Netflix "Qwikster" has a Twitter problem. A thuggish, weed-loving, Twitter problem.

Over the weekend and after an ill-received price hike, beleaguered Netflix CEO Reed Hastings pulled a dramatic mea culpa. In a post on the official Netflix blog, he announced that the company will split streaming and DVD services, and launch a new company to handle the latter (plus games): Qwikster.

But, oops! The @Qwikster Twitter handle appears to be controlled by a young stoner. Or at least, for now. Imagine all the 420 this young feller could buy with a Netflix payout to take over the handle!

Here are @Qwikster's greatest hits, analyzed.

UPDATE: After a long absence, Qwikster speaks!


  1. would it not be logical that if one was considering a new company name that you would do an exhaustive look at what names are associated with the proposed name? but hey i am just one  of the little people

  2. Leaving aside the manifold aspects of the incompetence of its rollout, I really don’t get this Qwixter idea. I didn’t alter my Netflix subscription when it hugely jumped in price, because I’m lazy and it’s still a few dollars a month. But if they’re separating my DVD queue from my Watch Instantly Queue – how’s that even supposed to work? Isn’t it the whole point of Netflix that they accumulate data on your viewing history, they know what you’ve liked, what you’ve already seen? What sort of idiots are they to try to separate these two mutually reinforcing data sets?

    1. Isn’t it the whole point of Netflix that they accumulate data on your viewing history, they know what you’ve liked, what you’ve already seen? What sort of idiots are they to try to separate these two mutually reinforcing data sets?

      Perhaps they aren’t as mutually reinforcing as you think (I know ours aren’t — our discs are all Hollywood, but the streaming is more esoteric); I wouldn’t be surprised either way.Also, why would you suppose that those datasets will be separated?  Just because there are two different brands?

        1. Oops, my bad.  Didn’t read that far in; got past the opening paragraphs of the email and glazed over the “ratings and reviews won’t show up in the other service” bit.  At least the shoe leather makes a nice addition to lunch.

  3. Quikster: You Put Your Weed In There *OR* Quikster Splifs from Netflix

    The Quikster split and rebranding only makes sense if some larger DVD/BlueRay media based consolidation (think RedBox) is underway and Netflix wishes to distance themselves from it, hence the different name.

  4. With those two images juxtaposed, that light spilling from the curtains looks like a floating, lens-flared joint… Taken singly, it looks like a lady giving birth to a halogen lightbulb.

  5. Meh. Least of their problems. I understand that they think DVDs are dying and want people to think of them as a streaming company instead, but it seems like I could have kept my queues while they did that. Maybe they could have . . . like advertised or something.

  6. When they announced the name change to Qwikster, this is what I though of:…As for the CEO’s apology: could it have been any more of a useless non-apology: “I’m sorry – not for dramtically rasing prices – just for not appearing concerned enough after we did so.  Oh, and by the way, we’re splitting the DVD service off so it’ll be less convenient for everyone and easier for us to kill off later.”

  7. I opened the email from Mr. Hastings earlier today and I could hardly believe my eyes.  As poorly thought out as the price change announcement was, the explanation of separating the two business couched in a mealy-mouthed apology just really rubs me the wrong way. Like Warren_Terra above, I made fart noises when I read Netflix was hiking their prices, but it is still less money per month than I used to rack up in late fees from DVD rentals.  I didn’t change my subscription, figuring $18 a moth still isn’t all that bad for a decent streaming service and a quality DVD delivery service.

    This, however, seems like the first step into getting rid of the better half of their service in favor of the lesser (cheaper) half.  I had hoped when they announced the price hike, it meant they were really going to up their game as far as streaming titles were concerned.  But there’s been no discernible difference.

    And why on earth would Hastings think it’s a good idea to compare his company to AOL dial up service and Borders bookstores in his email?  Is he telegraphing something there?  One year ago, I would have bet my Supertramp live bootleg LP collection* on Netflix stomping Blockbuster’s cold corpse into the dust of time.  But if the CEO himself is apologizing to me for his company being like AOL and Borders, you’ll have to pardon me for not pulling out my red pompoms.  In fact, I’m tempted to rummage through the garbage for my Blockbuster blue & khakis.

