Uh-oh. Do you use an ad blocker? You probably do. But if you also like to use YouTube, you may soon have to turn off that handy dandy ad skipper. YouTube is testing taking a hardline against ad blocker usage on its interface, using its own version of tactics other websites employ. Instead of blocking you from viewing page content if you’re using an ad blocker, YouTube could soon block you from viewing its videos. Ads, it seems are at the center of every conversation right now.
YouTube’s Ad Blocker Crackdown Is Ramping Up
As we saw on The Verge, in June, YouTube was running “a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium.” This experiment entails warning users that they may no longer be able to watch videos on YouTube if they don’t disable ad blockers. If an ad blocker is active, users will be able to watch only three videos on YouTube before the platform stops letting them watch any more. And, as of October, it seems like this test has been ramped up in scope, with many users suddenly receiving the ad blocker warning.
Gizmodo reports that, initially, warnings against ad-blocker usage on YouTube could be immediately closed or closed after a brief period of time had elapsed. But now, when a user receives these YouTube pop-ups, they cannot close out of them and continue to view videos on Youtube unless the ad-blocker is disabled.
YouTube and Google’s Perspective
Google spokesperson Oluwa Falodun shared with The Verge, “We take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube… In cases when viewers feel they have been falsely flagged as using an ad blocker, they can share this feedback by clicking on the link in the prompt.”
Additionally, YouTube communications manager Christopher Lawton noted that using an ad-blocker violates YouTube’s terms of service.
Of course, YouTube taking a stance against ad blockers is one we might have seen coming. One of the perks of YouTube’s paid version, YouTube Premium, is an ad-free experience. If users can get an ad-free experience anyway, they may not be as incentivized to sign up. The company shares, “YouTube’s ad-supported model supports a diverse ecosystem of creators, and provides billions of people globally access to content for free with ads.” There is, however, the fact that YouTube Premium costs $13.99/month, which is no small price to pay, especially as other streaming platforms become more expensive and complex to navigate.
YouTube shares finally, “We want to inform viewers that ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, and make it easier for them to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.” We imagine that is indeed what the platform wants.
Originally published on June 29, 2023.