September 1 really will be a huge date for Flash-based ads as the number of big-name firms that plan on cutting their support for Adobe’s plug-in starts to mount up.
Amazon has become the latest company to steer away from the software, announcing an intention to stop serving Flash ads on its online marketplace and promotional tool, amazon.com.
Flash became the de-facto way of powering various pieces of online content in the 2000s, including videos and games as well as many forms of display advertisements.
Since then, questions over security and speed of service have damaged its reputation to the point where advertisers, publishers and browser vendors have decided enough is enough.
Mozilla, Google and now Amazon seem prepared to wave goodbye to Flash as the flock to newer, slicker forms of media support like HTML5 commences.
Flash loses its spark
Mozilla and Google started the recent browser revolt by temporarily disabling Flash software back in July, citing critical security flaws which allowed the installation of malware and other criminal acts.
The pair went on to reinstate the software after Adobe’s issuing of a fresh security update.
However, after numerous attempts by browsers to veer away from relying heavily on a system considered by many to be outdated, revelations over a lack of user security seemed to mark the last straw in the big browsers’ support of Flash.
Chrome is now putting a block on all ‘non-essential’ content running through Flash and a domino effect now seems to be on the cards. As much is highlighted by Amazon blocking the software from its ad network after “recent browser setting updates”.
Users should welcome the change given that Amazon’s continued support for Flash ads that don’t display on Chrome would trigger messages about content failing to load.
While today’s news represents a big step in the culling of Flash, similar sentiments about its long-term future are on show in many corners of the web.
In 2010, Apple’s Steve Jobs brought into question Flash’s ability to serve the growing number of mobile web users, while Microsoft’s new Spartan browser features an ‘off’ button for users wanting to block the software.
Perhaps one of the most powerful anti-Flash messages has come from the publisher community, though, as groups including Forbes, Conde Nast and AOL advocated the use of HTML5 for mobile campaigns as part of an IAB-support ‘Open Letter from Publishers to Advertisers’.
Analysts will be looking closely at Adobe’s situation to see whether the company still believes it can continue the running of a product whose best days appear to have passed.