Netflix responded to these complaints in an e-mail to 7 On Your Side, stating...
"Our goal is to provide a high level of customer service and operate a financially sound business. Depending on inventory and number of shipments to be processed, heavy users of our service might experience a slight delay in receiving movies."Read more
This is similar to, but more explicit than, the message Manuel, who blogs on My Netflix Journal, had posted that he received from Netflix customer service which confirms that Netflix is deliberately giving lower priority to shipping discs from your #1 queue position, or lower priority for one-day turnaround, if you are a high-volume renter. This is known as "throttling" in the Blogosphere.
Here's what they said:
Thanks for your message.
In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those members who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their Queue more often than our other members. By prioritizing in this way, we help assure a balanced experience for all our members. Those that rent a lot of movies get a great value and those with lighter viewing habits are able to count on our service to meet their limited needs.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
Netflix Customer Service
This raises the issue of limited versus "unlimited". What are the legal ramifications of using that word? Can a business use the word "unlimited" in their advertising, if they are going to give higher priority service to lower-volume users? Is making someone go to the end of the line, the same thing as limiting their access to the service?