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Amazon To Stop Accepting Flash Ads 221

An anonymous reader writes: Starting on September 1, Amazon will no longer support Flash across its advertising platform. The online retailer sites changes to browser support and a desire for customers to have a better experience as their reasons for blocking it. Google has been quite active recently in efforts to kill Flash; the Chrome beta channel has begun automatically pausing Flash, Google has converted ads from Flash to HTML5, and YouTube uses HTML5 by default now as well. Safari and Firefox also place limits on Flash content. Is Flash finally on its way out?
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Amazon To Stop Accepting Flash Ads

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 22, 2015 @08:40AM (#50369389)

    The online retailer sites changes to browser support

    CITES

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 22, 2015 @08:41AM (#50369397)

    When Flash was used, at least I had the choice to not to install the plugin at all, which meant I wasn't subjected to any Flash content at all.

    But now that HTML5 is being used, I have no choice at all. You can't just "disable" HTML5. It's much too inherent. We are subjected to it without mercy, and we have no way out.

    As some great poets once noted,

    Such a shame,
    to believe in escape.
    A life on every face,
    and that's a change.
    'til I'm finally left with the eight.
    Tell me to relax,
    I just stare.
    Maybe I don't know,
    if I should change.
    A feeling that we share.
    It's a shame.
    Such a shame.

    • by plover ( 150551 )

      That's probably why Amazon and Google are really ditching it. Too easy to block.

    • by byornski ( 1022169 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @09:29AM (#50369625)
      In firefox you can disable the media stuff in about:config - media.mediasource.enabled. That will at least stop the videos....
      • by Gr8Apes ( 679165 )
        if effective, Firefox may become my default browser again.
      • That's a good configuration option! Is there options that are more site specific, like media.mediasource.enable.from ... or media.mediasource.disable.from that might work similar to hosts.allow hosts.deny?

        • I'm not quite sure. They are currently using a whitelist from mozilla as the html5 player is experimental (media.mediasource.whitelist). I suspect somebody will hack together an addon to do it though if there's not one already.
    • I've been using an ad blocker for only a year. So, for me the ad blocker replaced the flashblocker - and with ublock the ad blocker now actually saves you CPU and memory. Next step would be to block javascript on some sites but what pain to micromanage that.
      Six years back or so, you only had to block flash and then the web was perfectly usable with an old CPU and 512MB RAM (but don't block flash and you quickly accumulated ten objects, grinding all to a halt)

      In 2004, you didn't need to block flash, you need

      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "In 2000, you didn't connect to the internet at all until you had patched yourself against BLASTER."

        FTFY.

      • Six years ago I was running a Core2 Quad (@ 2.5 gHz) with 8gB of RAM...
        16 years ago I had an old CPU and 512mB of RAM.
        Can't count the number of systems I've had between them...
        But it was nicer when email attachments were the threat and javascript made images change on mouseover/mouseout.
        • by U2xhc2hkb3QgU3Vja3M ( 4212163 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @04:14PM (#50371097)

          I'm still using a Core 2 Duo @ 2.4GHz with 8GiB of RAM. So my computer today is half the speed of your older computer.

          Those fucking people in marketing think they can rape my internet connection, my monthly quota and my CPU cycles to display their fucking shit. Well, screw them. I gave them a chance, they pushed it too far with Flash. I removed Flash from my system. They've done the same with HTML5 so now for the first time in my life, I'm running Adblock because these fucking marketing imbeciles don't know when to stop.

      • In 2000, you just ran IE 5 or Netscape with no big need to care about shit..

        Stuff changes.

        I don't know, here is how I remember the web browsing experience of 2000:

        CLICK!

        Click... Click... Clickety click... Click. Clickclickclick. What? Aw, crap.

        HUUMMMM BLIP BLEP BLEP BLIP BLEP BLIP BLIP BLEP WEEEPIIIOOOOOIOIHH IIIIHIIIIIHIHIHIIIFRIRIIII EEEWRZMEEWRZMZMM WHOOOOOSHSHSHHHSHSSHSHSHHSHSHS WMRMRMRMRMRMRMMEEEEEIIIIWHOOOOOOOSSSOSHSHSHSH

        Hey, good thing I'm using a download manager.

    • You can easily disable most problematic parts of HTML5 in Firefox via about:config. The already mentioned, media.mediasource.enabled, a lot of the dom.* settings like dom.storage.enabled, and so on. It's just a matter of deciding what is right for you.

    • by mrbcs ( 737902 )
      I'll scream this again... HOSTS FILE!!! Ad free for 10 years. Simple to install, blocks other parasites as well. http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/ho... [mvps.org]
      • Let me suggest tht you add another domain, which earlier today was serving ads that in my opinion are malicious:
        www.gaseview.com

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The online retailer sites changes to browser support

    The online retailer cites changes to browser support.

