Qwikster: Not to be Confused With Quixtar, QuickStar, Kwikster, Quickster, Kwik Star, Quik-Star, or Kickstar

By  |  Monday, September 19, 2011 at 3:21 am

The best-known name in the business of renting DVDs by mail is, of course, Netflix–a brand that’s been with us since 1998, and which is as synonymous with its category as any American company ever has been. But now it’s reserving the name “Netflix” for its streaming business and redubbing the snail-mail portion as “Qwikster.” By doing so, it’s dumping a great brand and beginning all over again with one that starts with absolutely no value whatsoever.

Already, people are amused by the fact that there’s a @qwikster account on Twitter that has nothing to do with Qwikster. But that could be just the start of the confusion. You see, it’s not instantly obvious how to spell “Qwikster”–I’ve forgotten repeatedly already–and there’s a fascinating roster of existing products and services that have similar names.

Let’s run through them, shall we?

Quixtar is the name that Amway, the venerable seller of personal-care products, home-case items, and other goods once gave to its Internet business–but it’s phased it out now, reducing the chances of any confusion. (Full disclosure, not that it matters: Amway sometimes advertises on Technologizer.)

QuickStar is the name of a company that makes fax software and other utilities for Windows and long-defunct models of HP palmtops (assuming it’s still with us–I can’t tell from its Web site, which was last updated in 2004 and was awfully quaint even then, and which touts compatibility with Windows 98).

Kwikster is an OK Cupid member from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He’s outgoing, fun, and adventurous; likes cooking, bicycling, and all kinds of movies from gory slashers to chick flicks; leans towards the rock spectrum of music; and dislikes mushrooms and most seafood. Oh, and he’s a Taurus.

Quickster is a “revolutionary” collapsible portable net, useful for a variety of sports–lacrosse apparently being one of them–which you can dismantle, fold up, and put in a bag. It features a Tension-Tite(tm) frame and looks like a lot of fun!

Kwik Star is a name used by some locations in a chain of 350 convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa that’s been around since 1965. In words that Reed Hastings might agree with, its owners say they’re “mindful of the past, but don’t live in it.” It also goes under the name Kwik Trip (which, just to muddle matters further, is no relation to another, larger convenience store chain called QuikTrip–thankfully, it doesn’t also go by QuikStar).

Quik-Star is a brand of compact lapping unit manufactured by a company called Poly-Metric instruments, who says “We invite you to compare and see if any other small lapping unit can add up the following advantages for a grand total of efficient performance to the user.” I think it’s used in polishing gemstones, but I could be wrong.

Kickstar is a “hard rockin’ trio” from North Central Montana–Peaches, Jimi, and Eric. They “can handle outdoor gigs, festivals, or large indoor halls” and appear to have fans in Europe as well as stateside.

The Quik star is the famed spokesrabbit who’s been shilling for a popular powdered chocolate drink mix manufactured by an international food-product conglomerate since 1973–although I guess he prefers to be called the Nesquik star these days. (And having just checked the Nesquik site, I see he’s missing!)

The folks at Netflix are smart cookies. I suspect that they’re aware that Kwikster may get misspelled,  has a retro, Web 1.5 sound to it, and just isn’t as clear and appealing as “Netflix.” I even wonder if they intentionally chose a name that’s not all that great because they’re not all that excited about the business they’re saddling it with. (If they’d called themselves Qwikster when they founded the company back in 1997, it might have meaningfully hurt their chances at success.)

There’s one simple way to avoid confusing Qwikster with similarly-named foldable nets, lapping units, convenience stores, and other items. I plan to use it myself, and I bet I’m not alone: Just continue to think of it as…Netflix.

 
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68 Comments For This Post

  1. Joan Grealis Says:

    Or the more obvious adversary, Flixster! They should sue.

  2. JB Wolf Says:

    Not to throw another name option out there, but read on Twitter and agree. Shouldn't it have been called Qwixster with an "X" to be tied closer to their brand?

  3. Free Software Says:

    Bit confused, but you made me smile! cheers!@sara

  4. RBA Says:

    The Urban slang term " Quickster " means a person who can get someone else in the sack very quick .
    All these ideas look great from behind a large desk at corporate headquarters .

