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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

A Slight Snag With Amazon DVD Rentals

My first impressions of Amazon’s DVD rental service here in the UK generally stand; it’s all really efficient, they just need to integrate it into the site interface better. And fix the queuing system.

The idea is that you add DVDs to your rental list, and the ones at the top get dispatched first. However, some are available ‘Now’, but others are marked with ‘Short wait’ or ‘Long wait’. The problem is that the system won’t wait at all unless it has to, so even if your top dozen or so films are ‘Short wait’ you’ll get sent a ‘Now’ DVD from way down the list. The only way to avoid this is to remove all the ‘Now’ DVDs, an annoying hack.

The solution? Add a little intelligence to the queuing, taking into account what’s at the top, how long the wait’ll be, what else is being sent out, and the state of the customer’s account (so send something out quickly if they need to use up the month’s rentals in a hurry). If I’m due to receive 3 DVDs then waiting a day or two for a couple of them is fine, there’s no need to send out lower-ranked choices immediately instead.


What I'd really like would be for them to rent games. I only ever really get involved with one or two games at a time and once I've finished them never use them again.

Traditional game rental only gives you a few days which isn't long enough to get through a game in the time I have available.

Amazon's rental scheme would be ideal for me.

— morcs, 18th Nov, 3:14pm

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