Do Thousands of Companies Know their Visitors are Being Routed to
January 12, 2006 12:01 AM   Subscribe

FLASH: Do Thousands of Companies Know their Visitors are Being Routed to (aka: Can't Access Our Site Without You First Going to an Entirely Different Site to Download a Thing Called FLASH so our logo is animated - please come back because Adobe does not have the techhnology or willingness to bring you back to our site?).

Companies like INTEL or sites you would think want more traffic like YOUTUBE - instead you get the 'block' at the front page - sending you to Adobe/Macromedia's page. Do they realize what's going on? Are webmasters lazy? Is the CEO & senior mgmt too dilly to notice? In cahoots with Adobe/Macromedia - some payoff under the table? If it's a dance club, I understand but Intel? Don't they want page views and time spent on their site instead of sending people to Adobe? And for what? A moving chip?

What makes Adobe/Macromedia's Flash so great that hundreds if not thousands of companies SELLING THINGS are willing to turn away ? millions? How many web users? How many have the latest flash? And why the constant insistence on the latest flash when as far as I can tell, Flash 8 is really Flash 1.3?

Does anyone even value FLASH outside of web designers trying to win awards? Anyone?
posted by jbelkin to Technology (20 answers total)
I'm not quite sure what you're asking. Do you mean the "Don't have flash? Get it here" link that many flash sites put on their pages (which links Adobe/Macromedia's flash plugin download page)?

Or are you ranting against the (imho terrible) use of flash on the web these days?
posted by slater at 12:17 AM on January 12, 2006

And to answer your last question, my experience is that flash is valued mainly by marketing people and clueless, backseat-designer-type bosses who think that adding "a little flash movie to lighten up the page" will "enhance the site visitor's experience".

bitter? me?
posted by slater at 12:20 AM on January 12, 2006

You don't have to install Flash because your computer vendor probably installed it for you -- and if they didn't, the browser will probably do it without even losing your place.
posted by kindall at 12:21 AM on January 12, 2006

Statistically, it can be demonstrated that certain versions of Flash have very deep penetration (snicker). So when someone is designing Intel's home page they can point to these numbers and say "97.3% of your US users will have version 5 of the Flash Player already loaded in their browser. As for the other 2.7% - screw 'em. It's time they caught up anyway." To which I would agree.

Wait a minute jbelkin. You're not in that 2.2% are you?
posted by quadog at 12:26 AM on January 12, 2006

I've seen good and bad uses of Flash. Odeo, Youtube, Flickr - in my mind, they've all put Flash to good use. They're using it more as an application platform, and less of a "hey, we can make our logo spin around!" platform.

Flickr (if I understand correctly) doesn't even use it as much anymore - they launched a feature-rich application that 93% of the world could enjoy, and then slowly started replacing some of it with Javascript that 96% of the world could enjoy..

What's wrong with using it to host streaming content, anyway? If you host streaming content, you need a browser plugin anyway.

I'm a bit confused by your post, though. Are you concerned that web browsers are being auto-directed to Adobe if they don't have Flash, or about Flash in general?
posted by helios at 12:35 AM on January 12, 2006

I'd much rather have my video streamed through flash, like google video.

Like everything else, it can be used effectively or not effectively depending on the knowledge and good sense of the web designer.

Is this just a rant or is there a real question buried somewhere in your post?
posted by meta87 at 1:14 AM on January 12, 2006

Are webmasters lazy?

I didn't know it was up the webmasters of sites I visited to install Flash on my machine.
posted by XiBe at 2:47 AM on January 12, 2006

The majority of users don't know or care what flash is, they just use whatever came on their computer when they bought it. And that's Internet Explorer, with Flash preinstalled.

If you happen to be someone without the Flash plugin installed in your browser you are one of a very small minority, something like two percent. Don't assume that everyone is like you.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:35 AM on January 12, 2006

Flash 8 = 1.3? Umm... I dunno, dude, Flash has evolved quite a bit over the last few years. It's good... it's bad... really, it's just another handy tool in the hands of any web developer. Frankly, I prefer to do interactive stuff in html/Javascript for a variety of reasons, but it seems like it's a little late to dismiss flash as useless, given how many useful things have been done with it.
posted by ph00dz at 5:43 AM on January 12, 2006

I hate Flash, and don't have it installed on my main browser.

