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Netflix posts 'buy' button but not doing the selling

Netflix has declined in the past to sell movies from its site. Apparently, the video-rental service doesn't mind posting buy buttons on its site when it means someone else will do the selling.

Netflix posted a buy button to the lower right corner of 'Little Fockers' movie page (arrow inserted by CNET). Screen shot by Greg Sandoval

A month after Hollywood studio executives said that Netflix had declined to post "Buy" buttons on its site, the video-rental service has done just that.

Obscurely posted on the Netflix page advertising the Robert De Niro film "Little Fockers" is a hyperlink that reads "Buy now." Clicking it takes you to, the official Web site for the film. The blog first reported on the button.

Netflix has always declined offers from the studios to sell movies from its subscription video-rental site, sources in the film industry told CNET. CEO Reed Hastings and his Netflix underlings just don't want to do transactions, the sources said. Some Hollywood studios have offered Netflix considerations on the money it pays for streaming rights, but managers there still said "no."

By refusing to sell, Netflix has shown it's commitment to its rental business model.

But if Netflix won't sell movies, it appears it is less reluctant to tuck a small "buy" button to its pages and let someone else do the selling.

The official site for the "Little Fockers" has posted a note on its front door alerting visitors that the movie is unavailable for rental at Netflix or Redbox until 28 days after the release.