    Like "citation".

  • by krelvin ( 771644 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @08:43AM (#50369409)

    I block ads. never see them, don't care if they are flash or not.

    • Yeah, that new <advertisement> </advertisement> HTML5 tag is great! And advertisers voluntarily compliance using it is holding steady at 100%.
  • by drdread66 ( 1063396 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @08:46AM (#50369417)

    Flash? You mean the Fucking Large-Ass Security Hole? I have had it disabled on my machines for years now, all the way back to the "FlashToggler" software of from the early 2000s. It's about time the rest of the world ditches it too.

    The only good thing about Flash is it made blocking animated ads trivial simply by disabling the plugin. I have not had similar success with HTML5, and fear that the rise of HTML5 will signal the return of pages with so much animated ad content that I can't concentrate on the text. :(

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only good thing about Flash is it made blocking animated ads trivial simply by disabling the plugin. I have not had similar success with HTML5, and fear that the rise of HTML5 will signal the return of pages with so much animated ad content that I can't concentrate on the text. :(

      Why do you think they're doing it? I already routinely encounter pages where HTML5 ads run full-window animations that completely block all the actual content and can't be closed because the "X" to close them is purposely placed off the edge of the window so trying to click on it clicks on the ad instead. The only way to block these ads is with something like NoScript so that they never get to run.

      Of course, Firefox is killing NoScript dead in a year, so we're not even going to have that option soon. Thi

      • by steveg ( 55825 )

        Hmm? Got a source for that about Firefox?

        Haven't seen anything about Firefox blocking NoScript, nor any plans to do so, and maybe my Google-fu is lacking, but can't find anything about it either.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 22, 2015 @10:13AM (#50369803)

          Yes, Slashdot: Firefox Will Run Chrome Extensions [slashdot.org]

          That headline sucks, the actual story is Firefox is dropping their current extension API (the one NoScript uses) entirely and replacing it with Chrome's. That would be the Chrome API that doesn't offer the hooks NoScript requires to work.

          You know how AdBlock works better on Firefox than Chrome? Same thing.

          They're also killing all extensions that change the Firefox UI, so you'll be forced into their new Chrome-knockoff look. Basically, they're killing the only reason to use Firefox instead of Chrome by making Firefox into a more bloated, slower version of Chrome.

          Sadly the new Slashdot regime has decided that people trying to hold conversations in comments sections are overrated so I'm not allowed to post this immediately. Who knows when I'll be allowed to answer your question. I guess that's why Slashdot can't do AMA-style interviews, the person being interviewed would get one answer and then be locked out.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Those postings limits has been with us ACs for years. You can post a couple times, then it quickly ramps up the time required between postings, then it locks you out at 10 posts per day (this one is the newer one by Dice). For a site with people who hold a strong view on privacy, this site and it's posters are very hypocritical. Slashdotters look down on us ACs even on articles about forums getting their user databases hacked. Do you really think Dice cares about Slashdot security? Do you think the nex

            • Do you think the next company they sell us to will care more? I wouldn't be surprised if Dice even sells the info.

              I don't think they are, because I'm not getting anywhere near enough Hentai Furry Futanari Tentacles Maid Bunny girl porn.

          • by narcc ( 412956 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @03:39PM (#50370959) Journal

            How is this informative? Further, this was thoroughly debunked in the earlier thread.

            Mozilla is basing their new plugin architecture on Chrome's, but are extending it to ensure plugins like NoScript (which is specifically mentioned, btw) will still be possible.

            Relax. Both NoScript users will be able to enjoy their favorite plugin for years to come.

            • Relax. Both NoScript users will be able to enjoy their favorite plugin for years to come.

              I am one of those die-hard NoScript users. I wonder who my lone compatriot is?

              Without NoScript, I would just use IE. Let it all hang out.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I already routinely encounter pages where HTML5 ads run full-window animations that completely block all the actual content and can't be closed because the "X" to close them is purposely placed off the edge of the window so trying to click on it clicks on the ad instead.

        Ad windows where the X is off the screen? CTRL+W them. It's like ALT+F4 but within the browser.

    • by fisted ( 2295862 )

      How hard can it be for browser addon to translate <video> tags into <img src="file:///var/tmp/kitten.jpg">, possibly depending on site and value of the video's src attribute?

    • Flash originally was an artist's tool for creating animations with a minimum of fuss, and more importantly for the web a minimum of bandwidth. It was born when someone asked, if I'm making an animation of a character walking in front of a static background, why does it need to be encoded as a single video? Why can't I just code (transmit) the background once, then overlay the moving character on top of it?

