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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Note: I think this is a rant, so perhaps it belongs in a new thread: I hate Zip.ca!

I'm curious to see if Zip removes or limits its $4.99 GHIs (Gotta Have It -- can keep the GHI movie for 60 days as extra slot) for the New Releases that it's also going to be streaming.

Once you can stream a new release for $4.99, why not just just buy fewer physical copies and then the GHI option will disappear faster, perhaps enticing more members to stream new releases (through Boxee, or whatever else Zip eventually secures every few months as it has already mentioned on Facebook)?

Zip already appears to have started the first phase of its throttling initiative (code-named: Islands in the Stream) designed to sweeten the accounts that have fewer overall rentals, by adding more Ziprefills, and then punishing the accounts with above average results (with fewer refills). Think of it as keeping things "fair and balanced" so that all of Zip's members can be kept under control. Adding streaming into the mix, should make that even easier.

Zip is now one step closer to becoming Canada's "true" Netflix. It has the throttling mechanism in place (removing the ZipRefill when it wants to), and the streaming portion is coming, though not in an Unlimited fashion, it's still a good way to reduce the effectiveness of the Unlimited DVD plans (fewer New Releases in stock) and cut back even more on its DVD purchases.

There are plenty of Netflix.com haters out there and now there are plenty of Zip.ca haters as well. The transformation is almost complete ... bring on the streaming! The DVD is being shown the door and many of Zip's customers are being shown the middle finger. :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
ZipRewards to the rescue!

Note: With this post, I've tried to be more "fair and balanced."

Think of this post as a companion piece to my previous post, with a slightly positive spin to avoid a lawsuit. As long as I do my best to speak the "truth" (as I see it), I don't think that I should be sued ... but just to cover my a$$ and because I left some important off-topic stuff out of my previous post, I will attempt to save "face" and also save my limited bank account. :rolleyes:

A separate thread for my last post? Be careful what you wish for!

Generally, I love to write off-topic posts and then "hide" them in unrelated threads to make a point, educate the masses in a sneaky way, and then hopefully bring about change. However, the problem with my previous post is that it's quite brutal (not slanderous, but still dangerous). It basically makes it look like Zip.ca is out to gouge its biggest fans. To the untrained eye, it looks like I've gone rogue.

However, now that my post isn't hidden from view, I can't let it stand on its own. It desperately needs a sequel, written by yours truly.

From mid 2007 to early 2010, Zip.ca was perhaps one of the greatest (if not the greatest) Canadian companies that I have ever dealt with. In fact, it often seemed like an American company to me (aside from skipping many US Imports).

I hate most large Canadian companies in the Entertainment industry and often dream of them going bankrupt, so that more US companies could potentially take their place. Netflix is now here ... ouch! So much has changed since its arrival and even more change is on the horizon.

As Netflix.com worsened (well before it launched in Canada), due to its desire to transform itself into a streaming company (thus making even more "deals" with studios that weakened its physical disc presence), I realized that it was only a matter a time before Zip would also try to transform itself into a company that would more closely resemble the mighty Netflix.

The "throttling" I mentioned (via the cost-per-disc ZipRefill assignments), isn't the only form of throttling that can be used. I'm not going to go into detail about the standard throttling method because there's no way to prove that specific type of throttling that I'm thinking of (though one of Zip's former leaders has hinted that it was most likely attempted in the very early days of its operation, but then abandoned). Netflix uses that specific throttling technique I'm not explaining, but that doesn't necessarily mean that Zip.ca has to use it (the extra slow Canada Post and the fact that Zip only has 4 distribution centres is usually a good enough unintentional throttling method), though I'm also not willing to say that it hasn't already been used in Zip's early past, or that Zip won't use it more often in the near future.

Limited DVD-By-Mail plans, rather than Unlimited ones, are a better way to keep customers under control. However, Unlimited plans can be used to attract customers and play on their greed (and then positive word-of-mouth testimonials about the lack of any throttling helps to convince more people to join).

Cinemail's creatively "hidden" Adult version of its website has no Unlimited DVD-By-Mail plans available -- which makes sense since it doesn't take long to FF to the good parts and then be ready for the next round of "sin."

For unlimited streaming plans, trying to acquire new content and maintain existing content for small companies is even more difficult than perhaps it should be. Zip has Momentous to fall back on, but Momentous is no Netflix.

[End of the covering my a$$ portion of this post.]

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Zip's Reward Points system:

How does the ZipRewards System have anything to do with the GHI, you ask? Ah, I'm glad you asked.

I don't know if Zip plans on removing or weakening its current points system, but it is such an integral part of the GHI system, that it would be foolish of me not to mention it.

For 400 points, you can get a free GHI (for the titles that have it as an option). For virtually all of Zip's POPULAR New Releases (and even for many less popular releases that Zip's suppliers have in stock, or will have before the release dates), you can add your name to the GHI queue (often weeks in advance of a title's release) and then wait for Zip to send you your GHI title.

At first glance, it doesn't appear that Zip's reward system is that appealing, but that's only because it's designed to be an intuitive process, working behind the scenes to help both you and Zip achieve its goals.

The longer you stay with Zip (or the more posts you read in its forums), the faster you can begin to reap the REWARDS.

Believe it or not, Zip's points reward system is actually too good. Not too good for the majority of the new subscribers (as they are just learning the ropes and are unaware of all the available options), but too good for Zip's biggest fans -- the longtime subscribers.

That's why I wrote that brutal post. I had to mention that many of Zip's longtime subscribers were the ones being punished the most and that I wanted it to stop (even though I was never hit by this new Refill algorithm or throttling technique myself -- I first suspended and then cancelled my accounts due to lack of new content and a planned rest) ... or at least be admitted to formally, without trying to spin it as a good thing.

With Zip's current reward system, it's quite simple to get Zip free for life. That's not a good thing to know, but it just proves my point that Zip.ca is still one of the few Canadian companies that is often willing to think OUTSIDE the box, and take big risks. Switching to a more controlled refill system is just one way it has been forced to deal with a struggling Canada Post and a lack of purchasing power, caused by increased competition and the difficulty of securing enough physical copies to satisfy at least 10% to 20% of its customers' demand for each popular title.

Money doesn't grow on trees, and if Zip is going to survive its foray into the streaming world, it will most likely target its more than generous ZipRewards system next. If not, well, a free Zip.ca can still be good for business (word-of-mouth praise), as long as the masses are unaware of such a thing (just like the fact that there is plenty of free content available on YouTube from the Disney XD TV channel -- soon to become part of our Canadian broadcast systems). How's the CRTC going to regulate YouTube? Geo-blocking isn't strong enough, so I suppose Rogers and the Gang will have to hire more people to scour YouTube in order to find any of the "troublesome" content that they feel shouldn't be there.

I left out many other off-topic things from this post that would help to counter the often neglected ZipRefill, but since I must protect myself against any future lawsuits, I must be careful about which masses I educate.

Sincerely,
PFHLTB
 
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