  5. Loves movies Says:

    Who comes up with this stuff? What ARE they thinking? Yes, I'll keep calling it Netflix. Just too bad that now we have to go to two separate websites. :( Are they just trying to open the door up for competition? I want the OLD netflix back!

  6. Marky Says:

    Netflix has video games now! None of that other crap matters anymore.

  7. Westport Says:

    It will be known as SnailFlix for sure.

  8. wardog Says:

    it doesn't matter what they call it, it won't stop me from canceling my membership.

  9. Guest Says:

    They definitely should have at least kept the "flix" in the name to save confusion – like QuickFlix. Or NetflixDVD or… something. The font change drives me nuts too. Keep the old font. Why cut so many ties all at once and make even more people confused?

  10. Performance Manager Says:

    And all the Starz movies have moved to Amazon prime. I don't want to have to subscribe to a bunch of services to be able to watch and rent movies. This is getting ridiculous.

  11. Maddie Grant Says:

    Actually they are super smart. They want to kill the DVD business line, and this is an awesome way to do it. :)

  12. DVD Dave Says:

    Mark my words, Qwikster will not exist in three years and nether will DVDs be shipped via Uncle Sam. We will get streaming videos or nothing. Netflix has a plan and a stupid name that no one can spell will be easy to fade out soon.

  13. Tony Says:

    Netflix's (Qwikster" streaming selection is horrible. I'd rather use services like TVDevo that offers more streaming options for no monthly fees. Better solution.

  14. cinn Says:

    Did I understand that right they are going to have a game option for an added charge? I switched to Blockbuster because you can get games or blu-ray for the same price!

  15. jltnol Says:

    Couldn't agree with you more! I'm on the DVD/Blu-Ray side… just can't stand the poor quality of streaming… but that's just me.

    The end IS near for sure, no doubt about it. The only way it will survive will be a monthly fee PLUS a fee for each disk you rent.

    But, I'd also like to point out that the cost of streaming isn't going to go down either.. Look for more fees for less service for sure. Look for tiered services…. basic costs cover the really old stuff, and look to pay more for current content.. Then look for Pay Per View from Netflix in the near future.

    Change is constant…. I just with the internet could keep up!

  16. Dave Says:

    How could they give up a brand that has so much weight? It should have been called Netflix DVD or something like that. Qwikster is just an awful name and conjurs up thoughts of Napster.

  17. Matt Reid Says:

    As a dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorist, here's my take:

    1. They renamed the DVD-by-mail service something confusing to drive the physical DVD business into the ground.

    2. Driving the physical DVD business into the ground means that they would have greater leverage over content providers to sign more lucrative streaming deals. More lucrative for Netflix.

    I can't remember the last time I purchased a physical DVD so I assume that many other people are doing the same thing. There's a Redbox in almost every nook and cranny in this country, so new releases are just $1.00 a pop. And generally speaking, you avoid the "very long wait".

    If Netflix intentionally tanks their physical DVD service, the revenue stream from licensing physical DVD's would dry up and would put greater pressure on content providers to "play ball" and sign streaming deals that are much more lucrative for Netflix than they have been in the past.

    Just a guess though.

  18. Heidi Says:

    Did anyone at Netflix HQ conduct a trademark search before adopting the new mark? It's the necessary first step in brand management.

  19. winslm Says:

    When I did a google search of the name it came up with urban slang for someone that gets girls into bed quickly.

  20. Brian Says:

    I'm still a Netflix customer, we downgraded to the streaming only plan. If they raise the streaming plan cost, I'll cancel. We used Redbox even before Netflix changed their prices. Netflix streaming content is older, but there is always something to watch. We have the most basic cable plan and basic internet speeds. We use the MagicJack as our home phone and wife & I have cell phones too.

  21. Janet Says:

    Great, hilarious, and informative article. Loved it!

  22. Steve Jones Says:

    Hard to believe a company that mere months ago could do no wrong in the eyes of many just continues to make awful mistakes. Spinning off the DVD service was a bad enough idea, but Qwikster? This is a multi-billion dollar company – they could easily buy the .com domain of pretty much any quality brand they could think up. Qwikster sounds like a cash-strapped startup name.

    Oh, and "Quickster" is in Alexa top searches right now. Qwikster? Nowhere to be seen.

  23. Greg Cannon Says:

    Disaster!

