Origionally an animation tool, Flash was gradually co-opted to be an animated logo generator. This was an annoying but essential development of the standard. (by the by, why do little companies feel compelled to have the flash thing running across the page? Respected companies, who can definitely afford to, don’t. Have a look – Oracle, Cicso, Microsoft, even Apple are all not inclined.

The good news is that there are some excellent things happening with Macromedia Flash these days. I am very happy to see that some extreemely creative people have started using Flash as a means of publishing animated shorts My favorites: Zefrank, OddTodd, and Dogshitter Wants. Okay, some of it is bizarre, but I love it.

Here’s the sad part. These people who now have a channel don’t have a simple way to get paid for their work. (Zefrank, for example, is looking for a web host.) Advertising turns out to be pretty much a bust all over the web, at least for small operators – the web is, after all, a narrowcasting medium (with all the things advertisers hate: no national borders, short attention span, and altogether too much control over the outlet device (the computer)). Macromedia would appear to be oblivious to this: at a conference I posed to a Macromedia product manager the issue of valuable content in Flash, and the potential value of putting in a vending mechanism. It’s a natural: you have the UI, and now with FlashMX there is some excellent database connectivity. (You could even use it for music.) He was completely flat on the subject. Maybe they’re keeping quiet about something. I doubt it.

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