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.