      Its flexible nature allowed it to be hijacked by sites wishing to display video, because the folks
    • Flash? You mean the Fucking Large-Ass Security Hole?

      Never heard that one before. I'm adding it to my list of acronyms.

    • Hipster geek disabled flash before disabling flash was cool.

    • Flash? You mean the Fucking Large-Ass Security Hole?

      No, Flash Gordon, obviously. Amazon will stop supporting Flash Gordon. They've been outed as evil by the New York Times, so there's no longer a need to save the Universe from Ming the Merciless.

  • On Its Way Out (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @08:46AM (#50369421)

    Flash was on its way out when Steve Jobs decided that Apple wouldn't permit Flash to operate on iPod Touches and iPhones and iPads. Lots of people disagreed with him back then, most vocally anyone connected to Adobe, but he knew what the future held and boldly took that first step.

    While it's nice that other companies have finally clued in and are following suit, let's not attribute the insight to them - they wanted almost a decade before finally following Jobs' insightful decision.

    • Lots of people disagreed with him back then, most vocally anyone connected to Adobe, but he knew what the future held and boldly took that first step.

      I remember quite a lot of Android advocates claiming that Android was better than iOS because it allowed Flash while iOS didn't. Flash games were quite a thing around that time and there was a lot of hand wringing over them being disallowed on Apple products. Of course blocking Flash was the right decision and nobody aside from some advertisers still seems to think it is a good technology. Curious how opinions change...

    • Re:On Its Way Out (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @03:00PM (#50370809)
      Jobs didn't want Flash on iOS because it tore down the wall of their garden. In the iOS ecosystem, the only way to install an app is via the App Store, where Apple gets a 30% cut. If they had allowed flash, anyone could write a flash app, put it on any web site, and you could browse to that site and run that flash app on your iDevice without paying Apple their 30%. Apple also disallows compilers and tightly controls emulators for the same reason.

      All that talk about flash draining battery life was just spin to put lipstick on this pig-headed decision. Flash on Android didn't run by default - any flash scripts on a web page were replaced by a stylized F. If you tapped on the F, only then would that flash script run. If you've used Flashblock on Firefox, exact same thing. So no excess battery drain from ads or whatnot unless you specifically allowed the flash app to run.

      Flash was originally created as an artist's animation tool. It was never intended to be the web's de facto executable scripting language. That's why it has so many security holes - because it was being used in ways it was never originally intended. Now that HTML5 adds many features which previously could only be accomplished via flash, and more importantly are designed from the get-go for web use, it is natural that flash is being phased out. Jobs had nothing to do with it, and certainly his decision a decade ago when HTML5 wasn't around still makes no sense (until you recognize the financial reason).
      • All that talk about flash draining battery life was just spin to put lipstick on this pig-headed decision.

        I remember removing Flash from my first Mac Mini G4 because that stupid plug-in was slowing down my computer and made Safari crash quite a lot on top of that. After I removed Flash, all my problems disappeared. So yes, maybe Apple's decision was pushed by their desire to control their devices. But it was also because Flash just plain sucks on anything except Windows and Adobe couldn't be bothered to op

      • In the iOS ecosystem, the only way to install an app is via the App Store

        If you write a game in HTML5+javascript, which is what you have to do if you want to have games on the web in the way that Flash was (and still is) widely used, then you can have them on your system, and even on your home screen. Although you do have to be connected to the internet to play them.

        Still, given that the above is true, how can you argue that apple disallowed flash on their system because of the app store? It simply doesn't make any sense.

      • It tore down the wall, dug up the petunias, and shit in the lettuce, a number of times.

      • Flash was originally created as an artist's animation tool. It was never intended to be the web's de facto executable scripting language. That's why it has so many security holes - because it was being used in ways it was never originally intended. Now that HTML5 adds many features which previously could only be accomplished via flash, and more importantly are designed from the get-go for web use, it is natural that flash is being phased out. Jobs had nothing to do with it, and certainly his decision a deca

    • by narcc ( 412956 )

      ^^ This is what a good flamebait post looks like.

  • I'll believe Flash is dead once Weebl's Stuff (Weebl and Bob; "Badgers"), Homestar Runner, and the animutation scene go all HTML5. Rendering an SWF to MP4 and uploading it to YouTube is not the answer, as it bloats file sizes by a factor of ten in an era of capped home Internet.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Homestar Runner [youtube.com] says Flash is Dead. Get with the times, man.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        Rendering an SWF to MP4 and uploading it to YouTube is not the answer, as it bloats file sizes by a factor of ten in an era of capped home Internet.

        [Link to an MP4]

        Even 240p is much bigger than Flash for a lot of videos that I've encountered.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Even 240p is much bigger than Flash for a lot of videos that I've encountered.

