YouTube is cutting off viewers who use ad block

By 06/30/2023
YouTube is cutting off viewers who use ad block

YouTube is officially “urging” viewers who use ad blockers to turn them off–or it’ll block them from being able to watch videos at all.

This week, some users began noticing a new popup on YouTube warning, “It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback will be blocked unless YouTube is allowlisted or the ad blocker is disabled.”

Viewers get a three-strike chance to turn off their ad blocker. If they watch three videos with the blocker still on, playback will be disabled for their account.


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YouTube confirmed to The Verge that this is a “small experiment” running globally that’s aimed at getting users to turn off their ad blockers, and potentially getting them to subscribe to YouTube Premium. (The popup has a third bullet point letting users know they can subscribe to Premium if they want to keep watching YouTube ad-free.)

YouTube said users will receive multiple notifications before playback is stopped. We’re not sure if users who enjoy their ad blockers will have any way to undo the playback stop once it’s in place, but we’re guessing if there is a way, it’ll involve subscribing to Premium.

“We take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube,” Google spokesperson Oluwa Falodun told The Verge.

“YouTube’s ad-supported model supports a diverse ecosystem of creators, and provides billions of people globally access to content for free with ads,” YouTube added in a statement.

YouTube’s entire creator monetization system relies on advertising, and it’s been bringing in less money since Shorts took off and began sapping viewership from long-form videos. There are ads on Shorts now, too, and that might bump YouTube’s revenue back up, but it’s pretty clear the platform wants to plug the leaks in ad cash flow anywhere it can.

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