Saturday, January 14, 2006

Peerflix: fantastic yet retarded

Peerflix is a brilliant idea for a business with one fatal flaw.

The idea is that you send DVDs you no longer want to people who do want them and get a credit in return for a DVD you do want from somebody else in the system. It's a great way to efficiently get DVDs people no longer want to those who do want them without the hassle of selling, getting cash, and then buying. And the company takes 99 cents per trade, which is utterly fair for the service they provide.

But it has one fatal flaw that boggles my mind. The system is only set up to send the DVD -- not the boxes. I had some time tonight and signed on to sell a bunch of DVDs Alicia and I have sitting around we don't want. I saw my credits piling up and was excited to get going. I clicked through to ship my first DVD and was a bit surprised that I could print out a mailer. I found it hard to believe to pieces of paper would be enough packaging to ship a full size DVD box, but I figured they must know what they are doing.

Then I printed it out and read the instructions and realized you are only supposed to insert the disc(s). Then I guess you just throw out the case. And the person on the receiving end gets a DVD with no box to put it in. So.... I guess I'm supposed to put them in a flipbook like I used to do with DVDs? I can't put the movies on the shelf in their box next to all the DVDs I bought new or used? That's utterly retarded. Everyone knows that, as with books, part of the reason to own a DVD is to display it, in the case, on the shelf. It's both easy to retrieve and a way to show visitors what movies you love. Perhaps it's shallow, but it's true.

And yes, obviously it's cheaper and easier to send a DVD without the box. But that's like buying a computer without the monitor. It's cheaper, but kind of ruins the point.

So tonight I signed up for Peerflix, listed a bunch of DVDs, agreed to send one, realized how it works and now delisted all the rest of my DVDs. I guess with the credit I got I'll be receiving one DVD I want in the mail soon. But it won't have a box. And the person who sent it to me will have thrown out the box. How utterly efficient and fantastic. Not.

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