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YouTube Implements Video Skipping to Combat Ad Blockers

ByHuey Yee Ong

May 30, 2024

YouTube Implements Video Skipping to Combat Ad Blockers

YouTube has escalated its efforts against users employing ad blockers by implementing a new tactic: skipping videos entirely for those detected using ad-blocking software. This approach adds to the platform’s existing strategies, which have included slowing down video load times and giving users limited ‘strikes’ for ad blocker usage before cutting off playback.

The most recent update has not only exacerbated playback issues—like absent sound and video freezing—but has also pushed users to explore even more inventive workarounds.

How Has YouTube Previously Handled Ad Blockers?

The Google-owned streaming giant initially targeted third-party applications like YouTube Vanced, which allowed ad-free viewing without a Premium subscription, effectively shutting it down in 2022. This was part of YouTube’s broader strategy to convert free users to its Premium service, which offers an ad-free experience among other benefits.

The battle against ad blockers intensified in 2023 when YouTube started to warn users that it detected ad blockers, allowing them the playback of three videos before the service became unavailable unless the ad blocker was disabled.

By January 2024, the tactics had evolved; YouTube began to test the slowing of video load times for users with active ad blockers, as reported by 9to5Google. The progression of these tactics has now led to a point where some users experience videos that skip right to the end if an ad blocker is detected, a problem that resolves once the ad blocker is disabled.

The platform has also witnessed additional playback issues as shared by users on Reddit, where complaints about having no audio and videos getting stuck during loading have surfaced. One Reddit user, SDHD4K, illustrated the latest problem with YouTube’s anti-ad blocker measures: “There’s no sound whenever I use ad blocker on YT. you can adjust the volume slider for a second then it goes mute again,” reported user freemanhl2.

Creative Workarounds by Users

Despite YouTube’s rigorous measures, many users continue to bypass these restrictions. Some, according to discussions on Reddit, have turned to alternative browser extensions such as uBlock Origin, which they claim still functions effectively. Others have adopted plugins like Ad Speedup, which purportedly accelerates ad playback on YouTube up to 16 times faster.

A notable workaround involves using a VPN to set a user’s location to Albania, exploiting a gap where Google’s ad service does not support the Albanian language, effectively dodging YouTube ads altogether. This method has been verified to work on both mobile and desktop platforms.

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Featured Image courtesy of Dado Ruvic/REUTERS

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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