Tag Archives: Web browser

Gone In A Flash

If you are using Google Chrome as your browser, and over half of you are, your experience as you use the internet is about to change. Google has decided that as of tomorrow, September 1, they will begin pausing many Flash ads by default to improve performance for users. What that means is that if you are desperate to see an ad you will need to click on it to manually enable it. Otherwise, ads will remain plain images by default. Firefox is also doing this  and Amazon also said that it would no longer allow Flash-based ads to serve on its network or across its Amazon Advertising Platform.  In short, the bulk of web browsers is now Flash-unfriendly. This prompts several business thoughts.

First, yay Google and others!  Flash creates all kinds of issues, the biggest of which are that it drains batteries quickly, it doesn’t really perform that well on mobile devices (in a world that’s now mostly mobile) and, most importantly in my mind, it has abysmal security.  Just look at the recent malware attack launched via MSN‘s ad network as an example. This is a good thing for consumers and maybe makes our digital world a little safer.

Second, this is going to have a major effect of the digital ad world.  The supply of ad space is actually going to drop since much of what is out there is Flash-based.  That should kick prices up.  The question in my mind is will the price rise get publishers rethinking their ad load strategy?  I don’t know about you, but in my mind surfing much of the web has become a stroll through the proverbial Arabian bazaar – one hawker after another in an extremely cluttered environment.  Maybe this is how the tidal wave of ad blocking is pushed back?

Third, what will this do to the numerous ad-serving companies?  Who has technology that is so tied to Flash that their business model is disrupted and where are the opportunities in companies that aren’t Flash-based?

Finally, this points out how interdependent every digital business is.  The browser companies make a change and ad companies and publishers are affected.  A hardware company decides to change a business model, as Apple did with iTunes years ago, and nearly every subsequent business deal is held up to that standard.  Never a dull day in digital – how about in your business?

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Filed under digital media, What's Going On

Facebook And Browsers

Anyone here still using Netscape Navigator to read the screed today?  Oh sure, you might be using one of its descendants but that browser is long gone.  What you just might be using is Internet Explorer, so let’s pause for a minute and think about some numbers.  Five years ago, in July of 2007, there was roughly an 80% chance that you would be accessing the web via that browser.  It had a dominant market share although a relative newcomer named Firefox was chipping away.  IE was buggy, full of security issues, and consumers hated it.  Of course 10 years prior, in July of 1997, one would have said the same about Netscape – it had 72% of the market then when IE declared war.  Today, IE has about 30% market share, about the same as Chrome.  Firefox is not far behind, and a few others make up the rest of the desktop web browser world.

I raise this today because of a few articles last week about Facebook.  Obviously it’s the dominant social network but it can’t seem to get any love.  Both pieces talked about customer dissatisfaction with the service.  Here is the first from MediaPost:

Facebook doesn’t seem to be particularly well-liked by its own users, according to the latest figures from the American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report, which was produced in partnership with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee. Overall, Facebook scored a 61 out of 100 in terms of customer satisfaction — down 8 points from 69 last year. That’s a new record low for companies in the social media category.

Most interesting to me are the comments which demonstrate the dissatisfaction within the ad community as well.  Your users and your customers both unhappy isn’t the best situation.  The second piece from CNet adds another angle:

Now Google+, which has been dubbed by some as a ghost town, is gaining some traction with a higher customer satisfaction rating, according to the numbers released from the American Customer Satisfaction Index today. According to the new numbers, Facebook’s rating drops 8 percent to 61 on a 100-point scale, while Google+ makes its index debut with a 78, putting it in line with Wikipedia.

In other words, we’re only on Facebook because that’s where our friends and family are.  Sound like a browser you know?  Hard as it might be to imagine, Facebook is in a pretty precarious situation.  No, they’re not gong to implode, but history has a way of repeating itself.

What do you think?  How do you feel about Facebook lately?  Are you using other networks in lieu of it?

