Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: User penetration of Shockwave Flash. ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: User penetration of Shockwave Flash.
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: dogtanian-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 29 Aug 2005 06:38 PDT
Expires: 28 Sep 2005 06:38 PDT
Question ID: 561724
I'm currently engaged in a debate as to whether or not a website that
I'm involved in SHOULD or SHOULDN'T have Shockwave Flash on the front

My personal opinion is that including Flash will exclude a percentage
of users from the site; and although I realise that it's posible to
script-in an alternative static image for users without flash
installed, I'd really rather the site didn't include flash at all
because - to be honest - I just think it looks cheap and tacky.

I need some compelling arguments to back-up my position:

What proportion of machines do not support Flash (pls provide sources)?
Do corporate-locked-down boxes tend to have flash installed (pls provide sources)?
Can the inclustion of Flash work against Search-Engine rankings?
Are there any other good reasons to back up my stand-point?

Subject: Re: User penetration of Shockwave Flash.
Answered By: muhammad-ga on 29 Aug 2005 08:56 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

1. Flash Penetration/Reach.
Worldwide Macromedia Flash Player penetration     September 2004 
	December 2004  	March 2005  	June 2005

Total number of Web users (IDC) 			522M 			538M 			570M 		574M

Percentage						98.2% 			98.2% 			98.3% 		97.6%
who can view Macromedia Flash content, 
version 2 and higher (NPD) 

Total Macromedia Flash penetration  		512M		 	528M 			560M		 560M

Data Sources
   1. Number of online (Web) users - IDC (International Data
Corporation) Online User Forecast
   2. Flash content version 2 and higher. The sampling error for the
NPD study is +/- 2% at the 95% confidence level.
   3. Based on a U.S. Sample. Total player penetration is a
calculation of the total number of Web users, divided by the resulting
percentage from the NPD survey. This is an assumption made by


?Macromedia Flash Player is the world's most pervasive software
platform, used by over 1 million professionals and reaching more than
98% of Internet-enabled desktops worldwide as well as a wide range of

According to NPD Survey conducted in June 2005, 97.6% computers (that
access Internet) in US have Macromedia Flash Plug-in installed. The
survey also lists Flash penetration in Canada(98.8%), Europe (98.2%)
and Asia(96%),

Please see
for detailed information about this.

About NPD 
?NPD is a leading provider of marketing information on consumer
purchasing and behavior in the U.S. and around the world, with offices
and affiliates spanning North and South America, Europe, Asia and
Australia. NPD is the founder of leading Web measurement service Media
Metrix, Inc. and is a partner in the consumer electronics and
information technology tracking firm NPD INTELECT Market Tracking.?

2. Pre-Installed Flash Plug-in
?Macromedia Flash is preinstalled on Windows 98 and above, and IE 4
and above... as well as AOL 7.0, Netscape 4.06 and above, Real Player,
@Home, Mac OS 8 and above, Prodigy, Web TV, and all Mac G3 processors
and above..?

?In September 2001, NPD Research, the parent company of MediaMetrix,
conducted a study to determine what percentage of Web browsers have
Macromedia Flash preinstalled. The results show that 97.4% of Web
users (that's 386 million people!) can experience Macromedia Flash
content without having to download and install a player. Earlier
studies have put the figure at 77% (King, Brown and Partners 1999),
83% (NPD Online 1999), and 92% (NPD Online 2000).?

3. Flash & Search Engines
Earlier the only limitation which Flash was supposed to have was its
behavior with search engines. This has changed now with the
introduction of ?Macromedia Flash Search Engine SDK?. Macromedia
reports that two search engines, viz, Atomz and Picosearch parse the
existing SWF (Flash) files.

?The Macromedia Flash Search Engine SDK 1.0 provides search engines
with the means to search and index Macromedia Flash (SWF) movies. The
swf2html utility used by the SDK extracts text and links from a
Macromedia Flash SWF file, and outputs it to stdout or to an HTML
document. When a search engine deploys this SDK, users can locate
relevant Flash content when searching by keyword or file type.?

Since you mentioned having Flash content in the front page of your
website, you need not worry about Search Engine Optimization (SEO),
since you can still have META tags like TITLE, KEYWORD and

End Notes
There is a website that has a topic which is related to your question.
This topic, however, is somewhat old and there does not take into
consideration the latest development of Flash, particularly in SEO
Read ?Flash: The Pros and Cons? at

See Also
Optimizing Flash for Search Engines
Some Search Engines Index Flash Content
Can Flash Gain Search Engine Respect?  (This article covers the topic
of your debate),1759,1728697,00.asp
Flash & Search Engines

I hope you find the above information useful. Please feel free to post
a request for clarification or more information.
Google Answers Researcher

Request for Answer Clarification by dogtanian-ga on 29 Aug 2005 14:42 PDT

Great answer - Thanks...

Were you able to find any info on what the trends are with respect to
large companies (Corporates) using a policy to lock-down machines so
that flash is either disabled, or requires an Administrator to
install/enable it?

Thanks again

dogtanian-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.50
Great answer - Thanks!

Subject: Re: User penetration of Shockwave Flash.
From: harvs-ga on 10 Nov 2005 17:24 PST
It may indeed be that flash is installed on that many computers. It is
installed on all my computers. But it is also totally blocked and
disabled at the router and at the browser interface. Because flash is
used extensively for advertising, most ad and spam blockers block any
macromedia content. You can't even get to from my
network, and flash is disabled at all my corporate customer sites. If
you have to have flash to see something, you probably don't want it.
Subject: Re: User penetration of Shockwave Flash.
From: dogtanian-ga on 12 Nov 2005 09:26 PST
hmm yeah.
I agree totaly... flash sucks big style.

alex gener

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy