The YouTube Apocalypse (RE-UPDATED)
YouTube started to show warnings that ad blockers are not allowed. Currently, in some cases, this shit can be dismissed, and the video will keep playing. This is my case; others report that they really had to disable their ad blocker. Is this Google just flexing their muscles? Are they fishing for feedback? If Google really wants to stop allowing ad blockers on YouTube, why is it that I’m not really affected? Apparently, this operation started four months ago, but it took some time for Google to push it further.
For people who really want to tweak their uBlock Origin, please refer to this Reddit thread: YouTube Anti-Adblock and Ads – October 09, 2023 (Weekly Thread). Just as I was writing this, the following comment popped up: “Just to update people, YouTube has updated their scripts again and uBlock currently doesn’t work as of now (3:30PM EST on 10/15/2023). I followed all 4 steps but it’s still not working.” So this is playing cat and mouse. At first sight, the messy instructions I couldn’t be bothered to read carefully basically seem to mean that if you (1) keep uBlock Origin up-to-date, (2) don’t use custom filters, and (3) don’t use other ad blockers, you should be fine. That is, unless YouTube is one step ahead of uBlock Origin!
By the way, courtesy of Why YouTube NEEDS To Get Worse (a crappy video), here’s how YT is making money from the ads:
Enter Louis Rossmann
I hope you know who this guy is. I’m not going to explain it to you. I’ll only show you his rant on the matter, YouTube blocks adblockers; will this be their downfall? (See also: Why I will NEVER pay for YouTube Premium ever again!)
Now, let me copy here some of the comments on his video, grouped by topic.
1—YouTube/Google are immoral anyway
• The fact they are demonetizing ad revenue from creators at record levels while still collecting the revenue themselves, while also trying to force people to watch said ads simply justifies people’s continued use of ad-blockers.
• Also if Google makes billions in profit from selling our data, then they can afford to have a loss on YouTube.
• I have no problem viewing a billboard on a highway, an advertisement sign when I’m walking into a store, or seeing an ad when I’m reading a newspaper. I do have a problem when all of those things follow me home, take notes on everything I do, tell their friends, then try to convince me that stalking is just their way of creating a “personalized experience” next time I visit the store. In this digital age, most “privacy policies” have little to do with your actual privacy and everything about the ways in which they market your data unless they are legally compelled to do otherwise.
• I have no sympathy for a corporation that was caught harvesting data on minors, giving away broad geo location data to law enforcement on individuals who have no connection to a crime without a court order, or ignoring our constitutional rights and calling it “free speech,” “protection,” and “fact checking.” Youtube could care less about whether or not their resources are taken up by “free tier” people (their other “free” services are proof of that). This is about your data which is “the new gold.”
• There was a long time when I wouldn’t have minded supporting YouTube by paying. Nowadays, I don’t care if it goes under. I’m here for the few creators it hasn’t destroyed yet. The company is absolutely heinous and not on our side. The site has been in a steep decline for years.
My lifetime is worth a thousand times more than advertisers are willing to pay for it. YouTube is not worth the support.
• It would be a lot different if the creators had some say in the ads placement. You’d never see ABC/CBS/NBC/NetFlix allow their shows to just get randomly interrupted by ads they aren’t getting paid for.
2—Their ads are incredibly crappy
• Here’s my 2 cents. If YouTube moderated their ads properly and stopped letting scams, malware, softcore porn, 8 hour ads that are not ads, then maybe people would be more willing to disable, but because Google doesn’t it’s their own fault. Fix the problem instead of blaming the users.
• Also maybe don’t show me the same 2-4 fucking ads over and over. 90% of all ads are scam, fraud, misleading or downright malware. Maybe also don’t track me everywhere.
• Mind you, Ads that most ad providers have no idea what are about, including fake AI ads and malware downloads. Whenever i happen to see the internet without an adblocker I am baffled on the amount of Chinese android games, dating/”meet someone close to you” and “hacking” apps…
• YT should be paying me for filling my tiny brain with 💩 ads.
The sheer amount of Scam companies they allow to advertise on their platform is actually INSANE, yet I get a copyright strike for using an Apple Loop in my music ONCE 😂
The double standards is strong, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to not Hate this platform, yet I love the creators 🤯😭
• So long as ad companies continue to not do anything about malicious code embedded in ads, scam sites, and so forth, ad blockers are a must-have for PC security.
• Ads aren’t just annoying, they’re manipulative and unquestionably evil.
