Netflix Rebrands Service with Shitty New Name

Sounds like a desperation move:

(CNN) — The ubiquitous red envelopes will endure, but they will carry a new name.

Netflix is rebranding its 12-year-old movies-by-mail service as Qwikster and adding video games to its catalog, Reed Hastings, the company’s CEO, announced Sunday night. The Web-streaming portion will continue to be called Netflix, he wrote on the company’s blog.

After the separation, people who subscribe to both services will have to log into two separate websites, Netflix.com and Qwikster.com, to manage their movie queues and account information, Hastings wrote. Customer reviews and ratings from Netflix will be ported to Qwikster for the launch, but after that, people will have to rate and search for movies on each site separately, he wrote.

Qwikster’s site currently presents a landing page that says it is “launching soon.” Hastings did not offer a timeline for Qwikster’s debut. Andy Rendich, the operations chief and 12-year veteran of the company, will run the new mail-order arm.

So Netflix dvd renters will now have to sign in at a different site before they eventually sell the service off? I’m so not regretting dropping them when they raised prices.

Headline of the Day

‘Know Your Meme’ Acquired By I Can Has Cheezburger in Seven-Figure Deal

The acquisition by Cheezburger comes on the heels of a recent infusion of $30 million in funding earlier this year from investors including the Foundry Group, Madrona Venture Group, Avalon Ventures and SoftBank Capital. Cheezburger founder Ben Huh said in a 2009 interview with Slate.com that he prefers to buy established sites rather than copy them, something he appears to have done here with the pickup of the web’s largest meme database.

Cheezburger already has MemeBase, which stands as one of its most successful sites generating 90 million page views on around 3.5 million monthly visitors, but to be fair it’s name is somewhat of a misnomer as it mainly serves as a TLD for dozens of Cheezburger’s niche offshoot sites like GraphJam and Go Cry Emo Kid. Even the vanilla memebase.com serves mainly as a user submission ground for images and videos of recent memes, lacking the depth to be considered any substantial authority on memes.

I have got to get me a website.

How I Did It: Jerry Murrell, Five Guys Burgers and Fries

From Inc:

The magic to our hamburgers is quality control. We toast our buns on a grill — a bun toaster is faster, cheaper, and toasts more evenly, but it doesn’t give you that caramelized taste. Our beef is 80 percent lean, never frozen, and our plants are so clean, you could eat off the floor. The burgers are made to order — you can choose from 17 toppings. That’s why we can’t do drive-throughs — it takes too long. We had a sign: “If you’re in a hurry, there are a lot of really good hamburger places within a short distance from here.” People thought I was nuts. But the customers appreciated it.

Recession Proof Job

The Repo Man:

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — So many people have so many things they can no longer afford. This is an excellent time to be a repo man.

When a boat owner defaults on his loan, the bank hires Jeff Henderson to seize its property. The former Army detective tracks the boat down in a backyard or a marina or a garage and hauls it to his storage area and later auctions it off. After nearly 20 years in the repossession business, Mr. Henderson has never been busier.

(via AppleTree)

Unpaid Teens Bagging Groceries for Mexican Walmarts

They work for tips only. The only surprising thing about the article is that Walmart isn’t taking a cut of their tips.

July 31, 2007 – Wal-Mart prides itself on cutting costs at home and abroad, and its Mexican operations are no exception. That approach has helped the Arkansas-based retail giant set a track record of spectacular success in the 16 years since it entered Mexico as a partner of the country’s then-leading retail-store chain. But some of the company’s practices have aroused concern among some officials and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that Wal-Mart is taking advantage of local customs to pinch pennies at a time when its Mexican operations have never been more profitable.

Wal-Mart is Mexico’s largest private-sector employer in the nation today, with nearly 150,000 local residents on its payroll. An additional 19,000 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 16 work after school in hundreds of Wal-Mart stores, mostly as grocery baggers, throughout Mexico—and none of them receives a red cent in wages or fringe benefits. The company doesn’t try to conceal this practice: its 62 Superama supermarkets display blue signs with white letters that tell shoppers: OUR VOLUNTEER PACKERS COLLECT NO SALARY, ONLY THE GRATUITY THAT YOU GIVE THEM. SUPERAMA THANKS YOU FOR YOUR UNDERSTANDING. The use of unsalaried youths is legal in Mexico because the kids are said to be “volunteering” their services to Wal-Mart and are therefore not subject to the requirements and regulations that would otherwise apply under the country’s labor laws. But some officials south of the U.S. border nonetheless view the practice as regrettable, if not downright exploitative. “These kids should receive a salary,” says Labor Undersecretary Patricia Espinosa Torres. “If you ask me, I don’t think these kids should be working, but there are cultural and social circumstances [in Mexico] rooted in poverty and scarcity.”

A $300 Million Dollar Empire from Buying Domain Names

From CNN.com:

Kevin Ham leans forward, sits up tall, closes his eyes, and begins to type — into the air. He’s seated along the rear wall of a packed ballroom in Las Vegas’s Venetian Hotel. Up front, an auctioneer is running through a list of Internet domain names, building excitement the same way he might if vintage cars were on the block.

As names come up that interest Ham, he occasionally air-types. It’s the ultimate gut check. Is the name one that people might enter directly into their Web browser, bypassing the search engine box entirely, as Ham wants? Is it better in plural or singular form? If it’s a typo, is it a mistake a lot of people would make? Or does the name, like a stunning beachfront property, just feel like a winner?
When Ham wants a domain, he leans over and quietly instructs an associate to bid on his behalf. He likes wedding names, so his guy lifts the white paddle and snags Weddingcatering.com for $10,000. Greeting.com is not nearly as good as the plural Greetings.com, but Ham grabs it anyway, for $350,000.

Ham is a devout Christian, and he spends $31,000 to add Christianrock.com to his collection, which already includes God.com and Satan.com. When it’s all over, Ham strolls to the table near the exit and writes a check for $650,000. It’s a cheap afternoon.