  24. Rachel Says:

    We switched to blockebuster right after our free trial exp. Me and my husband live on a fixed income and recive SSI on a master card monthly. I went to log into netflix to watch a movie and it poped up my account was froze for none payment. I called them and I was told that MY MASTER card was consedired a pre paid card. I called Blockbuster and check with them and they said they could take it as a payment. When I call netflix back and told them to cancel my account I was switching to blockbuster and why they said OK. We have really enjoyed being with blockbuster, You can get blue ray DVDs movies and games for the same price.

  25. Leah Petersen Says:

    I love the fact that Qwikster is misspelled once in this article. Proves the point.

  26. Brian Says:

    Also, not to be confused with Quickflix!! Which is already doing the same thing. DVDs and no streaming. Corporate suicide if you ask me.

  27. Harry McCracken Says:

    That wasn’t intentional, but it’s one typo I’m not going to fix! I saw the headline in the Web site of a major newspaper get it wrong, too.

    –Harry

  28. Ed South Says:

    I understand the desire to split the two business up but they should have went with something like Netflix Red and Netflix Blue, so there's still a connection between the two. It all makes sense but it's kinda lame.

  29. Ralph Says:

    This will help Blockbuster. The Netflix decision made me curious about Blockbuster and I found they had a better selection of DVD movies, shows and documentaries for my tastes. I don't think mail-order DVD is going away any time soon. There are still too many people that don't want to pay for fast internet connections and cannot stream reliably. This might have been a good move for the Netflix stock price but premature for the long-term value of the company. Blockbuster may now have a chance to survive.

  30. Barry Says:

    Try FLOPSTER!

  31. Rose Says:

    I love you.

  32. Alice L Says:

    All the more reason to just pirate movies because I can't afford anything else. Bastards. We don't even have a blockbuster in our area. :/

  33. Alice L Says:

    Best idea by far, no offense to anyone.

  34. Pam Burkus Says:

    We live in the country and we just signed up for Netflix. I was happy to see that we could get DVD by mail….since we cannot stream. And happier to see that it would only be $7.99.
    Now they are changing the name. SO WHAT….as long as we can still get our DVD's by mail for $7.99. I am signing on for 2 DVD's out at a time for only $4 more per month. I am happy with the fast turn around.

  35. Charles Says:

    yeah I read that one earlier as well

  36. Chalres Says:

    you realize the reason they're jacking up prices for the streaming content is because the content owners are upping their license fees from 180 million to an estimated 2.3 billion (yeah more than 10x). You can't give away free stuff when it's no longer at "give it away" prices.

    Let's do the math. At 180 million the cost of streaming to Netflix was minimal when split across 20-24 million subscribers. Let's say an average of 22 million subscribers for 1 year or 264 million subscriber months (22million x 12 months = 264 million monthly payments which at 7.99 is 2.1 billion). That's very close to what Netflix actually brought in last year. Anyway, that comes out to 8.5 cents per month for streaming (180million/2.1billion).

    Now, If license fees jump to 2.3 billion the cost to netflix will go up over 10 fold. Actually using the 2.1 billion figure from before that comes out to $1.09. Seeing as how they have to pay to mail you DVDs at about 88 cents just to ship a DVD that 1 dollar increase in price can't be given away for free. Personally I think they should have just upped the price of streaming to a 1-2 dollar a month fee like they do for people who opt for BluRays. At the same time, the DVD business costs them more than it makes them because of the low margins so making it a 7.99 service gives them the ability to produce content, and also get more content (2.3 billion is just the cost for what they currently have it could be 2x as much for them to get more movies and shows).

    In a nutshell they couldn't keep streaming free. It's like being forced to continue letting customers get free refills if the cost of coke went up 12 fold. Sure coke is cheap, but a cup of the stuff at a restaurant will set you back 2.99 and that's certainly far more than Netflix is charging for their service when you consider what you get.