• Not having an AdBlock is a security risk that I’m not willing to take, no matter which creator. I wouldn’t mind half a minute of ads to “support creators”, but since Google/YT can’t be bothered to do literally anything about the scam ads on their site, I will continue to install/use AdBlockers on my and my parents and grandparents devices. And if YT goes under, so be it.
• I started using ad blocker as ads were loading my pc down, even making some pages crash. I whitelisted some pages that cried foul, but they were among the worst offenders.
YouTube until this campaign started had been inlining ads in the video. Now they’ve stopped doing that, they want the other ads to run.
3—YouTube has become unwatchable if ads are allowed
• For those that were around in the early days of YouTube, the ads didn’t block the video itself. Then, when Google bought YouTube, that’s when ads was put on top of the video. Before long, the ads got annoying, hence why I switched to using ad blocker. Should YouTube go back to the early days, when ads didn’t block the video itself, then I’ll be happy to turn off my ad blocker. Until then, my ad blocker stays on.
• When ads where at the start and end (and only one ad, not two in a row) I didn’t have a blocker. The incentive to use a blocker came with the mid roll ads and lots of content creators warned about it. YouTube pushed it past the limit in an attempt to make more money and it didn’t work. They should have stuck with the old ad model which was fine. If something is rare the price goes up, if there is an abundance the price goes down. More advertising opportunities just means the price per second goes down. Because of the push back with ad blockers also the view count went down, the yield to actually reach people dropped, making it even less interesting for vendors. Less advertising would give better view rates, which means you can ask more per second and bottom line earn more than they do now, trashing videos with ads to the point they become either unwatchable or making the viewers resort to an ad blocker to at least be able to watch anything at all.
• Without an adblocker, YouTube is downright unbearably unwatchable. Period. I’d rather quit YouTube completely than spend an insane amount of mental energy and fortitude trying to weather through the trash that is ads.
• It will reach Superbowl levels. 30 seconds of video followed by 6 minutes of ads. Ads are CANCER.
• I had nothing against ads when they were still banners somewhere on the screen telling something like “new store opening” or huge discount. They might attract me (I still check them if the prices aren’t manipulated and stuff so there’s no harm done for anyone). My main problem with ads is how they try to utilize everything that comes from animalistic reflexes rather than reason, how they’re flashy loud and just shout at you “hello you stupid monkey, look at that bright distraction with no actual value whatsoever” on top of that they have maybe 5 ads looped showing all the time and it’s always something like stupid mobile games that aren’t even true to their real “content”.
• I hit my breaking point about a year ago (I’d been adblocker free up until then) when I tried watching a 16 minute video and got 5 ad breaks, one of them a 30 minute one. I got my first anti-adblocker warning about a week ago and reluctantly took it off, and I was stunned at the sheer volume of ads in every video. It’s so much worse than when I left.
YouTube is not free to host and I think an argument can definitely be made for 4 ads — two 5 second unskippable ads at the start, two ads at the end. The number of midroll ads is insane and I really question the people who get into other people’s grills about being “entitled” when they complain about the declining quality of service on the platform. The number, length, and frequently the subject matters are genuinely not okay. There’s also the issue of demonetization, censorship, poor practices, false flags, and disappearing functions that make it difficult to support creators + make it difficult for creators to express themselves without fear of being punished by the system. YouTube isn’t a TV service, it’s a hosting service. The creators make the platform. Paying them encourages them to continue these poor practices.
TLDR, if they were all 5-6 second unskippable ads, I’d be fine. It’s the 30-minute ads or the hour-long episodes that piss me off, because I have to come back to my computer to skip them.
• One of the main reasons I started using an adblocker was because YouTube started putting midroll ads everywhere. It would interrupt the videos and after a while you would see the same unskippable ad multiple times. It got repetitive and just annoying. In later times I’ve ended up just getting YouTube premium, but a lot of people can’t afford paying 50$ for Netflix+Disney+YouTube+other streaming services. If YouTube just put an ad maybe at the start+ one at the end I don’t think as many people would be using adblocker. The good thing about sponsored segments in YouTube vids is that they are skippable, but also the creators usually put their own spins on them. I see a lot of creators that make the ad not even look like an ad for the first 30 seconds of the ad
YouTube has kinda dug their own grave IMO. They would be way more profitable if they didn’t focus too much on increasing the profits these past few years. From what I heard they pay their creators less, put more ads, Ads usually have 0 relevance to the person they are trying to advertise to ETC. I guarantee you YouTube were profitable back in the days, but they got greedy and wanted to find more ways to increase profits
Ads in itself has been a horrible thing no matter where you are though. It’s actually gotten so bad that I am paying 60$ a year for a paid adblocker instead because no matter what website I go to I get so many ads that it makes the whole experience on that website 100 times worse. I understand that you have to make money and you can’t run the site for free, but the amount of ads you get in a day is insane. The stats on my Adblocker are 1.6 MILLION ads blocked since June! It’s insane… And that is with YouTube premium so it doesn’t even count those ads that I would have been getting (I watch a lot of YouTube as well).
