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Adblocking people and non-adblocking people experience a different web (imlefthanded.com)
705 points by decrypt 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 805 comments




I have a list of adblockers I use, hope it helps other people here:

Desktop:

- Pi-Hole (network wide adblocking)

- AdGuard (device wide adblocking)

Web browsers:

- uBlock Origin

- uMatrix (not developed anymore but still works, can also use NoScript)

- SponsorBlock (blocks in-video sponsor segments, intros, outros, filler tangents, etc in YouTube)

Mobile:

- Firefox for Android / Kiwi Browser (both have web extension support so you can install uBlock Origin)

- YouTube Vanced (alternate YouTube app blocks ads, also has SponsorBlock)

- NewPipe (alternate YouTube app blocks ads, also has SponsorBlock via a fork [0], different UI than main YouTube app)

- YouTube++ (for iOS, similar feature set as Vanced)

TV:

- SmartTubeNext (ad-free YouTube)

[0] https://github.com/polymorphicshade/NewPipe


> YouTube Vanced

I get why they want to stay anonymous but that website is no different from any other malware site - no source, no authors just some affiliate links. Putting your google credentials in an app like that is not something people should be comfortable with.


NewPipe let's you 'subscribe' to channels without giving it any credentials. You know, like how it used to be with RSS. The good way. The user empowered way.


> You know, like how it used to be with RSS.

That, my friend, would be because it is RSS!


IIRC, think NewPipe actually requests the channel pages and parses the html.


It has both. The RSS method is fast but doesn't have the full video data (it's missing durations, for example). The parsed version is slower but complete.


Some time ago, the version I installed (from a regular Google search) tried to use my phone as a throwaway number. For around two months I got validation codes for PayPal, confirmation calls from crypto sites and a lot of messages from horny men who click ads on porn sites. It took me a while to piece it back together.

The only reason it didn't work is that I refused the app the permission to read text messages.


You likely downloaded a malware version if you just googled the name. The official version is at https://vancedapp.com/.



This doesn't seem to contain the source code for the app itself.


Just use it w/o logging in. I have a YT account, but I never login with Vanced. I only do so when I have something very important to add in the comment section and that happens on the desktop. You don't have to be too paranoid


There is also alternative youtube front ends that don't have ads, notably Invidious[0], and work in cases where the browser doesn't have or can't support extensions such as ad blockers. For anyone interested I run my own instance that is retro tech themed[1], and there is a public instance list with more instances[2].

[0] https://github.com/iv-org/invidious

[1] https://serenity.video

[2] https://instances.invidious.io/


YouTube Vanced is miles above NewPipe in features: https://vancedapp.com - If you frequently watch videos on Android and haven't given it a spin yet, do so.

SmartTubeNext is excellent on Fire Stick, if you can get the damn APK installed!


Also, isn't Vanced closed-source?

I find the people behind it slightly sketchy.


It's YouTube reverse engineered so it seems a bit difficult to open source something like that


Newpipe is also youtube reverse engineered, as is yt-dl/dlp. No need for closed source.


Vanced is a patched official youtube app.


But do they distribute the source of the patches?


I searched some time ago and didn't find any, so they probably don't. They do distribute the sources of their manager app and their fork of microG tho.


Yes but NewPipe is a completely from-scratch implementation and has some unique features like 3x speed or downloading videos and audio. The NewPipe UI is not as good however, so it depends on what tradeoffs you want to make.


I can add https://blokada.org/ to the "Mobile" section.


Similar. Pi-hole, uBlock (desktop), vivaldi with adblocking (mobile, FF android has perf issues).

For the non-techie, Pi-hole isn't something I quickly recommend due to "knowing when it's the culprit", and the effort in disabling it.

I also have a simple Wireguard config (pivpn) installed as well and my mobile devices are set to always-on VPN for DNS only. Occasionally I will have to turn off the VPN to join certain public Wifi. also perhaps consider hosting your VPN on a well known port if you expect to be on restrictive networks.

Final note: Pi-hole and Pi-VPN(as a frontend to WG) can be hosted on any machine. I have them running on containers.


I used to run a Pihole, now I just point my router at NextDNS. Not an exact substitute but largely maintenance-free and low cost.

Still occasionally breaks something you need, but there’s no way around that as long as the web is such a mess.


This is true with pihole. PiHole is one of my favorite pieces of software and true to this post opening a website off my home network can result in a horrible, ad-ridden experience. But installing PiHole seems to make a number of sites not work, or for example my devices stop updating because they can’t phone home the update server, and it’s difficult to describe to third parties how to address that. All good on my network, but it did take a little targeted whitelisting effort.


There's also an iOS app for SponsorBlock now (safari extension.)


If you subscribe to YT, the ads are gone, plus music.


Though rewarding Google for an anticompetitive solution to a problem they created is... problematic.


Showing ads in videos isn't exactly new. I think Youtube Premium is too expensive, particularly if you don't have any use for their subpar music feature. However the concept of paying for an ad-free experience doesn't seem alien to me. A more affordable plan that just removes the ads would be welcome (and I hear it's planned).


For text-heavy websites (blogs, news), I use archive.is as a "wget" [0], as it were. It is unreasonably affective at rendering most javascript-driven pages too (like twitter.com).

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3083536


Are there any iOS app-based solutions for dealing with YouTube ads? The app you mentioned (YouTube++) appears to require a jailbroken iPhone. I've read that AdGuard Pro can work with mobile Safari YouTube ads, but I'm curious about an app solution. Seems like there's plenty of stuff out there for Android.


No, and this is one of the primary reasons I have an Android, and support side loading on iOS. I should be able to install whatever software I want on hardware that I own.


I use the paid version of 1Blocker, and it seems to handle YouTube ads from within Safari. I had to uninstalled the YouTube app to keep everything in-browser.


How do I block Youtube ads on LG web OS ?

Pihole doesn't work, they serve the ads on the same domain as the video content.



I would be happy to try it, if it was available on the LG content store...


You can root your TV and then install apps. Alternatively, you can get a Fire Stick and install SmartTubeNext.

https://rootmy.tv


Youtube, especially, turns into a whole different experience. Ad in front of every video makes it impossible to quickly browse and sort through videos. I might watch just a few seconds and then go to the next one. When ads are enabled, the experience is so painful that I'm not likely to use Youtube this way any more. I have to watch an ad before I've made the decision if I want to watch the video.


Youtube is the reason I installed an adblocker in the first place. I don't mind watching an ad, but at some point they went from an ad every other video, to unskippable ads in-front of every video (love a 1m ad on every 10s video when I'm just browsing clips) and mid-content ads that literally just cut in and disrupt what I'm watching.


During the holidays, YouTube was showing me 2 15-second ads every single video. I stopped using the app and stuck to the browser. Then I found out about vanced from HW. I'm sorry to my followed channels but it became unbearable.


love a 1m ad on every 10s video

Christmas 2020 I tried to watch midnight Mass from Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York on YouTube. (Not live; after.)

SIX MINUTES of commercials at the start, and the rest of the program had TWENTY-SIX commercial breaks.

I haven't watched YouTube since.


What is happening is they are pushing you to Youtube Premium.


Sounds like they pushed him away from YouTube. And they pushed others into adblockers


I think the other thing that pushed me to put it back on after experimenting with it off was the absolute dearth of inventory Youtube apparently thought was appropriate to show me. I watch a lot of content of various lengths in a lot of various fields but I would get the same one or two ads for days. Then I started getting the 10m+ ads that seem to be randomly OK for some reason? I don't think I could stomach another experiment.


Vanced even has SponsorBlock, which is insanely good


One of the little absurdities of our modern world is having to watch an ad before you are allowed to watch an ad that you requested (movie trailers, superbowl ads that people sometimes share, that kind of thing)


I've been using and loving this: https://github.com/yuliskov/SmartTubeNext


That looks really interesting. Thanks


Well, you can buy YouTube premium and have no ads.


Or you can install an adblocker instead which also blocks much of the surveillance. There's also sponsor block which blocks ads that even paying customers are forced to see.

Don't support these advertisers in any way. Especially Google.


I hope folks that take this stance support creators in another fashion, like through Patreon. Otherwise the content that is consumed by those ad blocking won't get produced, simply because the creator can't make a living off of it. That makes me uncomfortable as I believe most of us on HN like at least some YouTube content and would like to see more of it.


I'm more than happy to pay for content. I support creators even though I know it's a crappy deal since all I get for my money is a worthless license which puts me at their mercy since I own nothing.

I will absolutely not tolerate ads of any kind and if their business model is ads I would rather see them go bankrupt than put up with it.


I can't in good faith give so much money per month to a company with such terrible user and creator support.

No visible dislikes.

DCMA takedowns that put the burden of proof on creators rather than destructive soulless auto-claim bots.

God help you if you lose your account.


I happily pay for YouTube Premium because I watch tons of niche stuff that creators are able to make a living off.

YouTube has a lot of problems, and the ads for non-Premium users are probably going too far, but I find a lot of value in consuming and supporting a wealth of high quality content on obscure topics.


I do support some creators (as directly as possible) but honestly I prefer content where money was never an incentive. Ultimately it's up to creators to find ways of funding their passions and just because ads are the easiest way to do that right now does not mean that we have to support that. I also don't think I'd get bored if all ad-supported content just vanished and even if I did it would be worth it to force creators to find less manipulative funding sources. Or we could do away with all of that and make sure everyone has enough to live no matter what they do - but people would rather pay megacorporations than pay higher taxes that can be redistributed to creators.


In fact, if they double the ads on YouTube, and put ads on YouTube Premium, you can buy YouTube DoublePremium and have no ads.


Pay money to have the exact same thing you could get easier and for free.


I wonder why people feel entitled to content they didn't pay for.


Browsing in incognito mode and behind an ad-blocking DNS server, YouTube runs pre-roll ads perhaps on 1 in 4 videos.

