​Should Netflix refund its geoblocked customers for their inconvenience?

Because apparently paying for content is also piracy now.

Netflix's new logo.

Netflix's new logo.

Internet entertainment behemoth, Netflix, is continuing to block billions of IP addresses by the day in a bid to crack down on this “new wave piracy” of unauthorised geographical access.

(So much for Netflix anywhere, huh?)

The usefulness of services like Getflix and Unblock Us to get around the geoblocks are being put to the test (both services are promising a permanent fix but are currently failing to deliver).

Granted, the company is in a tricky position. The continued success of Netflix’ business model relies upon its ability to maintain a strong relationship with its licensees.

Part of that relationship is keeping up its end of the bargain as to who is and is not accessing its content.

But through all of this Netflix continues to take the money of the users it is blocking.

Last month, thanks to the feckless Aussie dollar, I paid $30 for Netflix but I couldn’t access it.

(I paid another $10 for my VPN service which also didn’t deliver, but whose services I will continue to support for the time being because I believe in it).

If Netflix is so concerned about ‘piracy,’ shouldn’t it be forced to refund the users whose access it is happily profiting from before restricting what they can watch?

(I am reliably informed by my readers that some iOS apps allow you to pay in Aussie dollars so that at least the value of what you pay doesn’t change with the tides, but I have as yet not figured out how to make this happen).

It seems to me a much fairer model, but also a pretty great piece of market research.

Refunding users for their inconvenience has the effect of keeping customers on side while Netflix navigates this clusterf*** on their behalf, while simultaneously demonstrating to licensors just how many people are willing to pay to view their content while cutting out the middle man.

I don’t want to have to keep repeating this like it’s god damned Groundhog Day but hear this: Piracy will continue to thrive so long as customers that are willing to pay are denied ways to exchange their hard-earned cash for goods and services.

The era of national releases is over.

Netflix should stop pissing off its customers and end the geoblocks.

And if it can’t do that then it should at least be compensating the customers it is inconveniencing or risk losing them altogether.

In the meantime, if anyone needs me I’ll be binge-watching X-Files on DVD until one or all of the VPN providers find a permanent fix.

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Claire Connelly

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