A Flixster Chance

March 10, 2007

Flixster logoA few days ago, I wrote a post entitled “Flixster me not” warning people about invitation emails being sent out via Flixster. Last night, one of the founders of Flixster left a surprisingly nice comment. Here it is, in its entirety:

joe Says:
March 9th, 2007 at 8:22 pm

hi proudgeek,

just stumbled upon your site via technorati… I am one of the founders of flixster…

FYI, we absoilutely encourage new users to invite friends to the site (its about sharing movie ratings – not very useful without friends) – but we don’t force anyone to do so and certainly never “steal” addresses from anyone’s contact book. (We offer the ability to select friends to invite from your yahoo/hotmail/etc address book – but again, its optional and you get to choose who to invite and we don’t store your password at all)

Anyway – sorry to hear you had a bad experience. Feel free to ping me back by email if you have questions…


I must admit his comment made me reconsider. I had initially viewed these emails with suspicion because of several reasons: 1) I have always disliked unsolicited emails anyway (i.e., emails from companies I never had any contact with before or to which I didn’t give permission to email me, except for a good reason like a party invitation). 2) These invitation emails were very bare – it only had a long link, and a typical “If you prefer not to receive emails like this …” sentence — it looked exactly like a spam email. It had no details on what Flixster is, and no personal message from my friends in the email. 3) While one of these three friends is relatively computer saavy, the second is not as expert an user, and the third is an 70-plus-year-old woman. I assumed that all three did not mean to send out these invitation emails to their friends. 4) I got the next two invitation emails within a day or two after the first invitation email – leading me to believe that the “infection” was spreading to more and more of my friends. 5) I’m leery of web services that go into people’s Yahoo / Hotmail stuff and pull information. Too much potential for abuse.

But now, because of Flixster co-founder Joe’s kind comment, I will give Flixster a chance. Plus, I’ve always loved movies – and Flixster’s about sharing and discussing movies with your friends. So, here’s what I’m going to do now:

  • I’m going to email the three friends I got Flixster invitation emails from and ask if they meant to send these invitations out.
  • I’ll go ahead and join Flixster, and see what the process of adding my friends’ emails look like.
  • I will add a few friends who are relatively computer-saavy and who like movies.
  • I will keep an eye out for anything that would make it easy for me to “accidentially” send invitation emails to my friends. That includes pulling my friends’ info from my Yahoo / Hotmail contacts without my initial permission and then asking me if I want to “unselect” any of these friends.

After doing all these, I will do a follow-up post and share my further thoughts and impressions. But I must say I’m impressed that Joe, the co-founder of Flixster and “just a regular guy who happens to be the amazing genius behind [Flixster]”, took the time to leave such a nice and informative email. Thanks, Joe.


2 Responses to “A Flixster Chance”

  1. David Holmes Says:

    Talk about viral marketing…

    I’m getting these invites now from a non-tech savvy friend. Heard from another of her friends who is also getting these invites.

    Flixster must have a slick routine to get in and out of the address book.

    I hope the ‘unsubscribe’ feature works equally well.

  2. lily Says:


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