There are no Flash websites

Never say “we have a Flash website”; there is no such thing. You might say: we have a website and it features, amongst a lot of relevant information in HTML pages, a Flash movie and/or application. You might say: we did buy a domain and we decided that a real website would be too accessible for our customers, so it only has a Flash blob on the ‘homepage’.

Flash is to websites what airconditioning is to a car: you might call it luxury, you might call it indispensable, but you cannot call it a car. It’s just airco.

For some reason, people that have experience with creating Flash applications also think they can make websites. “Just throw some Javascript on the homepage and it plays beautifully”, right? Wrong! If you have never heard of proper markup, SEO, the limitations of Javascript and Flash, you should leave making websites to professionals. If you insist that your branding cannot be properly expressed with just HTML/CSS/Ajax, you can add a Flash object to your site. But on its own, it’s a sorry excuse for a website.

Case: Le Fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles
Le Fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles
Le Fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles is a new brand of singlets (‘wifebeaters‘ in English, or ‘marcellekes’ in Bruxellois). The idea is good, the branding is beautiful, the advertising is top-notch (not surprisingly, since the founder is also one of the founders of the ad agency LG&F).

But then you take a look at the brand’s URL: it’s not a website, it’s a Flash blob. The first page is just a Flash detector with no useful information what-so-ever. For search engines, it might as well be empty:

  • the only information that’s not style or Javascript is the following line: <title>Le Fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles</title>. No hint of what the page is about, what the product is about. No description, no keywords, not a word of text. Not one.
  • the homepage only checks Flash compatibility and if your browser can do Flash, shows a clickable image to the actual Flash blob. This link,however, is not in HTML, only in Javascript. So it is not recognized as a link by search engines. For non-human readers, the whole site consists of only 1 page, and a useless one at that.
  • Since Google does show the “One more click and you will be on Marcel, le site officiel (…)” text, which is not in readable HTML on the page, it must be that Google spiders get a different page than regular browsers. That would be cloaking, and Google doesn’t like it.
  • if the search engines would get to the Flash movie page, it would not help. It is totally devoid of anything resembling meta-data. The movie itself is a auto-running slideshow(!) with pretty pictures.
  • In the movie there are moments where you can click on words to get the high resolution photos. Those are beautiful, huge (3MB!) and offered in TIFF(!!) format.

Le Fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles

We can only conclude that “Le Fabuleux Marcel de Bruxelles” is determined to stay as obscure as possible. God forbid some interested person would find them in Google.

11 thoughts on “There are no Flash websites”

  1. FYI (and off the subject):
    wife beaters is American slang for t-shirts from which the short sleeves have been removed. Marcellekes don’t fall in this category as the bit around your shoulder isn’t wide enough. (although I can imagine that in some parts of the US, this might not be true anymore, I was thaught this information being in the north and north east)
    The translation of marcelleke in English is vest. Believe me, it has caused confusion in our household as vest in dutch is something completely different ;-), but you knew that!
    On the subject: so called Flash sites is for loosers

  2. Wikipedia vindt dat de marcellekes toch ‘wifebeaters’ zijn.

    Straffer nog:
    “In the UK and Ireland, the term is occasionally used as slang for the Belgian beer Stella Artois. In British culture, Stella Artois is associated with a drinking culture in which domestic abuse may follow a bout of drinking Stella Artois at the local pub. The name Stella is also linked to the film A Streetcar Named Desire, as this is the name of Brando’s beaten wife.”

  3. I had heard about the Stella Artois connection from the partner of our American friend (Michael) who told us about wifebeaters. As they don’t drink beer, they couldn’t confirm that connection 😉
    Anyway, wikipedia fails to link from wifebeater to the correct word vest (as in Onslow’s vest), the reverse link is there. I’ll have to contact my friend Michael, who didn’t inform me correctly. I bet he will start slagging of wikipedia…

  4. Even worse, those Flash developers keep on using pop-ups! It’s not because they work on a Mac the rest of the world does. PC and pop-ups don’t go well together. On top of that PC users want their windows full screen!

  5. We had some interresting discussions around the office about this ‘site’. The webbies agree it’s not even a site, the seasoned (traditional) advertising people found the concept extremely well thought through and perfectly executed …

    My opinion? If the concept is ‘take a cheap product and try to sell it as expensive as possible’, then the advertising is indeed spot-on. But fucked up must you be to buy a product with that attitude. Better spend that money on a shrink. And the site … ? It’s not a site, it’s old-skool advertising that was too difficult (and expensive) to bring on TV, so let’s do it online.
    HOWEVER … it’s so out-of-the-ordinary that some lost souls may just buy it, and god knows there are many of those. Let them dwell in peace …

  6. guys,

    you don’t know anything about trendiness. pff. just wear the stuff and you’ll see: you’ll finally have good sex.


  7. You forgot to mention that Flash chews bandwidth (usually), so it alienates and/or pisses off all potential customers who don’t have broadband.

    “You don’t have DSL? Huh! We don’t *want* you to buy our product!”

  8. so f what…/ not everyone wants to be a googlewhore. “fabuleux marcel” is fair enough… google it, it’s top result. Easy. Unless you want to spam all “marcel” searches? Then the SEO guy comes in.

    and I have the best sex when I wear stuff without brands. I’m not very much into advertising bimbos/ god I hate brands… but then again nobody knows all my stuff is MUJI (the no-logo brand… yes brand lol)

  9. Daily Candy featured this new brand but no link to the website, which is unusual. After a quick search, I went to the site. In terms of generating sales and market share, it’s completely useless, and as a potential client, totally annoying.

    As far as brand identity goes, the website’s great. HEY! Maybe this is another ploy of the Fabulous French to frustrate Americans…this time on the battlefield of fashion.

  10. Like the website and brand, but I think I will keep buying my ‘Marcellekes’ in the Hema for 4 Euro 😉

  11. Best of html and flash combined:

    – clean xhtml for seo, sitemap, cms compatible
    – browser history, deeplinking within flash
    – diplay the data with flash for eyecandy
    – save bandwidth, download required only on demand

    Sounds like im advertising, but i used it in several projekts and it works very well.

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