Netflix may be emerging victor in its declared war on virtual border hoppers.
"I'd say that they have won," concludes Toronto tech analyst Patrick O'Rourke.
He's making the call because numerous unblocking companies that once declared they would never surrender, now appear to be retreating in defeat.
"It seems like most of these companies have thrown in the towel and given up," says O'Rourke, a writer for the tech site MobileSyrup.
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Unblocking companies provide Netflix customers with the technology needed to watch shows restricted to other countries.
In mid-January, the global streaming service began cracking down on customers who use these services to sneak across borders. The move was Netflix's attempt to honour its country-exclusive licensing agreements with Hollywood studios.
Many unblocking companies remained defiant, declaring they would find workarounds for customers now blocked from Netflix. But that defiance is waning.
UFlix admits defeat
Australian-based company, uFlix has officially waved the white flag. In its most recent blog , the unblocking service informs customers it will no longer help them hop Netflix's borders.
"Unfortunately every time we set up a new network or find a workaround, it is getting blocked within hours," it said in the blog post.
That's a much different tune compared to March when uFlix announced , "No retreat, no surrender."
Back in March, unblocking company, uFlix declared that it would not surrender in Netflix's war on border hoppers. (UFlix)
"Netflix has taken extremely aggressive measures to prevent people from bypassing their region," UFlix stated in a blog post March 6. "We can either call it quits or we can keep fighting. We have decided that we have not even broken into a sweat yet."
The company said it was working on special technology that would allow customers "to bypass the stupid georestrictions for Netflix."
UFlix continued to post workaround solutions when past ones failed. Then, on August 26, the company finally called it quits, claiming the efforts were a drain on its money and time.
Netflix has yet to explain how it has successfully managed to keep up its blocks on border hoppers.
Unblock-Us goes silent
Other popular unblocking companies also appear to have given up the fight, albeit more quietly. O'Rourke points to Barbados-based Unblock-Us.
O'Rourke himself previously used Unblock-Us to watch Netflix shows in other countries. His favourites included Nurse Jackie , a comedy series offered to U.S. Netflix customers but technically not available to Canadian subscribers.
Nurse Jackie is available to U.S. Netflix subscribers but not to Canadian customers. (FlixSearch/Netflix)
Soon after Netflix announced the crackdown, O'Rourke says his global access started sputtering. "Little notifications would pop up every once in a while when I was watching Netflix saying you're in the incorrect region."
He says Unblock-Us sent him workaround instructions but eventually these no longer worked, and by the summer he was completely shut out of Netflix.
O'Rourke says Unblock-Us never explained to him what was going on. He presumes that the company simply gave up.
He points out that the company's website used to boldly advertise that its customers could access Netflix in different countries.
Now, says O'Rourke, "They've totally flipped the script. Netflix is nowhere on their site."