Thursday, April 14, 2005

Peerflix, Great Idea, Implementation doesn't work for me yet

Peerflix is a DVD sharing service that aims to give a user experience similar to Netflix with much less overhead and lower cost to the user. Instead of using a central wherehouse to hold and match DVD's, peerflix always keeps the DVD's with the users of the service. The users of the service do the labor of mailing the DVD to the next user. Peerflix also allows users to put their own DVD's on the service and get credit for them.

So, as a member you have no monthly fee and you only pay $1.00 for each trade of DVD's. To get started you put some of your own DVD's on the service. You can keep DVD's you trade for or send them back to the system. There is no maximum DVD's you can donate to the service.

Sounded perfect to me. If I had a movie I just had to have immediately I could buy it and trade it into the service for credit that would let me buy more movies. I could buy one movie every other month or so for what I would spend on Netflix or Blockbuster rentals, make trades and see all the movies I could want.

I thought the problem would be availability of new movies on the system. The problem for me has been getting people to take my movies so I can trade for other movies! I have a couple of good "last year's" movies ready to trade. So far, I haven't been able to trade out, so I can't trade in!

I hoped to get started by signing up with my credit card to get a free movie. I expected a newer movie that would be easy to trade in and get started. The choices were much older than the movies I had ready to trade. I settled on a John Candy movie. I was able to trade it out, but it is only one credit. Most movies worth having cost two or three credits.

So, Peerflix is an interesting idea but for me it is a non-operational so far. Note that the whole thing is in beta. They may figure out a way to make it easier for people to get started before it goes into full operation. I'll be watching.

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