Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why Netflix Should Bring Back the "Not Interested" Button

I had a Netflix account for literally years. I started with Netflix when receiving DVDs by mail was the only option. Later streaming was added. I enjoyed Netflix a good deal and the only reason I cancelled my account was because I lost my job. It was about a year ago that my brother got his first Netflix account (streaming only). Since we share our house and he had used my Netflix account back in the day, he naturally created an account for me.

There had been some changes in Netflix since I had last had an account, but none of those changes truly interfered with my enjoyment of the service. The "Not Interested" button was still there. For those of you who have never used Netflix or have only started doing so recently, one can rate movies and TV shows on the site. If one had absolutely no interest in watching a particular movie or TV show, then one could simply mark it "Not Interested" in lieu of rating it. This affected the recommendations Netflix would make to someone, as Netflix would recommend no films or TV shows similar to those one had marked "Not Interested".

Unfortunately about June of last year the "Not Interested" button disappeared. In the intervening months the recommendations I have been getting from Netflix have been getting progressively worse. Indeed, the past few months Netflix has been consistently recommending Grey's Anatomy to me, a TV show I have always despised. Sadly, I now have no way of telling Netflix I am not interested in Grey's Anatomy.

Worse yet, the recommendation of Grey's Anatomy is not an isolated case. Over the past few months Netflix has recommended Making a Murderer, Gossip Girl, The Mysteries of Laura, and Madame Secretary to me. I have absolutely no interest in watching any of these shows and absolutely no way of making the recommendations go away without the "Not Interested" button.

The sheer usefulness of the "Not Interested" button in fine tuning one's recommendations from Netflix leaves me a bit puzzled as to why they did away with it. I realise that web sites and services occasionally do away with features that are seldom used, but I can't see how that would be the case with the "Not Interested" button. Everyone I know who has a Netflix account used it. While I realise that might not be representative of the majority of Netflix users, I think it would at least indicate that enough people used the "Not Interested" button to make it worthwhile for them to keep it. 

Ultimately I wish Netflix would do one of two things. One is to simply get rid of recommendations. Without the "Not Interested" button they are not particularly useful any longer. Simply because a lot of people watch Grey's Anatomy (which I hate) also watch Gilmore Girls (which I love) does not mean I want to watch or would be likely to watch Grey's Anatomy. I would rather have no recommendations at all than be recommended things I absolutely do not like. The other and more preferable option would be to bring back the "Not Interested" button. When Netflix had the "Not Interested" button I was always guaranteed that I would be recommended movies or TV shows that I would be likely to watch. Occasionally Netflix would make a mistake and recommend something to me that I wouldn't like, but it happened rarely and when it did I simply marked the offending recommendation "Not Interested" and went on about my business.

There was a time when Netflix's recommendations were a useful tool for finding movies and TV shows I might want to watch. Now Netflix's recommendations are not nearly so useful, with a good deal of chaff mixed in with the wheat. Restoring the "Not Interested" button could once more make Netflix recommendations useful to me and presumably many other users again. I only hope that Netflix realises their mistake and brings it back.

1 comment:

Tonnia Newberry said...

Seriously! Netflix used to be So Much Better, before Blockbuster got bought out. Netflix, used to offer, 'not interested' and that movie would be removed from your profile search options. It used to offer films based on Movies I liked. Now, row after row is crap I've already watched, and crap I'm absolutely not interested in what so ever. So it's virtually pointless to even spend my time searching through the force fed options. It's become a complete and total disaster. And the price went up from 7.99 when Blockbuster was around to $21, and the Video Selections have been limited to propagated brain scrambling agendas. The saddest part is it's rare if any have noticed. Which may be because The World at large only wants emotional and sexual stimulation, so those of us that prefer something more thought provoking are left without options. I miss being able to visit a Good Video Store and searching through independent films from around the world, because Netflix is obviously just another main-stream sell out.