Google bangs another nail in Flash's coffin

Flash coffin

Google has announced that it is dropping support for Adobe Flash-based online ads.

From June 30, advertisers will no longer be able to uploads ads built in Flash to Google's Adwords and DoubleClick services. Instead they are being advised to use HTML5 instead.

And from January 2 2017, any remaining Flash ads simply won't run on the on the Google Display Network or through DoubleClick.

This is just the latest step away from the hugely unpopular Flash.

Last year, Facebook security chief Alex Stamos called for the death of Flash, and Google announced that its Chrome browser was now blocking Flash ads by default, in order to "improve performance for users."

Furthermore, Google has been telling advertisers for some time to switch their Flash ads to HTML5, and explaining that "most Flash ads" uploaded to Google AdWords were already being automatically converted.

Adobe itself recently made clear that it was moving away from the platform to an HTML5-based future.

So it's not as though advertisers haven't seen the writing on the wall for a while.

It increasingly seems that the only people who truly love Adobe Flash are the criminals themselves.

Of course, if you're one of those people who are enjoying the benefits of running an ad blocker when browsing the web, the change in ad format is essentially irrelevant to you - you shouldn't be seeing Google's ads whether they're running in HTML5 or Adobe Flash.

What are the benefits of running an ad blocker? You won't have your computer infected by malvertising, adverts won't be tracking your movements around the web, and you should find the web a speedier and less cluttered experience.

For that reason, usage of ad blocking software has increased significantly - a trend which has been further fuelled by Apple making it easy for iPhone and iPad users to enable ad-blocking in their mobile browsers. (Notably, and perhaps predictably, Google appears to be somewhat less keen on Android users blocking ads)

What are the disadvantages of running an ad blocker? Websites which rely upon online ads for revenue will feel that you are getting the benefit of their content without giving them anything in return. Some sites might block you from accessing their content unless you whitelist their list in your ad blocker, or sign-up for a subscription.

I can relate to the point of view of both the general public and the folks trying to run an online business.

Running my own site has made me sympathetic to the problem faced by many websites on how to get paid for their work, but the simple truth, I believe, is that the conventional web ad model is unpopular with users because of how it has been exploited and abused by commercial enterprises and cybercriminals.

Whether spreading malware or not, most web advertising leaves the reader with a bad online experience.

Adverts can be irritating. They can get in the way of the content you want to read, and have distracting animations (whether in HTML5 or Flash!).

Just over a year ago, I removed all the ads from this site and replaced it with a simple exclusive weekly sponsorship option.

Sponsor banner

That seems to me to be an approach that is better for readers, better for companies wishing to get their services in front of my site's audience, and - hey - I prefer it too.

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7 Comments on "Google bangs another nail in Flash's coffin"

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Neville
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Neville
February 11, 2016 11:36 am

Dear Graham
I appreciate your weekly sponsorship program instead of ads. But what about the Incapsula banner under the Popular recent posts module?

Mark Jacobs
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Mark Jacobs
February 11, 2016 1:50 pm

One day, in utopia, they may announce :-

Google announced that its Chrome browser was now blocking all ads by default, in order to "improve performance for users."

Roll on! Especially in light of your recent article "google-quick-throw-android-blocker-shame-slower-malware" https://www.grahamcluley.com/2016/02/google-quick-throw-android-blocker-shame-slower-malware/

coyote
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coyote
February 11, 2016 5:55 pm

'Websites which rely upon online ads for revenue will feel that you are getting the benefit of their content without giving them anything in return.'

It's their fault. It's their fault and they complain and do nothing to fix the problem. They're whining and I have no sympathy for them. Even if they 'fix' the problem it's too little too late.

' Some sites might block you from accessing their content unless you whitelist their list in your ad blocker, or sign-up for a subscription.'

For now. That's a benefit of it all being a cat and mouse game. In addition, unless it's a unique service people will just find an alternative and so these organisations will still have less profit but for different reasons. They should consider that because even if ads are blocked it doesn't mean everyone doing so would be against spending money on (them). Obnoxious ads (including pop-ups, sounds, videos, etc.) and also manipulative tactics (free information but only if you act now … which unfortunately many people fall for .. etc.) are something that would make me much less likely to consider them (even if it seems useful in some way or another). No one can have it both ways and this goes for them too. Another thing about ads that bother me is the resources involved (I don't care if it doesn't take much system and network resource utilisation as it adds up and it's besides the point). Then you have things like clickjacking and it is even more of a reason to not allow this kind of rubbish.

'Running my own site has made me sympathetic to the problem faced by many websites on how to get paid for their work, but the simple truth, I believe, is that the conventional web ad model is unpopular with users because of how it has been exploited and abused by commercial enterprises and cybercriminals.'

Attitude is very very important and that is the difference between normal organisations and you (ironically one might claim I'm calling you abnormal but of course it IS an abnormal method and it's a much more respectable method at that). The fact you did indeed remove adverts is even better (and as you indicated – and I as indicated it resonates with me well – techies do seem to dislike adverts on sites .. if not everywhere).

Spryte
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Spryte
February 12, 2016 6:31 pm

Wonderful news.
I have not used Flash for several years now… Do not miss it at all.

Well, there are a couple of sites that I wish would get rid of their dependency on Flash for video: BBC.com/news, news.cbc.ca, etc.

Vaga
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Vaga
February 18, 2016 5:17 am

spryte,I'm with you on the BBC comment,and it seems almost all the news sites do use flash.I uninstalled flash and java years ago because of safety issues.

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