Blockbuster Online Review

I'm a sucker for deals and so when I discovered that Blockbuster was offering 2 months free and a free DVD I decided to ditch my Netflix account and give them a try. After all, I can always cancel and go back, right?

Here are my initial impressions...

Firstly, I want to congratulate Netflix on making it so easy to cancel your account. Plus they keep your information for three months in case you decided to resubscribe - now that is excellent customer service. Anway, on to the big "B".

Site Design

Friankly, the Blockbuster site is horrible to look at. The "hi-tech" design is so '90s and just looks clunky. Come on guys, what's with that cheesy 3D effect?

For some reason the default font size is tiny. I have no idea why, but it bugs me to hell. Hmmm, I'm starting to miss the much cleaner Netflix layout already.

Functionality

When you view a particular film, they use a widget to present information about "If you like", "Customer reviews", and "More information" in the same space. So, if you want to click from one to the other you have to wait for the page to load each time - and it's not the fastest site in the world.

After a while, this becomes fairly frustrating, to the extent that you start not bothering to click on, say, reviews, because you don't want to wait for the page to load.

Why couldn't have they just presented this information all on the same page - after all, there's plenty of room to do so. Netflix, does a much better job of presenting all the relevant information about a movie.

The queue works pretty well, although not as elegantly as Netflix's. And of course, it has that horrible brushed metal design, but I guess I can live with that.

One thing I do like is that you can set movie preferences. For example, you can choose to exclude a particular genre of movie from your recommendations.

Updating your e-newsletter preferences on the Blockbuster site is, frankly, a joke. To begin with, you have to enter your mailing address information and your birth date - WTF?! I am just setting myself up for more junk mail? It sure feels like it.

And then - this would be funny if it wasn't so unbelievably bad - if you decide to sign up for their new release email, whe you click on that checkbox, the checkbox to authorize Blockbuster and its affiliates to send you spam is automatically checked too.

However, if you uncheck this box (no spam for me!) it also unchecks the box to subscribe to email newsletter! So, basically, you can't get their new release email unless you agree to receive all their spam too. What genius thought that one up? I mean, is that even legal?

Needless-to-say, I decided not to sign up for any of their email newsletters.

Overall Impressions

Overall, I pretty disappointed with the Blockbuster and am feeling sorely tempted to go back to Netflix once my free trial runs out. And I haven't even received my first shipment of movies yet. The experience of using the web site is that much better.

On the other hand, my wife did just print a coupon for a free in-store rental (you get two per month) so that she could watch a movie tonight, and that is certainly a nice feature.

I guess we'll have to see, but boy, at the moment I sure do miss the elegance and ease-of-use of the Netflix site. I guess you could say that I've been spoiled.

Posted on: May 28, 2005 | No comments

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