After recently deciding to separate their online streaming and mail-order services, Netflix is now also rebranding the latter. According to a blog post by CEO and Co-founder, Reed Hastings, the company’s mail-order DVD services will now be known as Qwikster – a name chosen because it “refers to quick delivery.”
Reed describes some of the motives behind this rebranding by stating, “we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.” That may be so, but it seems like there are quite a few drawbacks. For instance, the streaming and mail-order services will no longer be linked in terms of your DVD likes, dislikes and general preferences, which is a feature many users enjoyed and I imagine was one of the reasons many opted for both services. Payment for the two services will also be separate, potentially posing a big enough hassle for existing and potential customers to dismiss the service entirely, especially with convenient competitors popping up like redbox and HuluPlus.
According to a Mashable.com article, the rebranding is a bad move altogether. Reporter Chris Taylor cites the name Qwikster as being one of the major offenders, explaining that it’s poor branding to have a name that can be commonly misspelled (Quickster, Quikster, Qwickster, etc.), especially as these misspellings currently do not redirect to the new website.
Further, and perhaps most poignant, Taylor states that this rebranding fixes a problem that never needed fixing. I can’t help but agree. Even when I learned of the split between the services, I was never confused as to what was happening – it was clear that you either pay for DVD by mail, pay to receive DVDs via online streaming or pay for both mail and streaming. Now, customers are left scratching their heads. It would be wise for Qwikster to take to Twitter and field some questions – but, to boot, the Twitter handle is already taken (and by a pot smoking Elmo no less).
Do you think the rebranding will turn out to be a good move in the long run?