More on Peerflix experiences


Earlier I reported on Peerflix, which is implementing a P2P DVD sharing system with similarities to some of my own ideas. I have tried it out a bit now, and learned a bit more. I also have updated experiences with Peerflix.

The web site is marked beta and still very buggy, which is bad, but my first try on the service was first-rate. I mailed off my first DVD, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,

on Wednesday to somebody in San Jose (who almost surely got it today) and got the replacement for it -- by strange coincidence another memory-related movie called Memento in the mail today. That is faster than most of the services, though people like Netflix could be this fast if they decided to take the same step and trust you when you said you mailed a disk, rather than waiting for it to arrive.

All this is good, but there's still a killer flaw in the idea of actually selling the DVDs. All DVDs will have a limited lifetime of high-demand. As demand drops below supply, somebody holding the DVD at that time will get "stuck" with it, though you can fix that by being fast on the draw in agreeing to be the one to mail any new requesters that do come along.There are two types of people using Peerflix. Some, like me, want to try a different way to "rent" movies like Netflix. Some are using it just to trade away the undesired parts of their collection for something they want more. Some are mixing the two.

The bad result is that there is a surplus of less desireable DVDs in the pool. Indeed if you browse Peerflix's "Available DVDs" list, it looks like the bargain bin at Fry's. This is an error on their part, because they are only showing the DVDs that by definition, have more supply than demand. They should expand the "available" list to include DVDs that are in full demand but also in high circulation, so that the odds are very good that a request for one will be filled quickly. They could even guarantee that, by buying such disks in the rare event that they don't become available. But even so they will never show the very high demand disks. Those they show in a different list. A better system might be to display the "median recent wait time" on a disk, which would be 0 for low-demand DVDs.

If you buy/borrow a low demand DVD, you are taking a risk of getting stuck with it, which is a bad way to have to think about it. Better would be to require the original contributors of a disk to take it back if nobody wants it for a significant period of time. This puts the burden of a dead disk where it should be, on the original contributor, and it adds even more incentive for people to put high-demand disks in the system.

A new release costs 3 of their Peerbux which they would sell you for $27, but in fact you can find these disks on eBay for more like $12 and the used prices on Amazon (affiliate links included in this entry) are sometimes better than the eBay prices, which is what I did to get the initial disks I will be contributing -- when I have done watching them. I have picked disks that I both want to see and which are in high demand, so I know they will be snapped up quickly with low risk.

While I've been doing work with MythTV as reported elsewhere in the blog, DVDs of TV-shows are really quite a bit better than any off-the-air recordings not from HDTV. So I will be doing my abridged series watching from DVDs as well as from TVWish. Netflix considers a 6-disk "full season" Box set as six different rentals, Peerflix views it as a single unit costing more of their peerbucks. For example I bought Angel Season Two from Amazon, after picking up Season One with TVWish. I will watch it and trade for all the later seasons, I hope. To my surprise, the DVDs I got were widescreen -- vastly better than my TV recordings.


Memento, not Momento. Great film.

I recently tried Peerflix because I came across the free DVD just for trying it offer. I like the service, but I never got the free DVD. I emailed them on at least ten different occasions and never got a single reply. They don't care about customer service at all. The service is great, you get the DVD's quickly, though without a cover. But it is a little confusing to figure out how to keep them if you don't want to send them on to the next requester. If they would answer a customer email once in a while it might be a good deal. Of course, I think the old bait and switch of offering a free DVD and not honoring it is illegal and shouldn't be done by any company.

I have been with Peerflix for several months and am extremely happy with the service. I was intrigued about your customer support complaint as I had found it amazing when I needed help. They even had a support person doing a live chat with me! I just noticed on the peerflix blog @ they are saying that because of really fast growth they can't keep up with support requests, but they say they are hiring more staff to help... this is exciting to me, because more users means more movies!! The way I understand Peerflix, the bigger it grows, the better it gets, unlike all other DVD services.

I have been with Peerflix for several months and am extremely happy with the service. I was intrigued about your customer support complaint as I had found it amazing when I needed help. They even had a support person doing a live chat with me! I just noticed on the peerflix blog @ they are saying that because of really fast growth they can't keep up with support requests, but they say they are hiring more staff to help... this is exciting to me, because more users means more movies!! The way I understand Peerflix, the bigger it grows, the better it gets, unlike all other DVD services.

He posted to the old blog during the transition, here's his comment...

I've been using Peerflix for 3 months now, since the Mercury News article. On the surface it seems like a good idea. However my results have been pretty disappointing. I did receive the free DVD, and in general most of the DVDs I've received have been good quality. One wasn't and Peerflix took care of it. I mailed it back to them and someone else in the system mailed me another copy.

However, at this point I'm pretty fed up with the system. The flaw in the business model is that people don't keep up with sending what other members want. My Peerbux count has built up so high that I've stopped sending DVDs. I haven't received any DVDs in weeks now. I've even gone so far as to choose a DVD I don't want very much but the system shows 30 copies available. I figure if the system is working someone in the group of 30 will send me a copy. None of the 30 people have sent me the DVD and I've been waiting 3 weeks now.

I am beginning to think the whole thing is a scam. I'm quite disappointed and won't send more DVDs until I receive 2-3 more.

Just a small insight. Over the last month or so I've seen no real improvement in how the Peerflix system works, but I guess I've gained a small insight I thought I'd share.

When I joined Peerflix I first started out only listing DVDs I was willing to trade. I assumed that others were doing the same thing. Now I think this isn't true. Over the last weekend it dawned on me that there was value in listing all my DVDs on Peerflix. If we had a fire or theft and someone ran off with my 250 DVDs then I would have no records and probably get nothing from my insurance company so I decided to put all of them in. In the process I noticed that every DVD entered goes to the 'willing to trade' list and none go on hold. Suddenly I found that I had requests for 40 DVDs to mail. People want my box set of The Godfather. Likewise Indiana Jones, etc.

Suddenly the lightbulb goes on and I understood why I'm not receiving the movies I'm asking for. Even though people own them, and have listed them, these folks have no real intention of trading. Unfortunately they haven't put them on their Hold list. People are just doing the most simple thing they can - they enter their movies and quit. This makes the 'DVDs Available' a complete sham. They're only available if people intend to really mail them and I contend now that people don't really intend to send everything they enter.

