YouTube admits deliberate slower load times to deter ad blockers
In a recent statement by a spokesperson, it appears YouTube has been deliberately slowing down loading times for browsers using ad blockers. For a few days users have been reporting delays on non-Chrome browsers, and it appears these delays were intentional. This new move comes as part of a larger crackdown by YouTube in recent weeks on people using ad blocking extensions when using their platform.
YouTube’s war on ad blockers
For a few weeks now, video-sharing giant YouTube has been waging a war on ad blockers. This first began around a month ago when users reported that YouTube was refusing to let them use the platform without disabling their ad blockers. People using such extensions on their browsers encountered a message telling them to disable said extensions or consider switching to YouTube Premium.
Many were angered by the change, and sought workarounds to the block. It didn’t take long for major ad blockers to release patches that let users access the website again. Since then YouTube has been continually finding new ways to block people using ad blockers. Meanwhile, developers of ad block extensions keep releasing patches. Now YouTube has taken it a step further and begun slowing down the experience for people who refuse to disable their ad blockers. Though these delays don’t seem to currently affect Chrome browsers, it’s very likely this will be rolled out everywhere soon.
Users seek alternative means to block ads
As expected, YouTube’s slow loading isn’t going over too well with users who were blocking ads. Online forums like Reddit, and even YouTube itself, are being bombarded with cries for help and tutorials. People are updating each other on which ad blocking extension currently works. Others are switching to more advanced means of escaping ads. Many have recently adopted third-party patches to the YouTube app that let them modify it to their liking. These patches allow people to block ads, skip sponsored segments in videos, and even return the Dislike counter. Others have sworn to give up on the site entirely if they are forced to watch ads.
However, some are finally making the shift to YouTube Premium. Despite YouTube having recently hiked up its cost, some users have bought into the Premium lifestyle. Benefits of the switch include an ad-free experience on all devices, and continuing a video from where you left off. It remains to be seen if YouTube will eventually phase out the free tier entirely, or introduce multiple tiers of Premium.
YouTube deliberately slowing down the experience might just be the beginning of more severe countermeasures. It wouldn’t be surprising if, eventually, browsers with ad blockers are refused entry entirely. Many people allege that the recent push for Premium is corporate greed run amok. YouTube insists that the changes benefit creators equally, and allow the platform to sustain its ever-increasing need for server space.