I've found that refreshing the page seems to always remove the ads.

Though I'm increasingly taking to searching through Invidious. (YouTube is somewhat more convenient thanks to the !yt DDG bang search.)

I also often play audio through mpv.


It sounds like this has only gotten worse since I asked HN about it almost two years ago.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23769291


Without aggressively blocking the hundred or more ads on a webpage, I honestly don't think the web would be that useful now a days

Advertising has gone absolutely bonkers and filled the web with complete trash SEO farms with 40 links to some shitty slideshow

I don't believe the web would have caught on like it did if this current condition was v1.0

I wonder how much the website designer even views their own site. It's astounding anyone would approve of this. It now represents the brand as extremely low quality


When you live from your website, incentives can change.


I call it a malware blocker, rather than an adblocker - here's my reasoning:

One day I was on a classifieds site[1], browsing listings, when after a few pages, I was met with a page redirect to one of those scammy support center sites (taking over the browser), advising that my computer had been infected by a virus (obviously hadn't) and I needed to call in to "Apple's Support Center" immediately. This was on Safari (the newer useless extension-neutered version), on what I considered a reputable site. I tested again to make sure it was indeed the site that produced this, and sure enough reproduced it after browsing a few pages of listings.

I advised the site that they likely had a rogue advert in rotation causing this, but as usual, the blame got put on me instead, claiming that it was probably some extension (didn't have any - they're basically useless on Safari now) or it was my ISP, blah blah blah

That's the day I decided to use a real browser ("If it doesn't run uBlock Origin, it's not a real browser"), so I switched to Firefox and installed uBO. This is also when I decided to call such utilities as uBO "malware blockers" rather than "ad blockers".

Websites can try to deflect the blame all they want[2], but in the end if visiting your website results in any attempts to compromise my computer, it's your site doing it as far as I'm concerned.

If the website industry can't regulate itself to prevent such things, then I'm going to do it myself, and I'll push back on any claims that I'm using an "ad" blocker when I'm really guarding against malware attacks.

[1] I'm loathe to name it since I don't recall which site it was specifically, but it was a classifieds-style site, with the reputation of, say, eBay-level recognition.

[2] https://www.imore.com/content-blockers-bad-ads-and-what-were...


I get what you're saying, but I think that's actually counter-productive. To present things like uBlock as malware blockers suggests that "any ad which is not malware is fine". I think it's perfectly justifiable to guard against non-malware ads _as well as_ malware (ads or otherwise).


Situation is that dire.

I think following happens. Actual click through rate on online ads is low. People don't want to pay lots of money for ads that don't increase their revenue.

Only ones willing to pay for ads are shady business. We are talking unlicensed pills, scams, crypto etc.

Eventually those dry up so they go even lower, malware authors willing to use ads as malware vectors.

I browsed once without ad blocker on some webcomic and shit I had delivered was actually malware. As in Defender was activated.


> [...] was actually malware. As in Defender was activated.

I don't doubt that plenty of ads are malware but let's not pretend that Defender does not have tons of false positives or that MS cares about preventing them.


While I have encountered false positives with Defender, the fact that ads are deploying something Defender can detect, is hair raising in itself.


I guess what constitutes "malware" is based on what the ad is doing - if it's benign, it's an ad and I'm fine with that. If it's hostile/tracking scripts masquerading as an ad, then obviously that's a problem. I call it "malware blocking" because of multiple past experiences like I mentioned above, and the way to avoid them is with these "ad blockers" (though I guess a more generic term, like "content blocker", is perhaps more appropriate).

And I'm sure some would be quick to point out that running uBO as a "malware" blocker just happens to siphon up legitimate ads in the same bucket in the process (which is what I think is your point), and my reply to them is that the blockers typically won't block anything that comes from the same IP/domain as the site (as is explained in one of the linked articles). I think it's up to websites to run their ads in a way that doesn't trigger it to get blocked, because the detection pattern for most blockers is based on past abuse of these techniques.


Even the most "benign" unsolicited ad is still basically malware for your brain.


True - some are most definitively an insult to your intelligence (like most TV ads are).

Definitively can't say I miss any of them (web & TV ads).


> running uBO as a "malware" blocker just happens to siphon up legitimate ads in the same bucket in the process (which is what I think is your point)

My point's actually sort-of the inverse of that. My point is that, by describing uBO as a malware blocker, you are suggesting that "ads that are not malware are fine". That's a position you're entitled to take, but I don't agree with it - +1 to the sibling comment that rightly points out that "ads are malware for your brain". Ads are a problem, and they should be blocked. The fact that you happen to be able to also block malware with an ad-blocker is a happy coincidence - but even if that wasn't the case (i.e. even if ad-blockers _only_ blocked non-malware ads), they would still be good, moral, and justified.


I have an air filter that has 2 stages, a thin, washable filter for large dust particles and a non-reusable hepa filter that has to be replaced every 3-6 months for optimal results.

I view pihole and ublock as the washable filter. It takes care of the big stuff, prevents my computer from ever seeing most of the avenues for malware to propagate. Then my antivirus can easily mop up whatever slips through.


If it's not detecting malware, then it's not a malware blocker.

As far as I know, ad blockers work based on host name and css selectors. If there was an actual anti-malware that was so trivially bypass-able, it would be laughed out of the room. uBO blocks hosts of advertisers. AFAIK they don't distinguish between malware and non-malware, nor do they detect malware from other sources.


The people embedding the ads or even delivering them are not neccessarily malicious (in the malware sense at least). Also, as long as most people don't block ads they don't have as much incentive to counteract ad blockers. So at least for now ad blocking remains effective for both malicious and benign ad payloads.


I call them HTML firewalls.


I stopped watching network TV in the 1990s when it reached about 25% ads (i.e. 7.5 minutes of ads in a 30 minute window. May have been only 7 minutes, memory is fuzzy now).

The web was a relief. You could actually consume content and tune out the (then primitive, usually just a banner at the top) ads.

The web, specifically un-adblocked Youtube, is now at about the same point as where I quit TV. Just not worth the aggravation any more. UBlock Origin has shifted things back into favour. But will "Manifest V3" tip things back to unbearable? We'll see.


> But will "Manifest V3" tip things back to unbearable? We'll see.

Switch to Firefox now before Firefox market share dips to the level where publishers can justify not supporting it and you're stuck with only crippled adblocking forever?


This is not enough if we don't stop DRM (which Firefox also supports).

DRM essentially means: only allow access with a program that implements certain required measures to restrict user's control over their own computer. Using content decryption blobs to restrict user's access to media streams handled by their own computer — is only a beginning, Web DRM will be eventually extended to allow more restrictions, including those to make it much harder to interfere with the display of ads.


If a browser doesn't render the web properly, that's the browser's fault, not the web's.


No, you don't WANT to see the web rendered "properly" (with all the ads). The browser+adblocker do the best they can to render the usably rather than "properly". The issue is that it may become impossible to render usably.


Not really, no. It's the publisher's fault if they targeted the browser in the first place. If they didn't, and it didn't render properly, then it's nobody's fault, just something that happens.


As Gabe Newell said, piracy is a service problem.

Why in the hell would I pay £60 a month and have to watch adverts when I can just get it for free?

Why do I have to subscribe to channels I have no interest in to get the handful I do want?

It's like a baker who pads his bread with sawdust throwing a tantrum when customers start going elsewhere.


SponsorBlock is excellent, too, even gets rid of the multi-minute advertorial segments in the middle of videos.


We had a couple effective strategies to deal with ads on network TV when I was a kid. I've found they they still work today.

1. If I was watching alone I would have a book with me. When ads came on I'd read the book until the ad break ended. Nowadays instead of a book it is usually an iPad, and instead of reading during the break I might work on a crossword puzzle in the NYT Crossword app or do some chess puzzles at lichess.com.

2. If I was watching with other kids we could talk about the show. Heck, we were kids...it was hard to get us to not take about the show during the show. This also still works as an adult, with the only change being that the conversation is more sophisticated. E.g., kids might talk about how cool it was that Kirk made an improvised canon to shoot the Gorn, but adults might discuss the feasibility of actually making such a canon. (It probably isn't feasible BTW. Mythbusters tried it and could not get it to work using the resources available to Kirk).


> If I was watching alone I would have a book with me

That's shifting from the narrative of the show/film you're watching to a different activity

> If I was watching with other kids we could talk about the show

It takes us about 1h20 to watch a c. 40 minute show with my wife, but that's because we pause throughout to discuss it. Haven't done linear TV since c. 2000, went through a couple of years in the early 00s with a mythtv box recording shows off air (with 30 second skip forwards/10 second skip back - If I remember commercial breaks almost entirely 6 or 8 skips forward), then sky plus, but nothing for the last 7 years other than streaming.


For network TV the show producers know ahead of time where the ad breaks will be and structure the story so that they come between acts.

I have noticed when things originally on network television end up on ad-supported streaming services the ad breaks sometimes no longer happen during natural breaks. When those same things end up in syndication on non-streaming cable or OTA channels the ad breaks usually do align with the natural story breaks. I wonder why OTA and cable channels can time things better than streaming services? Are the shows distributed in different formats to the two, and only one includes metadata on when the act breaks occur?


I have no idea why a successor to TiVo never came out. The idea of "fast forwarding" TV ads was way ahead of its time. I've got cable TV and would pay good money for a service like that. The same applies to Podcast ads: I would pay for a podcast player (like Podcast Republic) that could automatically skip ads, and say let people mark ad segments in a podcast so that others could skip them.


Comcast has some support for skipping ads. It doesn't work for everything, just top shows from NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, CW, Bravo, HGTV, Discovery, MTV and TLC recorded after January 1, 2019 in HD. It's enabled by default on their X1 DVR boxes.

