Don't know about other people but I really hated the electronic flashes. Especially the ones that come with the camera with their tiny area. The only thing they do is insert their harsh light, create strong shadows and kill the mood in any picture. There is not much improvement with the shoe mounted flashes if one uses them in default mode.
When one leaves the camera on automatic mode then the flash forces the camera to a certain shutter speed and aperture regardless of the available light. This may cause one of the two: Stronger then required illumination, the flash overwhelming the existing light, or the flash may not fire, the computer inside the camera deciding there is no need for the extra light.
In short one needs to learn how to use the flash. I noticed I get much better results if I set the flash to slow synch mode. Then the available light is balanced with flash light. Also use second curtain synch which gives a more natural look to anything that moves. All this is described in most photo books that deal with the subject. Nothing new here.
The "discovery" I made recently is how much putting a softbox on the flash changes things for the better. Makes a huge difference. It is amazing. And it is so cheap it is crime not to have it.
Can be purchased anywhere, it's $12 here
I had quite a few images accepted recently using this simple gizmo