YouTube is running an experiment asking some users to disable their ad blockers or pay for a premium subscription, or they will not be allowed to watch videos, BleepingComputer reported.
As first spotted by a Reddit user this week,YouTube will display a pop-up warning some users that “ad blockers are not allowed”. “It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide,” the message adds.
Upon receiving this notification, users will have two options: either disable their ad blocker to allow YouTube ads or consider subscribing to YouTube Premium to get rid of all advertisements. As explained in the pop-up, “you can go ad-free with YouTube Premium, and creators can still get paid from your subscription.”
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed this experiment and said the company urges viewers to try YouTube Premium or allow ads on the platform.
“We’re running a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium,” the spokesperson told BleepingComputer. “Ad blocker detection is not new, and other publishers regularly ask viewers to disable ad blockers.”
IGN reported that Google has announced that it has begun experimenting with a feature that blocks users who have an ad blocker enabled on YouTube.
The initiative was first pointed out by Redditor Sazk100, who posted a screenshot a few days ago which mentions that ad blockers are no longer allowed on YouTube. The pop-up mentions that those that are using an ad blocker will not be allowed to watch videos on the platform unless they enable ads on YouTube or subscribe to YouTube Premium, which includes access to original programming on the platform and the ability to download videos while removing ads.
A YouTube employee also confirmed to a moderator on the YouTube subreddit that the feature is just an “experiment” that the team is currently working on.
According to IGN, Google testing out a feature that curbs ad blockers on YouTube should come as no surprise, especially with YouTube ads becoming more intrusive in recent years. Last year, the company did an experiment that forced users to watch a long chain of short and unstoppable ads.
Elsewhere creators have seen a steady decline in ad revenue, beginning with 2017’s infamous “Adpocalypse.” Many have turned to Patreon and other means in order to make up the shortfalls.
9To5 Google reported that a YouTube employee has since confirmed to the r/YouTube moderation team that, for now, this is just an “experiment”. For now, YouTube is only testing blocking ad blockers.
Really, it’s easy to see why YouTube might enact such a rule, 9to5 Google reported. Ad blockers strip away income generated from videos which pays for the ever-increasing storage and bandwidth needs of that content. But, at the same time, user frustration is also pretty clear. YouTube has been escalating its ad load tremendously in recent years, and YouTube Premium isn’t particularly affordable for occasional viewers at $10/month.
As for me, I started paying for YouTube Premium a while ago, because I find ads to be extremely intrusive and annoying. The subscription costs $10 a month, which feels like a reasonable amount for someone like me who posts a lot of content on YouTube. However, I also understand most people don’t use YouTube the way I do.