    *this does not really exist.

    1. I think it is very important to know (I have a lot in common with Elmo) this “*” made me blow wine out my nose.  Cause that is funny on so so many levels.  One being me thinking, “Hey, I bet that wouldn’t be too bad to listen to, I want that collection” the other-“seriously? this dude has a Supertramp live bootleg LP collection!”.  Only to follow it with the disclaimer foot note!

      Man, I’m still crying.

      1. If you ever find yourself in L.A., I’ll buy a bottle of wine to replace what you lost via projectile nasal expulsion.  We can get hammered listening to Fragile by Yes and bitch about televisions not being square anymore.

  8. When is the APA adding CEO Cluelessness Syndrome to its diagnostic manual?  His e-mail was so nauseatingly smarmy, I wanted to shower after reading it.  The comments on the blog post seem to have been mostly written by Honey Badger.

  9. Did you also notice he didn’t include his own email in the smarm-bomb mass e-mail?

    I really think this is step 1 in killing the DVD by mail business as we currently know it. Once the Netflix name is sufficiently separated from disc-based service they’ll start cutting costs, increasing prices and generally reducing the level of customer satisfaction. They want to get out of the relatively expensive business of mailing media, but think this will avoid dirtying the prestigious Netflix name. Of course they’re wrong in thinking that doing this will save face for the Netflix brand, but they’ve already shown they don’t actually care about negatively affecting their customer base.

  10. i too sighed at the email this morning. the whole thing since the price increase has been ill conceived and netflix is just shooting the other foot so that they both match.

    my wife and i are in the middle of a season of dexter and instead of waiting a few days for the next disc i actually walked into a blockbuster, shelled out $1.07 for four episodes and will give them my receipt which has a free rental on it for the remaining episodes this afternoon.

    i do NOT understand why netflix feels the need to change the name of their disc service and why i will now have two charges on my bank statement and why i will now have to visit two separate urls in order to manage media queues. netflix was so convenient a year ago when i could see both queues and do as i pleased, then they hiked up the charge by $1 so i down graded to one disc and streaming. then they redesigned their page which makes me want to puke because it’s gawd ugly and not maneuverable for a normal person. then they split the service to two plans with another price hike. now this even more drastic split in services.

    netflix is still cheaper and more convenient than shelling out uber cash for cable which is why i probably won’t get rid of it any time soon…so please please please netflix…stop screwing up and just revert back to what you used to be already.

    1. > i actually walked into a blockbuster, shelled out $1.07
      > for four episodes and will give them my receipt which
      > has a free rental on it for the remaining episodes
      > this afternoon.

      Lucky you to still have a Blockbuster.  Ours are all closed now, as I discovered when I went to rent season 4 of The Wire after basically inhaling the first three seasons over the course of a couple weeks, well and truly hooked.  Standing in front of the locked door, looking at the bare interior, I suddenly understood why, the last time I’d been in the store, the staff were all running around packing things up like they were preparing to depart a listing Titanic.

      Exactly as Antinous mentioned, bandwidth limits make Netflix streaming a non-starter for me.

  11. That email that Hastings sent out sets a standard for corporate cluelessness.  I began the day liking netflix, and being moderately happy with my ($20/month) service.  I read the email after hearing about it on NPR on my way into work, and seeing a mention of it on CNN as I got a coffee.  The email irritated me enough that I sent a reply about the inadvisability of using brand to address product deficiencies.

    The email bounced back.  I then went to the netflix site to see where I should send it.  No email anywhere was given on the “contact us” page.  So I logged in, and still didnt see any option. So I downgraded my account, thinking that at last, I might be prompted for an explanation.  Nope.  I ended up being irritated enough that I just sent the email to the contact identified in their whois records, and decided that I didn’t need to bump my subscription back up.  I can get by with just streaming.