Since entering my collection it's sort of fun to watch the number of DVDs I'm supposed to mail go up and down. This morning it's at 19. However I currently have 14 Peerbux and no desired movies coming to me so I'll not mail any more until my Peerbux count drops to under 3. Why reduce the size of my collection if I cannot get any movies I want. Unfortunately that means there are 19 disapoointed people out there that aren't getting my movies either.

I didn't ever see the system as a replacement for Netflix and now less so. If I want to watch a movie this Saturday evening I will always go to Netflix since I know it will be delivered. I now realize that Peerflix is even less likely to work as a real trading system, but hopefully will, over time, improve the quality of my collection.

- Mark

This is in reply to Mark. Once you had the insight about why "available" doesn't mean much on Peerflix, why didn't you hide everything you don't intend to send? You mention that it is "fun" to see how many of your DVD's are requested at any given time, but you don't seem to have much empathy for the people who you know are dissappointed by not getting them.

Anyway, the site itself should hide any items you fail to send for a day or more. And, it should give better statistics on what is in demand, so folk won't be tempted to list items they don't intend to send, just to get that info.

But why hide things? Peerflix needs to improve their system. If they don't see users doing exactly this then they never will. Also, this gives me an opportunity to consider that someone wants a DVD and helps me understand which ones to send. I did send one DVD this week after I received one so I am participating. I'm just not willing to give away what is today requests for 49 of the best DVDs in my collection when others won't send me the ones I want.

Fair's fair...

- Mark

Just a small report to say that over the last 2 months there has been a *slight* improvement in Peerflix. I had gotten up to having 15 credits so I stopped sending and waited for movies to start coming in. Finally the gates opened and I started to receive movies, my credits dropped down to 1 or 2, so I sent a few of my older, not very interesting movies out and have comtinued to receive a few more back in response. My movie collection improves.

Watch out for the 'Auto-confirm'. I don't know if this is a scam but I had a movie 'Auto-confirmed' meaning I didn't have to say I received it. This is the first time this happened. Problem is I did not receive the movie. Once I figured out what was going on and filed a complaint Peerflix credited my account the $0.99, but the system still says I received the movie and still says I have it to trade when I do not.

Still working out the bugs I suppose...

I joined Peerflix 5 months ago, initially to trade some gift DVD's that I didn't plan on watching again. Since then I've made 15 trades, and my experience with Peerflix Canada has been very positive.

Peerlix's response to my early queries was exceptional (once in less than an hour), as was their follow-up on 'auto-confirm' claims. I've had two of the latter ... in the first case, the sender had changed their mind after committing to send (my account was immediately credited by Peerflix) ... in the second, the sender had delayed sending without updating the mailing status (I received a stutus update the next day, and the DVD arrived the following day).

One thing to be aware of - 'Available Now' appears to mean that there's at least one copy in the trading system that's not tagged as being on-hold, not that one will receive a copy shortly after adding it to one's 'DVDs I Want' list. There may be other members queued ahead to receive that title, and it may take some time (at least with Canada's smaller membership base) before one is next in line to receive the title.

To work around this and not let my 'Peerbux' total get too far out of line, I use the 'hold' feature to limit my 'DVDs available to trade' such that my 'Peerbux' are maintained at the 4-6 level, and at keep 10 +/- titles on my want list.

Hi all, I just joined Peerflix a little over a month ago. Right away, one of my DVDs was requested, so as soon as I received my mailers, I sent it out. That was a month ago, and I still haven't been credited for it, even though the Peerflix website confirms that it was received. I put in a help request 2 weeks ago and left a message with live help, but so far I've heard nothing (except for the automated e-mail reply from 2 weeks ago saying that I'd hear from them in 24-48 hours). From what I've read on this thread, they're behind in replying to help requests, but I'm getting a bit frustrated.

Does anyone know how about how long it's taken them to respond to help requests lately? And does it usually take a month (or more) to receive credit? Thanks!

My account has always been credited as soon as I click on "Mail it Now" and print the mailing insert. As far as response to my queries, see my post "Positive Experience with Peerflix Canada" ... if you're located elsewhere, hopefully you'll see other replies.

You probably will never hear from them again

Well, it's been another week and I'm still waiting for my account to be credited. I refuse to conduct any more transactions with Peerflix until this issue is resolved. Does anyone have a way to contact Peerflix other than the help desk e-mail or 'live help' message system? I have gotten NOWHERE with those methods, and am getting more and more frustrated. So far, they've gotten one of my DVDs, and I've gotten nothing. For all practical purposes, I feel like they've stolen from me. I appreciate any feedback!

something is not happening with peerflix. they stopped responding to customer support inquiries logged last month. will not respond to request for a peersafe protection claim (i was sent a VHS tape with a different title!!!). a complaint to BBB.ORG is not responded too. there's a blurb in the peerblog about customer support delays from the start of sept, which have obviously gotten worse. the recent peerblog entries seem to be rather generic marketing content. i called the number listed with BBB today & got a voicemail to leave a message that did not identify the person being with peerflix. though i am still getting email requests to send trades, but with no responses from peerflix in such a long period. i'll hold the rest of my trades untill further notice.....

Well to answer those of you asking how far behind they are on support, I just received replies to some inquiries I made at least a week ago, most likely longer...I didn't bother to keep track as I figured it was a lost cause. As you can imagine I was quite surprised to see the replies in my inbox today.
Nevertheless, my experience with Peerflix so far has been fairly good, with the exception of the feedback time. I have also noticed the seemingly huge amount of available titles that are not REALLY available. There was a suggestion by "Anonymous" above to limit the number of DVDs you have available to send in order to achieve a balance with your PeerBux and I support this suggestion...It will undoubtedly help to reduce the number of "fake" available DVDs and give a much more accurate reading as to what DVDs are truly going to be sent.
Anyone wishing to add me to their friends, I will trade DVDs for peerbux (friend trading is free of the .99 cent charge). My friends link is

Just wanted to add to the above that I myself have successfully sent 10 DVDs and received 13 (I bought some Peerbux when I first started). Two of the DVDs I received were broken and I was credited for them and they were re-added to my DVDs I Want list. One of the DVDs did not come on time and a notice was sent to the sender to verify the send date. So far that DVD is only 2 days late so I will give it a few more days before I do anything else.
And to answer the impatient people, Peerflix is not exactly a replacement for Netflix, as you will almost always have to wait a bit before you get the DVDs you want. For the value, the wait time is worth it.