          I don't think that's a valid concern given that YouTube is the third most visited [alexa.com] site on the web. But, if you are concerned, you can always use one [hippani.com] of the many [tumult.com] HTML5 animation tools [adobe.com] that are available.

  • by Zeio ( 325157 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @08:49AM (#50369441)

    Blocking flash is trivial. And of course adblock and the like make short work of ads in HTML5 but its harder to block categorically. I suspect the whole flash removal is dual purpose with increased advertising content to the browser being a major goal.

  • Cites, not sites (Score:5, Informative)

    by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @09:25AM (#50369615) Homepage

    The online retailer sites changes

    No, they cite changes.

    Not that I expect anyone do anything about it; Slashdot stories seem to get posted and abandoned. Correcting spelling mistakes that make you look stupid doesn't attract any more advertisers!

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @09:54AM (#50369715)

    I'm glad to see Flash go, but it did offer us an element of control over autoplaying videos, by setting your Flash add-on to "Play if clicked." Now we have been stripped of even that meager choice.

  • I would be willing to bet that by far the vast majority of cases where advertizing networks are spewing out malware (either because they have been hacked or because they didn't properly review an ad that contained malware) are using exploits in Flash to get their malware installed on victims PCs. If more ad networks (especially the really big players like Yahoo, Google/DoubleClick, Microsoft etc) drop Flash and stop serving Flash ads, it will be much harder for malware authors to use dodgy Flash files as a

    • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

      are using exploits in Flash to get their malware installed on victims PCs

      I recall "Please update Flash/Java/etc." was using Javascript to redirect you to a random third party site, and immediately attempted a software download.

      In any case, the article is referring to guidelines on the ads amazon should accept, which include fallbacks in case Javascript will not function for whatever reason. If there's flash content, it's likely that it may be pre-disabled and either results in a big "click-to-play" block (

  • The last straw... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Twinbee ( 767046 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @10:54AM (#50369965) Homepage
    For years and years, I've put up with ads. Yes, I heard you guys talk about AdBlock here and elsewhere, but I've always learnt to ignore them, even fairly distracting ones.

    Then came the really "in your face" ads with automatic audio, giant sizes, and irremovable ones which obscured content. Irritating, but not a deal breaker. I've got a thick skin, or so I thought. I can deal with all that crap, especially if it helps pay for the site's bandwidth (though I never bother with ads personally, at least not consciously).

    End of story right? Oh no,.... they just had to go further didn't they. Then came the ones that suck up all my CPU, losing me money in electricity, heating up the CPU (so I can't have the fan quieter), and generally causing the PC to slow down. I like to open up many tabs in my browser, and this easily eats up the CPU in all four of my CPU cores. Same with the two cores on my laptop.

    Since I realized what was happening more clearly, I now hate the ad networks of course, and also hate the CPU management in Chrome and other browsers (Shift+ESC is oaky, but no maximum CPU limit for each process?), and you know what? I even hate Windows for not allowing better/easier CPU management/priority of the processes. Yes, no ability to throttle the percentage of CPU used for a process, let alone be able to define the limits independently for each process. And yes I know there are various apps [superuser.com], but not having this feature by default is insane, and so typical of the mindset at Microsoft.

    I installed AdRemover for Chrome (higher rated than Adblock by the looks of it), and have never looked back.

    Goodbye ads forever.
    • Re:The last straw... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday August 22, 2015 @12:57PM (#50370393) Journal

      End of story right? Oh no,.... they just had to go further didn't they. Then came the ones that suck up all my CPU, losing me money in electricity, heating up the CPU (so I can't have the fan quieter), and generally causing the PC to slow down. I like to open up many tabs in my browser, and this easily eats up the CPU in all four of my CPU cores. Same with the two cores on my laptop.

      Yeap, when I installed adblock, it tripled my battery life.

  • The Google Play Music service still requires Flash. Google is not completely free of the Flash dependency yet.
    • by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) *

      The Google Play Music service still requires Flash.

      O RLY? How, then, is it working on this Gentoo box that doesn't have Flash installed? I'm using Chromium, which doesn't even have the Flash player that's embedded in Chrome.

      • by xenog ( 3653043 )
        I stand corrected. I never tried it in Chromium. It does indeed work in my Linux box without Flash with that browser. It doesn't work without Flash in Firefox on Linux though.
  • Advertisers will be reluctant to switch.

  • With firefox i still have to use an addon, which adds html5=1 to youtube urls. Embedded videos i.e. on twitter always use flash, too.

  • This would be great! But when are we going to get true full-screen from Youtube + HTML5?

Of course there's no reason for it, it's just our policy.

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