But I do have a copy of IE with Flash, which I use when I need to look at a "Flash only" site.

I know site designers are free to do what they want, but I really wish they would think to include a "non-Flash" link on their pages.
posted by Marky at 6:13 AM on January 12, 2006

Why Do You Think that ADOBE gets any more Sales from the use of FLASH or that Installing a Plugin Significantly Diverts Traffic?

Seriously, that is one of the more incoherent rants I've seen this week. Companies are not turning away web users, they have chosen to use that technology to provide web users more content. Firefox, and I believe newer versions of IE, can install Flash without ever going to Macromedia's (sorry, Adobe's) page. Combined with the fact that it's a one-time install and the majority of computers already have Flash installed, it's a crapshoot. It's more universal than coding to a particular browser.
posted by mikeh at 7:03 AM on January 12, 2006

I hate flash with a burning passion. At least 50% of sites that use it for navigation are unbrowsable with a screen reader.
posted by Mitheral at 7:04 AM on January 12, 2006

Firefox, and I believe newer versions of IE, can install Flash without ever going to Macromedia's (sorry, Adobe's) page.

This is only true for some (most, perhaps, but I'm not sure) sites. There are quite a few sites I've come across (like Nikon's press releases, for one) that automatically redirect you to a page saying you need Flash installed. Since that page doesn't have any embedded Flash, the auto-find-plugin thing in Firefox doesn't do anything.

Perhaps this behavior is what jbelkin meant; instead of loading the page and having the browser figure out it handle handle the Flash (which may or may not be important to the actual content of the page; it could just be for a navigation bar, which is generally uneeded for looking at a single page), the server checks to see if Flash is installed, and if it isn't, won't serve the desired page.
posted by Godbert at 7:11 AM on January 12, 2006

If you think using flash sucks try developing it. Our company is moving its interfaces to web-based, and they wanted this real-time graphing software written in flash. Action script SUCKS. It's a lot like javascribt but hobbled, if you can belive that. It has this totaly goofy type system and the IDE has no intelisense.


At least they're moving from a hacked up javascript clone to hacked up Java clone (and a hacked up version of eclipse to go with it) eventualy.
posted by delmoi at 7:23 AM on January 12, 2006

I have to say I am amazed at the number of urbane, reasoned responses to a post that I found confusing at best.
posted by Futurehouse at 8:20 AM on January 12, 2006

Count me among the "Flash sucks" camp, as I find its usage (in general) an annoying distraction, rather than adding value to a site. Therefore, I find the Flashblock extension to Firefox invaluable.
posted by Rash at 10:55 AM on January 12, 2006

Flash is blocked from my company computer, so any web surfing I do during the day is flash free. Too bad for the foolish marketers.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:11 PM on January 12, 2006

Response by poster: All I'm asking is why do companies turn over their front page to FLASH. It was a few weeks ago, I went to All it said on the page was GO TO MACROMEDIA to DOWBLOAD FLASH. I was an Intel page the other page, it wouldn't continue until I went to Macromedia's site - I understand if it's your site and you don't care if people are turmed away but if you're selling something, what's the deal with creating a 2-foot hidden doorway?

I've been using Mozilla/Firefox for eons and Flash has either never installed correctly or it's out of date so I get blocked at a lot of pages. Google finally realized, why are giving away a giant ad to Macromedia but not even Intel is immune to this.

My problem with flash is that it seems to be good for about 3 weeks before they want to dwonload another version and as far as I can tell - Flash 8 is EXACTLY the same as Flash 1.
posted by jbelkin at 5:02 PM on January 12, 2006

All I'm asking is why do companies turn over their front page to FLASH.

Cos sites such as the one you mention ( are mainly visited by people in that "people who have flash installed" bracket (90%+). So they make use of flash because they can, and don't really care if a small percentage of users are turned away.

If you want to install Flash properly on Firefox, I'd say completely uninstall Firefox (but make a backup of your bookmarks.html file so you still have that), reinstall the latest Firefox release (currently 1.5), THEN install Flash.

Also, what do you mean with "Google finally realized"?
posted by slater at 10:31 PM on January 12, 2006

jbelkin, I can tell you that you are not alone. But that also means your complaint isn't new. The answer is, simply, that companies think it helps them sell product. That may not be a sound judgement, in fact or in your opinion, but it is the explanation.
posted by dhartung at 12:31 AM on January 13, 2006

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