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Show HN: YouTube banned adblockers so I built an extension to skip their ads
711 points by rKarpinski 10 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 710 comments
Hi HN!

Since Youtube no longer allows AdBlockers, I built my own extension to get around their video ads. If there is an ad it temporarily manipulates the video; Mutes the volume, sets speed to 10x, and skips it if there is a button.

Chrome Webstore link: https://chromewebstore.google.com/detail/ad-accelerator/gpbo...

Code: https://github.com/rkk3/ad-accelerator

Cool! I recently wrote my own user script to do the same thing. It's going to be very hard to patch or detect this, as updating video element props don't trigger DOM updates. They would have to either do lots of JS prototype trickery or check for playback rate when doing adblock detection. One thing to keep in mind here though since you're doing DOM lookups every time anything on the page changes, is that there could be some small overhead in page render time, and also that using fixed CSS classes means any small change to page code could break the checks. In case it's a problem in the future, checking .innerText is a hacky way to workaround it.

One can simply "videoElement.addEventListener('ratechange', callback);" to be notified the ad was sped up.

I mean the client can then undo this, as it can any JS the page offers, but there's nothing harder about detecting playbackRate changes vs something which causes a DOM update.

Can't an extension filter that event out?

Sure, that's what the 2nd line is referring to.

They could refuse to deliver the main video content until the minimum ad time has passed?

Watching a blank screen is still a huge quality of life win.

Exactly what happens on Twitch (that or a low quality version of the stream) if you use the few anti-ads that still work. And I don't mind that, if I do, I usually stop watching and move to something else... especially because their ads are even more annoying than YouTube, often multiple consecutive 30 seconds ads, unskippable. I do not know who watches these, especially when they cut something happening live.

I've never been a big consumer of Twitch, in part because I don't understand how they can decide that now you're going to forcefully miss the next minute of content.

In TV movies or YouTube, the actual content gets paused so that at least makes sense, it's just an interruption. But in Twitch it's like if they put ads in the middle of a football game! Imagine being interrupted for ads and back to players celebrating a goal.

Another thing Twitch does badly is to put ads on my face not even 30 seconds after joining a channel. Psychologically it feels like I haven't had time to get invested in the content, so it's not worth it to put up with the ads, and it makes me move somewhere else or close the tab.

On Twitch, the content creators can decide when to play an ad. They usually apologize for "having to do so", but they preferably do it at boring times in a match.

I'm using uBlock Origin and haven't seen an ad on twitch other than for a day or two about a year ago, in years. (Daily Twitch watcher)

You might be in a country/region in which advertisers don't buy ads. But for quite some time now uBlock Origin isn't enough to block ads. Also if you are subbed/Twitch Prime to a streamer or have Twitch Turbo it might spare you a lot of ads too.

I have never paid a penny to Twitch, nor been given a gifted sub. So it's no that :) I know for sure my country has ads, as occasionally I load twitch app on my phone and it's unbearable.

There must be something different about how some of us are using uBlock Origin then - none o that applies to me, yet I only very rarely get ads for a day or so. I'm not even logged in to Twitch.

I have never seen any ad on Twitch either and I am a very irregular user as well.

My guess is they don't show ads to guests before they reach a certain amount of frequent visits.

I'd say the low quality version of the stream is far better than the purple screen.

You might be interested in https://github.com/pixeltris/TwitchAdSolutions. A combination of its vaft uBlock script and using a VPN connected to somewhere in Austria has kept me pretty much ad-free for years.

Indeed, this is one possible end game, if we cannot block the ads from our computers, we can at least block them from our ears and eyeballs.

I view ads as a reminder to myself that I should maybe be doing something else with my time. I would love an ad blocker that blanked my entire computer screen for the duration of any ad, it would be a great chance to breathe and stop doom scrolling.

I would definitely pay $100+ for an HDMI dongle that would black-out/mute cable TV commercials for my parents.

Someone someday will build an extension that will replace ads with "AI" generated video to fill in the blank.

You could also just have a system that predicts which videos you are going to watch next / soon, and preloads them in the background, so that the minimum-ad time will have already passed by the time you are giving them any attention?

That seems a lot simpler to do?

True, but what if they start encoding the ads into the stream?

something like below extension. Relies on crowd (end users submitting time ranges) to skip unwanted parts


That wouldn't work for dynamically injected ads that could be at different timestamps and have different lengths for each user.

Some sort of checksumming to detect segments differing between users would probably be doable.

I think you under estimated the cost of your solution, the cost must not excess the profit from the ad.

You need hard work on the encoder to do that (at least to segment video, because re-encoding dynamically is obviously not an option). Not profitable for Google.

Aren't there codecs that don't carry state across keyframes? Wouldn't it then be trivial to split a video at a keyframe and insert new content?

Sounds like it would be just as trivial to detect the split at the decoder level.

Why? How would you determine if the content that comes after the split is an ad? What if YouTube has 1000s of versions of the same ad, of which they insert one after the split?

Shazam-style audio fingerprinting can help.