    Netflix is the closest we have to a la carte for TV viewing. If they go away the content owners win and they will give us a system similar to cable. You'll have to have Hulu, Amazon, Google, Apple, etc to get all the content you want and currently can get with Netflix. You're paying 7.99 now, in the future it will be like the a cable bill ($80+). I'm sure premium content will be extra. Want HBO shows… you'll have to pay extra, want Stars you'll have to pay extra, and I'm sure they'd introduced some sort of pay per view… In a nutshell abandoning Netflix is like killing the messenger and ignoring the problem (the content owners and the studios). I think I'll post this above as well so others can read it…

  37. Charles Says:

    This is so obvious to me but I can't understand why everyone is being so naggy about all this fee increase gibberish. Netflix's reason for jacking up prices for the streaming content is because the content owners are upping their license fees from 180 million to an estimated 2.3 billion (yeah more than 10x). You can't give away free stuff when it's no longer at "give it away" prices.

    Let's do the math. At 180 million the cost of streaming to Netflix was minimal when split across 20-24 million subscribers. Let's say an average of 22 million subscribers for 1 year or 264 million subscriber months (22million x 12 months = 264 million monthly payments which at 7.99 is 2.1 billion). That's very close to what Netflix actually brought in last year. Anyway, that comes out to 8.5 cents per month for streaming (180million/2.1billion).

    Now, If license fees jump to 2.3 billion the cost to netflix will go up over 10 fold. Actually using the 2.1 billion figure from before that comes out to $1.09. Seeing as how they have to pay to mail you DVDs at about 88 cents just to ship a DVD that 1 dollar increase in price can't be given away for free. Personally I think they should have just upped the price of streaming to a 1-2 dollar a month fee like they do for people who opt for BluRays. At the same time, the DVD business costs them more than it makes them because of the low margins so making it a 7.99 service gives them the ability to produce content, and also get more content (2.3 billion is just the cost for what they currently have it could be 2x as much for them to get more movies and shows).

    In a nutshell they couldn't keep streaming free. It's like being forced to continue letting customers get free refills if the cost of coke went up 12 fold. Sure coke is cheap, but a cup of the stuff at a restaurant will set you back 1.99-2.99 and that's certainly far more than Netflix is charging for their service when you consider what you get. I have a cousin that owns a 2 pizza restaurants and he pays about 9 cents per 16 oz of coke but charges 2 dollars. You'd have to down more than 20 16 oz cups or 2.5 gallons to even come close to cutting into his margins and he makes more money on softdrinks than he does on pizza… In a nutshell his cost for the average 2 extra refills nets him 1.70 in profit. At 8.5 cents per month streaming was easy for netflix to give away. At 1.10 and rising it's not, especially when the DVD business costs much more to maintain. For us 1 DVD at a time folks renting on average 4-6 DVDs a month that's a big deal since the 4-6 DVDs cost about 1 dollars plus to ship, maintain, and play the studios their cut.

    Netflix is the closest we have to a la carte for TV viewing. If they go away the content owners win and they will give us a system similar to cable. You'll have to have Hulu, Amazon, Google, Apple, etc to get all the content you want and currently can get with Netflix. You're paying 7.99 now, in the future it will be like the a cable bill ($80+). I'm sure premium content will be extra. Want HBO shows… you'll have to pay extra, want Stars you'll have to pay extra, and I'm sure they'd introduced some sort of pay per view… In a nutshell abandoning Netflix is like killing the messenger and ignoring the problem (the content owners and the studios).

  38. Mark Rothschild Says:

    More "Quick" names in lieu of Quikster:

    Let's not forget: "The Quick and the Dead". Or how about: QUIKRETE® – Quick-Setting Cement? That fits!

  39. Derek Says:

    It isn't a shock at all. Qwikster.com was registered by Netflix in May of 2010. This has been the plan all along, and the price hike was just the first salvo in splitting the company up into two.

  40. Tony Says:

    They HAVE to be trying to get out of the DVD business. It is the only POSSIBLE explanation.

  41. Blow J Says:

    Try Blowster!

  42. Danielle Says:

    Morgan Freeman's production company, Revelations Entertainment, gave the whole movie internet streaming thing a go, but it never took off. The name: Clickstar

  43. Sam Says:

    We’ve just launched http://www.Kwiksta.com. Perhaps worthy of addition to the list?

  44. Dave Haynie Says:

    Stupid name… like they're trying to kill it. It's clear that for the business, splitting the services was a good idea in the long run. The problem you have with streaming being kind of a freebie on top of mail rentals is that there's no automatic allocation of excess funds. Normally, Netflix will be taking in more cash than their expenses warrent, and they'll spend some of that on improvements to the service. Splitting them, while bad for anyone who wants both, allows them to have specific funds for the streaming service. And that's obviously where they see the future — more people care about "right now" than "quality".

