Why Advertisers Love Flash and Ajax, and Why it’s Really Stupid

Steve Rubel has a smashingly good bit of conversation bait today with The Imminent Demise of the Page View

The page view does not offer a suitable way to measure the next generation of web sites. These sites will be built with Ajax, Flash and other interactive technologies that allow the user to conduct affairs all within a single web page – like Gmail or the Google Reader. This eliminates the need to click from one page to another. The widgetization of the web will only accelerate this.

Sorry Steve I’m gonna call you out on this one.

Advertisers, Public Relations People, and everybody with strong deep roots in old world media love applications like ajax, and flash. Why … it is as close to having complete control of how the message and story is controlled as is possible in a web world. Print based media experts want to control the way you see the message, they’ve invested a lot of time/energy/effort/dollars into producing an amazing and attractive catalog front and back cover. They want it to be your only way into the content.

However in a world of user controlled media people want to Tivo the web. They want to skip the commercials and get right to the content they want (kind of like the skip button in flash). These people who want to control your views are the same ones who come up with bizare linking policies

Links to http://www.purina.com other than a text link containing our domain name or a link containing the graphic banner(s) below are forbidden.

Here’s the thing, people want to get to the content they want, they don’t want to sit and wade through your heavily orchestrated script. Applications like Ajax and flash don’t allow you to link to inner content you are forced to endure through the marketing message, like some time time share salesperson holding you hostage unless you sign. Secondly applications like ajax break web conventions like the back button (see Dax » Why I Pre-emptively Hate Ajax).

Don’t get me wrong things like flash and other widgets have a place in the world, they just aren’t going to replace static URL’s that allow deep linking to relevant content.

On second though I think everyone should put all of their 500 products in a completely non spiderable flash application, it will be much less work for me to rank for your keywords and products, while your all dazzled by eye candy in some wildly self congratulatory circle.

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