Back in May, YouTube experimented with blocking people using ad blockers, and now the company is at it again.
“It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback will be blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled,” says a pop-up that appears for some ad blocker users. “Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide. You can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators can still get paid from your subscription.”
The pop-up’s language is very similar to the company’s May experiment.
YouTube confirmed to Bleeping Computer that the move is a “small experiment” to try and push ad blocker users to allow ads on the platform or sign up for YouTube Premium. YouTube also noted it was a global experiment, but it doesn’t appear to affect everyone.
“In extreme cases, where viewers continue their use of ad blockers, playback will be temporarily disabled. We take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube,” the company told Bleeping Computer.
However these experiments play out, it seems YouTube will soon implement some kind of restriction against those using ad blockers. On the one hand, I get it — YouTube makes money off advertising, so it’s incentivized to stop people from avoiding its ads. On the other hand, ads suck! The internet is riddled with advertising and, frustratingly, ads are often privacy invasive or disruptive. It’d be great to see an internet with ads that don’t invade users’ privacy or disrupt their experience, but as long as the ad industry remains dominated by a monopoly, it likely won’t change.