The way it works is that if you start fast forwarding, it automatically stops and switches to play when you reach the end of a commercial break. You watch normally and when a commercial starts just hit FF a few times (the first hit starts forwarding, subsequent hits switch to faster FF speed).

I dropped cable in the middle of 2020. My recollection was that it also only worked if it had been at least 24 hours since the program originally broadcast, but their documentation [1] does not mention any such limit so perhaps they dropped that limit.

[1] https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/dvr-smart-resume


YouTube is still no where near as bad as commercial TV in the UK. It's when we visit relatives who still watch TV, that I get reminded how bad it is. YouTube has a couple of ads before a video and then a 10 second one every 10 minutes or so - but the ones on the TV go on and on. Probably 5 minutes of them every 20 minutes of TV.


I did so too when I realized its actually worse, its about 19 min play for 30 min 'show' & about 43 for 60mins for most popular shows (you can verify with imdb or 'otherwise'). thats on top of what we pay them monthly.

the other hard rule I have is 'no news from narrated sources' so really no need to cable tv & have cut the cord for more than a decade now.


I seem to remember maybe 5 30sec ads so must be 2.5 minutes.

I even vaguely remember this was lampshaded in Fresh Prince (?)

Uncle Phil is having a heart to heart chat with young Nicky and in the middle says something like "ok nice talk see you in around 2 1/2 minutes" which I thought was hilarious


The youtube app on a phone has reached that level, and pihole doesn't help, so I only watch youtube on a browser with adblock now


So, you know, pay for it a little bit? It's there, it makes the ads go away, and it's cheap.


Does it get rid of the inline sponsors too?


We both know it can't. It does the same as using an ad blocker on YouTube. In case of inline ads, right now you can use SponsorBlock.


Yes, when I say "ad blocker" I mean the suite of extensions which make it usable.


YouTube Vanced.

You're welcome.


I wanted to show a video on YouTube to a friend. He passed me his cellphone. I searched and found the video and then something very strange happened: a completely unrelated something started playing. I said "Sorry I don't know what is this. This has nothing to do with what I wanted to show you." He then explained me that was just an advertisement and the video would play soon.

People are used to abuse. My internet is very different from the internet most people use. I feel sorry for them.


One of the services I happily pay for is Youtube Premium, though I could do without also having to pay for Youtube Music at the same time. I have same experience as you, when I somehow not logged in to Youtube. It’s a surreal mess and it’s the same 5 - 10 ads, if it’s that many, on repeat. It’s unusable.

Technically I don’t use and ad block, I just run DuckDuckGo’s privacy plugin. You can show me ads, but not track me, weirdly enough it’s 98% the same result. It facinating that ad tech cannot see the difference between ads and tracking.


YouTube's ads are a colossal mistake waiting to happen. Back in the day, Google was successful because they realized advertising on the web was a problem: ads were trying too hard to grab attention, resorting to hostile tactics that basically forced people to run ad blockers. Google said "okay, what if ads were simple blocks of text that - while not as loud and screamy - got more impressions because they aren't terrible?". And over time everyone agreed with them and they made billions of dollars.

Somehow, (probably because there is no competition - yet), Google has not applied this reasoning to YouTube ads. YouTube ads are often louder than regular videos (which they could fix on their end if they cared), they are sometimes insanely long (I recently got an "ad" which was a 40 minute "free music" thing), and depending on the video they can pop pop up at terrible moments. They still haven't figured out that YouTube is loaded with exercise videos - a content category which has exploded since 2020 and where YouTube enjoys a tremendous lead on the competition. Rudely interrupting one of those is bad and brews resentment. Instead of doing that, they could plaster the entire video with unobtrusive ads and people would both look at the ads and be happy with the service.


A few years ago I was eating in an indian restaurant and I noticed a muted TV on the wall playing MKBHD's review of some drone. I was very confused why would they decide to show that. As I was eating the video ended and I realised the full review was an ad that played inside a 10 hour atmospheric video the restaurant intended to play.

I found it pretty smart, because I can imagine myself succumbing to watching a full video that was inserted as an ad if it's interesting enough.


No. You are just a MKBHD fan. There's nothing more to it. Someone else who doesn't know who Marques is will see a talking head interrupting the relaxation video. For the restaurant owner, it means they cannot rely on YouTube to play requested video content as commanded. This proves the point even further, technology instead of being smarter in the case of YouTube here, has grown to become an annoying anti-consumer product that constantly moves in the opposite direction of the user.


You haven't understood me. I found it ridiculous playing in a restaurant. It was muted anyway.

However, if I was at home, opened YouTube just to entertain myself and opened one of the algorithm suggested videos, then – in that situation – an interesting video from a channel that is unknown to me, inserted as an ad could hook me and could lead to me subscribing to said channel.


I think I got what you narrated. The element of surprise is your response to recognizing MKBHD's content playing at an unexpected unusual venue.

Instead of that suggestive ad being inserted into the video. Why not use auto-play or recommended videos section? Suggested videos in the menu work great, better even, in your case scenario for content discovery.

I don't watch YouTube with ads and I don't subscribe to YouTube Premium but I pretty much doubt in-video content suggestions disguised as ads will do a better job of predicting what I'll watch next over menu video recommendations.


No, we still don't understand each other. Sorry.

I'm not happy about seeing MKBHD's video in that restaurant, I don't care at all. I also don't care about seeing that ad (or any ad for that matter).

The original comment I was replying to mentioned watching a 40 minute music video placed as a YouTube ad. I chimed in with my experience of seeing a long tech review video placed as an ad.

>I found it pretty smart, because I can imagine myself succumbing to watching a full video that was inserted as an ad if it's interesting enough.

I'm not praising the ad as a user. I'm explaining why it might be smart from the POV of the advertiser (in this case MKBHD), because it serves their goals.


Strange that MKBHD (an ad funded media of sorta itself) would pay to get people to watch the content. What's the reasoning here? Additional reach for a sponsored video?


My guess is that a viewer who doesn't know him might get to know him, perhaps even check other videos or subscribe.


I guess the only reason youtube ads exist is to get people to pay youtube to get rid of ads.

My parents have a smart TV and the youtube app w/o the paid youtube premium makes it a really bad experience. On iOS devices, I have yet to find a free ad blocker that properly blocks youtube ads after they put in new measures to defeat content blocker based ad blockers.


It also provided some incentive for creators to edit and post video.

I had a problem that I figured out the solution to and put up a video of it that made me a few dollars a month. Then YouTube moved the goalposts and demonetized it because I don’t (and frankly, won’t) have 1000 subscribers.

So that’s the end of my video posting on YouTube. I’ve discovered some “hack” repairs to other devices (common washing machine and MacBook speaker issues), but you won’t see my solutions on YouTube, just 99 videos saying to replace it or fumbling with software settings that aren’t the problem.


Please share your knowledge, if you don’t expect to have 1000 subscribers surely you wouldn’t expect revenue anyway. Maybe a better approach would be to encourage ‘buy me a coffee’ donations. Either way, you’re punishing society for google being an asshole.


I don’t expect (and didn’t get) subscribers because I just solve the problem. I’m not entertaining enough for you to continue watching the next video on a thing you probably don’t own.

Most likely outcome will be me posting videos on some alternative video platform. Looking at rumble.com

(I wish Amazon got into hosting videos like this, being at the place to buy seems the best place if you fail to fix).


IMO youtube is the primary platform where those looking for videos will search first up. Thing is that if you have a large number of videos, you never know when one of them will get you a large number of views and subscribers. Or maybe in future google will have different goalposts for monetization. Overall, it is always good to have videos on youtube even if you are not monetizing them.


Good for who? good for Google. But how is giving free content to Google good for the poster?


If in future google changes monetization goalposts, then the poster can potentially make some cash from the older posted videos. And it is entirely possible that one video gets popular and brings in a ton of views and subscribers to the channel.


well, I remember watching an ad for youtube premium (or whatever is called the subscription to remove ads) which was presenting the 'no more ad breaks in the middle of videos' as a selling point. So at least some people at YT are aware of that issue


Google had to use 'better' ads to drive out competition early on, but now that they're the biggest bully on the block, they'll serve whatever obnoxious and high revenue ads they want to.


That’s what’s happening.

Without any html/css/<script> intervention on my website, Adsense has been able to enable additional ads that stick to the bottom of the screen and another that pops up before going to another page. It’s all opt-in, but through the Adsense portal.

It’s all automagic now, over and above the blocks I had inserted.


I feel that there is a generational gap between Youtube users that correlates with whether they will pay for premium or not.

People in their late 20s and 30s who remember Youtube as a catch-all location for lo-fi homemmade videos with few ads may not feel that YT premium is worth it, particularly if they already use adblockers, and don't use it much on mobile (where adblocking isn't possible without modded APKs). This generation also remembers torrents and Limewire, before Spotify made everything super-convenient.

Those who are more familiar with 'modern Youtube' with multiple pre-roll ads, clickbait and and influencers everywhere may be more receptive to paying just to get rid of the constant ads.


> on mobile (where adblocking isn't possible without modded APKs)

What's a modded APK?

Firefox and other browsers like Vivaldi have awesome adblocking nowadays. There are alternative frontends like invidious.

Newpipe is an oss app, perfect on Android. Vanced is very popular too but I never tried it.

But with nextdns I don't need any of those. Only newpipe because, besides the ads, having to keep the display on to listen to music while running is just stupid.


Vanced is a modded APK. It takes the YouTube APK and modifies it to block ads and sponsorship via Sponsorblock and lets you run it in the background with the screen off.

NextDNS doesn't block ads on YouTube because they're served from the same domain as YouTube videos.


Oh I didn't know Vanced worked that way.

And you are right. Ads are blocked by newpipe, nextdns in this case is worthless.

Sorry for the misinformation everyone.


Huh? Firefox on mobile supports ublock origin. Or do you mean the app? Don't use the app.


