Google admits YouTube’s war on ad blockers is resulting in ‘suboptimal viewing’ experiences

Google admits YouTube’s war on ad blockers is resulting in ‘suboptimal viewing’ experiences

Some YouTube viewers who use Firefox or Edge instead of Chrome have reported having to wait around five seconds every time they try to load a video. In screen recordings shared on Reddit and other online forums, users show how their screen goes blank for a short period when they click on a YouTube video before the page loads. But when they switch to Chrome, that waiting period seemed to be non-existent. Android Authority and 404media, which reported on the users’ complaints, weren’t able to replicate the phenomenon. We also didn’t notice any difference in loading times when we accessed YouTube on different browsers.

Based on the code found by some YCombinator and Reddit posters, YouTube has implemented an anti-adblocker mechanism that’s causing the delays. We did find the snippet of code cited in those threads, but it’s not quite clear what it does. In a statement that Google has provided Android Authority, it admitted that it has implemented a system that’s meant to urge viewers to uninstall their ad blockers. The company said that users who have ad blockers installed “may experience suboptimal viewing” no matter what browser they choose to use

“To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favorite content on YouTube, we’ve launched an effort to urge viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium for an ad free experience,” the spokesperson said. “Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.”

YouTube started cracking down on ad blockers earlier this year, but it went all out earlier this month when it prevented viewers around the world from watching videos unless they disable their apps, add-ons and extensions. The video hosting website is hoping to entice users who couldn’t stand watching ads to subscribe to its $14-a-month YouTube Premium service. Multiple ad-blocking companies have since reported experiencing an elevated number of uninstallations per day since then, but Google has yet to reveal whether YouTube Premium subscriptions have also gone up as a result.

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