My experience with Peerflix signed up mid 9/05 on the one free dvd and 99 cent trade offer. 10/01 received welcome package; same day posted three dvds;10/01 mailed out two;10/02 mailed out the 3rd.
I received a 99 cent credit but no free dvd credit;the account was initially credited for 3 Peerflix from my dvds;
Peerflix Authorized 1 dvd tade and deducted 1 peerflix from the account;My cost to date is $24.00 for the 3 dvds and shipping at $3.00. 10/06 I received a badly burned dvd. on 10/06 I mailed it to Peerflix Fraud incurring shipping cost; plus trip to post office box.

10/06 account credit returned; then five minutes later Peerflix deducted 2 peerflix and 99cent trade. Received next dvd on the 10/18 days(confirmation to be mailed on 10/06, postage stamp is 10/08 and the dvd skips looping back in the middle; Peerflix automatically confirmed receipt four days before dvd is received it; taking away option of stating condition of DVD.

I have sent three requests for asst. concerning the unaccredited offered free dvd not received. Peerflix refused to authorize dvd trades until $5.00 worth of trading points is purchased;my account when showing 2 peerfix credits refused to allow a trade;my credit should be at 2 credits if the free dvd was a reality.
My understanding of the system if you traded dvd the traded dvd would/could cover trading cost. To date investment is $24.00 in DVD; plus $10.00 in mailing and gas. Received two dvds; one burned; a 2nd that skips looping back; Peerflix has given incorrect accounting;
no customer service.

Peerflix demands $5.00 cash for peerflix trades offering me an online forum to give/offer my owned dvd and pay postage; while hoping to get a fair trade; if the dvd is fraudulent then Peerflix offers a costly option of paying additonal postage to send it to Peerflix fraud just to receive Peerflix dollars credit back for a dvd previously sent dvd; I loose additonal money for the postage paid for shipping the burned dvd to the fraud section. More loss for peerflix customer.

Not going to happen. When I sent the burned DVD I enclosed a letter requesting a follow up on the no free dvd credit; No response.
Just exactly what cost do they have; computers; computers used for tracking; and the operators.
The customers brings the product; pays for the postage; stores the product; Peerflix does exactly what?

Results of researching Peerflix on the internet; about the company.

Encyclopedia: Peerflix
Updated 53 days 14 hours 10 minutes ago.
Other descriptions of Peerflix
Peerflix is a DVD movie trading service based in Menlo Park, California, launched quietly in 2004 by co-founders Danny Robinson, Tim Stewart and Bill McNair. The concept behind the service is similar to that of file trading that is done through peer to peer software such as Kazaa, except physical DVDs are exchanged instead of files. Users pay 99 cents per trade (as of 2005) for Peerflix to facilitate the trading through their website. Since physical DVDs are exchanged with no copies made, the service remains legal. DVD is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ... Cafe Borrone, adjacent to Keplers Bookstore in the Menlo Center, is a popular lunch spot in downtown Menlo Park. ... 2004 is a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tim Stewart A High Technology executive and Inventor of web based community and media systems. ... A peer-to-peer (or P2P) computer network is a network that relies on the comput

ing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating it in a relatively few servers. ... Kazaa Media Desktop (once capitalized as KaZaA, but now usually left as Kazaa) is a peer-to-peer file sharing application using the FastTrack protocol. ... a bust ... The front page of the English Wikipedia website. ...

(Wikipedia entry deleted, next time just link to it...)

"anonymous" I dont know what the hell all that garbage you just posted was for, but in response to the part of your comment that actually made any sense..
In order to get my free dvd, I had to complete one trade and then log out and back in to my account. The dollar figures you are talking about make no sense whatsoever. You should only be mailing the DVDs by themself at a cost of 37 cents normal postage. The 5 dollars peerflix charges is for the .99 per trade fee. It gets charged in 5 dollar increments. Every time you receive a DVD, the 5 dollar number will go down by 99 cents, until you have none left. At this point you will again be charged 5 dollars. It's very simple and I fail to see your problem with it.
As to the broken DVDs, I myself have received two broken DVDs and mailed them back to the fraud center, at a cost of a whole 37 cents each. WOW SO EXPENSIVE. After a short wait I was REFUNDED both my peerbux and my 99 cents for each title, and the DVDs were re-added to my wants list.

Garbage posted;
It was a breakdown of my cost to date;
which shaped my Peerflix point of view.

I shipped each DVD with an $8.00 minimum new purchase cost;
used once. Paid to ship each of the three DVDs in protective cases; my choice.(Protective casing with the DVD is worthless)
Shipping cost approximate X3 at a $1.25 each.
For each order required a trip down to the main post office X4.
My family collects DVDs presently owning over 600 between us.
I was anointed to check out if it was a feasible using choice for us.
With no customer service; losing money on burned/damaged DVDs; it was not.

Initially I was looking for a way to contact a person at Peerflix.
I wondered who the company was and why a phone number was not given allowing customers the ability to talk to someone about any initial problematic issues: I researched for phone numbers and what I found I posted on your site for FYI of your readers; that the garbage posted.

An advertising promo site stated;
Demo Says As stated by Peerflix “Peerflix is a peer-to-peer online trading platform for physical goods or services. In its first application, Peerflix allows users to trade DVDs across a large, decentralized network, where each U.S. household serves as a distribution center. Peerflix carries no inventory and does not participate in the transaction: we simply optimize matches across people and products. We transfer our low overhead directly to customers by charging 99 cents for each trade we facilitate”
“Peerflix is at DEMO fall for its technology and its innovative business model. The Peerflix trading application — which the company has proved with its DVD trading service —is supported on the back end by a unique arbitrage and commerce platform. By splitting the front end from the back and turning it over to the open source community, Peerflix will spur other interesting trading applications — applications that tie into the proprietary Peerflix engine, allowing the company to create a new line of services business without creating every trading site itself. The Peerflix model answers the “how does open source make money” question brilliantly.”

Brad I am thrilled you have had luck with the company. You stated:
“As to the broken DVDs, I myself have received two broken DVDs and mailed them back to(absorbing mail fraud/broken cost) the fraud center, at a cost of a whole 37 cents each. WOW SO EXPENSIVE. After a short wait I was REFUNDED both my peerbux and my 99 cents for each title, and the DVDs were re-added to my wants list”I am sure they will do quite well if all Peerflix customers are as accepting.

