The tech industry is going through a tough phase, and YouTube is not immune to it. The online video sharing platform is currently facing a decline in ad revenues, and as a result, it is implementing significant changes to its platform. These changes include increasing the number of ads on videos and focusing on attracting more users to its paid Premium subscription. However, that’s not all. The company is now also reportedly cracking down on users who utilize ad-blockers to remove ads and are not paying for paid subscription.
Recently, a Reddit user brought attention to the fact that Google owned YouTube, is implementing restrictions on users who use ad blockers by limiting their video views. The post included a screenshot showing a pop-up notification sent by YouTube to users who have enabled ad blockers.
The notification issued by YouTube warns users that if they do not disable their ad blocker, the platform will restrict their video viewing, limiting it to only three videos. The notification states, “Video player will be blocked after 3 videos – It looks like you may be using an ad blocker. Video playback will be blocked unless YouTube is allowed or the ad blocker is disabled.”
The notification also emphasises the importance of ads for YouTube to remain free for its billions of users worldwide. It suggests that users can enjoy an ad-free experience by subscribing to YouTube Premium, while still enabling creators to earn revenue from their subscriptions. “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,” the message further reads.
Notably, once users receive this warning, they will be left with two options on YouTube: either disable their ad blocker and allow ads to be displayed, or subscribe to YouTube Premium to eliminate all advertisements.
YouTube has also officially confirmed this crackdown and stated that these notifications are part of an experiment. The company encourages viewers to either enable ads on the platform or consider trying out YouTube Premium as alternatives. “We’re running a small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium,” YouTube said in an statement received by BleepingComputer.
YouTube has further clarified that if users fail to comply with the notification and continue to ignore the request to disable their ad blockers, the platform may temporarily block playback in “extreme cases.” The company however, assures that this measure will only be implemented if viewers persistently ignore repeated requests to enable ads on YouTube.
“In extreme cases, where viewers continue their use of ad blockers, playback will be temporarily disabled. We take disabling playback very seriously, and will only disable playback if viewers ignore repeated requests to allow ads on YouTube,” the company further told the publication.
To prevent any such inconvenience, YouTube says that users can continue watching the videos on platform by keeping ads or can block ads by subscribing to the YouTube Premium.
Notably, YouTube has not yet confirmed how many countries are involved in this experiment and who is seeing these warnings. However, the recent crackdown follows YouTube’s previous “small experiment” that began in May, during which the company started directly blocking ad blocker users from accessing the platform.
Notably, despite a decline in revenue, YouTube is experiencing a rapid surge in its Music and Premium subscriptions. A report by Variety reveals that the platform has more than 80 million paying subscribers combined (as of end of 2022), which is a significant increase of 30 million from the 50 million the company announced in September 2021.
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