    Changing the name like this, though, seems like a preamble to a sell-off. They didn't just want the name changed, they wanted the name disassociated with Netflix. Curiously, "Netflix" is the right name for the streaming service. But "Discflix" or "Postflix" or something similar could have kept the corporate branding, yet still distinguished it as something better (not in love with either of those myself, but in the 10 seconds consideration I gave it, I'd take either one over "Quickster", which doesn't even suggest a specific market, much less the video rental market).

  45. 311sie Says:

    I think Qwikflix would've nailed it.

  46. JoeTaxpayer Says:

    The name change came within an apology letter. Strange, apologize and then make things worse. I wasn't big on streaming, used it during summer mostly when TV slowed down, and school out. So while I went DVD only, it was an option to add streaming next summer. Now with two sites, it's not likely I'll bother.

  47. Natalie Mitchell Says:

    The meeting: "yeah dude I like Quik too bro. It's such a delish drink and u make it really fast. Dude I remember my dad used to use Napster…dude are u thinking what I'm thinking?" Quikster.

  48. will Says:

    looks like bad series of decisions but Everyone is talking about it….. it is taking a life of its own it may turn out well for them…www,metrofuser.com

  49. Anders Says:

    I thought it was Quickstar…

  50. Amy Says:

    I personally think they should have called the new company dvdflix as it would have worked fine.

  51. Amy Says:

    yes I know that is taken. Any way I do not like the fact they are splitting up. I liked the fact they did both.

  52. me Says:

    What get’s me p’od is why do they have to split? Same company– 2 sites—> Netflix & Qwikster–same result: loss of customers. Silly people–Trix are for kids.

  53. Winona Johnson Says:

    Sad. Why screw up that much brand recognition with a goofy name? I found this blog because even after reading about this this morning, I still went to the wrong company a couple of times!

    They could have had two revenue channels and still make it seamless to the consumer!

  54. V. Kurt Bellman Says:

    There still are places without enough bandwidth available to make streaming practical, so disk-based will have a market for quite some time. I live in northern Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a mere 10 miles from a city of 90,000 souls and there is NO CABLE SERVICE! Like NONE AT ALL! Where on EARTH am I going to get streamable bandwidth?!?!?

  55. K Lu Says:

    Like you said in the article, yes, just think of it as netflix… but… the website will be http://www.qwikster.com

  56. K Lu Says:

    I would disagree. There's a world of people out there with dedicated home theater rooms. Streaming movies simply doesn't provide the quality of of blu-ray disc.

    The same is true with MP3's. Yes, everyone uses them, but a CD provides much better sound.

    I think some people will always know the difference and for that, I hope CD's blu-rays, and even records will stick around to some degree.

  57. Keene Says:

    I cancelled and I'm trying out Amazon Prime right now.
    The main issue is that every ISP I've heard of sticks you with a bandwidth cap.
    So streaming for a higher price isn't worth it to me. Since "Netflix" dumped the dvd portion, I've no use for them.

  58. jack Says:

    Not to throw another name option out there, but read on Twitter and agree. Shouldn't it have been called Qwixster with an "X" to be tied closer to their brand? car accident lawyer

  59. Sample Insurance Says:

    I lost…then i realize that this was not going to work for me.

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  62. die steel Says:

    Good stuff as per usual, thanks. I do hope this kind of thing gets more exposure.

  63. Apple Rings Says:

    Some software piracy I endorse, like old or import games that will never be on sale again or translated, but otherwise people just want free stuff. Even those that can afford to buy what they steal.

  64. office design Says:

    The folks at Netflix are smart cookies. I suspect that they’re aware that Kwikster may get misspelled, has a retro, Web 1.5 sound to it, and just isn’t as clear and appealing as “Netflix.”

    I even wonder if they intentionally chose a name that’s not all that great because they’re not all that excited about the business they’re saddling it with. (If they’d called themselves Qwikster when they founded the company back in 1997, it might have meaningfully hurt their chances at success.)

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  67. exit Austin Says:

    All the more reason to just pirate movies because I can't afford anything else. Bastards. We don't even have a blockbuster in our area.

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