Netflix Reed Hastings: We’re sorry, so jump through this hoop.

You might recall Netflix created a real PR disaster back in July which gave a lot of unpalatable choices all involving more money or less service.

I decided to go with streaming and 1 DVD to drop my price by $4 because I didn’t want to go through the trouble of changing stuff.

But 4% of the Netflix subscriber base decided it was enough:

Investors punished Netflix shares following the pricing announcement and again 18 days ago when Starz canceled its streaming contract. Then on Thursday, Netflix delivered news no one wanted to hear: Lower subscriber numbers. Netflix says it expects to end the quarter with 2.2 million DVD-only subscribers instead of the 3 million projected in July, and 9.8 million streaming only customers instead of the 10 million it had previously forecast. Combined that works out to 1 million fewer subscribers than the 25 million Netflix expected. Shares plunged by nearly 19 percent on Friday before closing down 8.31 percent.

Well Mr. Hastings decided that the smart thing to do was to apologize

It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation of DVD and streaming, and the price changes. That was certainly not our intent, and I offer my sincere apology

And then stick us again (emphasis mine)

Another advantage of separate websites is simplicity for our members. Each website will be focused on just one thing (DVDs or streaming) and will be even easier to use. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.com and Netflix.com websites will not be integrated. So if you subscribe to both services, and if you need to change your credit card or email address, you would need to do it in two places. Similarly, if you rate or review a movie on Qwikster, it doesn’t show up on Netflix, and vice-versa.

Explain to me how two different web sites, two different bills, two different passwords (and another chance to be phished or hacked) is EASIER. How tone-deaf is this guy?

So those of us who didn’t drop them get a whole new set of hoops to jump through. I took a look at the comments at his blog and they are devastating. My two favorites are from that liberal Mecca San Francisco. The first from Jeremiah Cohick

You’re continuing to make a classic mistake: thinking you’re something different than what everyone believes you are. You’re not a DVD company and a streaming company: you’re where I go to watch movies. That’s it. The future clearly is streaming, but by separating and charging more for access, you’re wildly less valuable to me. I’ll likely cancel. You haven’t listened to customer feedback. You’re delusional and you’re lost.

And the second from Patti Beadles

…So, from my point of view as a customer, you’ve just repeated the mistake of making my service less pleasant while offering me absolutely no benefit in return. The difference is that you’ve done it with more words and some conciliatory language from last time. In net, this seems even worse for me as a customer. A couple of extra bucks out of my pocket each month is annoying, but doesn’t really affect my life much. With this change, I have to make extra effort each and every time I use the service. That may be enough to finally push me over the edge.

Looking at their facebook profiles I suspect we have very little in common but I’ll tell you this we have this idea in common, this is just not worth it. If he is lucky I’ll just cancel one service or the other, but I don’t think he’ll be that lucky.

That makes two YOU FOOL moments in under 2 days.

Via live at five