Netflix issues mulligan on profiles, won't eliminate the feature

Less than two weeks after saying it would no longer let users split an account into multiple profiles, company reverses decision in the wake of negative feedback.

The people have spoken: Netflix will not be eliminating user profiles, the account feature that lets you split movie rentals among separate queues for a household. The company had announced the removal of profiles earlier this month, much to user dismay.

"As someone who enjoys helping his 4-year-old daughter manage her one-DVD-at-a-time, G-rated sub-account, I identified with these thoughtful pleas to maintain Profiles," a Netflix product manager identified only as "Todd" wrote on the company's blog. "Because of an ongoing desire to make our website easier to use, we believed taking a feature away that is only used by a very small minority would help us improve the site for everyone. Listening to our members, we realized that users of this feature often describe it as an essential part of their Netflix experience."

When Netflix opted to eliminate profiles, the company said that the feature was only used by a small sliver of its member base. It was a vocal sliver, however, and a thread on customer service forum Get Satisfaction revealed a host of angry users, ranging from families who wanted to keep parental controls on separate queues for their children to spouses who didn't want to bicker over disparate film tastes.

With members threatening cancellation or--shudder!--a switch to troubled rival Blockbuster, it clearly wasn't a great move on Netflix's part. Response to it had been overwhelmingly negative, and the company clearly got clued in.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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