    So this effort to placate their userbase basically took this happy existing customer and turned him into an unhappy customer who provides less revenue.

    1. Hey Allen
      Maybe this is a link

      This morning i went onto the Netflix Blog site…found a terrific complaint…which i cut and pasted…went back later in the day to find the author’s name…and it was gone, gone
      …looks like “Commments” is now a little tiny 4 pt “link” icon….so brother i am with you on this one…glad you got pissed enough to post here…made my day…cause i was pissed too!

  12. If you are displeased,  switch your streaming service to Hulu plus and keep the disc service.  There is going to be competition in the streaming game,  not so much in the disc game.  I want both.  Why reward them by keeping streaming? 

  13. This is a cut and paste of my favorite post from the Netflix Blog…wish i had the guy’s name who wrote it…it’s great. He wrote….
    “Breaking News: phone companies are separating the talking and listening services they offer. Now, you’ll have one phone for talking and another for listening. This will make it simpler for users and allow the company to focus better on improving the two separate services. (They consulted with the New Coke developers to make these changes more appealing to the public.)”

  14. My problem with Netflix streaming (and it’s the only one I’ve tried) is their lack luster technical knowledge of video types and standards.

    If I watch an episode of Star Trek Voyager I can tell they did little if any deinterlacing.  They could easily get better quality and lower bitrates if they were using good pre-conversion filters.  Perhaps someone from Netflix should troll around on the Doom9 forums for a while.

  15. A million people have made the joke already today, but it’s worth repeating:

    “Quikster: the Friendster of DVD rental!”

  16. I was paying Netflix ~ $30 for 4-at-a-time rentals. I have no interest in streaming.  When they changed their pricing, I ditched the streaming option and dropped to 3-at-a-time and now I pay ~ $15. I hope that they come up with some more brilliant ideas, because this one is saving me $180 a year.

    Although I understand that switching the business to streaming allows them to fire most of the employees and increase personal profits a thousandfold.  What I really, really don’t get is why anyone thinks that it’s a good long-term business strategy when bandwidth caps are becoming more prevalent. Yay! I can watch unlimited movies for $20.  But my connection bill is $200 a month.  Where is that going to go?

  17. Blockbuster used to drug-test employees – and these guys are using Stone Me Elmo as their mascot :-)   Please tell me that somebody hacked their web page, and that this wasn’t just a really dumb move by a formerly smart company?

    1. This guy has had that twitter handle for at least five months now. The failure lies with Netflix not doing their homework with a cursory google/social media search.

  18. I am surprised that nobody has pointed out how shockingly similar this name is to “Quixstar”, Amway’s (now defunct?) online spinoff.

    A quick bit of checking finds that, yep, that effort crashed and burned. Hmm….

    1. nobody has pointed out how shockingly similar this name is to “Quixstar”

      I’ve seen it a few times. Nobody seems to care.

  19. Qwikster being a shark jumpingly bad idea, cash out, while it’s still a viable option.

    Trust the one with the most zeroes before the decimal place on the check they write you.

  20. Another problem with the name: wanting to check it out, I first went to quixter. Then to qwixter. Then to quikster. Then I gave up.

    1. So, to sum up: at 3AM a poorly-written email was sent out announcing a major change in our service provider’s entire structure, in a way that is very confusing and causes people to become concerned that the service will now become much harder to use. And the monumental fnckups didn’t check whether the twitter handle for their new name was available, and they didn’t squat the URLs for the half-dozen most likely misspellings of their easily misspelled name (and, no , isn’t them either). Honestly, it’s like the CEO was drunk when he announced this.

  21. I’m switch to DVD-only at the end of the month and would have occasionally enabled Streaming when I would be stranded with a lot of spare time.  After the split, my queue and my ratings will not exist on both sites, so there is no more lock-in with Netflix and Quickstar [sic].  With no lock-in, I’m free to use another streaming service as it will be the same amount work figure out what movies I’d want to see.  So, can anyone tell me how good is Hulu or Amazon? 

