This is yet another social network, but the difference is that the content or focus is around movies. Flixster is building upon the popular features that have helped Netflix rent more movies. Those features include the ability to see or make recommendations and see which movies are the most popular among friends or in the Netflix community. Netflix said that some 60% of the movies rented come from recommendations. Clearly, recommendations help people discover new movies to rent. Unlike Netflix, however, on Flixster, you don’t get the great service of receiving movies in the mail. Of course, you don’t have to pay $10 a month either. To that end, Flixster can be a nice complement to the many movie-download services emerging, such as Amazon’s unBox. So, let me share my experience on Flixster. First off, I have to say that this service (more than others) is set up in such a way that it’s easy to invite friends – a form of grass-roots marketing that can have exponential affects on growth. It’s no wonder that in 10 months, Flixster has signed up 5 million registered users who collectively have posted 190 million movie recommendations written. That’s pretty fast. But a lot of that has to do with the way Flixster is set up. One of the smart ways Flixster is making the grass-roots marketing far easier for us is by integrating our address books immediately upon signing up. After I signed up with my gmail account, Flixster displayed my gmail email list and an automated email invite that, with one click, could go to all of my friends (and other random emails) in my email list. Smart move. With one click, I could have invited the 135 emails recorded in my gmail account. The only problem is that the automated invite said: “Hi, I just took a movie quiz at Flixster.com. If you come take it too we can see if we like the same movies.” Since I didn’t just take a movie quiz, I didn’t think it was honest of me to send this email. Besides, it did feel a bit like I was spamming. The one thing I didn’t like was that I couldn’t easily choose which email accounts I wanted to send an email to. Rather, I had to check off each box (next to an email account) that I didn’t want to send an email to. This was rather annoying, and ultimately a turn-off. Another way Flixster is making the invite process easier is by integrating with News Corp’s MySpace. With 115 million members worldwide, it’s a smart integration. At one point in the sign-up process, Flixster asked if I wanted to send a bulletin on my MySpace account inviting my MySpace friends.
The social network features are great. There’s even a feature that lets you upload videos and images related to a particular movie. There is also, of course, the requisite “profile” page. (I think I must have two dozen profile pages by now.) The site also seems to have some pretty useful reviews and recommendations. But I’m not sure I’d create a social network just around movies. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of movies – having seen three in the movie theaters just in the last week -- but I wouldn’t build a social life around my movie preferences. That said, I did click onto the tab that said “Meet people like me.” The No. 1 person that showed up was a 13-year-old girl.