Blockbuster Sucks At Everything…Including Search

by TheMadHat on January 4, 2007

Okay, let me preface this by saying I’ve been fed up lately with Blockbuster and non-sense at their store. They apparently lose all database entries after ninety days and make you sign up again for another card. You would assume a company with over 6 billion in annual revenue could afford to keep a database for more than three months.

Part 1: User Experience

So I was looking today to see what new releases were out, and discovered that their web site is a major pain. Let’s start with user experience. Go to their home page and what do we see? The entire page is an ad for their Blockbuster total access netflix copy mail order DVD thing. Okay, fine but I want to see new releases. The only link to the actual site is a small graphic in the top right corner which blends in to the giant ad. It caused me quite a bit of frustration spending time looking around for the link to get to the movie listings. I spent probably 25 seconds before I caught it, and I would not label myself as the average user. I’m guessing the exit rate on their home page is astronomical. What do you think most users are looking for when they hit the home page? Information on mail order rentals? Unlikely. I understand the need to push this service, but not at the expense of their regular users. If I’m selling widgets, I’m not going to make my entire product line disappear just so I can sell more red ones.

I’m finally inside the site and I see 5 new releases listed among some categories and recommendations. That’s fine, I don’t expect the home page to be dedicated only to new releases. I go up and click on ‘new releases’ in the menu. New page, same five movies. Dammit. I have to go back up the the sub menu and click ‘more new releases’ and finally I’m there. Don’t make me have to search so hard and don’t make me click so many times to get to what I want.

Part two: The Search Campaign

Let’s look at organic first. For a domain as strong and with as much trust as Blockbuster, they should own the SERPs. Looking at generic terms like [dvd rentals] or [online dvd rentals] they aren’t doing too bad. They’re ranking top five for most of these terms but they should be ranking first or second. Netflix and Blockbuster should own the top two on this, but there are several that trump Blockbuster like and for the generic terms. One would have to assume these two companies don’t have an ad budget like Blockbuster. This is complete ignorance on Blockbuster’s part. Moving on to more specific terms like movie titles, they are nowhere. A few I couldn’t even find in the first 5 pages. Certainly they probably won’t rank top three for terms like [superman returns], but they should at least be on dancing around page one., wikipedia and the official move site should be ranking above them, but they should be hanging in there with or the other reviews about how crappy the movie was. The pages are sent up fairly well. There is a decent amount of content with the synopsis and cast list, Title tags and headlines are done fairly well, but could still use a little work. What is bad is the absolute lack of attention to any interior pages. They should be at least attempting to rank on movie titles, even if it’s just for branding purposes.

Again, from a PPC standpoint it’s the same thing. They are bidding on the generic terms but not any movie or game titles. I’m sure they could get these at a fairly low CPC and if it were only from a branding point of view it would be well worth it. Hey Blockbuster, here’s an idea. Make a push on movie titles, change up the landing page a little and add a more prominent ‘rent this move by mail right now’ button. Since they are trying to push into the Netflix space so hard, it would be the obvious move.

Get with the program Blockbuster, you could be doing much better.

PS – The absurd thing is after all of that, I still went and rented a movie there. Hollywood Video is just too far away. Looks like they kept a customer due to lack of options.

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