I started my trial with ZIP in late February 2004, soon after their site went public, and have watched them grow into their current 800-pound gorilla status. Although they aren't perfect, I'm a very happy customer - for people like me doing this for the selection, they are the obvious choice. Since I know much more about them than most of the other companies, I've set up this separate information section, but I should emphasize that this site is not related to or authorized by ZIP.ca.
[February 27, 2007] - ZIP has added new Community features (in beta-test), including message forums, expanded profiles and (currently non-functional) blogs. Also, I've added a "UPC lookup facility" to help with their movie request page (which now requires a UPC code). Simply find the movie on Amazon, and paste the page URL into the converter to have it look up the UPC. I'd hoped to find a way to automatically pass the title/UPC values into the ZIP page, but it doesn't seem possible, so you will have to cut and paste the UPC. Be warned that movie requests don't seem to generate a customer service ticket as they used to, so there is no guarantee they aren't just going into a black hole, and there is no way to suggest a TBA title without a UPC code.
[June 5, 2006] - ZIP now has a warehouse in Vancouver. Also, it looks like I didn't update this page when they brought in their shipping limits. Finally, their published title count is 51,000 - they added over 8000 somewhat obscure titles in one large batch this spring, and are working their way through the research/order process, which explains the current large gap between this and actual stocked titles (around 40,000).
[Dec 10] - I've de-framed the ZIP Shipping News page, and updated the routing info on the new warehouses.
[Sept 20] - ZIP has bought out VHQonline, and absorbed its customers and inventory. It has also opened a full distribution centre in Calgary.
[June 22] - Updated ZIP numbers (they've crossed 30,000 actual titles) and most of the rest. Also, lots of discussion over at the onlinedvdrentalguide.ca on a proposed new pricing structure for ZIP (Rick's initial post and later announcement, as well as interesting (but unconfirmed) rumours about a tie-in with Rogers. Hopefully when things are clearer I'll update my ZIP suggestions page.
[May 13] - ZIP finally enabled viewing of the ZipReward points that customers have been accumulating. Redemption is supposed to start "soon". They also announced a Live Chat feature, and a test ("beta") version of a French language interface for the website. I'm hoping that better queue management and bonus disc shipping will show up when the ZipReward redemption kicks in.
[March 22, 2005] - ZIP has brought back tollfree phone support (7 days) - hopefully this will alleviate some of the problems some people were having getting timely resolution of customer service problems via email. ZIP stats are updated on the main page - as of mid-March they have over 26,000 unique discs in stock, and a total inventory of over 140,000. They've shipped something like 1.1 million discs in the year+ they have been operating.
[December 18, 2004] - No updates until January when I get back from holidays. The ZIP site seems to be back to normal, and I got my first ZipRefill shipment sent out the other day.
[December 15] - After some major slowdowns and service problems with the new site ZIP seems to be running much closer to normal today, and apparently the web problems didn't affect the backroom shipping operations.
ZIP has also stopped offering the two week free trial.
[December 13] - ZIP has introduced a bunch of new features today, and some changes to the site layout (the site has been down or slow all day). The most important is what they are calling ZipReturn and ZipRefill, which lets customers indicate on the website when they have returned a disk. Qualified customers will then get their replacement disk shipped out within 24 hours. This will reduce the shipment times, especially for customers further away from Ottawa or the metro centres that ZIP does express shipping through.
They are also introducing some sort of points program ("ZipRewards"), a way of getting one-time extra disk rentals ("Gotta Have It!"), and various other improvements to the search engine, information display, etc.
[October 27] - ZIP now has new shipping envelopes - slightly smaller in both dimensions, and without the previous peel-and-stick closure for the return. They have also added a feature to the website where you can automatically report problems with current shipments (never arrived, arrived damaged, wrong DVD, etc) - just look for the "Report a Problem" link next to your current shipments on your ZipList page.
ZIP seemed to be having some growth pains in September which were overwhelming their customer support team. It took them an excessively long time to respond to emails, etc, and I think they no longer have their phone support listed on the website. It hasn't affected their shipping and receiving, but if you've had poor customer service this may be the problem. They should be digging their way out of it by now, so let me know if you have good or bad news to report on this front. They are still the non pareil as far as selection goes, so hopefully anyone affected will give them a second chance.
[August 19] - Added "The Shipping News" section with some reports of what seems to be ZIP working on improving delivery times.
[July 13] - ZIP has added the availability indicators to individual movie display pages, so you don't have to be a member and add a title to your queue to see this anymore.
[June 25] - Good news - ZIP now indicates that it sends certain movies that span two discs as a single rental. Examples I saw include "Godfather 2" and "Lawrence of Arabia". Except for Rentadvd, which I believe sends all two-disc sets (including bonus discs) as a single rental, MoviesForMe and VHQ were the only other companies I know of that were doing this.
It seems to be hit and miss though - a couple other two-disc movies that should also be marked for this but aren't yet are "Once Upon A Time In America" and the Superbit version of "Das Boot".
[May 12] - ZIP has upgraded their rental plan to 4 discs for the same $25 - very nice. This makes them one of the least expensive of the major companies. MoviesForMe currently upgrades members outside their Ontario/Quebec distribution area to 4 discs, and DVDflix pricing is 3 discs for $20 (or 5 for $30). ZIP also introduced a 6-disc/$35 alternative (again, good value in the marketplace) and a 2-disc/$19 version, although the later has a maximum 4 movies per month. Perhaps as a counter, as of June DVDhype will give 4 or 5 movies instead of 3 to people outside their Montreal delivery area.