Edit: Also I guarantee you if they were paying their creators more and not demonetizing them as often, People would be more than happy to watch an ad before a 10-minute video or see some ads when you are scrolling on the main page, but it’s like TikTok, you have ads that are made to look like its someone that has posted it and it is usually for some crappy mobile game that took someone 10 minutes to make that are littered with ads themselves.
Edit #2: I just tried going to incognito and disabled my adblocker. I went onto one video and got two unskippable 15 second ads. When they were done I immediately skipped 1/3 of the way through the video and got another 2 unskippable ads 15 seconds each…. I then skipped another 3 minutes ahead and got ANOTHER 2 unskippable ads for 15 seconds each. That is 1 min 30 seconds of ads and I had not even watched the part of the video I wanted to look at yet… It’s actually insane how shit the experience is when you don’t have adblocker/premium.
• Here is my issue with ads on YouTube: They are beyond reasonable, rarely actually take feedback to stop showing the ads I don’t want to see, and on top of the creators setting the amount of ads on their content YouTube puts their own additional ads of up to 5 min in length. The worst of it being you must wait a predetermined amount of time before skipping them. I have no issue in continuing to do what I need to fight back against their attempts to block adblockers, or in time do what I did with TV and leave YouTube entirely for the same reason – the frequency of ads interrupts the consumption of the media I’m attempting to view which in turn causes me to lose interest in consuming it in that manner.
I can’t count the number of times when not using an adblocker I have clicked on a video just for the first thing I see be 1-4 ads, some unskippable entirely, before the video starts. Then less than 1 min into the video, another ad shows, and this repeats up to 7 times in a 10-minute video. On top of that, there are ads left and center of the screen. Then the creator puts an additional 30 second to 1-min sponsored ad in their video, that if I skip past puts me into the auto-ads strewn throughout the video. That is being hyper aggressive with ads. Back when I did watch TV, I was glad the day DVR came out so I could skip past ads only to eventually find out that the 1-hour shows I recorded started ending up being maybe 35 minutes give or take max. Now to consume a 10 min or less video I have to deal with skipping 7 times or deal with up to an additional 5-7 min or more of ads on a talking head video. That is outrageous that it can be made that aggressive on top of the forced ads from YouTube.
This on top of the hyper aggressive amount of space ads take up on most websites is the reason adblockers became as popular as they are now, not to mention the deceptive practices that is hidden in hand held devices which turn a microphone on to pick up keywords in nearby conversations in order to make targeted ads. I know this happens, I have had a conversation about looking into getting something at Lowes, Home Depot, or looking into a certain product without doing any searches and suddenly the next time I open my phone and pull up google to see what random news stories are suggested to me I see various ads about the very thing I spoke about but never did a search on being recommended via adsense.
Edit: To those who would make claim it is pulling this from my account wide searches, no. I have two separate accounts that I use. One strictly on my phone and one strictly on PC for various reasons. One of which was to prove a point as early as two years ago when someone made that very same suggestion calling me paranoid. Thus, if I have never attached the other account in any way on my phone as the one I use on PC and vise versa, why is my phone suggesting ads I haven’t searched for yet have had recent conversations about? Not paranoia if it has already been proven in the past by credible websites also. Just saying, it is one of the reasons why I entirely back adblockers on top of the other reasons already listed above.
• Well, back in the day, as you might remember. YouTube used to have ads right beside the videos. But then they changed it to be forced into the viewer. They could just put it back on the side. No need for adblocker, if the ad isn’t actually in the way. I don’t mind having ads on the sides of webpages, because i only click them if they actually interest me. This would also allow for more ad time, and different ads throughout the play time of the video.
4—Freedom! And mental sanity…
• Speaking as someone who will not visit a website that refuses to let me see their content unless I turn off my ad blocker… I would most likely discontinue watching YouTube if there is no way to avoid ads. But honestly, ads and ad blockers have always been in an arms race. I’m not sure they can actually enforce such a policy, and I’m not that worried about it being a long term problem.
