MySpace, the self-appointed “Place for Friends” has officially decided not to be friends with a whole bunch of folks – Widget Consumers & Vendors. According to Marshall on TechCrunch:
MySpace has taken a step to increase security that disables a key method for third party vendors to spread their services inside the online social network. The company is using new code in a new version of flash that disables outgoing links from flash widgets and it is pushing users to install the blockable version of flash by requiring that they do so in order to view MySpace hosted video. Widgets will operate, but users who have upgraded to Flash 9 will be unable to click to the widget vendor’s site and get a copy of the widget for themselves.
This measure was taken in response to the whole Flash virus fiasco on their site. I understand that MySpace has a legitimate obligation to protect their site and users from the spread of viruses. On the other hand, the very same mechanism that they are using to protect their users is also hurting them (and potential 3rd party developers) as it blocks the user experience (spreading widgets) that they clearly demand.
As the interest in Widgets continues to explode, aggregators like MySpace will have to make some tough choices. These choices will not only shape the emerging “WidgetScape,” but also determine who is in the winner’s circle at the end of the race to own the next generation of aggregation platforms.