My test the water experience with Peerflix with almost new DVD’S; terminated with no customer service response to in house emails; a damaged DVD; and an unusable peerbux credit; Peerflix Spam requesting me to purchase trading peerbux. I traded three once watched DVDs; I have a damaged one; a credit at Peerflix I am unable to use; and no customer service.
I am thrilled in your luck with Peerflix; but my family will not use them.

Over the long haul I suspect if the service I experienced is given to people aware of nickels and dimes and the initial hard money cost of their owned DVDs. Will elect not to participate in the Peerflix program.
Thank you Brad for allowing me to speak my mind.

im sorry, but in your ranting about peerflix's misgivings you failed to notice that my name is jon. i am not brad. i also sincerely apologize for your inability to understand peerflix and your subsequent unfortunate disaster with said service.

I've used Peerflix for about four months now. I was really excited about it at first and told some friends. Then I began to realize how crappy the service was. There's a long wait to get any dvd that came out in the past year. The service which tracks the dvd availability is (deliberately, I think) misleading. The vast majority of dvds they have on their site are only available - I swear to God - if you buy them through Amazon. I've sent them email four times and never received an answer. Finally, a few weeks ago, I opted out of Peerflix. And they're still holding on to the $1.98 in my account - despite the fact that I don't owe them anything and they know it. My next act is going to be filing a complaint with the California consumer division. Over $1.98? Yes. Because they've pissed me off.

I was recently hired by Peerflix to help deal with the massive amount of customer support required from peerflix users. I would like to inform the Peerflix users in this forum that the Customer Support is finally up to speed for the amount of volume we have been receiving. I can understand alot of the frustration with delays in response, but trust that we really want to satisfy all our customers. We have seen massive growth in a short amount of time, and have gone through growing pains. We are getting better every day, trust me. If you ever have any questions let us know and we will get back to you in under 48 hours. Got to get back to my DVD. Later.

I joined the service in August 05, listed lots of dvds and wanted four. The dvds I listed were oldies but goodies. By October 05 I got a request to send a dvd, I sent it. This started to look good. Then I sent out another dvd, boy am I stupid! At the beginning of December 05 I finnally got a dvd. In the meantime I have been innundated with requests to send out other dvds. Until I get my free dvd, I am out one good title. I don't have a credit card or much money, no fault of theirs, the titles I have requested are not available. They want me to send more dvds with nothing in return. I have no trade credits yet they still want my dvds. Sounds like a well rehearsed scam to me.

Hi everyone !

Our group has been working for almost 2 years on a similar project. We're a bit late, but hey, we're not financed by business angels like peerflix ...!

We'll launch it hopefully by early March'06 : you can already check it out ... and tell us what you think (please don't register yet, it's only 90% functional). For testing purposes, use the following :

User name : Brad
Password : Brad

Any feedback is welcome.

Our site will be different and better (IMHO) than peerflix for 3 MAJOR REASONS :

1) Cinexchange is really 100% FREE and legal. There's no membership and, most important, WE DON'T CHARGE ANYTHING FOR TRADES (in or out). Nothing, zip, nada, niet, zero, rien du tout ! Our target is to become in the next 2 years as big as a legal form of kaZaa could be, not just another money-making business that could disappear in 6 months. Peerflix must content stock holders, not us. We do that for fun ! But to achieve that, and convince millions of users, we'll simply be 100% free and rely on advertisers to cover our costs. And guess what ? : check what Napster became in a few years... The new legal (and commercial) Napster is ranked now even better than kaZaa by (3,386 vs 4,257 respectively ...). That means a legitimate business can succeed over an underground/illegal p2p.

2) Our trading model is quite different than peerflix'. We decided to copy the stock exchange principles and adapt the NYSE functionalities to our system. With cinexchange, DVDs (or UMDs or Games) have no set values such as the peerflix peerbux. We rely on live quotation of each item. BTW you can find in our homepage a scrolling-infobar showing live quotes of the most popular movies/games (most traded), a kind of NASDAQ/DOWJONES index for the top 40 items. We consider each new item is worth 10 points at the beginning. It's not important if it's a new release or not, because this value will rapidly fluctuate, according to the demand/offer principles of any such stock-like market. Some movies actually build value with time and become classics, or the opposite when critics/reviews are terrible : don't you think 'The Godfather' or 'Titanic' should be more valued than the last 'Vandamne movie', even though the latest has been released 2 weeks ago ?
We just think IT'S NOT UP TO US TO DECIDE WHAT A MOVIE IS WORTH, and that's peerflix mistake. Who are we to decide so anyway ? Movies, and art in general, is a matter of taste. So the market only (members) can and will decide, not us. And that's a major difference with peerlix and their 3-peerbux value system. With peerflix, any new release is valued 3 peerbux, even B movies. And then they decide that, suddenly 6 months later it's worth 2 peerbux and so on ...
Our system is way more flexible and fair, because it works exactly like the stock market : it fluctuates ! In real life, stock values are never set by the traders, but by the market and shareholder transactions. To follow this analogy, peerflix acts exactly as a trader, a middle-man that would decide of the purchase price !!!
Thus in our model, movie value is rather defined by the last occured transaction (works just like NYSE).
Now imagine : "User1" wants to trade out "Star Wars - Episode 2". The last transaction set the value at 4 points (scale of 10). But user1 knows the yesterday's release of Episode 3 is "helping" the market of Star Wars movies, so he's asking 6 points for it.
Now, User2, a Star Wars fan, is deperately looking for the Episode2 to complete his trilogy, and declared being ready to spend as much as 8 points for this movie.
Cinexchange match-engine asks user1 to mail out his movie to user2 (the same way peerflix does), but user2 will spend only 6 points for it, not 8 (he's actually saved 2 points in this transaction). Now, Star Wars Episode 2 value climbs up to a 6-points, while it's impossible with peerflix system to go backwards. With cinexchange, movies will continue to have a "life" and their value will for sure vary up and down, following professional critics reviews, words-of-mouth, possible sequels, collectibles, rumors and many more 'outside' non-economic factors...
Moreover, this will draw frequent visits by members to our website, because it will be very fun to check what their movie-portfolio is worth ! Savvy users can actually play with our system to save many points on transactions and watch more movies for the same points-spendings.
When a member needs a few extra points to complete a transaction (imagine user2 had only 4 points to trade-in star wars 2, while user1 wanted 6 points) and has no more movies to trade-out, we'll offer (a bit like peerflix), the option of purchasing them at a rate of 2$/point (FYI, a new release, at first valued 10 points, has an average market price of $20, check Walmart, hence 2$/point). User2 needs only to add-up $4 (2 points) to access this higher-value movie. But that's not our strategy at all to push members to do so. We prefer the cinexchange market to feed itself. And we won't make any profit from these purchases, we'll use these funds to 'feed' the market with new movies releases, just the way Banks feed the stock market buying stocks and reselling them. At least, even though cinexchange is not a profit-oriented website, we'll be able to finance and provide constantly attractive new releases to our members.

