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Could Netflix's ad experiment hurt its membership?

News broke early this week that streaming service Netflix has begun testing advertising possibilities before and after shows, prompting some outcry on Twitter.

"I will not tolerate ads on @Netflix. I will drop Netflix the first time I see an ad," Twitter user UnOrigMoniker tweeted.

The ads, according to tech website Cord Cutters, seemed to occur mostly on viewers using XBox 360s to stream, and some users reported being able to skip the ads. But given that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has repeatedly denied that Netflix would ever resort to third-party advertsing, Cord Cutters questioned what impact, if any, ads would have on public opinion of the service.

It's plausible that Netflix is also considering that question, given the company's about-face on the ads. When initially reached for comment, Netflix told Cord Cutters, "We are always testing new things via the service."

Once other, bigger news outlets like Mashable and Business Insider got a hold of the story, Netflix became more talkative on the subject, specifying that the ads would only advertise Netflix original shows and would not include third-party ads.

"No advertising coming onto Netflix. Period. Just adding relevant cool trailers for other Netflix content you are likely to love," Hastings posted on his Facebook page.

In an addendum to the original story, Cord Cutters remained skeptical of Netflix's reaction to the negative feedback about the possibility of ads.

"So here is the question: Is (an) unskippable 'trailer' that you did not ask to see (an) ad or just a 'trailer'?" Cord Cutter wrote.

Email: chjohnson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: ChandraMJohnson