• Yeah, there is 0 way I’d use YouTube if I was forced to watch ads. Anytime a website hits me with the “disable adblock” banner, I leave the website. There’s nothing I want enough that I’d be willing to waste my life watching an ad to get access to.
• I would sooner pay (ad-blocking company) $18 a month before I ever pay for YouTube’s “premium” plan.
• Well, I was already considering dropping YT anyway. The algorithm isn’t good for my mental health on multiple levels. It keeps triggering a phobia created from a video they allowed into their feed. Granted, it’s getting back to normal a year later, but they don’t give a crap about side effects of their actions anymore. It’s clearly greed and minimizing liability at this point and then justifying the means.
• Five years ago, I gave up my cable TV subscription because I was inundated with commercials. As far as I’m concerned, the same thing awaits YouTube, once I can no longer block ads. After all, my life doesn’t depend on YouTube.
• There was a period when Facebook managed to circumvent adblocks about a decade ago (or is it two already), and that’s when I stopped using that platform. Not out of any principle, but because I found it unusable. Like many North Europeans I have a strong aversion to invasions of my personal space of that sort and when FB started recommending escort services I was disgusted and pretty much scared off the platform. So for me, the same will no doubt happen to YouTube. FB is still doing kind of ok, but any problems it has is not because of the ads. I think YT would be the same, but it would be a very different, even more commercial platform. While I do watch YT quite a bit, in the end it’s not that important to me. I would look for other sources of entertainment. Might even be good for me, YT can get rather same-y.
5—They are selling your data anyway
• Rest assured, Louis, YouTube makes money even when ads are blocked. Yes, Ads are their primary revenue stream, but they also sell analytics… Selling my information and what type of content I watch so that I can be targeted for advertising outside of YouTube.
• The way YouTube uses ads makes it difficult to watch content on their platform without an adblocker. When it was 1 ad that was skip-able after 5 seconds and then you could watch the whole video, it was fine. Now there are several ads that are unskippable. It is my opinion that that YouTube has created a feedback loop of “people are using adblock, we need more ads in each video. Even more people are using adblock, we need to add more ads to each video.” and now we have this dumpster fire. But the other part of the problem is that YouTube is part of the Google ecosystem that collects data about users and then gets sold to data brokers. I understand that if a service is free then we are the product. What I have a problem with is that even if I paid for YouTube premium they would still collect and sell my data. If premium was something like $20/yr and came with a promise of “we won’t collect your data while using this platform” then I’m happily pay for premium, but that isn’t their business model.
There is also the macro-scale data that google collects with YouTube by monitoring trends and being able to sell that to advertisers. They don’t bundle their data collection profits in with YouTube Revenue. If YouTube was as big as a money loser as they say it was they say then the first place they would cut money from is the YouTubers making money. Google isn’t a search or a video company, they are a data company. They take the revenue from data they get from YouTube off the YouTube balance sheet so they can report it as a loss. There are YouTubers who make millions of dollars a year off the platform and if YouTube was losing as much money as they say they are then they simply wouldn’t be able to pay out that kind of money to content creators.
• You bring up an EXTREMELY valid point about what you are effectively describing as what I like to call USER ENTITLEMENT. People really have, for far, far too long, been stuck in this entitlement phase of the internet thinking that they should always be entitled to what they want to watch on YouTube when that doesn’t work in reality, or doesn’t even work for the internet itself (as you have to pay for the internet, whether by cash money or your security and privacy through “free” Wi-Fi; remember folks: if something is “free”, YOU are the product). I’ve watched this entitlement grow worse and worse as YouTube got bigger and bigger. This phenomenon also happens within the manga scanlation and light novel/web novel translation “communities” where the readers feel so god-damned entitlement to what they are reading that they DEMAND the people produce more, faster, and without pay (this is a whole other can of worms I won’t get into since that’s a white paper essay all on its own, just like with video game modding. the tl;dr is basically no one should monetize someone else’s property, but receiving donations from people for the work done is a-ok!).
YouTube literally cannot sustain itself with the projection it’s going. Alphabet/Google aren’t forever going to have YouTube be the loss-leader it has always been. Something’s gotta give, esp considering the sheer exabytes that YouTube stores for all these videos. For all the complaining that I and many others do on this gods-forsaken website, it’s honestly a wonder it hasn’t literally imploded on itself. This platform is mostly a time killer for the vast majority of users anyway, and is IMHO 10x worse than most social media at completely and utterly destroying the attention span of people due to how dopamine works in our body. And now that I’ve reminded myself of that, I need to get off YouTube and actually go do something, even if it’s a Saturday, lol.