3) Our logistic model is different too. In fact, we're still working on it and would really appreciate your feedback on that, because it's crucial. At first, we wanted to follow the same true-peer-to-peer logistic model used by Peerflix where : user1 sends his movie directly to user2. But reading forums on that, it seems like there's a lot of complaints about frauds (fakes, illegal asian imports, burnt copies etc ...). And that's Peerflix' weakness, despite their so-called PeerSafe protection. They evaluated such complaints to 2% but it might be much more and rising significantly. Of course users are banned by peerflix (really?) if they file too many complaints, but there will be for sure many errors of judgment on peerflix end on who's really responsible for the fraud.

So our idea is as follows (tell us what you think) :

A - user1 send his movie to cinexchange (our office is in Miami) along with a 37cents extra stamp INSIDE the enveloppe - Total cost = 74 cents.

B - we open the enveloppe, verify the movie accuracy, playability etc...

C - we repack it and send it to user2 on user1's cost (remember ? the included extra stamp ?)

Total cost of transaction is 74 cents for users. It's still around 50% less than the peerflix $1.36 but there's now a 100% SECURITY GUARANTY, because Cinexchange acts as an independant third-party verifier and guarantor.
I got this idea when, 3 months ago, I've been victim of an e-bay scam (i actually lost 450$ trying to buy a laptop!). The seller, supposedly based in UK (in fact russian mafia / dixit FBI), pretended there's a new service offered by DHL acting as an independant third-party guarantor, verifying sold products before they're shipped, and confirming to buyers their compliance with the advertized products. Then buyers send to DHL the Western Union payment receipt # and only then DHL ship the products. A great scenario, hu ? Well ... if only DHL offered such a service !!!
The bottomline is that such a service would be great if it existed. Maybe UPS, Fedex or DHL should think about it seriously, because as the shipper, they're in the best position to check products compliance ... So we would be in such position if cinexchange verified each products before shipping'em out to destination member.
The only downside of this logistic is that it might take an extra 2-3 days to receive your movies. But at least, there should'nt be any possible complaint and fraud issue would be solved.
With peerflix, in any case of complaint, it will ALWAYS be the user1's word against user2's. Hard to judge. If user2 sends out to peerflix the supposedly 'suspiscious' movie for verification, nothing proves that he's actually sending the very-true movie he received from user1 !... user2 could burn-copy it himself and send it to peerflix saying that's what he received from user1, or send one of the junk movies he wants to get rid of and pretend user1 sent the wrong movie... Believe me, frauders are smart, they always find a way.

I really would like to get your opinion on this, because we're still undecided in my team on what's the best logistic model to adopt. We opted for the self-printed mailer by users (just like peerflix) and this is already implemented, but we're still left with how to deal with complaints in a way that would maximize users' trust and minimize our expenditures/responsability when they happen.
Would you prefer to wait a little longer (2-3 more days) but benefit from such a guaranty ?

Many thanks again for your feedback and happy new year 2006 to all of you !

I can be contacted at :

As that userid and password did not work, but I'm afraid at first blush I think you may be attacking some of the wrong problems. Peerflix has some problems but you'll have new ones.

The $1.39 cost of Peerflix per trade is not a big issue. It's already well below the cost of other services unless you are a very heavy user (the kind Netflix doesn't want, actually!) I haven't run into the fraud problem though I could see it being an issue. I don't know if it's worth the added cost of the double-mailing and the inspection. Something pays for the extension. I would rather have a company I pay that works for me, compared to a company that is paid by advertisers and thus is always tempted to work for the advertisers.

I believe most users probably find Peerflix too complex, compared to Netflix. One of Netflix big wins is you can go to your computer once every 6 months to list your movies if you want to. A computerphobe can use it. Peerflix and your service both require heavy use of the computer for every disk in and every disk out. Your complexity is higher because the user might try to figure out a market value for disks they are trading in or out. Peerflix setting prices (based on the prices the studio sets, largely) is a feature, not a bug, in a number of ways. If they set the price wrong, it's a bug they need to correct.

Peerflix' biggest bug right now is the problem of the low demand or dropping demand DVD. If you take one, expecting to trade it back out quickly, you can get stuck with it for months, expecially if you are not constantly at your computer. Fortunately I am at the computer very frequently. I'm not sure Peerflix would work well for the people who are once a day e-mail readers.

A particular curse is that if you take a DVD while it is dropping in value and get stuck with it for a while, the loss in value is saddled on you. I haven't experienced it but with Peerflix I presume some poor sucker takes a 3-peerbux movie and it becomes 2 peerbux before it goes back out. Or does peerflix eat that?

I really don't want to worry about the price of disks and whether I am bidding or asking the right amount. "Just like the NYSE" is great for trades of $10,000 of stock, not for $12 disks. If you want that, you can just use eBay if not for the way people have little incentive not to overcharge shipping.

First, many thanks for your feedback, Brad.

As far as userID and password are concerned they both are case-sensitive. My fault here, they both are "brad" and not "Brad". Sorry about that.

1) Cost : i understand 99 cents a trade doesn't seem much, but multiply it by 6 or 7 movies per month and you're already gettting close to the cost of Netflix basic membership fee ($9.99). In comparison, our service will cost nothing.
And if cost of entertainment was not such a big issue, e-donkey and kaZaa wouldn't exist and be used by millions of illegal users.
But the most important is that most people are usually reluctant to give their credit card information online, and with peerflix, that's mandatory since you need to pay for trades (in fact pre-pay $5). With cinexchange, keep your cc in your wallet.

