Change your mind — keep the Profiles!

I’m thinking of all sorts of movie-related analogies to express my outrage at Netflix’s plan to eliminate Profiles.

The one I like best is seeing myself as Gollum from “Lord of the Rings,” ready to snatch up, and clutch to my chest, my individual Queue, movie ratings and friends lists or as I like to call them, “my precioussess.”

Last night, Netflix sent out an e-mail to its customers who use their Profiles feature (it lets movie renters who share an account set up their own individual profiles) that they’ll be eliminating the feature Sept. 1. ( They also posted it on their blog.) Be still my heart! How are they going to reconcile my boyfriend’s love of Buckaroo Banzai (ick) and mine of apocalyptic zombie flicks? We’re lucky that our movie tastes aren’t as divergent as most — this could cause a major “War of the Roses” among anyone living under the same roof: couples, roommates, nuns.

Last year, I listened in amusement as my dad told me how a whole bunch of Westerns were being sent to his house courtesy of the one-year Netflix subscription my siblings and I got my parents for Christmas. I’m sure that, like my parents, several other Netflix customers simply didn’t know you could spread your rentals across two separate movie lists. Had my mom known, she would have gotten “Ray” a lot quicker.

At a time when we all like to be told how special and unique we are, how much our individual opinions matter, eliminating a feature that gives us personalized recommendations is a big mistake. (Sure, those recommendations were sometimes wacko. I liked “Kurt Cobain About a Son,” so naturally I would enjoy “Clarissa Explains It All?” But even their occasional absurdity was somehow charming. Because it was all about me. All me!)

Parents probably like the Profiles because they can restrict the rating of movies the kiddies add to their lists. Nice try 12-year-olds everywhere, but the PTA was right — “Silent Night, Deadly Night” is morally damaging.

Netflix says this is a way to improve their Web site, but how? They should have at least given us some specifics. Or is this simply a way to make sure people aren’t circumventing the 500-movie limit in their Queues or a prod for people to buy more than one subscription?

Right now, I’m imagining Netflix’s phone ringing off the hook with complaints. (Well, OK, it’s probably more like their inbox is filling up). I have to imagine that because the idea of losing my recommendations, having to reenter the movies in my Queue and having to reinvite my friends, breaks my heart a little (actually a lot).

Do you use the Netflix Profiles feature? Any thoughts on why they did this and whether they’ll back down or not?

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