There is also the possibility of using YouTube Vanced and other similar apps (in Android at least) to do the same trick in a more comfortable way.


I don't think it works on iOS. Works perfectly on Android though!


Brave is the only iOS browser that supports ad-blocking on YT


The app works a lot better, though.


No. Stupidity knows no age limit, and a fool and his money are soon parted.


Yeah I pay the same. Sure I hate Google and yada yada... But if the call for money is "we will show you no ads, and your money will go to creators", and it is a realistic amount, yes I will pay it.

I run ad-blockers everywhere (and I know there are ways to block YT ads), but will still pay if you give me this reasonable option.


> One of the services I happily pay for is Youtube Premium, though I could do without also having to pay for Youtube Music at the same time.

The forced bundling with YouTube Music is the only thing that keeps me from subscribing and keeping a trigger finger on the mute button (I use YouTube primarily on AppleTV). It's not even the price so much as it's the redundancy of subscribing to both Spotify and a lackluster Spotify competitor at the same time.

The moment Google offers YouTube Premium Lite (an unbundled version they've been trialing in European markets) in the US, I'll subscribe and never look back.


Just curious, if you owned YouTube with an overhead of tens of millions of dollars per year, how would you monetize it without ads/commercials, just to even keep up with operational costs?


I'm honestly appalled by the price for YouTube Premium. It's $15/month. That's the same as HBO Max, almost twice of Disney+ and more expensive than F1TV or Showtime which come in around $10. Per month this is 50% more than Prime! Only my UltraHD Netflix plan is more expensive. This price to me is outrageous, given that Google, unlike everyone else listed here, doesn't provide any of the content and their services is known to be awful/non-existent. All they do is in essence provide the platform.


> All they do is in essence provide the platform.

That’s not quite correct. YouTube pays out creators who monetize their channels using YouTube ads (separate from any sponsors in the video itself). The amount paid out varies but is around $3-5 per 1000 views.

With YouTube Premium, among other features you get to avoid seeing ads. But Google still pays out creators a share of the YouTube Premium fee. See https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6306276


His point still stands - Google only pays a share despite having much less overheads than let's say Netflix who in addition to providing the infrastructure also create the content itself (and the production costs of it are much higher than a typical YouTube video).


Google shows you content they have licenced just like everyone else. It isn't like Netflix made all the content they host etc, Netflix also licence content from third party creators so they can host it, Google just doesn't have a filter and instead accept everyone who wants to put stuff there, and then by paying you support those smaller content creators rather than just Hollywood or other big studious like you do when you pay for Disney.

So from my perspective paying for YouTube is more important than paying for Netflix, since with YouTube you help support smaller creators, while with Netflix money gets consolidated into big names and brands. The platform takes a cut at both, but it is still better to have some go to small creators instead of everything going into giant corporations.


And even if you pay for YouTube, you'll still get ads, despite YouTube detecting and tracking advertisements in videos.


YouTube itself doesn't serve ads if you're paying for premium. Outside of that, sure, content creators can do their own "sponsored by" ad segments within their videos.


It's worth it in my opinion:

you can listen to any video on mobile in the background, also no ads on mobile (so you don't need some hacky 3rd party app)

And you get YouTube music, which is comparable to Spotify (I prefer it in fact)

There's more content on YouTube then any other video platform, so in my opinion 15 per month is worth it


Keep in mind that Youtube premium is effectively a music platform as well, although you can make the same argument about Prime. Ultimately it depends on what content you consume, I spend a lot of hours on youtube and consider the advertising avoidance worthwhile for myself.


I bought prime youtube, it's basically a pay-to-get-rid-of-my-ads, fine with me but yes lower price will be better. maybe that's what they earn from a visitor per month via selling ads?


But you might as well just install an adblocker instead? It is free and there are no ads.

They can block people who are using adblocker from watching, as long as they don't do that I can't really see any moral grey area here.


I ran ads blockers but they seems not blocking Youtube's embedded ads shown up randomly every a few minutes, which is annoying. But you might be correct, just found out: Adblock for Youtube at chrome store, will try it. Thanks.


I initially balked at the price until I realised that I probably watch 2-3x as much YouTube per month as I do Netflix, which I was already happily paying for.

It’s nice to know I’m directly supporting the channels I watch too, as I can’t feasibly sign up to dozens of Patreons.


When YouTube was primarily cat videos, it made sense as an ad-supported platform. Now that it's dominated by medium-to-high-production-value content creator stars, a subscription business model would be a much better fit.

It's actually amazing that Google has let Patreon eat its lunch on this front, the latter becoming the predominant platform for direct monetization while YouTube continues playing the chump's game of seeing how much advertising they can inflict on users before they revolt.

[edit] I'm well aware of YouTube Premium, but Google's insistence on bundling it exclusively with YouTube Music greatly limits its appeal. If they offered a standalone subscription (as they are piloting in some European markets), they could probably expand their subscriber base by a significant factor.

Put another way, if Netflix were only available as part of a bundle with a cable subscription, do you imagine they'd have more or fewer subscribers than they do right now?


But Youtube does have a subscription business model? You can pay for Youtube Premium ( https://www.youtube.com/premium ) and see it without ads, with downloads for offline viewing and listening, and so on. Almost exactly like Spotify.

People just ignore the ads instead.


They suggesting a model where you subscribe to individual YouTube channels rather than the platform.



Sounds like you ignore that YT has a subscription business model along side the ad-based one..


Subscribing to what amounts to a search+CDN video w/ads service wholesale isn't even in the same ballpark as throwing money directly at the creators you want to support.

The salient point is YouTube/Alphabet has completely missed the opportunity of facilitating Patreon-style commerce, despite being best positioned to do so.

But instead of enabling creators to receive money directly from audiences, an advertising juggernaut like Alphabet would probably rather keep their volunteer content creators incentivized to be shills desperate for advertising dollars.

I predict all the quality creators capable of garnering support via systems like Patreon will eventually abandon YouTube altogether, leaving YouTube to become even more of a raging dumpster fire of advertising upon advertising upon advertising masquerading as content from "influencers".


Youtube has a Patreon competitor service literally built into the platform, you can "Join" a channel and it behaves exactly like Patreon. They were just very late to the party and most creators promote their Patreon more heavily.


Is that something only available to paying subscribers?

I've never even had a YouTube login, but the few channels I access fully via the web interface only ever spam me with YouTube Premium offers for eliminating ads.

There's zero offering/marketing of direct-to-creator subscriptions, not that I've seen.

There's also zero chance of my buying YouTube Premium, but a non-zero chance of my giving money exclusively to the specific creators I value - even if YouTube took something along the lines of a haircut for making just those channels ad-free.

Hopefully the difference is clear.


By building a profile of each user based on their viewing history and then when they use the search engine that I also own I would show them personalized results with sponsored links to products to buy. Plus I would be selling that information to third parties. And then I would of course also show some ads to all of the the normies that surf without an adblocker.


Why not both? I get nothing but ads on Google lately.

I often bypass to Wikipedia, because it shows me what something is, not only where I can buy it.


You wouldn't even come close to breaking even from display/search ads like you mentioned. Advertisers would rather pay a lot more for pre-roll video ads, even if the user doesn't click. Those video ads usually result in a much higher ROAS. And people searching for funny cat videos on YouTube is a hell of a lot harder to categorize and monetize than traditional SERP.


I would gladly pay for an ad free youtube if they weren't also stealing my data.


This. I'd have been paying for years if it weren't Google who'd only use the payment details to link it to an identity. I have and pay for Spotify and Netflix because they're independent companies without an ad and tracking business as their main profit center, I'd be happy to add another video service to the mix. I've tried Nebula but saw all the interesting content ever posted (it's that small) in two evenings.


There was a weird movie with Justin Timberlake called "In Time" and I would use that model.

The moment a video is born, it lives until its sponsored time runs out.

If a content creator wants to leave something up and reap some internal ad-sales, or tip-generation scheme... they just have to sponsor the video with more time.

People who like it, can also sponsor it.

And sure, have some sort of "Library of Congress" feature to save videos deemed as significant...

But once the time is up... the video is gone. Exists only in memories.

Seems like a huge portion of videos are just taking up space... start pruning.

And a lot of videos... they don't matter. 40 different versions of the same old song, 20 different shots of the same sports blooper, 900 different versions of the same boring news cast. Like... none of these need to be on there taking up space / inflating the hosting bill.


Cold storage is next to toilet paper on their expense sheet. The vast majority of cost is in processing the incoming video and serving it, somewhere on the order of 25x more than the cost of storage if I recall an analysis from a ways back. Deleting the old content with such a system doesn't save much money, doesn't sound good to the users, and adds complexity. It'd be an interesting take on a popularity algorithm but they always seem to be toying with that too much as it is.


Hmm... I'm skeptical.

At some point, no matter how cheap cold storage is, the "dead" content costs will trump the live content streaming. Like postpone but... at some point content needs to be pruned. What's the value in keeping everything forever? 1 year after the video was last viewed? 5? Like when can you safely purge videos?


It's not just a postponement, old content takes less $ to store over time as well as takes up less % of storage over time. Just because it grows in absolute quantity doesn't mean it will inevitably become the largest costs.

Now if 15 years from now storage has stopped becoming cheaper, the rate of new content has stopped growing, the size of new content has stopped growing, and the old content is starting to become a significant fraction of the operating costs then sure. At the moment (and for the last 15 years) none of those things is happening though.


If I owned YouTube with the goal of maximizing profits, and I did not have any self imposed ethical constrains, I would focus on controlling the market of hosting videos. The technology needed to operate a video hosting is widely available and been so for the last few decades, so the only way to prevent competition and keep a market dominance would be to make sure that competitors can't compete. Keep users on the platform or else the users will end up on any number of competing platforms, splintering off the user base into more and more fragments.