• I have a solution I think. They should charge content creators for the bandwidth and storage costs, and then they should content creators get pretty much all of revenue made of ads. That way a content creator would be able to choose for instance to get his own sponsors or choose the basic YouTube ads. Win for content creators as they get paid fairly. Win for YouTube as they can just make money on their service, win for us because we can choose to block ads or sponsor a specific creator.
• We must all do the right thing, which is screw the ads and ads companies. Create and use an adblocker that actually loads and plays the ads in a separate, closed, silent window.
I’m perfectly OK with sponsored content, i.e. segments where YouTubers talk about stuff they’re OK with supporting.
That said, I haven’t seen that screen yet. To date, YT hasn’t ever nagged me about using an adblocker.
9—Is YouTube going to fail?
• Oh Louis. At their level it’s not about making money. They print it out of thin air. It’s about manufactured consent, power and control. They will never be allowed to fail unless the next thing is controlled too.
• As long as you keep consuming their content, they are going to see it as a loss-prevention issue. And they will be right. When people stop using YouTube, then they may consider scams, malware, softcore porn, etc. to be a problem. But as long as you are saying “I want that yummy content, I just don’t want to pay,” they will see themselves as better off without you.
• This won’t end well for YouTube. They will frustrate users and people will find alternatives. Not to mention the adblockers will eventually find a way to work around their “blocks”.
• This will not be the end of YouTube! YouTube is too big of a juggernaut to just fail suddenly. The reason why YouTube are making these horrible changes is because there’s no real competition.
• I think what might be a valid argument for this being the nail in the coffin is if YouTube’s “kick out adblockers” policy throws the baby out with the bathwater – ie, if the people without adblockers (who would normally get the ads and “pay” for their content that way) stop using YouTube, and people with Premium cancel their subscriptions, with the stated reason of “You’re being overbearing on anti-adblock” – but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
• I have a theory as to why people say that banning people who use ad block may end up being the downfall of YouTube, it’s not that this small percentage of users will fade away quietly and save them costs yet causing small outrage, but instead cause them to raise more awareness and more people realize “wait so if I don’t allow the ads to play at YouTube’s discretion and allow them to make it as annoying and time-wasting as possible to maximize their profits, they’ll just deny me being able to use the service free unless I pay premium to remove the ads even if it doesn’t give me a product worth the money I pay?!?” It may just embolden new approaches to blocking ads that perhaps are easier to implement and once the advertisers get wise that the new method has been implemented and it’s harder to stop than previous ones, it may cause YouTube to have actually less revenue than it would be if they tolerated a small percentage of their users blocking ads, it could cause a knock on domino effect whereas more progressively competent and harder to detect ad blocking methods for it, without Google just totally violating all privacy their users are expected to have (by law even in some places which may not allows to clean methods to detect ad blocking below the level normally allowed access on the device) just causes advertisers to eventually abandon ship or withdraw how much money they’ll pay out so much that the entire service collapses due to the back of funding just because they couldn’t stand a small percentage of power users using their services for free, sometimes you’ve got to avoid poking the hornets nest.
• It really depends on how many people YT kicks off the platform for using an adblocker. If YT kicks off a majority of the viewers, then yes, it could kill YT. But it really depends on how far they are willing to take this. The most I have seen so far is a ‘popup’ that say “Adblockers are not allowed on YT”, I close it out, and watch the vid as normal. IF YT kicks me off for doing that, then I will simply say; “Fine! You don’t want my traffic, then you shall not have it.” And I’ll leave it at that. It’s not like I watch many vids on YT these days anyway. And I can easily go without.
• I use adblockers indiscriminately but actively will support channels myself of my own accord when a creator has warranted such support from me (usually by whitelisting their channel so that i watch a few ads to give them some revenue), but there is an easier, and less aggressive way to advertise on this platform that YouTube refuses to take on. The rampant 3-5 unskippable ads that take up a ridiculous amount of time, have appeared so often they push those who are not using an adblocker, to try and acquire workarounds because they choose (like me) to not be complacent. I am not complacent because if I have to watch a minute and thirty seconds of unskippable, nonstop ads to see a content creator, I will not want to watch a video, and it may genuinely be important to view that video if I need something like a video on how to stop bleeding or learn to perform an otherwise urgent medical exercise to save someone’s life in the immediate moment.
