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MySpace to Secondary Markets: Drop Dead


Originally uploaded by alicetiara.

On Monday, MySpace started displaying the following message when you log in (this is kind of a crappy screenshot, but you can see it larger if you click on it):

“hey folks – we are moving myspace music players and video players to flash 9.0. flash 9 has security fixes so that people can’t mess with you on myspace. if your ‘about me’ got screwed up this weekend, you could have been safe if you had flash 9 installed. here’s an easy way to install it, go watch this dashboard video i posted last week. if you don’t like dashboard, just watch any video in our video section, and you’ll be prompted to install flash 9.”

What Tom doesn’t mention is that Flash 9 has a a new attribute for the [object] tag called allowNetworking. When set to “internal”, it prevents the use of any Flash Player APIs which interact with the browser, including getURL() which is used to link to other pages from the player. (Note that josh endquote explained this to me). He writes:

“MySpace now transparently adds ‘allowNetworking=”internal”‘ to all Flash Player instanced placed in its pages, effectively disabling any buttons which link anywhere.”

So: stuff like Slide.com, RockYou.com, and YouTube’s Flash video wrappers will no longer be able to link back to the sites if the user is using Flash 9. Generally adoption for Flash isn’t that quick — but since all users with Flash 8 currently have broken MySpace video/audio players, you can expect that to have somewhat of an effect on the adoption rate (i.e.: skyrocket).

MySpace can say all they want about wanting to protect users, but really this is about them protecting their advertising dollars. The barnacle-like secondary market sites will have to find increasingly creative techniques to launch Flash-based content within the site if they want it to spread virally.

This is actually quite wily on the part of MySpace. And it’s going to be interesting to see how much influence they have on the adoption rates of Flash 9… I wonder if they have a formal partnership with Macromedia/Adobe.

Expect a LOT MORE moves like this from MySpace. I’m aware of a few I can’t talk about that I know will have huge impacts on secondary market sites. If you work for a startup whose entire business plan depends on mooching off MySpace’s user base, you guys might want to consider diversifying your revenue streams.


Link roundup for July 20, 2006


Terrific blog on sexism in science/tech


  1. I will be curious to see the fallout rate of users who are annoyed by it. Overall locking down their network seems like a bad idea. The openness of systems like flickr and vox amaze me. Of course MySpace doesn’t need to do any of that.

  2. I’m stoked about it. The quicker Player 9 gains market share, the easier my job gets. This’ll be a real test of the steps Macromedia took taken to make the 8-to-9 upgrade experience as smooth as possible.

  3. People don’t know, so they won’t revolt, until all the stuff they learned about embedding stuff, stop’s working :P.

    I think it is going to be fun to watch though!


  4. maggie

    i didn’t update to flash 9 when i got that message yesterday, but my audio player still worked today. is it different for macs, maybe?

  5. I can’t wait for MySpace to implement something like that to prevent hotlinking of images … oh wait, why would they do that? Not because their users are sapping the bandwidth of tens of thousands of websites out there … nah … never mind.

  6. bunnyhero

    i didn’t notice the allownetworking thinger. eeeenteresting. luckily for me, all the embed tags for my pets have always included a plain html link back to my site, besides just the in-swf link. i actually did that on purpose, for googlejuice reasons, but it seems now there is an added benefit.

    one workaround for now is for embed-providers to include an html link back to their site in their tags, the way layout sites do it.

  7. also, i just realized something.

    if i am correct, this will only block communication between the flash file itself and outside servers — it won’t block external flash files from being included.

    hopefully someone can clear this up

  8. pog

    Just a side note, but flash 9.0 is not supported in Linux, Unix, or BSD. Looks like MySpace hates geeks as well as competing venues.

  9. sven

    @pog – There will be a Linux Version of Flash 9. You gotta be patient (like until early next year :)

  10. robotson

    i installed flash nine, and my youtube wrapped videos still link back to youtube. what gives?

  11. bunnyhero

    myspace filtering tends to happen at the time of editing. so, existing flash embeds will not have the ‘allownetworking’ attribute set, and the links in those videos still work. however, if you add a new video, or edit the section where your current video is, the links will break.

  12. Myspace is so great. Your blog is great too:)

  13. MySpace disabled Quicktime embeds try it for yourself. Today I wanted to add a new quicktime movie embed and it didn’t work looked at the page source and found out that myspace was stripping the .mov extension and changing it to ..

    In fact if you add the text .mov anywhere in myspace it changes it to .. it doesn’t even have to be in an embed tag

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