The Blink Tag, Dead at 19



HTMLThe Blink tag died recently, when it's last supporting browser, Firefox, quietly dropped support with the release of Firefox 23. It was conceived by Lou Montulli in the summer of 1994 at St. James Infirmary, a local bar on Castro street in Mountain View. The Blink Tag came to the world when an engineer took Lou's conceived idea and brought it to life the next day. It was quietly released to the world in Netscape 1.0.



Despite its quiet birth, Blink quickly became popular with many developers. In a way, it was the quickest and easiest way for developers to animate text. As Blink's fame (or some would say notoriety) grew, it announced it was moving to GeoCities in the late 90s where it sensed there were 'limitless opportunities'. Blink's intuition was correct, as GeoCities welcomed the tag with open arms. Read This!, Buy Me, advertisements, sales, Blink populated many web pages as a promotional tool to grab readers' attention. As Netscape and Microsoft jostled for browser market share, their markup also began to fight for dominance. Blink wasn't excluded from this and began a fiercely competitive rivalry with Microsoft's Marquee tag for top-billing.


Unfortunately, the phrase "the bigger you are the faster you burn" is true in the case for Blink. When Blink appeared on so many web sites, users' annoyance grew. People just didn't want to see Blink all the time, every day, everywhere. Blink was turning the web into a digital Las Vegas some critics warned. Charges of attention whoring against Blink (and to a lesser extent Marquee)continued to grow.


Unfortunately for Blink, its flicker abilities had possible side affects; accusations of causing seizures for some with photosensitive epilepsy and confusion for those with cognitive disabilities received widespread attention. Many were critical of Blink's poor usability and accessbility. Blink began a slow but steady decline into ignominy and obscurity starting in the early 2000s.


Blink will be especially remembered for its tenaciousness and endless dedication that allowed it to flicker on the web for 19 long years.


Blink is survived in a limited fashion in JavaScript, and CSS animation.