Friday, November 30, 2007

web-based memberships

over the last few years i have been involved with a few different online memberships where i pay a monthly fee in order to receive certain goods. i have enjoyed these for the most part. some are better than others, at least based on my needs. here's what i have learned.

emusic is a music downloading service. it differs from memberships like napster and rhapsody in that the files you download are yours to keep forever. it differs from services like the itunes store i that songs are cheaper than 99 cents/each.

when things were great

i originally signed up in january 2006. after a free trial of 30 songs, i really liked their selection of varying genres of music with a lot of harder to find independent stuff. i decided to go for their highest membership level of 90 songs/month at $20/month. it worked out to be about 22 cents a song and another nice things was that i could cancel it was very low risk. it was a great way of downloading stuff legally and on the cheap. the downloading process was very user-friendly. i discovered a bunch of bands that i didn't really know about prior. some of those include:
  • antony and the johnsons
  • beirut
  • the unicorns
  • islands
  • cannibal ox
  • girl talk
  • midlake
  • the subways
  • dozens of other bands/musicians that now fill my ipod

when things went bad

ok, so things didn't actually go bad as much as i started to run out of things to download and i also did not have enough time to really listen to 8 or 9 new albums a month. after a while i ended up with a lot of music that i had not listened to at all. often times louise would play some band on my ipod and i had to ask her what was playing. so my collection grew faster than i could handle. so while i really enjoyed the service and would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of good and often times not mainstream music, i had to eventually cancel it this summer. i may one day return to emusic after i have had time to digest all of my current music.

overall grade - 8.5/10


after spending absurd amounts of money on videogames, wasting my money to feed the evil empire of gamestop, i finally had had enough. all too often i would get excited about a game, but it for $60 only to not be that into it and then selling it back to gamestop for a third of what i had paid. i joined goozex, which is not a monthly-fee service, is a good and fair way to trade games. i also signed up for gamefly, the videogame rental service. it is an online service that send you your games via usps. i signed up for the 2 games out at a time for $22/month.

when things were great

ever since i was a little kid, i have always loved videogames. i have an xbox 360 and they have been pumping out the games this year. joining gamefly would allow me to try out all of these games before buying. it was exciting getting games through the mail. i had heard horror stories about delivery time since they only had a west coast distribution center. well now they had one in pittsburgh. so there was basically a 2 day delivery time. if i were to send a game back through the mail on a monday, they would receive it wednesday, ship my next game and i would receive it friday. not great, but reasonable. on top of this, i found a site,, where i would watch commercials and they would pay for $10 of my gamefly membership a month! i got to play a lot of games (some good, some bad) and as a result, save some money:
  • call of duty 4
  • earth defense force 2017
  • beautiful katamari
  • various sports games

when things went bad

well i am still currently a member, but i won't be for long. first of all, brightspot shut down. secondly, like emusic, i had begun to run out of games that i really wanted to rent. thirdly, the service has begun to slip. now the delivery times are usually 3 days, which is pretty unreasonable if you ask me. on top of that, they just do not carry enough copies of popular games. you really have to time your returns right if you want to have any chance at a new popular game and if you shorten your list to better your odds of getting a new game, they just don't send you anything....which is the case for me right now. i have currently had only one game in my possession for about a week and a half. unacceptable. i plan on canceling this service next week before the membership renews for another month. i would recommend this service hesitantly and only if the person was a huge game nerd.

overall grade - 5/10


i joined this dvd rental service in 2004. for $18/month i get 3 dvd's out at a time. they have a gigantic selection of movies and they deliver the movies through the mail.

when things were great

movies galore! i love watching movies, especially on my giant tv. the turnaround time shames gamefly's. i put a movie in the mail on monday, they receive it tuesday, send one that day and i get it in the mail on wednesday. now that's how you run one of these services. they have like 5 million (i am making that number up...but it's a lot) movies to choose from that you set up in a queue for delivery. the website is easy to navigate, does a good job of recommending movies based on other movies you have rated. there is even a friend system that allows you to see what your friends are watching as well as leave them notes and recommend movies you think they would like. this year they have added a very nice feature that allows you to watch a number of different movies and shows on your computer. over the last 3 or 4 years...way too many movies to remember.

when things went bad

ok, things never went bad with netflix. their service has always been great. i never run out of movies that i want to watch. they seem like a company that is always trying to provide a better service for their customers. i find their pricing to be very fair. although if i am being picky (and cheap) that is probably the only aspect that they could improve upon. i would recommend this to everyone i know, even if you don't like movies, it's just that good of a product.

overall rating - 9.5/10


Phil said...

I've only participated in Netflix and just joined about a month ago and am hooked. I really believe like a DVR its one of those services that once you get you can't imagine not having. I would curl up in a fetal position and die if I had to watch shows in real time with commercials.

kevin said...

yeah, netflix is the best. dvr is also awesome, but don't act like you don't watch those eastern motors commercials.

i just quit gamefly today. they asked me why i was quitting. there are many reasons, but i clicked the button that said that it took too long to get games. they apologized and offered me a one time 30% off my dues for next month to make up for it. needless to say i proceeded with my quiting.