2) with netflix, you can rents movies, but you'll never own them (yes, some like to collect), but worse, you'll NEVER get rid of all the movies collecting dust on your shelves. You know which movies i'm talking about ... those you received at christmas or at your birthday and you fell asleep watching. People do mistake. I do mistake. How many times i purchased DVDs or Games i'm ashamed of now. But others might want'em, because many tastes exist in nature...

3) Higher complexity : please do me a favor, try again to log-in and check how user-friendly is , in my opinion much more than peerflix or even netflix. Comments are welcome though.
There's no need for a computerphobe user (or any user) to "guess" what a movie value is. Simply because it's indicated next to each movie. Most user will ask or offer the according points, but some will like to play. If you want to get rid of a movie faster, simply lower the value you're asking for it ! That's not possible with peerflix, you're stuck with your movie if it's over-valued.
Btw, the supposedly Studio-value is just a joke ! There's no such thing and will never be. The only set amoount is the retail price for NEW products (whether they're new releases or not), and they're MSRP and that's all. A studio can't evaluate the value of a USED dvd. Therefore, peerflix' very limited 3-points-scale is nothing but objective !

4) There's been over 650,000 searches on google last month for keyword 'movie rental'. It's one of the fastest growing industry. Many people can't afford 10 or 20 extra bucks a month, on top of their ISP's $50 monthly fee, just to watch movies. They're left with the choice of going illegal with online p2p softwares or ... trading out the few movies they could afford to buy so far. And one movie is enough to start watching many other movies of same or lesser value. This option is simple and explains why peerflix has already 40,000 members after less than 6 months of operation. Our concept is similar, but better and more fair, giving us a good chance to capture their already numerous deceived customers (check all the complaint posts in your blog).

5) Advertisers-financed website : we won't have for sure any hollywood studio advertising in our website, simply because we'll be undirect competiors (they're not really excited by the idea of people sharing their DVD portfolios ...). So there's no reason for us to advertise a movie rather than another in homepage. And we won't accept pop-ups or banners. We'll only sell short text-links to once the site will have a PR7 or above to cover expenses. That's all. I really don't see how could we "work for them" anyway and why even would we ... and how could that affect members. Please explain, i just don't understand what you mean by that. Remember, we don't sell anything, not even our service ! Unlike Peerflix, obviously affiliated with and selling movies directly on their website ...

6)NYSE-like engine : once again, trading can be really fun ! Check our site and you'll understand what i mean. We're not trying to be e-trade ! It's really the trading basics at kids level. It's actually a good introduction of trade-concept for kids and teenagers.
If you can afford $10,000 stocks portfolios, good for you. You can for sure afford also $30/month or over with netflix. You're definately not in our target then. Our members will be rather 15-50 years old avg with less than $30k/year revenue. And that's a good portion of US population, isn't it ?

7) ebay instead ? i don't think so, you can't directly trade on ebay. To come even close to cinexchange efficiency when it comes to trade your movies and games, you'll need to spend 100 x more time on ebay, and you'll have to deal with paypal, credit card payment etc ... that's for sure not something a computerphobe person would like to do. Me neither.

I'm just making predictions. Your cost is 78 cents per trade (two stamps) plus the downsides of advertising, theirs is $1.39. I personally don't see a large difference, and depending on how those advertising downsides play out, I might like the Peerflix higher price better. With Peerflix I've gotten disks one day after asking, which you can't do. I really think you're overestimating the credit card fear. Do you have studies suggesting this is major barrier to adoption of netflix or other services?

Of course there are those who like to own movies and those who just want to watch them. I'm mostly in the latter camp, but my volume is low so Peerflix or cinexchange is more economical than netflix.

My point about the complexity of Netflix is not about the movie choice interface, which one can always do a little better. I could set up my computerphobe mother with Netflix if I wanted. One guided session of picking a stack of movies, and after that all she has to know is, "When you are done, stick the movie in the mailer, you don't have to even turn the comptuer on." That interface is hard to beat. You could do that on popular movies, if you were willing to let people mail them without confirmation of a buyer.

It would work like this. If a movie is trading briskly, such as a new release, the mailer it comes in could have a card in it saying, "If you would like to trade this movie at market price before , just stick it in the mailer and return it to us. No need to go to the computer." Peerflix can't do that, Cinexchange can.

I agree trading and bidding and asking can be fun, as can haggling in a market in Beijing. But eventually you realize, "it's just a dvd" and you don't want to spend mental engergy on it. In cinexchange, you will find yourself buying a movie high and selling low sometimes if you don't put a lot of attention into it. A few obsessive people will make minimum wage buying low and selling high. This in effect will generate a higher cost per trade than 78 cents.

(I'm not a giant fan of the make your own envelope system peerflix has moved to. It's just another cost to me in terms of extra time.)

I remain convinced a semi-trading system is better, where the person who introduces a dvd into the system eventually has to take it back if nobody else wants to keep it. This encourages the introduction of valuable DVDs into the system, and eliminates the problems of getting stuck with a DVD you just wanted to watch, not own. But again, for me, I mostly want to watch them, not own them. I think all users however have some DVDs they want to own, and some they want to just watch. Peerflix (and I presume cinexchange) don't offer that choice, though with cinexchange you can be rid of it at a loss.

eBay has a very large selection of movies, far larger than Peerflix or Cinexchange. If eBay wanted to do work to streamline the "trading" of movies, they could effectively build a better cinexchange. Movies in the trading pool would have a fixed shipping price (60 cents for single disk only, more for multi-disk, and a bit more and slower -- media mail -- for disk with case if available.) There would be no time-wasting reserve auctions and every auction would have a buy it now with an auto-caculator to help set it based on past sales.

Such a system could outdo peerflix and cinexchange since it could use the eBay reputation to assure disk quality, a leg-up eBay has over everybody else. And here you are not trading for peerbux or cinexchange points, it's plain old cash, whose value is well understood.

When it comes to a market system, the best way to get fair prices is to have the largest market with the most sellers and buyers. eBay is way ahead of everybody here.

Chris, you have some nice ideas. I like the idea of paying two stamps for a dvd. The whole concept sounds great. I think as your service grows you'll probably be overwealmed by opening, testing and resending dvds. Thats very labor intensive. You may alleviate some of this by having senior members. These can be members who have earned your trust via a number of criteria you establish. You may give people the choice of using a senior member to get the dvd to them a couple days sooner or if its more important to them to go through the two stamp method.

