YouTube is determined to “dismantle” ad blockers

19:56 17/06/2024

2 minutes of reading

YouTube is continuing its fight against ad blockers. Earlier this week, SponsorBlock, a popular ad blocking software, said the Google-owned video service was testing server-side ad injection with certain users.

Typically, ads are inserted into videos on your device (client-side ad injection). Now, with the new method, ads are embedded into videos right from YouTube’s servers before reaching the user’s device. This makes it difficult for ad blocking software to detect and remove ads effectively.

“SponsorBlock’s timeline ad blocking feature will be disabled because the video time has now been shifted due to ad insertion,” said a SponsorBlock representative.

A Google spokesperson seemed to confirm the testing. They said YouTube is “improving performance and reliability in delivering both original video content and advertising content”. This update “may affect the viewing experience for users using ad blocking software”.

Google reiterated its stance that ad blocking software “violates YouTube’s Terms of Service” and that users who want to watch ad-free videos should subscribe to YouTube Premium.

This is just the latest step in the long war between YouTube and ad blocking software. YouTube is constantly finding ways to overcome these software, while ad blocking software developers are working to update to adapt. In fact, last year, YouTube implemented a notification window asking users to turn off ad blocking software if they want to watch videos.

Multiple ad blocking software developers say YouTube is “continually investing to prevent ad blocking” and “seems to be adjusting its practices more often than ever.”

Recently, an email from AdGuard, another ad blocking software, said that the server-side method of inserting ads may be new on YouTube web, but the service has adopted the same method across apps mobile from before.

AdGuard remains “optimistic that solutions will emerge, although it will require concerted efforts and creative approaches from ad blocking software developers and the ad filtering community”.

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