It’s great to know that Macromedia monitors these humble blog sites, sale and it’s even better to know that they’re concerned about what we have to say. I just received a comment from John Dowdell of Macromedia Support asking me to help clarify my recent post regarding Macromedia’s packaging of the Yahoo! Toolbar with the Flash player for certain Web visitors.
After responding to his post, capsule I realized others may not quite understand my position, either (It was classified under “rant” after all), so I figured I’d post his message and my response here. So here we go:
Hi, I’d like to be able to clearly present your concern to my partners, could you check me here, please? How would you rank the following concerns which I could synthesize out of your post?
— Don’t like Yahoo
— Gives Java or C++ arguments some ammo
— Not clear of future scope of ways to shift Flash costs from authoring tools to corporations
— Not sure of spyware/malware risks or implications
(The FAQ on the site advises that the only people who see this must (a) surf IE/Win (b) must click “GetFlash” link instead of the normal ActiveX (c) must not already have Yahoo Toolbar installed. Web search term of “site:macromedia.com yahoo toolbar” brings up more.)
Could you help me to relay your core concerns most effectively? Thanks!
And my response, which still may or may not be coherent:
Thanks for the comment, John! It’s great to see Macromedia is monitoring the blogs and fielding our questions. In return, I’ll do my best to answer yours, too. Hopefully, I’ll speak sensibly on each of your points:
How would you rank the following concerns which I could synthesize out of your post?
Don’t like Yahoo
This is not an issue at all. In fact, I feel rather sorry for Yahoo in this; I truly wish them no harm, and in fact, I use and enjoy many of their services.
I do wish them good luck with their toolbar, but I hope they’ll find better ways of marketing it than packaging it with other company’s software. In my mind at least, such arrangements always seem to cheapen my view of both party’s wares, as if neither could stand on it’s own.
Gives Java or C++ arguments some ammo
It rather does, don’t you think? If I can download the Java Virtual Machine WITHOUT the fear of installing “something extra,” then, as a business, I’d rather search for Web apps built on THAT technology than attempt to find ones built on something that now seems to be a marketing ploy.
It’s the proverbial “slippery slope:” First, the flash player comes bundled with something I’m not interested in otherwise. Why should I not expect the next version to have even more “marketing potential” built in? Will Flash Player 8 feature content-sensitive ad delivery built in?
And no I’m not saying this is the inevitable outcome, but I think you might understand the reason for suspicion. Just about everybody on the Web has faced unwanted advertising, and anything we can do to nip it in the bud is welcome. Once I’ve paid for Flash MX 2004 Studio Professional and spent time and money developing an application it it, I don’t want my potential clients to see MY work as being associated with third-party advertisers.
Not clear of future scope of ways to shift Flash costs from authoring tools to corporations
I’m not sure I understand this, but I think I may have addressed it above. In short, I see the Flash player as the means to deliver new software to the public: a Runtime or Virtual Machine, to be specific. If the runtime itself is being used for marketing purposes, I’ll look for one that doesn’t.
Not sure of spyware/malware risks or implications
This is probably the main reason for my concern, but it’s also the CAUSE of the other concerns listed here.
It’s not so much the existence of spyware, but the POTENTIAL of spyware that is raised by this packaging. Until now, I never even entertained the idea that Macromedia would do such a thing. This was naive perhaps, but now I have a hard time imagining that the company WOULDN’T entertain the idea if a “partner” with deep enough pockets came knocking.
In essence, it’s a matter of trust between Macromedia, the developers who create apps with its products, and the companies who will rely on both.
As you can see, the problem I have is not with Yahoo or the idea that Macromedia needs to make money, too. But when I develop an application for a client and tell him he’ll need to download the latest Flash player from your Web site, I don’t want to feel like I’m sending him to FreeIpods.com or some other “GET YOUR FREE GIFT FOR FILLING OUT THIS SURVEY” site. Macromedia is better than that, and I hope it’ll stay that way. (Promote Yahoo Toolbar like crazy all over the Macromedia site if you need to, but just don’t make my clients feel like they’re being asked to download something they wouldn’t otherwise.)
Hope this helps, John, and again, thanks for asking!
Hope this helps others, too!