YouTube Explores New Methods to Counter Ad Blockers


YouTube is testing a new method to evade ad blockers, dubbed server-side ad injection, with a limited number of users. This approach injects ads into the video stream before it reaches the viewer’s device, making it more challenging for ad blockers to detect and remove the ads. According to SponsorBlock, a popular ad blocker, this change will break its functionality, as the ad times will now be offset from the original timestamps.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the test, stating that the goal is to improve the performance and reliability of serving both organic and ad video content, potentially resulting in suboptimal viewing experiences for users with ad blockers installed. Google reiterates its stance that ad blockers violate YouTube’s Terms of Service, encouraging viewers to sign up for YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.

This latest development is part of an ongoing cat-and-mouse game between YouTube and ad blockers. Last year, YouTube introduced a pop-up message that prevented visitors from watching videos unless they disabled their ad blockers. Ad blocker companies, such as Ghostery, have also noted that YouTube constantly invests in circumventing ad blocking, with Krzysztof Modras, director of product and engineering, stating that the company adapts its methods more frequently than ever before.

AdGuard recently discovered that YouTube has been using a similar server-side approach in its mobile apps. While the ad blocker remains optimistic that solutions will emerge, it acknowledges that this will require collaborative efforts and innovative approaches from ad-blocking developers and the ad filtering community.

Anthony Ha
Anthony Ha
Weekend Editor. Previously, Anthony worked as a tech writer at Adweek, a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, a local government reporter at the Hollister Free Lance, and vice president of content at a venture capital firm. He lives in New York City.

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