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Google starts punishing AdBlock users with unskippable YouTube video ads

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  • October 12, 2015

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A thread has been discovered on the Chromium project issue tracker detailing this as a bug that needs to be fixed. The bug seems to be related to hosted apps being treated as full extensions. So hopefully in the next few days the ad-blocking override will disappear. Thanks to @Ertraeglichkeit for bringing this to our attention.

Ad-blocking extensions are becoming increasingly popular on the Internet, and websites that rely on ads to fund their existence react in different ways. Some have added a tip jar, started a Patreon account, or simply show a message asking visitors to disable the ad blocker. Google, it seems, is taking more drastic action on YouTube and bypassing AdBlock completely. It’s also punishing users for having it enabled.

Multiple reports have appeared on Twitter that even with AdBlock enabled, YouTube is now able to show video ads. It gets worse, though, because Google has apparently disabled the skip option, meaning you are forced to watch the entire ad, which can be multiple minutes long. I guess they want to encourage you to disable AdBlock so the skip option reappears.

 

The tweak made by Google to allow the video ads to work regardless is thought to effect all ad-blocking extensions, not just AdBlock specifically. However, it is limited. It only works in Chrome for now, and only some users are experiencing the change.

What this does show is that Google is working to circumvent ad-blocking of any kind. You can understand why. YouTube relies on ads to generate revenue that helps cover the cost of running all those video-serving servers. Without ads, YouTube is very costly for Google. If ads are blocked, it has the secondary effect of YouTube not being a platform advertisers target. So not only are people watching less ads, there’s less ads to show them.

It seems likely we could get into a war of updates very soon. Google updates services to circumvent ad blocking, and in return ad blockers issue extension updates to override Google’s changes and allow the ads to be blocked again.

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