YouTube's battle with ad-blockers is getting ugly

YouTube’s clampdown on ad-blockers is taking a new twist, with the company now delaying the commencement of videos for users who’re skirting ads.

Users of the Firefox and Edge browsers have reported waiting around five seconds before the video begins playing. So, instead of an ad, they’ll now see a blank screen for a period.

Interestingly, the issues doesn’t seem to be affecting users of the Chrome browser, which YouTube shares an owner with.

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Google has admitted hindering video playback for those using ad-blockers, saying they may experience “suboptimal viewing”, but denies Chrome is getting preferential treatment.

In a statement (via Engadget), Google said: “To support a diverse ecosystem of creators globally and allow billions to access their favourite 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. Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using.”

The tactic is Google’s latest effort to discourage ad-blockers. Last month it began blocking video playback completely for some users.

Those affected say a message informing them: “It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide. You can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators can still get paid from your subscription.”

Considering the price of YouTube Premium – which does include YouTube Music and other benefits beyond ad-free clips – is going up to $13.99 in the United States, we’d hope that successful efforts to block ad-blockers are followed by a re-evaluation of that high price.


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