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Blockbuster Online Negatives

Blockbuster Online has some distinct negatives. Here are the major bad points.

Blockbuster Online often manages three-day turnarounds on DVDs; however, their turnarounds can be four or five days. (Users outside of distribution center areas will experience longer transit times.) Newer or popular movies generally ship from nearby distribution centers. Older or obscure movies often ship from more distant shipping centers. Due to this difference in shipping distances, subscribers with more mainstream tastes will probably experience faster turnarounds than subscribers with unconventional tastes. (Click for turnaround definition.)

Corporate Modesty
Blockbuster Online shies away from NC-17 titles. You may have to settle for the R or Unrated versions of some movies.

Bad Web Site Design
Blockbuster Online’s Web site is slow, poorly designed, and frustrating.

Weak Search Engine
Blockbuster’s search engine is weak and unreliable. Simple searches for mainstream releases can return dozens of irrelevant results. Sometimes, the search engine misses inventoried titles. Minor variations such as punctuation, spacing, and alternative spellings can confuse the search engine and return empty results.

Unreliable Queue Management
Queue management is cumbersome. Promoting and demoting movies in your queue can be unpredictable. It appears that the software is easily confused when users attempt to move more than one movie at once.

Unpredictable Queue Shipments
Blockbuster will sometimes pass over a few "Available" titles in your queue and ship a title with a lower position in your queue. If you do not want to watch any given title in the immediate future, keep it out of your queue or make sure that title is under at least ten "Available" titles in your queue.

Delayed Listings for Upcoming Releases
Frequently, upcoming DVD releases are not properly listed in Blockbuster’s online rental inventory until several days before the DVD's release date. Upcoming DVDs may be listed but not available for addition to queues. Sometimes, the upcoming DVD listings are incomplete. This issue of delayed listings can be aggravating, because you must use outside sources for reliable DVD release information and may have to wait until days before the release to add a DVD to your queue.

Limited Customer Service Options
Blockbuster Online customer service representatives seem to have very few options for remedying problems. The computer system must be horribly primitive and limited.

Slow Customer Service Response
It can take many hours or days to get responses from customer service through email.

Delayed Notifications
Blockbuster Online sometimes takes hours or days to notify users once a DVD has arrived or shipped. The most up-to-date information is on their Web site.

Blockbuster Online Positives

Blockbuster Online has some distinct positives. Here are the major good points.

In-Store Coupons
The single greatest benefit to Blockbuster Online is free in-store coupons. These coupons are a safety net for your subscription. If the DVDs you requested online don’t arrive in time for the weekend, you have the coupons available to save the day.

Promotional Coupons
From time to time, Blockbuster Online will give subscribers promotional coupons along with the standard, in-store rental coupons. Generally, these coupons are for free items or discounts on store merchandise, such as used DVDs, refreshments, etc.

Competitive Price
Blockbuster Online is competitively priced. (Do not be surprised if Blockbuster Online raises their prices as they get more comfortable with their market share.)

Multiple Editions
Blockbuster Online carries widescreen and fullscreen versions of many movies. They also carry special and foreign language editions.

Bounty of New Releases
Blockbuster Online stocks large quantities of new releases. If you put an upcoming release at the top of your queue before that DVD’s release date, you have a good chance of receiving it within one to three shipments from your queue. (Note that new releases in high demand sometimes ship from remote shipping centers and can take an extra day or two to arrive at your home. Regardless of the DVD’s origin, new releases almost always get returned to your normal distribution center.)



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