Worst Company In America Round One: Netflix Vs. GameStop

Everyone else might be thanking God it’s Friday, but not the companies that had to start off their weekend by beating the ever-loving crud out of each other in the Worst Company America Thunderdome.

To get things started off the right way, here’s a match between two companies that seem to be making an effort to make home entertainment a chore.

First up is perennial WCIA contender GameStop, where many gamers reluctantly shop because they can get new, big releases at midnight and the retailer often has enticing, exclusive extras if you pre-order through GameStop.

By that same token, gamers blame the chain for encouraging greedy game makers to create different sets of exclusives for all the major retailers, which means more money if fans want to eventually get all the content associated with a particular game.

This also leads to situations like last year’s Deus Ex debacle that saw GameStop employees removing coupons from game boxes because it promoted a competitor’s product.

Then you throw in notoriously bad customer service — quite possibly because management seems more intent on loss prevention than anything else — and you end up with a store that even Best Buy feels justified in mocking.

Two years ago, Netflix seemed to have the world in its hand. It had millions of customers who loved streaming videos and having a few DVDs coming in every month for a very reasonable rate — a rate the company spent a ton of money pushing through every form of advertising short of branded urinal cakes.

And then, with little warning or explanation, Netflix announced it was spinning off the DVD business in to a separate company called Qwikster, which would have its own website, and which meant you’d suddenly be paying double the rate that Netflix had built its reputation on.

The Netflix realized Qwikster was not only a stupid company name, but that it should keep the streaming and DVD businesses under one roof for a little bit longer. It did not, however, do anything about the now-doubled rate.

In the months since, it seems like there are continual announcements of companies pulling streaming content from Netflix and/or everyone from Comcast, to Dish to Sony to Amazon making inroads in the streaming business.

The result of this bout could end up being a decent barometer for Netflix’s long-term outlook. Or it could be a lot of people who really, really hate GameStop.

Only one way to find out… rock/paper/scissors vote!

(Voting for this poll will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 18)


This is a post in our Worst Company In America 2012 series. The companies competing for this honor were chosen by you, the readers. See the entire WCIA 2012 bracket and schedule of match-ups HERE.