With a strong market dominance one can then focus on profits with minimum risk. One way to raise profits would be to impose taxes, like with streamers get donations through "youtube bits". They could go further and demand taxes when any company do things that has monetary value, like say when a company want to make a video about their products. They could do like Facebook and many dating sites and offer a service of "promoting" users above other users. One can couple access to the site to hardware products like mobile phones, or split off features to "exclusive" access users. One can down rate the speed/quality of freeloaders, pushing users to upgrade their accounts to premium accounts.

The ways to monetize a market dominant position is to many to count. The hard problem is the iron grip needed on keeping users on the platform.


> If I owned YouTube with the goal of maximizing profits, and I did not have any self imposed ethical constrains, I would focus on controlling the market of hosting videos. The technology needed to operate a video hosting is widely available and been so for the last few decades, so the only way to prevent competition and keep a market dominance would be to make sure that competitors can't compete. Keep users on the platform or else the users will end up on any number of competing platforms, splintering off the user base into more and more fragments.

This is kinda what's happening already. Most major websites stopped hosting their own and instead publish on YouTube and embed it

As such they're selling their users' tracking which I hate, but they love it for the extra income and exposure their videos get.

Hosting videos is not hard at all. But this is not the reason why nobody hosts their own anymore. YouTube's very dominance is what keeps it dominant.


With AdWords text ads at the bottom of the video. Which is something they already do. It's less intrusive than showing a thirty second commercial in the start of every video.

Also, YouTube has a data trove of metrics that interest advertisers. Why not selling those? You have a commercial page that let’s say sells clothes and you want to upload a video to target women aged 18-25. Here’s the data to show you what you need to do, and we’ll charge you $15k to give you a detailed report. Brands would go bananas for metrics like these.


I don't think everything needs to be monetized. I wouldn't monetize it, I'd use a p2p protocol like peertube.


So, it would be a public service?

It was kind of like that when interest rates were near zero, affording endless deferral of income.


Charge the content creator based on tiered usage. Why does it have to be different from any other hosting service?


Just to keep up with operational costs? Throw up banners like Wikipedia asking for money, occupying the top bar until I hit my funding goal.


Not my problem.


Alas! Your question reveals how capitalist production is both for the consumers but at the same time must contradict the interests of the consumers.

I'm waiting for the day when we can solve these ills of private property with technology.


People seem to invoke the word capitalism whenever things aren't a utopia for everyone involved. Still, even without capitalism, you'll have to contend with the issue of how to cover operational expenses. Say some, more centralized, agent decides YouTube is worthwhile - how would it get paid for? A state sponsorship made possible by a tax of some sort? Perhaps it would transition to be completely pay-to-play?

The employees and servers are expending real energy keeping YouTube operational. Meaning, whether it's through ads, a more centralized body stepping in, or some other less pervasive, opt-in business model - the thing needs to cover its own costs. I don't think a lack of private property would solve much there.


The contradiction of the capitalist mode of production is not that it tries to cover its costs. That is necessary in any system of trade/production.

The problem is using social services to generate capital. A public good for private interests is wrought with contradictions. And, as you can see, covering costs =/= generating capital.

Not even mentioning that the mode continuously works to undermine itself in making production more efficient by developing technology and driving down prices but profits as a whole too.


> Still, even without capitalism, you'll have to contend with the issue of how to cover operational expenses

You're still thinking in the framework of capitalism.

Let me be clear that I think that doing anything but capitalism is bound to fail while we're living in a resource restricted reality.

Nonetheless, if we want to think about it for arguments sake: there are no costs associated without capitalism, only necessary work and resources. It's really hard to think without the restrictions of capitalism for me, because that's the only way I've ever experienced and it's so effective at prioritizing resources and productivity. Anything else has historically always fallen short.

Though it's still a pretty fucked up and heartless system


> Nonetheless, if we want to think about it for arguments sake: there are no costs associated without capitalism, only necessary work and resources.

That's just redefining the term costs to not include work and resources. The term resources alone makes up nearly every operational cost possible: time, man power, CPU power, metals, environment, ...

Capitalism has nothing to with defining what something costs, it has everything to do with resource ownership and its distribution.


> Nonetheless, if we want to think about it for arguments sake: there are no costs associated without capitalism, only necessary work and resources.

"Necessary work and resources" is exactly what is meant by costs. Scarcity is a property of the universe we live in. Capitalism doesn't prescribe or create scarcity, it just offers a framework for dealing with it. All other systems also have costs and operational expenses—they just aren't borne primarily by those making the decisions.


I switched from iphone to android just because I could install youtube vanced (and really any apk I want). I'm done with walled gardens.


Use the Vanced app. It's ad free youtube

Edit: https://vancedapp.com/


I use NewPipe.


I don't use YouTube at all :P well once in a blue moon but I try to avoid it.

Though it's just that I don't like the video format in general. If there was an ethical decentralised platform I probably wouldn't use it either.

However the way video has been centralised online is a big problem IMO. Imagine if every blog you read you could only get through Google.


Even better - cheers to software freedom!


I miss them. I uninstalled mine after taking on more design responsibilities. Experiencing end-user inconveniences in-context is beneficial to design work. Profiling data and emulator testing won't viscerally inspire the "hold on— this is a bridge too far" interventions Conde Nast should have cultivated.

For example, if you were making a transit app, a savvy iPhone 13 ProMax user with a top-tier data plan will see very different problems (or at least see different priorities) on their commute than your Uncle Sidney with his belt-holstered, used, Samsung Galaxy J2 running on Ting Mobile. They're both important, but in the tech world, you have to dig a lot deeper to get the Uncle Sidney perspective.


Sorry but a short ad in front of a video is not abuse.


it is abuse, all non requested & for-profit message is abuse.


It is not abuse. You are using the platform, the platform is monetized through ads. You requested it when you agreed to view any content on their platform.


Implied contracts are not a thing.


A better world is possible.


I find this pretty confusing. How is showing ads abuse?


I once sent a link to a news article to a friend at work. He became angry at me because the link I had sent him was to a malware-infested shit site. It wasn't, but the ads in the site I had intended to send had taken over his browser and made it indistinguishable from a malware link.

That's how showing ads on your site is abuse of the user.


You've just shifted the goalposts significantly and did not really reply in good faith. Showing ads is very different from linking to malware. Especially on YouTube the amount of malware is probably very low since everything is sandboxed.


I think the point is that putting so many ads on a page to the point of it becoming indistinguishable from a malware infested shit site is a form of abuse to the user. I personally agree with this take, if that's what he meant


Showing ads without properly vetting them nor taking responsibility for any malicious ads is not in good faith either.


Advertizement uses your brain power to process stimuli for the purpose of trying to sell you things that you do not need.

You did not ask for your brain to be stimulated like this - what you did ask for is the content that comes after ad. That's the thing you consented to.

Ads abuse your desire to watch something that you want to watch, by cramming in something that you did not want, leeching your precious time and brain-processing energy, in order to sell you something that you did not want to have in the first place.


I've started to think about it differently. I no longer use any ad blockers. I actually want to experience the web (and its decline) the way it is, to take it all in, feel the pain and strengthen my patience in the process.

Also, when I visit a website that is truly obnoxious with its ads, I simply leave immediately and never go there. You build your own filter of bad actors, behaviors, and concrete sites. You don't need to block everyone, you simply walk away from abusers. You want to take notice of improper behavior before consciously and deliberately boycotting it.


Ads may be painful, but they are also insidious. That’s why they work. I avoid ads not because they’re painful (although most are), but because I simply don’t want to be influenced by whoever paid the most money to influence me.


No thanks for me. Advertisements if nothing else consume too much of my local compute resources for zero benefit to me. Why should I give them this free compute?


Why should I give them this free compute?

Why should they give you free content?


They choose to. My user agent just doesn't connect to all of the domains that they ask it to.


Don’t know. Some people charge for their content so they could try that if they didn’t want to offer content for free. Its their choice. Maybe I should allow ads and then send them a bill for their use of my local compute resources at my going rate.


They transmitted it into my house. I didn't ask for it.


I think opening their video amounts to asking for their content.


They're free not to do it just as I am free to close their page if they don't.


Interesting that I had to scroll this far to find a defense for the payment of the modern web. How’s this different than piracy? The unspoken agreement is that you get the content in exchange for eyeballs on ads or cash up front.


> How’s this different than piracy? The unspoken agreement...

Because movie and game studios don't rely on "unspoken agreements".

In most cases publishers don't even ask me to serve ads. They try to go behind my back by asking my browser. When my browser tells them "no", they still have the option to ask me. Some sites do, and I will either turn ads on or walk away without reading anything.

When the agreement becomes spoken it becomes an agreement. There's no agreement when there's no communication.


This has to be the most unpopular opinion so far

I have a few questions for you

1. How long have you been doing this ? 2. What do you think of other (not just monetization) ways ads are bad as in bloating the web, privacy and security issues ? 3. What if you truly need to access a website but it has too many ads ? You give up ? Use adblock ? Continue with ads ?


1. Been doing this for a few months, using only Safari for all my browsing. 2. My big annoyance is the weight on the CPU and battery. I have this sick pleasure from opening the network tab and seeing hundreds of requests filling my machine with garbage. :) 3. I often disable JavaScript temporarily with a hotkey - in macOS, you can map this action to any combination. This works incredibly well. Once I am done with the page, I re-enable it with a single keystroke. I only wish Safari did this just for the current page and not the entire browser.


There's also 4: It's not possible to consume content and not be affected by it. How okay are you with the fact that corporate messaging is a dominant mode of influence in your life?


Not the parent, but I've been doing the same thing. For maybe a slightly different reason.

1. Since the 90s. 2. Needs to be solved by user agents. Ad blockers generally work by host name or css selector. This doesn't filter out any of the bad guys that are really trying. 3. Continue with ads I guess. This doesn't actually happen in real life as far as I can tell.