By handling the dvds you double the ones lost in the mail (one change of being lost from the shipper to you, another chance from you to the buyer). By establishing a membership category of senior traders, you cut that in half again.

Hi Gary,

First, many thanks for your feedback on cinexchange concept. We think your idea of building trusted relationship with users who can become 'senior traders' is great, and could help making our project better and much more efficient than Peerflix.
We could even push your idea a step further, in a slightly different direction though, in order to alleviate the verification burden from our shoulders...
How about the idea of using the 'senior traders' (ST) as ultimate third-party verifiers ? In other words, after some time of operation, we'll offer the most active and reliable traders the chance to become a 'senior trader'. Then, we could name one ST in each state to begin with, and eventually narrow that by each county and ultimately each large city (let's dream).
Each Senior Trader would have now the burden to verify a movie sent by user A to user B (with the appropriate additional stamp provided by user A). We'll select the ST living the closest to User-B's address, in order to shorten delivery time between ST and user B.
On the other hand, the ST will benefit from being able to retain each received movie (and watch it if he wants to) for 24h (for example) before shipping it forward to user B. The ST will act as a guarantor, checking that the movie sent by user A is OK, otherwise he would resend it instead back to user-A with a pre-printed note saying something like "Sorry, but this is not the movie requested by user-B" or "it's a fake, you'll be banned from cinexchange" etc ...
In this scenario, we're still facing the downside you mentioned about risking some USPS delivery issue (twice the risk of lost mail), but as long as there's a sender address, i think this is really the least of the potential risks, especially compared to the fraud issue Peerflix is already facing, or somehow encouraging by not actively fighting it.
Beleive me, we've tested Peerflix and actually sent voluntarily 5 'made-in china' illegal copies through Peerflix, just to seee what would be their reaction... : so far, nothing ! Not even a warning ! Worse : we actually could trade-in legal DVDs instead ! If we could do it, that means anyone could ! That means they're either not taking care of users complaints or closing their eyes as long as they make profit selling $0.99 trades. But i can't believe the peerflix users who received our illegal copies could all 5 not complain at all. At least one user has surely complained. And it was obvious they were illegal copies, the DVD were even with chinese titles on covers and very poor quality screeners. It's by the way very easy to purchase these copies on the net, and i wonder why google or yahoo accepts these companies to advertize through Overture !!! Just enter the keywords 'buy DVD' and you'll find at least one company offering movies with release dates due in 2 months !!!
By the way, that's also a weakness of Peerflix, or a proof of their fraud encouragment : they accept to reference movies in 'DVD i have' section, even though the release date is later than today! How can that be, hu ?!!! How can a user legally own a DVD that's not even out on the stores shelves yet ?!!! Just try to enter any coming-soon-movie in your have-list and you won't face any problem with Peerflix!!!
With Cinexchange, we don't even show up any coming soon movie in our browse list, exactly to prevent such a fraud ...
Let us know what you think about the above idea and check also updates on our cinexchange blog.
And if you're still undecided between Movie Rental and Trade DVD or Game Swap, make sure to visit first (as early as march 2006), before signing-up with Peerflix or Netflix.
Many thanks for reading us and to Brad Templeton for this very interesting thread, helping us in serving the DVD trader community better !

All I can say is, I hope you mailed each of those people you sent a bootleg to a real copy a few days later, along with some money. I understand testing Peerflix anti-fraud, but would not, I hope, abuse the members, nor make them get a negative view of Peerflix because you choose to act badly deliberately within your competitor.

As for senior traders, I can't see myself wanting to do something like that but perhaps some would. Whether it works depends on the volume of fraud. I've seen none in Peerflix myself. If frauds are less than 1 in 50, say, it seems more practical to just make good the frauds from an insurance fund rather than handle the cost of checking out and delaying all disks. If frauds are 1 in 10, checking is needed.

Dear Brad,

You obviously don't know us, otherwise you wouldn't suspect us to let peerflix users with fakes. Not only we sent 10 days later (to leave some room for peerflix follow-up) an explanation letter with the official DVD, but we added an extra free DVD to compensate. The weird part is we never received any complaint from any of these 5 users within these 10 days, directly or through Peerflix.

But let me tell you how even this idea came to my mind ... : i've been first a victim of such a fraud (within peerflix) myself 3 months ago and decided to claim, with no response from peerflix. That's what decided us to test a bit further this weakness of peerflix and see if it was an isolated case. Unfortunately not.
And we don't consider ourselves as a competitor of Peerflix, since we're not profit oriented and act on an open-source basis. Our goal is to build a reliable trading platform to benefit the most possible number of users, completely for free, wasn't that the true initial spirit of internet ?
Now, to answer about the fraud-risk, believe me, no insurance company would ever cover such a risk at a decent price. We're left with the same question : how reliable, loyal and honnest will be the traders ? It seems to become an under-estimated issue for Peerflix and we're still brainstorming and collecting ideas everywhere to find the most efficient solution.

Many thanks again, Brad, for letting us using this tribune, it's gonna help us build a better trading platform and satisfy user more accurately.

I did not mean to imply an insurance company would be involved. You would not need or want one to insure the DVDs for the users. To be more clear, I refer to an insurance policy that tells users that they will be made good if they get a bad DVD. How much it costs to insure this (to the company, not some insurance company) depends on the fraud frequency. My judgement is that while clearly based on your report people in peerflix are sending bad DVDs, the overall percentage is low or I would be hearing a lot more about it. If it's low, then the cost of making it right is low.

As a user, the things are want are: * Low cost * Low hassle * Wide selection of DVDs * Quick delivery of the next DVD after I'm done with one.

Now netflix offers everything but the first -- low cost, and they tend to be quick on delivery, though I have seen Peerflix be faster (ie. get a DVD the very next day after turning one in.) Peerflix is low cost but more hassle, and suffers in selection. On quick delivery, they are entirely erratic. As noted, it can be one day, or it can be 8 months from the time you are done with a low-demand DVD to the time somebody takes it and gives you the peerbux to get the next one.

This is a renter's perspective more than a trader's. Of course, there is demand for both those perspectives.

Your system appears to offer low cost, possibly similar hassle but possibly lower, somewhat slower delivery, more complex web interface.

