Netflix Doesn’t Seem to Be Having Its Best Week of PR

Redesign complaints, security issues

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Netflix Doesn’t Seem to Be Having Its Best Week of PR
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Netflix doesn’t appear to be having the best week when it comes to PR. A couple days ago the company rolled out a redesign, which has been met with overwhelming hostility from users. It’s not completely unanimous, but it’s clear that a lot of people are pissed, and some are saying they’re going to cancel their accounts.

To me, this seem a like a bit of an overreaction, but some people really, really take user interface seriously (something we should all consider in on our online efforts).

On top of that, Netflix has been named as one of many companies with mobile apps that have security vulnerabilities. Security firm ViaForensics found that the Android app stored user names and passwords in unencrypted form. Movie queues were also reportedly exposed. The Wall Street Journal reports:

A Netflix spokesman said the company was aware of the vulnerability and is making a change in the app that will also secure the usernames and passwords. Netflix wouldn’t specify a date for the change but the company said it is a priority.

A recent post on the Netflix API Developer Blog indicates that Genres are getting replaced on June 15. It will be interesting to see how well this goes over with users in light of the backlash related to the redesign. The current genres will be replaced by a new classification model.

“This new model will be more flexible and more well-tuned to the diverse expectations of a global movie-watching audience,” said Netflix’s David Gross.

It remains to be seen how much this change will be felt on the front-end of things. Many of the complaints about the redesign have been about the browsing experience, including the lack of a browse-by-decade feature.

A recent report found that Netflix was crushing its competition, and it will soon be getting into exclusive content, which probably won’t hurt either. I expect Netflix’s bad publicity this week will blow over, as bad publicity tends to do.

Netflix stock is slightly down in after hours trading.

Netflix Doesn’t Seem to Be Having Its Best Week of PR
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  • wolfie

    Look, I’m all for change. I think it’s great that they want to make the UI better but they most definately did not. For one the new scrolling feature is way to slow and literally gives me a headache. I’ve read many complaints of it making people physically ill and netflix is saying we’re “just not used to it”. I for one won’t use the main page anymore because of the scrolling. On top of that they took away any info that was available at a glance before in lieu of larger pictures of the dvd covers. The star ratings, title and other info is now only available by hovering your mouse over each picture for a few seconds. You also now have to click on the title inside the menu that pops up to get to the synopsis, reviews and to even see what language the movie is in. They don’t have to go back to the old layout but they should at least make the new one more user friendly and functional.

  • Zannah Becker

    I experience actual physical nausea in my stomach from the scrolling feature that they have added. Many others have complained about the same feeling as well as eye pain. Why would I be expected to “get used to it” when I pay for a service that is supposed to be a convenience to me? Convenience does not include physical illness and discomfort.
    Am I paying for streaming films on demand or a new prescription drug with countless side effects?
    The ease of access of the interface is overall poor in design.
    It would seem that Mr. Swase feels that the opinions and needs of his paying customers be damned in favor of his new and wonderful interface that supposedly tested so well.
    While Netflix may seem to be crushing the competition they seem to also be suffering from getting too big too fast. They have yet to fulfill their promise of more new films streaming on demand. Just because you can get 10,000 “B” grade movies with a one star rating does not a superior provider make.
    If Netflix chooses to continue its condescending manner of addressing and dealing with its customers they may find themselves short a few thousand subscribers this month.

  • http://www.nctravelcusco.com/ Gabriela Guillen

    A recent post on the Netflix API Developer Blog indicates that Genres are getting replaced on June 15. It will be interesting to see how well this goes over with users in light of the backlash related to the redesign. The current genres will be replaced by a new classification model.

  • shawn

    i read an article on netflixs stock last night and it stated that netflix may be beating the competition but that now they are saying that some bigger companies with a lot more to spend are now looking to get a piece of the pie.i know redbox and amazon are talking about a merger.with the security breach and people complaining about the new ui not being as efficient as previous one they should be worried about competition using these against them.it was a small majority who started to leave the video stores when the stores started to do things people did not like and look where those stores are now.if bigger companies and established sites start to merge netflix should have been putting money into making sure security for apps was secure,fixing the little bit of kinks on the old site(i have looked through an entire genre looking for movies and then think of movie afterwards that i did not see and type its name and it pops up and in same genre i just looked in.),bringing back the social aspect of the site,more films and tv series,and looking into game rental as they did before since most people are streaming from there game systems.these are some of the things that could keep them ahead and sure that the competition is looking at to start to compete against netflix

  • falldownpaul

    Thank you so much for covering this story!

    As one of the 2800 users who has protested the awful redesign on the Netflix “blog”, I’m equally dismayed at the utter contempt the company is showing with its silence.

    They can ignore our complaints on their own blog- maybe it takes real media attention to get a response?

    One quibble: to threaten to cancel Netflix because of a cosmetic change would be an ‘overreaction’.

    To cancel a paid service that no longer functions or provides you what you are paying for, that’s just being a smart consumer. This redesign has decimated the functionality of the interface. I can’t use it anymore.

    • Chris

      “This redesign has decimated the functionality of the interface. I can’t use it anymore.”

      I’m sorry, but that’s nonsense. If you can’t find what you’re looking for with the new UI, you aren’t trying. The search function works just fine, and the categories are plainly labeled. I think you’re letting the scrolling content get the best of you.

      • Doug

        BS. Its not about trying. No sortable list anymore, you have to scroll through movie posters and hover over each one. It sucks ass. I guess we could list the entire catalog one HTML page at a time and we could click “next” for each single one, then if we couldnt find what we want, would it still be because we weren’t “trying” by clicking through a thousand pages?