The reason I don't use an ad blocker is that I like being able to see what's going on inside of a web browser. Prevalence of ad blockers creates an incentive to do canvas rendering based on a DRM-obfuscated data blob. That's worse for everyone.


"Prevalence of ad blockers creates an incentive to do canvas rendering based on a DRM-obfuscated data blob. That's worse for everyone."

Next gen ad blocker will be a headless web browser in a data center to capture the canvas, plus automated video editing to remove the ads.


That's a terrible future. Maybe it's inevitable. But I won't contribute to the arms race.


Not OP, but I find your questions interesting.

I find it intriguing that only in the digital age have we sort of decided that the creator of something doesn't get to dictate the terms of its use.

>3. What if you truly need to access a website but it has too many ads

At least for me, I assume that they created the necessary content and get to decide how it's made available. It seems like only in the digital age do we even consider "I don't like your terms so I'm taking the content anyway" an option.


> I find it intriguing that only in the digital age have we sort of decided that the creator of something doesn't get to dictate the terms of its use.

Except that's not true. Mark Twain and Shakespeare cannot tell you you're interpreting their works incorrectly. JK Rowlings cannot stop you from making paper mache out of her books. I can timeshift and spaceshift content with tape recorders, VCRs, TiVo and more.


That may have been a poor choice of words on my part. I am struggling to come up with a better choice.

I guess the analog would be “Ms Rowlings, I think the price of your book is too high, so I am going to pay you whatever price I want to. You don’t get a choice”

Someone spent time and energy to create something, and decided that annoying ads are the price of their labor. People seem to think they now deserve the labor without the price that the creator has chosen.

In almost all your scenarios they are predicated on having compensated the author in some way. Blocking ads is consuming the content without compensating the author in any way.


Then tying it to the digital age was a strange choice. People have infringed in copyrights since before electricity, operating manual printing presses to do so.


Your printed newspaper can neither build a profile of you. Nor mine shitcoins.

We have to consider this in the digital age, because in the analog world, ads have very limited impact.


> I find it intriguing that only in the digital age have we sort of decided that the creator of something doesn't get to dictate the terms of its use.

Nonsense. Broadcast TV and radio are the same. I use a TiVo for broadcast TV and use the skip ads function.


TiVo is very much a part of the digital age, it's literally called a "Digital Video Recorder".


And before that I used a VCR and would fast-forward through the ads. And before that, I would hit the mute button and get up to use the restroom or grab a snack. Or I'd change the channel and hope I remembered to change it back in a few minutes.


Fortunately goverment and b2c things like banks and insurance dont show ads, tho they are probably selling your data


Actually, I have seen government web sites with ads in the last couple of years.

The Cook County (Illinois) Assessor used to have them. There's a new assessor now, and a new web site design, but you can still see the space for the banner ad on archive.org: https://web.archive.org/web/20130708043842/http://www.cookco...

As for banks, yes, some banks to have ads for other companies on their web sites. I see them when I pay my bills online. Not all, but some.


It's not just ads, it's also about blocking potential security threats with third party scripts and rogue domains, especially on "adult" websites such as xxx, crypto, piracy related stuffs and what not.


For some, it is literally impossible.

In my current home it's not sanely possible to get wired Internet, so I started by just using the 40GB data allowance on my phone. This was a huge mistake. With the modern Web and being ultra-careful about my browsing, I would still chew through the whole lot in a week. It was costing me insane amounts to keep my phone online.

See the OP's article - one page can be 250MB! And my data allowance was large. Many people only have 2GB on their phones. 8 web sites and they are done for the month.


I feel similarly. My default browsing mode is Firefox with enhanced protection on, but other than that, I don't use any kind of ad-blocking. But I also pay for Spotify and YouTube Premium. Other than that, sites like HN, SO, shopping sites, etc. don't have a lot of ads anyway. On the rare occasion I find myself on a site plastered with tons of ads, I just deal with it for a short while (local news I need to read) or leave. I'm actually kind of struggling here to find a site with a lot of ads. It seems to me like despite the concerning growth of ad-tech, for the internet that I care about, ads are either optional (removable for a fee), unobtrusive (like DDG), or a signal of poor quality and I won't want to go the site anyway.


I no longer use any ad blockers.

I'm OK with most ads. I understand why they exist.

What I would like is something like an ad blocker that only blocks the tracking and surveillance.


Privacy Badger only blocks tracking and surveillance.

https://privacybadger.org/


> What I would like is something like an ad blocker that only blocks the tracking and surveillance.

Aren't there lots like this? At some point Ghostery did that: It would show you static banner ads no problem; it would only be the crazy javascript advert-bidding-based-on-surveillance things that wouldn't show up.


doesnt works for me, the only places I disable my adblocker is basically financial websites & healthcare related stuff. other than that it is all off.

Another thing is, since these adblock extensions get cleartext view of all the site you visit, you really want them to be completely open sourced. So only ublock origin for me.


I have a similar perspective when dealing with cookie popups, since such a perspective is necessary for something you cannot block even if you wanted to. Those with enough annoying popup hoops just get the Back button from me.


Thank you for your service.


That's actually a pretty good strategy and I am inclined to try it.


Someone just convinced you to voluntarily watch more ads.


I sympathize with small creators and sites that rely on these kinds of money and are not obtrusive. It's just a test though. I will probably be back on adblocker by default.


You can selectively turn it off for sites that you like. I have mine turned off for the local news blog which is pretty good and I like to support it.


On an adjacent note, my mother is someone who doesn't do any streaming—just regular old cable TV with constant commercials. I've asked her why she puts up with it and she just says the commercials give her a nice break to get up and go to the kitchen, the bathroom, do chores, etc. In reality, I think it's just inertia more than anything.

Recently though, she's been spending more time with my grandpa who streams everything. Last I talked to her, she said she felt very spoiled being able to watch whatever she wants, whenever she wants, with no ads. I'd tried explaining how great it is to her before, but I guess she had to live it to really understand how much better the other side is.

Blocking or avoiding ads in every facet of my life is almost a point of pride for me. I'm always alarmed when other people are just cool with it.


A friend (who does not use an ad blocker) showed me something on a website a few weeks ago and I was shocked by the invasiveness and aggressive nature of the ads. I asked him how he was able to use the web like this and he said it was annoying and that he was interrupted a lot, but he had sort of gotten use to it.

There's no way I would use a browser without an ad blocker. Doing so is counter-productive and also a major security risk.


For the longest time I refused to install an adblocker. I worked at a company that made most of its money from ads, and it felt hypocritical to run an ad blocker. Also I wanted to experience the website the same way as the users do.

For a long time I told people "my brain is my ad blocker I just ignore it". But after a while I just couldn't stand the web without it anymore. Websites got so bad I couldn't find the content anymore. My CPU would spike to 100% on some web pages and my laptop fans would spin like crazy.

It makes me sad but now I install an ad blocker on every place I can.


I'm very surprised the article went into the technical (web site sizes) instead of the psychological. People using the advertised web cannot visit a page without being bombarded by political surveys ("Are your gas prices higher under Biden? WE WANT TO KNOW"), extraneous goods (Show your love with a "My husband is a Rick and Morty fan born in March whose area code is 212!" t-shirt!), and deceptive practices ("Everyone in your area is saving on real estate taxes with this one weird trick!")

I was shocked when uBlock got flack for arranging an "Acceptable advertising" practice on their filter. It seems very similar to centralized regulations in broadcast to me. Larger, more established firms agree to a set of rules for the benefit of consumer and provider.


> I was shocked when uBlock got flack for arranging an "Acceptable advertising" practice on their filter.

The Acceptable Ads program started in AdBlock Plus (owned by Eyeo) in 2011. In 2018, uBlock (not to be confused with the highly recommended uBlock Origin) was acquired by AdBlock (which was itself acquired by an anonymous buyer in 2015, not to be confused with AdBlock Plus) and then implemented Eyeo's Acceptable Ads program by default.

The complaint against the program is that it turns Eyeo* into a rent-seeking middleman that profits from giving its users a degraded experience compared to ad blockers that block without selling exceptions, such as uBlock Origin. Eyeo is acting just like an ad seller, taking money from advertisers in exchange for its users' attention.

* And other companies? We don't know for sure who acquired AdBlock and uBlock, but it wouldn't be surprising if Eyeo did or if they have a common owner.


For a while I didn't bother with an adblocker. After countless data breaches and tracking that can still be done even with an adblocker, so I was mostly apathetic about the privacy factors. That was 3-4 years ago.

But I had a fast computer, lots of ram etc., yet still I noticed that websites were getting progressively slower and slower. And, as mentioned in the article, auto-playing video ads proliferated and became massively annoying. So I took the time to setup uBlock Origin, and gradually zapped elements on sites when they still made it through.

The difference was huge. Yes, the annoying auto-play ads (mostly) went away, but even more was the overall browsing speed was a huge improved. It was almost like the very early 00's when I went from dial-up to broadband.

It was only at this point that I realized just how much ads massively bogged down the internet.


I've had YouTube Premium since its inception. Whenever I'm around someone else who puts on a free-tier version of YouTube its rather shocking how frequent and intrusive the commercial ads are.


I ran ad blocking on Youtube for years, and I've been a Premium member since it came out (as Red back then). I can't stand ads and avoid them like the plague.

Some ads still sneak into my world though. My current peeve is when going to a restaurant and they have "the game" on full blast. I'm perfectly fine with people watching/listening to the game - and half the time the restaurant is considered a "sports bar", so I get it. But what ends up happening is that those major games are mostly ads. And the ads are twice as loud as the game. So here I am, paying to eat at a place and I'm listening to ads. I've been tempted to ask the server if we'll be receiving a discount for listening to each ad like a mobile game!


dude... go to a different restaurant. You might even find it's less crowded, and you get better service because there's no game on!


