YouTube Is Experimenting With a Way to Kill Ad Blockers for Good – "youtube" – Google News

YouTube is getting aggressive in its fight against ad blockers. According to the developer of SponsorBlock, an extension that automatically skips ahead of sponsored content in videos, YouTube is now experimenting with “server-side ad injection.”

This is quite the escalation. In short, server-side ad injection means YouTube is adding advertisements to the video stream itself. Currently, the company delivers its ads to users as a separate video before the video you chose to watch. That allows ad blockers to identify the ad, stop it from playing, and load your video directly. If the ad is part of the video, however, the traditional ad blocker strategy breaks.

Even though SponsorBlock isn’t an ad blocker, this change would break its services, too, as adding ads to the video itself throws off the timestamps of the video. SponsorBlock relies on these timestamps to skip ahead of sponsored segments: As ads vary in length and number, timestamp changes will be unpredictable, and tools like SponsorBlock won’t work as they’re currently designed.

It’s the latest development in the running battle between YouTube and third-party ad blockers. While YouTube has always dissuaded viewers from using ad blockers, the company started cracking down on the tool last year: When using certain ad blockers in some browsers, users saw a pop-up warning them to disable their ad blocker. If they continued to use their ad blocker, they may find that YouTube wouldn’t load for them at all. Even if YouTube didn’t block videos entirely, the site might artificially slow down load times, or skip to the end of the video. YouTube has also gone after third-party clients with ad blockers built-in, so those are no longer a reliable alternative.

This new server-side injection strategy is not official policy yet, and is only reportedly in testing, but it’s clear YouTube isn’t backing down here—and it’s not difficult to understand why. YouTube’s main source of revenue, as with many corners of the internet, is advertising. By using an ad blocker, users block both YouTube and its creators from generating money from views.

Of course, using the internet without an ad blocker is a bit miserable, and has been for years. With the concerning rise of malicious advertising, too, using an ad blocker is actually good cybersecurity practice. Hell, even the FBI recommends you use one.

For YouTube, there’s a clear solution: YouTube Premium. If you subscribe, you can watch YouTube mostly ad-free, without worrying about using an ad blocker that will break your experience with the site. While avid YouTube fans might find value in the service, as it also comes with YouTube Music, casual YouTube users might balk at adding another subscription to their ever-growing list of streaming services. There is a one-month free trial, so you can try it out without financial commitment. And if you are interested, YouTube now offers the following plans:

  • Individual: $13.99 per month, or $139.99 per year (saves $27.89)

  • Family: $22.99 per month, for you plus five others in your household

  • Student: $7.99 per month

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YouTube Is Experimenting With a Way to Kill Ad Blockers for Good – “youtube” – Google News