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.