    1. YMMV of course, but I’ve had good luck with Hulu.  There are a lot of things to like about Amazon’s streaming, but the catalog was very limited the last time I was looking.

  22. Great idea, Reed, choosing a name that can be spelled 27 different ways. Also, why does the new “Quick” name refer to the mode that’s slower–snail mail delivery? Seems intentionally bad to me. Was the name “Leprosy” already taken?

  23. I hate seeing a good concept run into the ground by poor executive decisions. They don’t have enough of their more odd films on streaming. If I wanted access to boring movies I’d just get cable. I suppose if they go under I can go back to buying dvds of films that look interesting and then selling them off if they disappoint me. 

  24. Thank you BB, for letting me know what that email said that I got in a way that didn’t make me stop reading after 2 and a half sentences.  When I knew it wasn’t saying I could have DVD’s for the same price as I was paying for streaming I stopped reading.

  25. Anyone else think Netflix has been planning this “coup” for about 6 months, and prepping a stoogely twitter page was part of that plan?

    1. If true, I’d like to hire the “social media genius” who came up with the strategy, just so that I can then fire him.

  26. The post on the Netflix blog is over 22K comments now.  I haven’t seen one that isn’t scathing.  Or hilarious.

  27. “I am so sorry that we raised our prices and lost Starz as a content provider. To make it up to all our customers we are now going to bill them twice a month and make them keep track of multiple websites. ” -REED HASTINGS.

    The price increase was poorly executed but not really unexpected. But frankly I don’t care about Netflix business model and how they want to implement it. Netflix needs to relearn that it is about the customer experience. 

    Reed Hastings has had his run, Netflix should hire @Qwikster !

  28. As it turns out, your actual URL isn’t terribly important if you already have an installed customer base and google points your customers in your direction without hassle. Have you seen John Carmack’s twitter handle? @ID_AA_Carmack? The people who actually care can figure this out easily enough; brand loyalty at this level is something a first year marketing major might fret about.

  29. We also do cut-glass sherry decanters complete with six glasses on a silver-plated tray that your butler can serve you drinks on, all for £4.95. People say, “How can you sell this for such a low price?”, I say, “because it’s total crap” – Gerald Ratner

  30. I loved that e-mail.  “Dear Netflix User, we understand that you’re furious with us, but you need to look at it from our point of view; we really want more money.  Also I’m going to miss the Netflix name too, see?  I’m one of you!”

  31. Maybe they’re planning the old “new coke” trick of ruining their service then bringing it back and becoming even more popular?

  32. The power is within each of us… cancel your subscription.

    Still the funniest quote….”Breaking News: phone companies are separating the talking and listening services they offer. Now, you’ll have one phone for talking and another for listening. This will make it simpler for users and allow the company to focus better on improving the two separate services. (They consulted with the New Coke developers to make these changes more appealing to the public.)”

  33. I kind of figured a big price hike was going to come sooner or later the day I signed up for Netflix. Any way you slice it, ten bucks a month for unlimited streaming and a few DVDs a month was a fantastic value compared to cable and they’d have been fools not to try to squeeze a few more bucks out of us once we were hooked. What I didn’t expect was a bunch of new inconveniences to come along with the price hike. If they keep jerking us around like this it’s only a matter of time before there’s a mass migration to Hulu.

    Put another way: I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I just didn’t expect it to hit me in the balls.

  34. the front page is no longer a glowing vagine…and @qwikster finally updated his thread. it’s amazing to see things evolve before my very eyes! btw, who the hell is in the netflix art department that decided to release that first splash page design? incredible.

  35. It’s illegal to “sell your Twitter handle.” According to their Terms and Conditions. 

    Hopefully this little terd gets a payday before they throw down the BAN HAMMER and allow Netflix to get it without a fuss.

    IDK how specific he has to be to get the Ban hammer for this one though.
    Arrington brought this up on TC but didn’t go to much detail.

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