Netflix's fight against VPN providers is doomed to fail, but that's okay

We know that Netflix is wanting to block users from utilizing proxies and VPN connections to circumvent location-based restrictions. We've even seen our first news about customers finally seeing error messages when they try to use such a service. But what we're seeing now is only the beginning of a cat-and-mouse game.

Have you ever noticed that when you have antivirus software running, that it needs to update almost constantly? And sometimes, you'll get a virus or malware on your machine, despite everything being up-to-date. There's a simple reason for this. There are far more people out there writing malware and viruses than there are people working at companies like AVG, Norton, or any of the others.

The same principle holds true of most forms of hacking. Any company can pour countless dollars and man-hours into designing software that can't be cracked. But there will always be far more people attempting to circumvent it, and they are usually successful.

So now Netflix has entered this same sort of arena. Not only are there thousands, perhaps millions of people who want to access content outside of their region, but there are also many companies who profit off of this. Every company that offers a VPN as a way to access Netflix's servers is currently working out ways to get around the new regional restrictions that the company has put into place.

One company, named uFlix only offers one service, which is getting Australian users access to an content only found in other countries. For $2 AUD per month, they offer to "Expand your Netflix library!" While $2 AUD might not seem like much money, their entire business depends on being able to offer this service, so they're hard at work on making it work.

On Tuesday, uFlix sent out a tweet saying that Netflix was rolling out the first of their blocking efforts. Then, earlier yesterday the company acknowledged that they were starting to see customers getting the "You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again" error. But just a few hours later they triumphantly tweeted that they had a new fix in place, and that users can return to normal viewing.

While this is only Netflix's first attempt at blocking VPN users, it seems to have only taken uFlix a few measly hours to defeat it. And remember, that's just one small company, out of the many others who will be seeking similar results.

So will Netflix be working hard on a new method of defeating VPNs? Probably, but I'd be willing to bet that they're not too concerned. This is a game that they know that they have to play to appease the companies that license movies and TV shows. They also know that they can't win, as it's only a trivial matter for a VPN provider to get a new set of IP addresses that they can use to route their encrypted traffic into the country of their choice.

Netflix will undoubtedly keep up this game for as long as they need to. But their endgame isn't to keep everyone from accessing content outside of their country. Rather, they actually want to push studios to allow them to stream the same content to any part of the world. This was something that they basically said when they first announced their initiative to block VPN and proxy users. Perhaps this effort was always meant to fail, so that they can show studios that they're better off not trying to restrict content by geographic location.

Regardless of the end result, Netflix will continue their game of cat-and-mouse for as long as they need to. However, those relying on VPN providers such as uFlix will likely only have to suffer the occasional, minor inconveniences while a new fix is rolled out.