Google is trying out a new show of force to keep users from watching YouTube videos without ads. Some users are reporting that the company will allow access to just three videos before prompting to either disable ad blockers or otherwise pay Google for the privilege of ad-less viewing.
The message further states that YouTube detected the user had an ad blocker installed, and then offered the option to either allow YouTube ads or try YouTube Premium, the $US11.99 ad-free subscription service. The service’s family plan recently saw a bump in price from $US17.99 to $US22.99 a month. “Ads allow YouTube to stay free for billions of users worldwide,” the message reads.
A YouTube spokesperson confirmed to Gizmodo that it was running a “small experiment globally that urges viewers with ad blockers enabled to allow ads on YouTube or try YouTube Premium.” The spokesperson added that “Ad blocker detection is not new, and other publishers regularly ask viewers to disable ad blockers.”
According to the company, users will receive several notifications requesting they allow ads, and in some “extreme cases” when viewers don’t comply to repeated requests, YouTube would disable playback on that account.
This is just the latest update to Google’s tests trying to restrict ad blockers. Last month, YouTube was already caught cracking down on users trying to avoid watching ads at the beginning of nearly every click. It remains to be seen just how far users can push their ad-blocker use before Google finally cracks down. The company has repeatedly stated that ad blockers violate its terms of service.
Google’s parent company Alphabet had reported in its first quarter earnings that ad revenue was down 3.6% from the previous quarter. The company’s youtube ads were down $US176 million compared to the same time the previous year.
There’s been quite a few changes happening at YouTube since Neal Mohan took over the app from longtime CEO Susan Wojcicki. Mohan was a big part of growing Google’s monstrous ad business, so he’s likely more keen on cracking down on any supposed freeloaders. The largest bastion of user-made video content on the internet also said it would be forcing users to watch unskippable 30-second ads for popular content viewed on TVs.