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​Amazon kills off Flash ads amid industry push towards HTML5

Amazon says it's ditching Flash ads for its own advertising platform thanks to browser settings in Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on

As of September 1, Amazon will stop serving Flash ads on amazon.com.

According to Amazon, the move is a response to the decision by many desktop browsers to block Flash, and follows calls by security experts for Adobe to kill off the browser plugin.

"This is driven by recent browser setting updates from Google Chrome, and existing browser settings from Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari, that limits Flash content displayed on web pages," Amazon said last week in an update to its advertising policy.

"This change ensures customers continue to have a positive, consistent experience on Amazon, and that ads displayed across the site function properly for optimal performance," it added.

While Chrome ships with Flash pre-installed, Google announced in June that the browser would soon "intelligently pause" Flash animations that aren't central to the webpage while keeping video running. While most of the recent worries over Flash have centred on security, this change was intended to save power.

Google and Mozilla last month temporarily blocked Flash Player in their browsers after three zero-day flaws were leaked, some of which were later used in malvertising attacks that targeted visitors to Yahoo. At the time, Facebook's security chief Alex Stamos called on Adobe to phase out Flash Player.

Mozilla earlier this year also made progress on its would-be Flash replacement Shumway. Shumway has been available in the Nightly channel of Firefox since 2013 but in February it was enabled to play videos on amazon.com and IMDb videos by default.

As Digiday noted, Amazon isn't the biggest player in the digital display market, but the online ad industry in general is looking to move away from Flash and towards HTML5. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) released a new draft specification for ad formats that encourages publishers and advertisers to use the standard for desktop and mobile advertising.

"As the industry develops, being nimble is increasingly important in technology," said Aaron Wood, director of production services, AOL Premium Experiences at AOL Platforms, and co-chair of the IAB Display Creative Working Group.

"HTML5 is rapidly becoming the go-to for creating captivating ads that work across multiple screens. In response, the IAB Tech Lab brought together a group of tech leaders to establish global guidelines that describe the path to integrate HTML5 and, ultimately, drive toward success at scale."

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