        • Avidan2006

          Agreed, Doug. Chris, the redesign has decimated functionality. You can no longer search by year, or star rating. You can no longer see all movies, and even what movies you can see, you have to scroll 1 to 2 seconds per DVD cover until you find what you’re looking for.

          The page is not resizable. If you have a notebook that doesn’t show the entire page, you have to scroll over and then hover until you find what you’re looking for, again at 1 to 2 seconds per DVD cover.

          Speaking of DVD covers, many older movies don’t have actual title covers, so Netflix uses an image still from the movie itself. Many of the cover titles can be difficult to read as they are in different fonts and positions on each cover.

          The usability has been broken, particularly compared to the previous interface. Whether you think it’s completely broken or not, the current interface is not an improvement, and is a step down.

          Every web designer I have consulted (I own my own technology firm) about this interface, either laugh themselves stupid or wonder who actually thought the layout was a good idea. Anecdotal? Yeah, but the interface is a poor one.

          I’m not one who is resistant to change. In my line of work, you have to be ready to change, but the change should be positive and beneficial. This interface is a step down, and it’s causing more problems than it’s fixing. I don’t believe the “we tested it” line for two seconds. If they tested it, they did those tests in groups that favored the interface, or they only tested it on the designers themselves.

          This is a misfire, and they have a chance to fix it and restore the good will. Honestly, I think the biggest mistake was the “they’ll get used to it” statement. You don’t trivialize your paying customers concerns. That’s a fast way to lose said customers, and even at 22 million strong, Netflix can lose it all of another company offers decent product and whispers a few sweet nothings in their potential customers’ ears.

          Netflix isn’t the only pied piper in Hamlin.

          • Doug

            Didn’t take me long. quietly with Netlix, but spurned by this disaster. I checked out some suggestions and found out Hulu Plus signed the criterion collection. That catalog fits my tastes better anyway. cancelled netflix.

        • Chris

          Well, I don’t know what to tell you. I can get around just fine in it… No “clicking through a thousand pages” here.

  • http://www.elsokara.com/vb/forum.php منتديات السكرة

    Thank you so much for covering this story!


  • Rob

    “. . .some are saying they’re going to cancel their accounts.

    To me, this seem a like a bit of an overreaction”
    I assure you it is not an overreaction. I can tell from your comment that you are not a Netflix user.
    What is so wrong with a few changes? I will tell you . . .
    If you click on a show (if you even get that far now) it starts playing a random episode, without even asking. Before it took you to the show page and allowed you to browse seasons, episodes, read synopsis, and pick one that suited your tastes that moment in time. . .NO more. Lots of flashy scrolling icons that do not work, it is buggy and CRAWLS.
    Yes I will be cancelling and yes I called Netflix to complain.
    And that is just the beginning. You cannot sort movies or shows by date of production. You cannot easily look at ratings of other users without hovering your mouse and waiting for netflix to pop up a bubble with a small window that shows you all that. Before, all that info was on the show’s page. They have literally given me a headache and made it impossible to use the service.
    WHY would I pay for something I cannot even use? I do not think it is an overreaction.
    How would you feel if you leased a car month to month and they told you they were moving the gas and break pedal to the passenger side, yet leaving the wheel on the drivers side of the vehicle telling you that it was to make things easier. I guarantee that you would complain and return the car to the dealer. Calling it an overreaction is an insult.

  • Sitnalta

    I don’t think it’s an overreaction when the service I pay for is crippled because the company doesn’t care about user feedback or how users actually use their site. I don’t know who actually likes the redesign, but I suspect they must use a 3rd party box instead of the website proper, because there is no way anyone who actually uses the site on a regular basis would think that this is an improvement.

  • Patrick


    Maybe you find your movies exlcusively through the pretty little movie pictures they now use, but I sure dont. Name of the movie as well as how many stars it received by netflix customers is the criteria I used up until the change a few days ago. Now you must hover the mouse over a specific movie image to find out the average star review. No way to compare movies to each other.

  • pebble

    I hate the new ‘design’, and cancelled my subscription. If they put it back to the old design, I’ll think about rejoining.

    I shouldn’t have to play 52 Pickup to choose a movie to watch. I want movie info, ratings, and the ability to sort by a number of criteria. What do I have now? A Fischer-Price Busybox for two-year olds.

  • Sitnalta

    Good news for Chrome users. There is an extension that forces the site back to the old style: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ngacmlmclfopgbnmefcffgbcjiafbfpo?hl=en-US

  • http://www.modeltrainhobbyist.com/bachmann.html O. Bachmann

    For Netflix to be the “king of the hill”, they sure act like they don’t want to stay there. For a change like this to happen, and all the news reports about it go under the “bad publicity” column, it’s time to change it back to the old design, go back to the drawing board and try again. This attitude of “you’ll get used to it” is not going to work with people who are paying money for a horrible user experience. This may be the opening that Amazon and RedBox need to slowly take a piece of the pie. We’ll see if things get worse with the upcoming genre changes.

  • http://treespun.com Rob

    I don’t find canceling an account an over reaction in the least. The first day I loaded the ‘new’ design I thought that my browser was having issues. Yes, It’s that bad.

    Netflix stand is they will not revert or give the option to use the old interface because ‘their’ testing shows people like the new change. Ok, that’s fine that lets me know as a customer that they care little about my experience using their new design. Thus as a paying customer it’s my choice whether I wish to continue to use their service. I choose not to pay for something I find is poorly designed.

    The problem today is people put up with what they considering poor service and that is why more and more companies continue to dish out poor service. They know people might complain but they still keep giving them their money. Sorry, not me. You give me garbage I’m not paying for it.

  • pebble

    The redesign was so infuriatingly bad I called Netflix to cancel my account that very morning. If they go back to the old UI I’ll rejoin. Unless I find something better in the meantime.

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