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Filed under digital media, Thinking Aloud

Out Firefoxed

A few days ago, videos stopped playing nicely on one of the computers we use here at The World Headquarters.

Image representing Firefox as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

It happened right after a Firefox update. Now, while it’s not a computer (or browser) I use very often, other team members use it regularly and they need to watch videos from time to time. I spent the better part of an hour diagnosing the problem (since I’m the I.T. guy around here) and after reading a lot of web postings in which Mozilla blamed Adobe (it’s a Flash problem), and vice-versa (it’s fine on other browsers) and where they both blamed Real Player, I’d had enough. I had spent several more hours updating video drivers, uninstalling and reinstalling components, tweaking settings, rolling back to old versions, and wading through the general snark that’s around the various support sites that mention this issue. No, it’s not resolved, but it’s not an issue any more. I installed Chrome on the damn thing and that is that.

So here’s the broader business point.  According to Adobe’s site, the issue is fixed.  Mozilla says the same since they give you a few workarounds.  How can I sum that up politely?  Hogwash?  A load of crap?  Who are you going to believe – me or your lying eyes?  The very last thing we as businesspeople want is for our installed base (customers to you non-tech types) to migrate to an alternate solution (blow us off for a competitor, in English).  I’ve been using Firefox since the early days.  I’m now gone forever, and I understand I’m not alone.

How would I have handed it?  Transparently:  we have a problem, we don’t have a fix that works for sure so we’re suggesting you roll back to an earlier version – here’s the link as to how to do it.  I’d say it loudly and in as public a way as I could.  I certainly would NOT suggest users turn off high-end video acceleration (those cards are expensive), uninstall other software, disable virus protection (seriously?) or muck about in configuration files that are best left to people with Computer Science degrees.

Stuff happens.  It doesn’t go away when we deny it, minimize the issue, or suggest things we don’t know for sure will solve the problem.  The only thing that does go away are customers.  We’re happily watching video on another browser.  People have choices about most products.  Keep that in mind and work hard to earn their trust and business.  You’ll need it when the fan is turned on and something hits it.

Thoughts?

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Filed under digital media, Huh?, Reality checks

Me No Want Cookie

Let’s begin this week with something that caught my eye at the tail end of last week.  It was an announcement in Media Post with the headline [x+1] Finds Way Around Third-Party Cookie Rejection.  For those of you unfamiliar with the nuances of cookies, a third-party cookie is a little tracking file placed by a site other than the one you’re visiting.  In other words, if you come to Keith Ritter Media to figure out how to hire me and my site places a cookie from a site where I’m hosting an image, thereby enabling that site to track your web browser, I’ve placed a third-party cookie.

The announcement is important for two reasons – first, many ad networks use third-party cookies to track users across sites (my site’s cookie is useless to any other site) for targeting purposes; second, because some browsers default to disallowing third-party cookies and lots of other users have set their browsers to do the same.  Kind of makes one wonder about the announcement – here’s why. Continue reading

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Filed under digital media, Helpful Hints

Stasis

I have an Android phone and I have quite a few apps on it.  If you use apps on a smart phone, inevitably you get prompted that there are updates available.  Sometimes, these updates provide real functionality changes or fix a bug.  A lot of the time, I’m finding that the changes are very minor – a color change, the screen layout – and the update is more annoying than necessary.  It reminded me of a post I wrote way back in 2008 on the subject of leaving well enough alone and I want to touch on that again.  Given some of what’s been going on in the tech world of late, I think it bears repeating. Continue reading

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Filed under Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

Platforms

A simple network consisting of source A sharin...

There’s a thread zooming around the digital space this week about the web being dead. Wired magazine issued this proclamation a couple of days ago and much has been written about it over the last 48 hours.  The gist of the argument is that digital life is becoming less browser-centric as we move to mobile web, apps, peer-to-peer, and other means of interacting digitally.  Of course, as they admit in the article, they issued the same proclamation in 1997!

So where do you come out on this?  While you’re ruminating, here’s what I think. Continue reading

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