Suboptimal preview, YouTube’s new weapon against ad blockers
January 14, 2024

Suboptimal preview, YouTube’s new weapon against ad blockers

In a recent move aimed at users who use ad blockers, YouTube has launched a new wave of site slowdowns for those trying to skip video ads.

This strategy aims to discourage users from avoiding the platform’s main source of revenue – ads before video. The only obvious solutions offered to users experiencing these slowdowns are either turning off the ad blocker or subscription to YouTube Premium.

The widespread use of ad blockers on YouTube is a long-standing practice of viewers who want to avoid the increasingly frequent ads on the platform. However, this workaround is now flagged as a violation of the platform’s terms of use, it reports 9to5Google. Pre-video ads are a significant revenue stream for the platform, which clearly shows that the company wants to ensure that users either watch the ads or contribute to revenue by subscribing to the Premium service.

YouTube urges users to turn off the blocker to continue watching content

YouTube has adopted a two-pronged approach to discourage the use of ad blockers. The first method involves a pop-up message that explicitly states: “Ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service“, prompting users to turn off the blocker to continue viewing content.

Another, more recently implemented method, involves intentionally slowing down the entire site when an ad blocker is detected, which YouTube calls “suboptimal browsing.” Users on platforms like Reddit have reported sudden lags and unresponsiveness, only to find that turning off the blocker restores normal functioning.

When testing this tool, it was confirmed that YouTube experiences significant performance issues when the ad blocker is active. Videos buffer slowly, previews don’t load correctly, and features like Theater mode or full screen become unavailable without refreshing the site.

Although controlled deceleration not a new tactic, its increased use has attracted the attention of a larger number of users. The controversial strategy leaves viewers with limited options: put up with the inconvenience of a slow experience, or choose between turning off the ad blocker or upgrading to YouTube Premium at a price of ten dollars a month.

The move by Google’s video service has sparked a debate about user freedom and the platform’s efforts to balance user experience with financial interests, leaving many users frustrated by the limited choices offered to them.