Netflix's Irrelevant Account Upgrade Email

Netflix clearly understands
the power of relevancy. If people are able to consistently find movies that
interest them using Netflix’s recommendation engine, they’ll be satisfied with
the service and continue to fork over their monthly fees. Everybody’s happy in
this situation because Netflix is providing what they’re customers consider to
be a valuable service.

Netflix clearly knows a lot about their customers, including every movie they’ve
ever watched and what they thought of them, how often they watch movies, and
what they plan on watching in the future.

Now, take a look at the following offer I received from Netflix today. This was
not a marketing ad to non-Netflix users. It was a customer communication:

I’m currently using the $5/month plan on Netflix, so I’m eligible to rent
one movie at a time with a maximum of two DVDs per month. I can also stream
5 hours (one hour per dollar spent) of movies directly from Netflix.

Doesn’t that ad make it sound like I can cut my costs from $5 to “less than
$3 a month” (probably $2.99) while increasing my DVD rentals from a max of
two to unlimited? That’s what I thought this “limited time offer” was

However, after clicking through, here are the actual offers:

It turns out the “less than $3” offer allows me to rent an unlimited number
of DVDs for the rest of my contract’s month . . . one at a time. Then, my
monthly costs will double. To me, that’s one poorly written offer. Sadly,
the person (or team) who wrote the ad will probably be slapping themselves
on the back for the high click through rates the email generated.?

But here’s what I really don’t understand: If Netflix is so smart, why did
they send this offer to me? Unlimited one at a time rentals is certainly a
relevant offer for some people, but Netflix should know from my account
history that I’m actually falling on my two movies a month plan. An honest
pitch to me would say, “Hey Ed. We noticed you barely watch two movies a
month. What do you think about switching to unlimited movies for twice the
cost?” I suppose that’s not as compelling of an offer, but at least it’s

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