Depends on where you live. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are plenty of TV-free restaurant choices. Back when I lived in the South, it was a lot harder to find.


> My current peeve is when going to a restaurant and they have "the game" on full blast.

Get a TV-B-Gone.


I've bought the standalone keychain and the DIY TV-B-Gone. They're great but clunky. I bought a USB C IR blaster keychain hoping there'd be a TV-B-Gone app that could utilize it. No such luck.


There was an app for the Nokia N900 (I.e. the Maemo platform): https://www.my-maemo.com/software/applications_name_TV-B-Gon...


AirPods Pro also work well.


Regarding this, sports bars in particular pay a pretty hefty fee to have public-view television service, especially regarding access to all pro-league games. I'm sure they'd be paying more in general if they opted to mute or turn off the screen during ads (since the network expects x% of the restaurant's viewers to see and hear the ad, so they get the advertiser to pay more for access to those viewers, subsidizing the restaurant's actual monthly bill).


The gym that I go to (and pay for) have ads on most of the displays (some are running TV programs). Ads for local businesses and “upgrade your membership TODAY”. It irks me. I don’t want to be distracted by these flashing screens.

But I guess there is no law that says that patrons should be shielded from ads. And I don’t think they would listen if I gave them a complaint (why would they give up a source of revenue?). So I don’t know what can be done about it short of a concerted effort by many members. And they (and myself) would probably not be motivated enough to go to that level of effort just to get rid of some irksome ads.


If there is another gym in the area with fewer ads, cancel your current membership, let them know the reason why, and go to the other gym. Let the new gym also know why you are switching to them.


I already said that it is too inconvenient for me to do some kind of protest move which won’t make a difference. All that will accomplish is that I will have to travel longer to and fro.


Another alternative is ask them to turn it down and turn on CC.

I wish more of these places would have CC on. Especially if multiple programs are on, you can't have the audio. There's a solution right there, built right in, just waiting.... page in the conversation about how accessibility can be useful to more than just the immediately disabled.


Maybe your sensorium is different than mine, but the motion, flashing, and colors of advertisements are just as irritating as the audio to me. This is especially true in an environment where there are lots of other conversations and sounds to compete with the TV noise.

Unless the volume is turned up annoyingly loud, I find the visuals to be the annoyingly loud part: The subdued hues of the painted walls, tile floors, and wood trim reflecting back to my eyes from the ambient lighting are invisible compared to the 500 nits of flourescent colors jump cutting back and forth.

Turning on CC but leaving the visual assault in place doesn't help my eyes much. I would feel less abused if they'd turn the screen off but leave the game audio over the radio.


It depends on what I'm there for, certainly. Recently I went to a piano bar with friends, and also happened to catch a particular football game. In this environment, you surrendered peace and quiet the moment you selected the restaurant. Fortunately for a football game, the audio is optional anyhow.

If I'm just there to eat, one TV is no big deal to me, but the TV Wall is definitely a distraction.

But at least don't try to have the audio on. As technically nifty as some of the restaurants are that try to have per-table speakers or a streaming option are, CC is still less obtrusive to me.

But of course everyone's mileage will vary.


I would eat elsewhere if at all possible. You might not have many options though, or maybe you're with a group of people who love advertising.


I think it's more that you're with a group of people who don't hate advertising enough to take any action against it.


Get a phone with an IR blaster and turn off their TV


I have an ethical dilemma about YouTube. I hate ads, I hate Google, and I want to support the creators.

For those reasons adblock is a must, and paying for YouTube Premium is not an option (I’m not going to voluntarily give a single penny of my money to Google)

Sure, I’ve got CuriosityStream and Nebula subs, but not all content creators use those platforms.

It is what it is.


Nebula seems to split profit 50/50[0] while YouTube splits it 55/45 to the channel[1], and Youtube Premium views are regarded as being sometimes 10-20x the payout of an ad-supported view[2].

0: https://nebula.app/faq#:~:text=How%20do%20the%20creators%20g...

1: https://variety.com/2021/digital/news/youtube-partner-progra....

2: https://twitter.com/LinusTech/status/1486935690315112455?s=2... and https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/totalbiscuit-youtube-red-p...


re: [2] I did not know that. This thread has convinced me to seriously look at paying for YouTube.


The creators that are decently big (100k+) make enough money whether or not you ad-block. Don't worry about it.


They make enough money precisely because not everyone ad blocks. This seems like a fallacious argument.


A lot of big creators take sponsorship deals and have in-video ads. I know most of the ones I watch do, and I actually don't even mind them. They're personalized to the content creator's content, and are usually as entertaining as the video's contents because of it.


GP is talking about Patreon and sponsorships. A lot of videos get demonitized too, so some creators stand to see no money from ads in some videos.


To support the creators whose videos I'm watching on YT, I use a whitelist add-on that disable the adblocker on those channels. Though the add-on still allows me to skip the ad, which I'm doing when it's an ad I've already seen.


You can pay for their Patreon as well if you want


I feel the same when I accidently open the stock app instead of Vanced.


How far does YouTube Premium go as far as privacy? I never took a look at it carefully.

My fear is I would pay the fee for no ads, but Google would still collect data on what I view and monetize that by selling me ads somewhere else.


YouTube Premium does nothing to stop Google using your youtube history to profile you and letting advertisers target ads at you on other sites using Google's data which is partially built on the youtube profiling.

By not loading the ads at all, it may stymie non-Google ad networks attempts to profile you.


YouTube ads are based on your watch history, not some tracking pixel, so even a regular ad blocker on YouTube.com only blocks ads and doesn't help with privacy.


I suspect that since you're a paying user, a more valuable customer, they'd want to mine your data more thoroughly to derive more profits in other ways.


I would suspect the opposite, once you start paying you go from being a product to being a customer.

If youtube was 90% premium members, it would likely be an unrecognizably better platform, since users instead of advertisers would be the core profit center.


In a normal world that would make sense but we're dealing with businesses and MBAs who need to incessantly increase their revenue. As a paying customer they could squeeze more, you're willing to pay. Non-paying customers are used as a product themselves but it's extremely hard to extract more.


That's just normal business though, and my statement is intrinsically correcting for that.

Netflix has the same MBAs and bean counters, but their product has no ads and orders of magnitude less clickbait. Its clear they make content geared for their users, not for their advertisers. Youtube is very heavy with advertiser friendly content, and both creators and users pay heavily for that (but its *quote* Free! *unquote*)


Netflix productions do content placement. It's pretty sneaky and they do use social media accounts for shenanigans like fake posts on subreddits asking "What was that jacket in TVShow S03E04?" and another account responding with a link. Big brands with recognizable logos also do product placement on those. For fantasy shows they aim to own the merchandise distribution, but for stuff that happens on the real world there's always product placement and webpage placement and stuff like that going on.


I hardly see product placement as being even remotely close to what YouTube is doing. Its probably one of the most innocuous forms of advertising. Imagine a YouTube where the worst you can come up with is a guy drinking a coke during his video.


Yes, because it's done in moderation. Imagine if that was ramped up and 90% content was turned into product placement..


I was watching lost in space and one of those episodes had an entire subplot about Oreos. It was so blatant it ruined that episode.


Why wouldn't they mine the data of all their users super thoroughly (to their technical limits)? It only costs a bit of computer time.


I just upgraded after refusing. Mostly for mobile. On desktop my ad block works but on mobile it wouldnt. You can also shut off your screen on mobile and it continues to run with Premium. It kind of sucks that Youtube requires you to pay for this but I use Youtube enough to be okay with it.


Ad block on firefox works on YouTube on mobile (Android) and there is another mobile firefox extension to allow background play.


The name of the Firefox Android extension that allows background play is "Video Background Play Fix": https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/video-backgro...

Just install that and uBlock Origin and you're set: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/android/addon/ublock-origin...


On Android, Youtube Vanced (https://vancedapp.com/) is the best solution, in my experience. Used it for multiple years, no complaints.


Oh nice. I'll check this out. Thanks.


I'm blocking youtube ads on my mobile quite okay and the experience is fine (IOS - AdGuard). There are some twitches here and there but it is very usable.


> Whenever I'm around someone else who puts on a free-tier version of YouTube its rather shocking how frequent and intrusive the commercial ads are.

Also, when I accidentally open a video in a private browsing window where I'm not logged in. DAMN IT WHY IS ALL THESE ADS.

Although, I have to say that the ads on YouTube were some of the most targeted of any site, and I would often sit through them.


you can enable addons in private mode


I bet! I run an adblocker and it's a cat and mouse game with YouTube ads slipping through. Last breakage, before I reinstalled it, I was getting ad interruptions for the same two stupid adds literally every 45 seconds.


Which ad blocker? I use ublock origin and I never see YT ads.


I agree uBlock origin is the best, but I am running Safari now, so I use both Adblock plus and Ghostery lite.


I use AdGuard, I don't see YouTube ads.


Problem is once an ad blocker's in the loop, the ad architecture's dataflow is damaged and it'll have to run fallback content.

So you'll get whatever's in the B-list of ads and that may be just two.


Yeah, google can circumvent the ad blocker's attempts to block the ad playback from beginning, but if the first thing the ad does is have double verify check if you're a bot, and double verify's domain is in your adblocker's list, then the ad is going to fail and Google will try load some other ad once it errors out.


> double verify check if you're a bot

I hate when they do this. I just leave and go somewhere else. I'm not submitting to Voight-Kampff just to see a LinkedIn profile.


To be clear, advertising bot detection is different to website bot detection. The website bot detection is because they're worried about spambots filling comments or DDOS attacks. This is where you get the captchas. The advertiser bot detection is more for the case where the website owner is in on it and trying to boost their metrics to get more revenue from advertisers, and is more likely to be expressed via blank ad slots and demands for refunds from the website owner.