Maybe just don’t have ads for things that help save lives, stopping artery bleeding is pretty important as you can lose your life in less than 4 minutes, half of that might be ads for goddamn M&M’s and some niche company that lets you hang paintings on walls with magnets, or what seems to be REALLY popular as of late, is softcore porn and malvertising. Even if that’s not the specific circumstance, I still believe I (and anyone else who wishes to excercise it) have the right as an individual to ignore and not view ads if they do not want to, and companies that imply we don’t have that right are trying to make money, but they’re being so aggressive and militantly insistent with wishing to shove advertising in our face that we may be equally as aggressive in blocking their advertisements. They refuse to use less aggressive, non-intrusive advertising and therefore it gives me incentive to go search for tools that agree with my sentiment that I do not want to see advertisements.
I would turn off my adblockers, much like everyone who uses them for the same reason, if advertisements stayed unobtrusive, and did not actively impact my ability to use the site. YouTube refuses to listen, much like they failed to listen to us when we did not want dislikes to be removed. And might I add, they still monetize WORK THAT WAS NOT CREATED BY THEM for their own profit. It’s not illegal, it’s part of their clause when you upload content, but it’s still deeply immoral that creators who supply content for this platform are not paid when YouTube puts ads on those videos, and never gives a dime to them.
All of these things coming together, all that it is doing is starting an arms race, and I have decent confidence adblock devs will be stubborn enough to win it.
• I put off using an ad blocker on YouTube for quite a while because I wanted to support the creators I enjoyed watching, and I did recognize that I was receiving a service for free, so allowing ads to play, even though I never really attentively watched them and I don’t think I’ve ever bought something I saw in one, was a way that I could support the platform that was supporting the creators I enjoy.
Then I had to watch 2 ads before the video instead of just one. Then I learned that YouTube puts ads on videos that the creators couldn’t monetize and kept all the profits. Then I heard that they were putting ads on videos that creators could monetize but had chosen not to, and were keeping all the profits. Then I noticed that the total runtime of the ads was frequently longer than the runtime of the videos they were interrupting. Then mid-roll ads started being played multiple times per video. Then the quality and content of ads started to shift away from potentially useful products or services and more towards scams, misinformation campaigns, inappropriate themes, tasteless media presentations. Then I heard many of my favorite creators recount multiple instances of YouTube being at best, unhelpful, and at worst, actively hostile towards them, showing blatant favoritism, creating an environment that favors bad actors and suppresses attempts to resolve legitimate grievances. And my personal favorite, particularly relevant at this time of year, I learned that I have no control over the type of ads that are displayed. I don’t want to see ads about grossly intimate personal grooming products, I don’t want my favorite cover of Silent Night to be interrupted by a loud, abrasive fusillade of noise and grotesque imagery from the latest horror movie, I don’t want to hear about the latest free energy, free money, free housing, free happiness scam. I learned that it’s exhausting to have to wade through the drivel that gets stuffed into my face when I leave ads on, so now I don’t. I was happy to support the creators and the platform, but the experience YouTube created has driven me to want to find other means to support creators, and to want to not support YouTube at all if I can avoid it.
I don’t think that eliminating ad blocking users will kill YouTube directly, but reducing their user pool so much will have an effect on their business, I think. They are so huge right now because there are so many people using their service. Even if I don’t watch their ads, I am part of the audience that makes businesses want to advertise on the platform. If there are 10 million people on the platform (a gross underestimate I know), even if half of them have ads blocked, a business still sees 10 million potential ad targets, but if those people who were blocking the ads disappear, suddenly there’s only 5 million potential ad targets, and maybe that business goes somewhere else to try to find a larger audience.
Now, what do I think about all this?
There are several aspects to be considered.
Indeed, we got used to “free Internet contents”! Strictly speaking about YouTube, many years ago, it was limited to 480p and 10 minutes per video. For more, the content creator had to pay. Nowadays, only resolutions with “enhanced bitrate” (1080p+) require a Premium YT account for the viewer. Generally, consuming various streaming Internet contents is mostly free, which means it’s too cheap. What’s this, communism?!
The “ad blockers revolution”
Indeed, whether you consider it a “theft” or not, almost everyone who’s not retarded is using ad blockers nowadays. Life is sooooo much easier with them! (By the way, Firefox under Android supports uBlock Origin, did you know that?). However, this cuts the main revenue mechanism for those websites. This can’t go on forever.
