YouTube has started preventing users from using ad blockers more widely, leading to spiked uninstalls of ad blockers. The platform shows pop-ups that read “Ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Services” or sometimes completely block the player after 3 videos.
While YouTube’s crackdown affects users accessing the platform through Chrome on laptops and desktops, it does not impact Android or TV apps, YouTube’s mobile site, or videos embedded on other websites, at least for now.
The step which YouTube expanded in October, has led to hundreds of thousands of users uninstalling ad blockers, according to previously unreported figures from ad-blocking companies. However, it has also seen a record number of new ad blocker installs. This is likely because users are seeking alternatives to avoid YouTube’s pop-up notifications.
YouTube spokesperson Christopher Lawton (via Wired) defended the crackdown, stating that ad blockers violate the platform’s terms of service. He highlighted the availability of YouTube Premium, a subscription service priced at $13.99 per month, which offers an ad-free experience. “Ads support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube,” Lawton emphasized.
YouTube manages to deliver ads to thousands of audiences already irritated by them
Munich-based Ghostery experienced a significant increase in both uninstalls and installs during October, leaving usage relatively unchanged. AdGuard is known for its free ad blocking tools used by 55 million people. It saw over 11,000 uninstalls per day in October. Even as users uninstalled ad blockers due to YouTube’s clampdown, installations of other ad blockers surged. It indicates that users really want to avoid ads and they are seeking alternative extensions for it.
The ad blocker blockade of YouTube seems likely to coincide with the platform’s aim to increase the number of ads it shows. Despite the challenges, YouTube remains a significant advertising platform, selling over $22 billion in ads in the first nine months of this year.
Ad-blocking executives argue that ads do not oppose the users in general, but their intrusive or excessive behavior does. They argue that the line is crossed when ads become too intrusive, frequent, or excessively long.