in either direction) 5 days a week. And yes, Nov., Dec., Jan. were
    slightly below the average, but Feb. is, at the moment, above.

    Oh yes, I am retired and thoroughly enjoy movies and some dramatic TV
    series. Far too many of these which I'd never seen before - and which
    I'd tried to select carefully from published opinions - were just not
    to my taste (-). So that 188 discs probably represents not much more
    than 188 viewing hours over the same 32 weeks or so. I'm quite
    pleased with NF's performance:cost. Previous to NF I used to drive to
    any of the 3 nearby BBs and take 6 titles at a time (some due back in
    2 days, others in 7) at a much higher cost per disc.

    As to the oft mentioned copying of rental (or any) DVDs, I'm
    ambivalent. If it's OK to copy a TV broadcast or cablecast for
    personal use, then it ought to be OK to copy a rental disc for
    personal use and I suspect that it is, but I haven't bothered to read
    the law either. While I'm unsure whether rental companies' business
    models include repeat rental expectations, there is no doubt that
    rerun is part of the broadcast strategy. Apparently the copying of
    broadcast shows has not put a dent in their rerun concept? My
    personally rated (+) movie/TV eps are the only ones I'd consider
    copying and there are precious few of those. However, I find it
    personally rewarding to have discovered a (+) so that I can buy the
    DVD and donate it to our community library. Oddly, this is not only
    legal, I can get a tax deduction (right!) while sharing my find with
    my friends and neighbors ;-) I'm not alone in this - over half of the
    3,000+ DVDs in this library have been donated by patrons.
    Bill's News, Feb 20, 2006
  8. Jim

    Shadow Guest

    They show up as shipped at about 9:00 AM and I have them when the mail is
    delivered at about 4:30 or 6:00. I've mailed stuff within a certain radius
    that's gotten there same day before, it's not all that unheard of.
    Shadow, Feb 20, 2006
  9. Jim

    Bob Guest

    You are indeed fortunate. The best we get in Houston is overnight if
    you make the pickup on time. Everything local goes downtown for

    I still say that the recent addition of Wal-Mart's customers to NF has
    an impact on fulfillment. If there are not enough discs locally to
    satisfy the increased demand, then shipments will have to be made from
    non-local distribution, which stretches the delivery schedule. Then
    there are slow returns locally which delays things. And there's
    damaged diiscs which require non-local shipments.

    If NF thought that throttling was important to their profitability
    they would make it part of their policy. Trying to deceive the
    consumer just ends up with more trouble than it is worth. If they did
    set the policy to the level of current throttling, it would not affect
    customers who do not need to be throttled. IOW, NF has everything to
    lose and nothing to gain by engaging in sneaky tactics.



    In Hillary Clinton's new book "Living History," Hillary details what
    it was like meeting Bill Clinton, falling in love with him, getting
    married, and living a passionate, wonderful life as husband and wife.
    Then on page two, the trouble starts.
    Bob, Feb 20, 2006
  10. Jim

    gunner Guest

    For Bill' News,

    My experience with NF apperars to be about the same as yours. I think that
    the people who are spending so much time and effort bad mouthing NF have
    very unreasonable expectations. To get the service they seem to be
    expecting NF would have provide portal to portal service. Everything one
    wants does not happen over night. Immediate gratification is, sadly enough
    for some, not always possible. False advertising? I think not.
    Unreasonable expectations? Probably so. If you don't like the NF service,
    drop it. If enough NF customers feel the same and take the same step, the
    Market will act and NF will pay for it's supposed transgretions.

    By the by. I recently tried Block Busters 14 day free trial. Their
    distribution center is in Seattle, about 20 miles North of NF's Tacoma site.
    I received three discs on the 3 out plan during the trial period. None were
    at the top of my want list. I also received two free coupons neither of
    which I used since the local store's video selection is apparently target to
    the 14-15 year old demographic pool.

    During the same period I received seven movies form NF one of which was
    shipped from Lakeland, Fl. which is about as far from my home here in Port
    Orchard, WA as you can get and still be in CONUS.

    As I have asked the NF naysayers before, When Should I Expect to Start
    Getting Screwed by NF.

    gunner, Feb 20, 2006
  11. You can EXPECT to any time you like, and those who do, engage in it
    fairly constantly... ;)

    As to whether you actually *will* or not, depends on just exactly what
    you want out of the service.

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Feb 20, 2006
  12. Jim

    gunner Guest

    For Derek Janssen,

    I told you what I am getting out of the service and since you must have
    understood that I am happy with it, I am suprised that you weren't able to
    deduce that I am getting what I want out of it.

    Just what more than I am getting from NF do you need to get to make YOU

    gunner, Feb 21, 2006
  13. (Er, for the sarcasm-impaired, I was AGREEING with you...)

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Feb 21, 2006
  14. Jim

    Gary Guest

    Anyone know what the status is of the litigation dangling from last year?
    I'd like to get a free month.
    Gary, Feb 21, 2006
  15. Jim

    Bob Guest

    Then don't subscribe. You will get just about the same number of DVDs
    either way.

    They have stretched me almost an entire week. Bye Bye, NF. I can do
    without the lack of service. Maybe when reruns come on this summer I
    will resubscribe.



    In Hillary Clinton's new book "Living History," Hillary details what
    it was like meeting Bill Clinton, falling in love with him, getting
    married, and living a passionate, wonderful life as husband and wife.
    Then on page two, the trouble starts.
    Bob, Feb 21, 2006
  16. Jim


    Mar 24, 2008
    Likes Received:
    My waitlist is now up to 18 Very Long Wait, Long Wait, and Short Wait's. In fact the only movies I don't have to wait for are over two years post-release or art flicks.
    icashootnstar, Mar 24, 2008
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