Netflix Queue Hack Debunked

Several weeks ago Thomas Hawk reported on a method to improve your odds when dealing with backordered Netflix movies. It goes like this… you only fill your queue with out-of-stock DVDs and presumably Netflix has no choice but to fulfill your request. Nice theory… but in reality we haven’t gotten a new movie in several days.

Like others, I’ve noticed a excessive amount of unavailable titles lately including March of the Penguins and Wallace & Grommit’s most recent exploits. I’ve been a customer since the late 90’s and can’t recall such a stock shortage. I would think with Netflix’s additional advertising revenue they’d have more inventory, not less. Then again, they could’ve picked up a ton of new subscribers with their recent commercials.

As with the original hack, The 40 Year Old Virgin was my test flick. It’s been in our queue nearly two months and was recently “upgraded” from Very Long Wait to Long Wait. So I began with an empty queue and added just that one movie. During that last several days we’ve received no email shipping alerts and no movies from Netflix — the order has remained unfilled.

This isn’t to say the original story is false… but you might consider this a warning that your mileage may vary. We’re ready to start receiving flicks again, so I’ve reconstituted our queue. I hope you appreciate the lengths I’ll go in the name of science.