YouTube is gearing up for a significant crackdown on ad blockers, signalling a controversial change on the horizon. The video platform has been conducting consecutive tests aimed at targeting these ad-blocking tools.
In its latest move, YouTube is notifying users with ad blockers that it will halt video playback after three clips unless they adjust their settings to allow YouTube ads or completely disable the ad-blocking tool. The company confirmed that it is conducting a global “small experiment” urging users to turn off ad blockers or consider subscribing to its YouTube Premium service.
Ad blockers are software tools designed to hide or eliminate ads from websites, often bundled within other applications like VPNs or privacy-oriented web browsers.
This latest action comes after YouTube’s previous clampdown last month, which forced some users with ad blockers to enable ads in order to watch videos. The platform had long turned a blind eye to these tools, but it seems they have finally decided to address the issue. During the initial test, users were presented with a pop-up message on YouTube.com, informing them that ad blockers are not allowed on the platform. They were given the option to either allow YouTube ads or switch to YouTube Premium, a subscription service that eliminates ads for a monthly fee of £11.99.
This move is likely to stir divided opinions among users. Ads play a crucial role in supporting free online services, including publishers and social media sites. YouTube, too, heavily relies on ad revenue to maintain its content-filled servers and compensate its multitude of creators.
However, there are those who find web ads intrusive and will continue seeking ways to block them. Critics often point to the overabundance of ads online, especially on YouTube, where they appear before a video starts and during its duration. YouTube has even experimented with displaying up to 10 unskippable ads during longer videos, which has frustrated many viewers.
As of now, while YouTube conducts its experiment, users can still block ads on the platform. Various options are available, such as using ad-blocking apps like AdLock or AdBlock on smartphones, some of which allow users to whitelist their favorite channels while blocking others. Another convenient option is to use a web browser with an integrated ad-blocking setting, like Brave. Some VPNs also include built-in ad-blocking software, such as NordVPN.
For those willing to pay, YouTube Premium offers an ad-free experience and may be the most straightforward option for those less tech-savvy or unwilling to switch to a different browser. Nevertheless, as YouTube toughens its stance against ad blockers, users may face increasing challenges in avoiding ads on the video platform.