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Zaku's avatar

Why might Netflix have sabotaged its own user account Ratings section?

Asked by Zaku (23156points) January 15th, 2017

I just got off the phone with Netflix customer support, and they confirmed this but had nothing to say about why. Can anyone think of a reason?

* Netflix lets you give your own (1 to 5 star) ratings on titles.
* You can see a list of the ratings you’ve given, sorted by when you gave the rating.
* You used to be able to sort that list by the rating you gave, so you could see your own favorite (or least favorite) titles. THEY NO LONGER ALLOW THIS.
* Now several recently-watched titles on my list just show MOVIE or SHOW and the rating, but not what the title was.

This was one of the features I rather liked about Netflix, and as a programmer I know it is DIRT EASY to implement and there is NO VALID technical excuse for not allowing this.

So can anyone think why the @%*# they would sabotage their own basic feature this way?

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9 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Streaming services like Netflix have not been included in viewer counts and popularity. But so much of the “TV/Film” industry is now involved in productions for these services that contracts and payments are getting closer to being based on objective measures.

So a Yelp type user review can disrupt this process.

It’s about money. It is always about money.

Zaku's avatar

@zenvelo What/how do they stand to gain by removing the feature where we could sort our own ratings of titles?

Cruiser's avatar

These moments only expose the companies inability to provide enough band width to satisfy the demand of yours and all the other customers downloads. I doubt the grass is any greener on the competitions abilities to provide seamless feed to all it’s customers.

Zaku's avatar

@Cruiser I get that the reason is doubtless intended to be a self-serving one, but there’s practically zero bandwidth savings here. Clicking on the list of one’s old reviews is surely a rare event, and it shows all of my years of history rating stuff on one page. Omitting a sort isn’t saving them a significant amount of bandwidth, and it’s a trivial engineering task that they already had a solution for, so I can only think they either think they have some reason to deny this feature, or the idea that seems most likely to me: they have a soft-headed manager in charge of feature design for this, who loves simplicity on principle.

johnpowell's avatar

Netflix is pretty much always moving to the “new hottness” in tech stacks. Here is their engineering blog.

At least in my experience they update a lot and and remove things and then slowly add them back. The Apple TV app being the poster child of this behavior. Maybe they want the code people to play with whatever is the flavor of the week on Hacker News to keep their resumes relevant.

Zaku's avatar

@johnpowell Ah, that sounds like it might be relevant. Clearly I just need to stop caring about my Netflix ratings and use IMDB or a list on my own computer.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Netflix is about to die. Their streaming selection is indefensibly lacking and their mail service only caters to certain demographics or people without high speed internet. I honestly don’t think they know WTH they are doing. Omitting a simple sort is not at all surprising. Only thing I can think that makes sense is that they wish to be bought out.

Zaku's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me So the idea is that if a company wants to be bought out, it might intentionally do stupid things, so that a potential buyer might be more likely to think they can do better?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Zaku No, they are not doing things that will short themselves on a sale. They are cutting corners, as much as they can without destroying their business model. I think it’s just too obvious and they could be blowing it. Their stock is at an all time high and it’s their chance to get out of a business model that is being eroded by competitors. If it was my company I would consider getting out now too.

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