Google sponsors ad blocking conference amid YouTube crackdown on ad blockers

While YouTube has started a large-scale campaign against ad blockers, the parent company Google has recently sponsored an ad blocking conference. The Google employees who spoke at the Ad Filtering Dev Conference promised to make it easier for Chrome users to find ad-blocking extensions.

YouTube’s “global effort” against ad blockers follows the platform’s “small experiment” that started in June. The campaign is now expanding to more users around the world. The Google-owned video-sharing platform disables video playback for users with enabled ad blockers. The only way to bypass this is to buy a Premium subscription or continue watching videos with ads.

Meanwhile, Google is sponsoring the Ad-Filtering Dev Summit in Amsterdam. The move comes after a YouTube spokesperson announced using ad blockers violates the platform’s Terms of Service. Besides Google, AdGuard and Eyeo are other sponsors of the event.

Google Chrome development team highlights better ad-blocking extensions on the Web Store

Chary Chen, the developer lead of the Chrome Web Store, also spoke at the event and highlighted her team’s effort to help users find ad-blocking extensions for Google Chrome. She noted, “The ad-filtering extensions used to be in the productivity category, it’s a very generic one.” Chen said they’re adding a new privacy and security category to help users find extensions more easily.

Additionally, the development team is improving the search autocomplete on Chrome Web Store to highlight “higher quality” extensions. “We can totally trust them to recommend to consumers,” Chen added.

The conflict of interest between YouTube and Chrome, when both belong to the same company, is interesting. While YouTube strives to disable ad blockers, Google Chrome developers attend an ad-blocking conference and pledge to promote ad-blocking extensions on the Web Store. The Google employees who spoke at the summit alluded to the essential role of ad blockers in protecting users’ privacy.

Patrick Kettner, a developer advocate at Google, also said the tech company would form an “ad filtering and user privacy product council” later this year to collect feedback from ad block developers.

Other Google attendees at the summit told developers that they can update their extensions as often as they want. Amid YouTube’s crackdown on ad blockers, some developers complained they had to update the extensions multiple times a day to bypass the crackdown.