Netflix announced yesterday that it would split into two separate companies, but the way they’ve handled the launch of their DVD rental company Qwikster has run into consumer base rage, internet scorn, and a crack-smoking Elmo.
It all began when CEO Reed Hastings wrote a lengthy mea culpa on his blog, apologizing for last month’s controversial decision to separately charge both DVD rental and online streaming of movies and TV shows. He then announced that, in the interest of keeping the company relevant with the rapidly-evolving internet, the DVD – by-mail unit of the company would be renamed “Qwikster.”
“Our view is with this split of the businesses, we will be better at streaming, and we will be better at DVD by mail,” he justified. “It is possible we are moving too fast – it is hard to say. But going forward, Qwikster will continue to run the best DVD by mail service ever, throughout the United States. “
The ensuing drama unfolded in his comments feed, with an overwhelming majority of respondents – many of them Netflix fans—angry at Hastings for making them pay for two accounts. Not all the titles available on DVD are available via streaming, and the fact that they had to now use two separate accounts with two different companies had some users steamed.
“ So now you’re asking me to go onto two websites and do two separate searches?” Jackie Dooley of San Clemente California asked. “That really, really sucks.”
There’s at least one person happy with Netflix’s decision to split: Jason Castillo, the teenaged owner of the @qwikster twitter handle who has collected nearly 9,000 new followers “just cuz some ppl wanna buy my handle 3 ppl have asked but idk who to trust.”
Castillo later tweeted out that he was hoping to sell his Twitter account – a violation of the social media site’s terms of agreement – for $1000, as long as “you guys…follow my bro @SoccerIsLifegc7 n ill think about selling it to who ever supports my bro.”
Until Tuesday morning Castillo, who doesn’t hide his love for marijuana, had a crack-smoking Elmo as his avatar. He later replaced the picture with a more family-friendly logo of the Spanish soccer team FC Barcelona.