If I wanted to put a modestly computer savvy person into a system, it would probalby have to be netflix for now. Peerflix is really only good for people who are at their computer all the time. Your system I can't yet judge, but I fear the bid/ask system is more than such users would want to hassle with. They just want to pick movies, watch them, send them back and get new ones, not worry about prices.

I recently attempted to activate my Peerflix account through a PayPal virtual debit card. It said I failed, after 3 attempts, and I figured I can't do it, so I forgot about it. 3 days afterwards, I was charged 4.95 per activation, even though it failed, and I just lost 15.00 USD because of activation fees. I emailed them, and they said they had no records of them charging my Peerflix account, even though my email received 3 messages from PayPal saying I was charged 4.95, for a total of 3 times. My account balance also reflects this. I emailed Peerflix twice now since their last response, and have got no replies. Methinks they are doing the following: a) Extremely behind on replies, b) Ignoring me completely, and not going to refund me, c) Technical difficulties. I am leaning more towards b), just because I have been waiting for quite some time now.

There is an alternative to peerflix, it's called GatorPond. Unlike peerflix where you are only restricted to dvd's and pay per trade... at GatorPond you get UNLIMITED tradind of not only dvd's, but you can trade vhs tapes, music cd's, and video games. It's month-to-month, so no commitments or contracts. They use paypal. Visit for details and use REFERRED BY: DALE SMITHEY on the sign-up page.

Dale Smithey

In my continual experimental role with Peerflix I've purposely left my account with 3 Peerbux, a credit balance of $1.98, and a single request for a movie costing 2 Peerbux and which is marked available. Should be fillable, right? After waiting now 2 1/2 months the request has not been filled.

At this point it seems clear to me that Peerflix doesn't let you use up your credits, I suppose out of fear that customers will go away when our credits are down to 0. I know I can get the $1.98 back (big deal) if I close my account, but you cannot get the Peerbux back in any form so it seemed interesting to see how the company treats you in this case.

I currently have 248 movies in their system and requests to send 105. Probably if I sent one or two movies Peerflix would send me one pretty much immediately and I'd be more in the hole. What a joke this system is. It's really just a scam to get movies out of your control. Fortunately I traded all the dogs early and am left with a pretty good collection. Out of the 105 mailing requests there are 4-5 I wouldn't mind getting rid of, but what's the point if you get nothing in return.

Scam, scam, scam....


One of peerflix's problems come from the fact that they don't easily distinguish between a movie you have but are not yet ready to send out (because you haven't watched it, or watched all the special features you want) and a movie that is ready to go at any time. So they may mark a movie as available but in fact nobody is ready to send it, and you don't get it.

I presume once you get a movie it is marked as in your collection but probably not queued up first thing (even if you watch it the night you get it.)

Hi Brad,

I find these posts and comments very interesting.
Reading through these posts and looking at the different sites the I had to think about the following points:
* Fixed prices vs. bidding/Public user rating- Peerflix fixed prices make it easy to list DVDs and ask for them. However, often users will experience that a pretty new title gets only 2 peerbux like an old one. Allowing people to set their own prices when they offer a DVD would create more 'realistic' prices. If your DVD is not requested you might want to lower it one point and thus be able to send it more quickly. So, I think, it would make trading more efficient. On the other hand, it would be difficult to send the request to a maximum number of people offering it. The request would get sent only to the group of people offering it for the same price. In case it is only one person and that person is for example on holidays the request might be left unanswered. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to show who is offering the DVD for what price, implement a user rating and having users choose who will send the DVD.

* Broader range of bux- When you look at DVD prices there seem to be four ranges vs. the three peerflix has. Wouldn't there be a fairer price setting for DVDs with a range of 1-4 or even 1-5 peerbux?

* Friends- This community on Peerflix is pretty limited. You cannot even email other friends. I guess the reason is to prevent trades outside of peerflix for free. Still, for a community to provide utility for members it's better to offer more information and means of communication. So, why not allow members to search for other members and have everyone join the community.

What do you think? is similar to peerflix. Instead of DVDs they trade CDs.
They have a very open community. You can even contact other members. It's great to see what others are listening to.

Peerflix's real problem is a complete inability to control supply. It's a great idea to provide a place for people to trade DVDs, but there's no way to actually enforce trading. I joined hoping to get rid of several disks I never liked much but which were pretty popular films (Pleasantville, Princess Mononoke). Requests snapped them up immediately, and I dutifully sent them off. But the movies that I want are almost all backlogged as "long wait." That makes sense: movies that are popular are good enough to keep. The person requesting Pleasantville will PROBABLY like it enough to keep it.

What I didn't count on was that even not-so-popular movies have a lopsided supply-demand ratio because even tho people only want to watch them once, NO ONE wants to actually BUY them in the first place. So one guy somewhere bought Venus in Furs and entered it on Peerflix, and now 40 other guys want to see it but have to wait one at a time.

I had hoped that I could trade, say, Help Wanted Female for ViF because the guy who entered ViF probably wants to watch HWF once and would pass it on. But that's clearly not the case. It's clear now that people merely want to trade disks they don't want for disks they do want and then keep them, meaning they are no longer in circulation but are, for the most part, still in Peerflix's inventory as available for trade. Since there's no obligation to pass disks on, Peerflix has no way to ensure their supply.

The only solution, I suppose, is to raise the value of a DVD when requests start to pile up for it. If a disk is worth 4 peerbux instead of 2, some who are holding on to it will be more tempted to put it back into circulation.

I purchased Casino Royale from Peerflex without having done much discovery such as this site. 1) I didn't get the case or art work; 2)the postage charged was 10% more than or despite less weight because of the lack of a case; 3) the discs were both all scratched up (no opportunity to determine ahead of time the quality of the purchase such as "like new" to take advantage of; and 4) the disc failed to play past 44 min. due to pixelization before coming to a complete stop; 5) Peerflix never responded to my complaints of the above and apparently do not hold themselves or their participants responsible if you get shafted. STAY AWAY FROM PEERFLIX unless you are a fool who likes to gamble.

Peerflix has always credited me for bad disks I received, though they were more obviously bad than "stops playing after 44 min" though the latter is actually more frustrating.

That it is just the disk and no case I think is pretty clearly laid out (especially since until recently almost all people started by putting disks in, not by buying them.) The postage is a usually a single stamp, so how can be lower?

But yes, you do take the risk of a bad disk and having to file a claim, which is a pain. That you don't get the case is considered a feature, to keep mailing costs down.

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