That's win-win for the server. Servers start doing this because automated traffic is cutting into their ability to provide service to humans. If you're freeing up their traffic to serve other humans you're doing them a favor.


In all fairness, if the rest of us didn't run adblockers, they probably wouldn't need to be so aggressive with the ads for those that currently don't.


What's this mythical world where industry execs leave profit on the table because they aren't being squeezed by ad blockers? Have you tried watching cable TV? You know, the service that was originally billed as a way to watch tv without ads?


This strikes me as wishful thinking, adblockers are such a small minority. They are just following the incentives they would always follow, adblockers or no.


Adblockers are at 27% just in the US looking at statista and other random sources, and the number is much higher if you look at the more relevant younger demographic.

0. https://www.statista.com/statistics/804008/ad-blocking-reach...


From the article, 27% of users; this is higher than I thought, and not negligible anymore.

Note: I tried a few google search to find accurate data, but it goes all over the place; is there an accurate estimation somewhere?


Finding out if someone is running an ad blocker is not easy. After all a good ad blocker tries to be stealthy about it.

(anti ad blocker leads to anti anti ad blocker)


There are plenty of websites that detect that I'm using an adblocker. It's mildly annoying, but then I get to decide if what I was about to read was worth it.

Most of the time it's journaldemontreal.com (and other Quebecor-related websites) that prevents me from reading their articles with my adblocker. Which is a blessing in a way, because it's basically a glorified tabloid with a lot of articles of dubious quality.

I'm on Firefox with both AdBlockPlus and uBlock Origin.


There was a time back in the IE6 era where firefox didn't really have any market share and adblockers weren't really a thing.

The advertising industry was really aggressive even then. Some publishers put as many popups and banner ads as they could. I'm not saying all publishers would do this, but I have to admit the worst actors are the ones I strongly remember.

Only difference now is that there's a lot more tracking and ads are more insidious where they blend in with content now.


Yep, the first punch was thrown by the ad industry. Popups, pop-unders and even full window advertisements were rampant before popup blockers became commonplace, to the point of being added directly to browsers.


I doubt that. Even if adblockers weren't a thing they'd push more ads since it generates more revenue. It's probably also effective at annoying users into buying a subscription to avoid (most) ads.


You've put the cart ahead of the horse. Ad-blockers took off once they started throwing animated banners at us. Punch the monkey, win an ipod.


That's not really true. Youtube ads specifically were way way milder and rarer years ago when way less people used Adblock.


And global warming was much milder when we had more pirates in the world [1]. Correlation is not causation. In the same period, YouTube's management style and public-facing attitude have changed dramatically, Google's general attempt at being the "good guys" has pretty much vanished, and beancounting has taken over as the guiding principle in many respects. I have zero reason to believe that had Adblocking not been a thing, there would have been any significant difference in the frequency or intrusiveness of the ads YouTube shows.

[1] https://swizec.com/blog/pirates-downfall-causes-global-warmi...


Correlation is not causation but negative correlation is even more surely not causation and what I was replying to was

>Ad-blockers took off once they started throwing animated banners at us

which is still not true. When they took off the ads were still minimal.


That was when it was still a growing business. Uber was cheaper when investors paid for it, too.


I wouldn't call them "milder". They weren't static ads. They were video ads. Often loud and un-skippable for a certain small amount of time. This is definitely equivalent to a "punch the monkey" ad.


To be fair, if people stopped blocking ads I don't see them backing off on Ads any more; the increase in revenue and ad watch time would be kept as profit, since the current YouTube paradigm where they show 2 ads at the start and sometimes multiple mid-roll ads is so that they annoy you enough to sign up for Premium.


This is exactly the case. Every time someone starts ad-blocking, someone else has to assume that ad watch for them.

Of course this isn't 1:1 parity in reality, but the ultimate manifestation of ad blocking is that.

Google had a good system a few years ago that I was probably the only sucker who paid them for it (and probably why they stopped it). You could pay a chosen amount monthly, and they would not show you ads as a result. It wasn't perfected, but the concept was good for those who understand the problem and want to work towards a solution.


Aren't the people who use adblockers by definition those who are irritated by advertising enough that they wouldn't buy the products and services being advertised? If anything ad people should love things like uBlock Origin, it means they're not wasting their ad spend on people who aren't going to buy their products anyway.


I think that's wishful thinking. I might even think this about myself, that I don't care about ads. But they still have some effect I think. Sure, I rarely buy stuff online or anywhere, I just don't shop much, but I still get affected by ads.

Some things about our brain we just can't change: we like things we've seen before. Both brands and people. Recognition makes a big difference, for example in arbitrary choices when shopping.


>> Every time someone starts ad-blocking, someone else has to assume that ad watch for them.

This is a completely unsubstantiated claim, and also false if you think about it.


Which year was this ? Can you share more information regarding this ?



Yeah thanks, that was it.


Thank you (:


I want to say they stopped it in 2018? I don't remember the name of the program, and searching "google paying for no ads" brings up a ton of unrelated adwords stuff.

I payed $5/mo and they would roll over unused funds. It worked pretty well, except that it would still show where the banners were, just blank whitespace instead of an ad.


I'm gonna guess that isn't the case, and that the percentage of people using ad blockers is still fairly low.


instead of paying for premium and all of that money going to a megacorp. I spent some money on a simple browser plugin that forces YT to use the HTML5 video player.

Although every now and then an ad happens to pre-load before the video starts but I just refresh the video page and the ad goes away.


Premium views help a lot more than ad-supported views for creators, on the scale of 10-20x the payout per-view[0,1] (and it pays out regardless of the advertiser friendliness rating).

This has been a hot topic lately[2,3], but at what point is you watching YouTube for years without ads, without paying for Premium, ethically stealing or "piracy"? YouTube was buying petabytes of Hard Drive storage a day in 2012 to keep up with the demand[4], i'm sure it's nearly an Exabyte a day or more right now, so it doesn't cost $0 for YouTube to run the service, they just happen to have enough people on Mobile watching and clicking ads to make a profit[5] and subsidize the rest of us.

0: https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/totalbiscuit-youtube-red-p...

1: https://twitter.com/LinusTech/status/1486935690315112455?s=2...

2: https://youtu.be/-znPFc-0VS8?t=149

3: https://youtu.be/6jUxOnoWsFU

4: https://sumanrs.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/youtube-yearly-cost...

5: https://www.theverge.com/2020/2/3/21121207/youtube-google-al...


It's insane to me that people are arguing in favor of the advertisement companies simply because they pay the content creators a sliver of what they accept from the companies that use their ad platform.

Here's my take. It's not "piracy" or "ethical piracy" (what the fuck?). The content creators put it out on YT with the expectation that it will get viewed. The little money they receive now is simply a bonus. It's only piracy if the content creator put it out on a platform for some dollar amount (ie, direct to consumer model) and then it is later re-uploaded for free by another channel or via other means..

In other words, you can't claim piracy when the "price" is $0 up front.

As for YT, I don't really care. They are subsidized by the data that is fed to them (ie, viewing history) and resold to advertisers. They get their nut.

If anything, this should really push the forefront on innovation for a decentralized video streaming platform. One organization or group should not have this much power over who gets the "top views" via a proprietary algorithm.


The price of things don't have to be represented in dollar amounts. If I want to give you a free iPad for watching my 2 hour lecture, I don't expect you to put on some sunglasses and take a nap for 1 hour 55 minutes. If you do that, I don't have to give you that iPad even if you sued me for it.

Piracy in general is just 'unauthorized use'[0]. YouTube requires you watch ads to use their website, so not doing that is piracy. The only reason there's no consequences for adblock are because (A) it'd be bad optics and bad PR to sue regular viewers, and (B) YouTube sees the value of subsidizing those who block ads as a plus, since it means they can keep their tight grip on where 'everyone' goes to watch videos and thus where creators are required to upload if they want people to see their stuff. If they blocked ~37% [1] of viewers with adblock, different services more lenient to ad blockers (at first) would be able to actually attract viewers and perhaps get the content creators to start dual-uploading their content.

0: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/piracy

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=30151590


> YouTube requires you watch ads to use their website, so not doing that is piracy.

Piracy is another word for copyright infringement. Blocking ads on YouTube is not piracy because you are not violating copyright law (in any country that I'm aware of) by viewing only a portion of the content that is delivered to you. DVRs do the same thing as ad blockers for TVs, but in the U.S., the courts have ruled that DVR services do not infringe the copyrights of media companies.[1]

YouTube and other Google services don't forbid ad blocking in their terms of service.[2] If they did, there would be an uproar because Google itself includes an ad blocker in Chrome, which of course does not block any YouTube or Google ads.[3]

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/business-us-cablevision-cour...

[2] https://www.youtube.com/static?template=terms

[3] https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/7632919


> which of course does not block any YouTube or Google ads

I've seen it block Google ads a few times on this one website which cycles through them every minute. It says the ad 'used too many resources and Chrome has killed it'.


You're missing so much in this analysis - the big advertising companies do much more than show ads - they stalk you in excruciating detail, they resell your private life information to untold abusers who try to gain advantage from you.

Taking advantage of you, by manipulating your mind is one of the basic premises of ads.

In some ideal 'fair' world ads would just present information for you to make rational choices - but nope, the reality is the ads industry is based on emotional/psychological manipulation. If you seek to understand you can research about the evolution of the industry since the time of Freud where they co-opted psychological techniques to sell things by exacerbating people's psychoses.

Put another way, your arguments would only make sense if the advertisers played fair but they are abusive and try to trick you. You can't make a fair deal with conniving.

The reality of this is so bad that it is destroying our society - at what point is allowing massive scale psychological manipulation/abuse for profit destroying society?

My post here is a bit ranty but I get upset at the lack of fair context in the presuppositions of your argument.


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