But you’re the actual product anyway, right?
Most websites, by using cross-domain cookies, and by other means (they “sell your information” in one way or another, they “spy on you”), might still make money out of your visits, even if no advertisement is shown to you. This might however be too little to match their costs… or their targets. Using script blockers erodes even more of their monetization of your data.
Without ad blockers, life is impossible
That’s the crux of the problem. Not only YouTube is unwatchable without ad blockers, but almost the entire Internet is a jungle where ad blockers are a requirement!
In the good old days of the beginning of mass Internet, ad blockers were simply unnecessary, as ads were usually top or bottom banners. Just this. No active contents. Not even flashy animations. Now, the contents is a secondary part of a web page: most of it is meant to screw your brains… and your CPU!
Without ad blockers, life is dangerous
Now we come to malware. Too many ads and spying scripts are full of malware. This makes ad blockers and JS blockers (if you’re really paranoid) a security measure that’s more effective than any other security product.
While the scripts are mostly the responsibility of the site owner, the crappy ads are usually Google’s fault. They would serve just anything, without even trying to check for malware. Oh, and how poor taste or obscene are some such ads!
Life is even worse in the apps for Android. Here too, there were good times when everyone included top, middle or bottom banners, being them animated or static; that was acceptable. But almost everyone nowadays, possibly incentivized by the low payments by Google, opted for full-page video ads, which most of the time are super-loud, super-crappy, often obscene. Apparently, there is no option for the developers to control what kind of ads would Google serve to you. So you get the crappiest crap for Google!
There’s evil outside Google’s ecosystem too
That’s right. The “6-minute ads for 30-second contents” model exists even where ad blockers can’t be used, and where the ads are inserted by the provider of the original contents. In Germany, I often have to disable the ad blocker on some sites if I want to be able to access them, but then I have to watch a 25-second ad to be able to access a 30-second real content! Why am I even trying to do that?! That’s insane!
What’s going to happen, then?
As far as YouTube is concerned, I believe that it won’t fail in the near future. Even if some people will stop watching it, or they will watch it less and less, I’m not sure that that will be such a disruptive change for YT/Google. They will start by lowering the payments to the content creators in the first place. And that means that some creators will leave YT. How many of them, though? And how bad will this be?
Why I’m actually optimistic
I’m usually overly pessimistic, waiting for the Apocalypse to happen. As you might have noticed, it didn’t come yet.
In this particular case, should YouTube lose momentum, this will be a great thing, after all! Why is that so, IMO?
There was too much junk anyway
Currently, there is way too much junk on YT. While the most retarded influencers and other vloggers who post daily updates of zero value are on TikTok, YT too is full of shit, abounding of narcissists who believe they’re so important that an entire planet must be able to watch them. Like in a supermarket when you can’t find a useful item because 1,000 useless or harmful products are hiding it, YT is less usable as it is nowadays. And it harms your mental sanity!
The exact number of YT channels is unknown. Some say there might be 50 M channels, but they might be more. Based on my interest, I selected maybe 500 channels that I keep grouped by topic in about 200 text files. Considering some other major languages and many more interests, let’s say 5,000 channels are unquestionably valuable. That barely makes 0.01% of all! OK, let’s be generous and say that 0.1%, or one in a thousand channels, is worth existing. All the others are the haystack that hide the needle!
Bear in mind that all this crap takes disk space and requires energy to be streamed. So much valuable work is wasted on… what? Narcissism? It’s an eco-crime!
Value-wise, there are films and TV shows of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s that have been lost forever (even the BBC has lost or has overridden important tapes, because they’re dumb as shit), or that are available in a quality that’s barely usable, but incredibly huge amounts of crap are to be stored forever, in 1080p or more, by YT/Google! This is unthinkable.
Also, YT isn’t adequate for proper video consumption. If a prolific channel’s maker doesn’t make playlists, navigating in their thousands of videos is mission impossible. Searching in one channel’s video isn’t an option, as Google wants you to search in the entire YouTube cesspool. Just like Facebook, Google doesn’t care about you, but rather wants to drown you in as much crap as possible. If they cared, they’d have implemented a possibility to navigate in a channel’s videos by date (year, month, day), and to search in a specific channel.
