Flash Worm Leads to No MySpace Widget Love

    July 21, 2006

TechCrunch is reporting that third-party MySpace widgets such as those by the ever popular YouTube are no longer allowed to have link throughs.

This move is due to recent past security issues, including a flash based worm “that had spread far and wide through the site and sent users to an off site page claiming that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks”:

Just as javascript has been unusable in MySpace, most flash objects are also now unable to link out to third party sites when viewed with Flash player 9. MySpace users are now being encouraged to download a beta version of Flash 9 in order to view MySpace hosted video. When they do so, almost all other widgets (YouTube, etc) no longer link out to third party sites because of code inserted by MySpace after a security breach last weekend. Some flash widgets appear unaffected but there is no clear reason why. Being displayed in a music section profile is the only thing that I and several friends could see as different between the few widgets that still link out and those that don’t.

What’s happening with MySpace is not dissimilar from what we saw occur with Oodle, when craigslist pulled their data. This change holds some pretty huge implications, including that so many new web services have been betting on the MySpace strategy to spur adoption and grow their userbase. Herein lies the problem of what we perceive is the “new web”. It’s not always as open and social, as we make it out to be. People are still concerned about dollar $igns.

Indeed, MySpace is showing more and more that they are very concerned about maintaining and protecting their little world from others monopolizing on and monteizing their investment (think SingleStat.us, DatingAnyone, and other services they shutdown). In other words, if you want to take advantage of MySpace, then fork over the cash for advertising.

MySpace was clever with this move though – they didn’t stop those widgets from being on the site. That would have caused a huge backlash from the MySpace crowd. Instead, they put an additional step between the widget and the user. Now, they have to do a search for the widget, instead of just clicking it. With the pathetic attention span of most MySpacers, that’s actually pretty significant (and at the same time, quite sad).

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Ken Yarmosh is a consultant who helps organizations get the most out of their technology investments. He works with technology users and creators across various industries, focusing on technology education and strategy. With over 7 years IT experience, Ken has worked with small businesses, non-profits, federal agencies, and multi-million dollar companies.

His online efforts include acting as the Editor for the Corante Technology Hub and authoring the TECHNOSIGHT blog.