Junk is also the content that has value per se, but which could have been replaced by a text with images, such as a blog post or an article. Too many people are just speaking in front of the camera (a combination of laziness and arrogance, when it’s not cupidity), instead of fucking write down their monologue! This is a waste of time for the viewer and a waste of energy for the planet–not only for the initial view, but also for the subsequent views, because there’s no other way to take another look at that information! With an article, once your browser has accessed it, you can read and reread it, you can ponder on a paragraph or a statement and, even more important, it’s searchable! Such content creators must be discouraged, and YT going more restrictive might just have such an effect on them too.
It will be good for the mental sanity–and for the quality
Let’s hope that most of the crap will relocate to TikTok, and that YT will somewhat increase in value. Let’s also assume that those content creators who currently produce 20-minute videos instead of 5-minute ones, despite the limited information conveyed (they do it for monetization!) will increasingly be ignored by the public. Some other things might change too.
And even if we’ll all have to pay to use YT, is this such a bad thing? Most people would only pay for valuable content. (Of course, I might be too optimistic. There are people paying for anything–think of the micropayments in the context of games and of TikTok.)
After all, which are the alternatives?
For general use, Dailymotion has become unusable (mandatory ads), Vimeo is inadequate, Metacafe died in 2021… and that was the mainstream.
Alternative platforms such as Rumble, Odysee, PeerTube, Playeur (formerly known as Utreon), Twitch? I’m not sure they’ll gain momentum. I might be wrong, but I wouldn’t care about them, the way I don’t care now. And 80% of YouTube’s current visitors might feel the same.
For quality content that one has to pay to access, currently Nebula and CuriosityStream are the most likely beneficiaries. That is, for documentary-like videos. For e-learning, there are many other places of great earnestness and seriousness of purpose, none of which comes free. That’s just fine.
For crap? Try TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. (The ad system used by Facebook is almost OK. Ish.)
Some content sources will never leave YouTube
There are already some channels on which there are no ads by YT, but only a channel’s own ads. Such channels are paying for this privilege! Who are they?
Why, the streaming channels belonging to major, mainstream TV stations! Also, many streaming events are hosted on YT, and they’ll keep doing that, as YT’s infrastructure is solid. If they pay so that YT doesn’t add extra ads, then you’ll be able to watch just them, and the experience won’t be any worse than it is now.
My hopes for a distant future
As a utopian, I dream for a day when most of the Internet won’t be free. Yes, I know that when something is free, you are the product, and this is exactly my point. People should stop accepting that, and serious, valuable and safe options should exist. Today, even if one pays for a mainstream newspaper that has all or part of its contents behind a paywall, they still need to use an ad blocker, or else the site will be grotesquely full of shitty ads. This has to stop.
If things don’t change for the best, that’s all the better. People will be able to go back to reading. Books on paper or electronically. Newspapers and magazines on paper! Current news reports on those YT channels that successfully replace the need for TV sets.
Then, videos on paying networks (to be watched on TV, smart TV, Internet) and paying websites (Nebula, CuriosityStream, etc.).
We need a detox. We, the remaining dinosaurs. Anyone under the age of 30 is already retarded, and using TikTok. This planet has absolutely no future, and it won’t enter the 22nd century with mentally sane humans. Amen.
They decided I was too privileged:
For some reason, though, I’m still able to watch their videos! I just refreshed the page and I could watch the video! I suppose I have to thank uBlock Origin for that.
Either way, the funny thing is that YouTube video downloaders such as 4K Video Downloader still work, and they don’t use any ad blockers 😉
A revolution might have started! Louis Rossmann, on Oct. 18: The best way to watch online video; my yearlong project is finally done!
This is about the Grayjay app for Android. Source code. A more technical presentation by Koen Jeukendrup and Kelvin Keultjes.
However, as I commented on Louis’ video:
This is brilliant. HOWEVER, I DO NOT WANT ANOTHER APP! I have 215 user-installed apps on my Android, and I don’t want one more. Furthermore, I mostly access YT on the laptop, because this is more convenient. Even on Android, I access YT in Firefox with uBlock Origin, and I have disabled Google’s retarded YT app. Therefore, I will NOT use this app, however brilliant it might be. If it’s not a web app that would work in Firefox, thanks, but no, thanks.
Excellent work, as it supports several platforms, and it can download the videos for later offline viewing, but IMO this is the wrong solution. My life does not belong to my smartphone, and I want to keep it this way.
No, just refreshing the page doesn’t seem to work anymore in Firefox: the black screen of death is there to stay. If I log out from my Google account, I can still watch the videos, though, but for how long?
Of course, I might be able to avoid the worst for some time by using Chrome, a VPN, or one of the other Google accounts (I have 3 of them). But this can’t work forever, methinks.