The same applies for regular ads on websites. If the ad is delivery alongside the content, it can’t be blocked. But the industry doesn’t want this. They want cheap delivery of extremely targeted and tracked pushing of micro optimised advertising. That’s a reason to ad block alone. If a digital newspaper had the same ad for everyone on their website, with no tracking, I would be ok not to ad block it. That isn’t the creepy ad business I am inclined to block.

Arms race towards people running their own private YouTube instances which pre-fetch subscriptions and recommendations to skip ads. If the video hasn't been downloaded already it pretends to play the ad in the background while waiting. A minor inconvenience, but hardly the end of the world.

Yes it's TiVo for Youtube. And this...THIS...is the real use case for desktop AI: Detecting ads and automatically skipping them.

Funny how the AI barons never mention how AI can empower normies against them.

Same happened to me at a software conference. Ask a bunch of presenters about "When was the last time you put the User before yourself?

Crickets man. Crickets.


Be even easier if they provided an MRSS feed! I wonder if a popular channel on YT started making their content available in an easy to parse format like MRSS if they'd notice a significant loss in YT viewers in favor of it. Of course, they'd then lose the ad share, so probably not a thing that will happen.

How fast would YT issue a C&D if someone created an app that did this for you so that you just entered in the channels you follow, and then it would just check every so often for new content?

Shout-out Nebula, an alternative YT/creator platform which has no ads or sponsor segments. It's a monthly subscription but fairly cheap, and it gives you access to all videos on the platform (unlike patreon which is for a single creator). The monthly subscription cost is then split between all creators on the platform.

It's not a 1-1 alternative to YT as creators have to opt in, so most (imo low effort) videos/creators won't be on there. It's fantastic for any tech/engineering/history/news though, high quality/effort vids with no bullshit.

Note: I have no vested interest in Nebula, I'm just a user that's happy to support good creators and a platform that's actively opposed to advertising.

If this counts as an ad/spam - let me know and I'll delete this comment.

You're describing Freetube. I use YouTube daily without an account, ads, or algorithms.


Happy user here as well.

That link didn't work for me but the github repo is here: https://github.com/FreeTubeApp

How reliable is it? I used one of these apps from the F-Droid store (can't remember if it was this or NewPipe) but reliability was poor.

It's desktop aplication.

How unrealible NewPipe was for you?

Unreliable enough to say "screw this" and use the regular app and set up pi-hole

Pi-hole is not able to block ads on YouTube entirely. They are not DNS based.

My god, we've re-invented the VCR.

It will be a VCR of VCR

Sounds like a podcast app, but for video. A mix of yt-dl and some checks for specific channel updates.

Horrifying amounts of local storage required though.

Storage is also horrifyingly cheap these days. Was just looking at recertified enterprise HDDs – can get a 20TB drive for $200. Wish I had some more spare change lying around!

similar comment made on another post


And then Google will sue the owners of any such instances for DMCA violation.

Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots.

And then Kevin McLeod triggers the no-DRM provision of CC-BY and rugpulls every creator on the platform.

This. For some corporate training sites they do this, which makes watching at 2x useless since you just have wait silently… but if you’re me, you get distracted, go do something else and then come back a month later when the nag email tells you you need to do the training.

I don't think I've ever completed a training course on time, only after getting "urgent: 7 days to complete".

I've got severe ADHD so these types of assessments are near impossible due to the slow dialogue and forced wait time. Though most of these courses give you multiple (or unlimited) attempts, so I'll screenshot each slide + wrong answers and brute force until I'm done. At least I can get other stuff done in the meantime.

What I do instead is attempt to reverse engineer what JavaScript function I need to call or web request is needed to make it think I competed the test/videos.

A common easy way is to just re-enable the “next” button. Even if it takes me longer than just doing legitimately, I find it more educational.

I was annoyed when a government security training exercise ranked "send the data using a trusted courier" as more secure than encrypting the data, and marked my answer incorrect.

My manager was impressed when I scored 110%.

That's probably a bad idea from a legal point of view.

The approach of trying to know what exactly the user does in their browser on their own computer and from that information to conclude whether something in front of the computer happened (the learning) is nonsensical at best and crime at worst (when done without consent or secretly). Allow the user to give deliberate signals by marking parts as done and if necessary analyze the datetimes of those signals.

But the OP is talking about training their work assigned them. Which is presumably done on company hardware.

You have no expectation of privacy on company hardware, they are allowed to do anything they want to do with the signal you provide them...

What expectations I have, is my own business. I definitely don't agree with being mistreated by an employer and it would probably make me look for another job, if an employer did that kind of thing.

'Expectation of privacy' is a legal term. It doesn't have much to do with your personal expectations.

In any case, what I meant is that actively lying and deceiving about whether you did the compliance training (or any other employer ordered training) can probably get you into hot water.

I do the same

Just give me a nice PDF I can read in half an hour instead of 5 hours of training that insults my intelligence by making me wait for the audio to finish. At Walmart back in the day, I spent the first couple days doing training in the back - the dullest thing I've ever done. But turning on closed captions and listening to my own music instead of their audio made it tolerable.

Unfortunately, this is - like so many stupid things - governmentally-driven.

In some US States (e.g., California), there are requirements on how many hours of training on topic X must be done every year. So if you finish faster, they literally, legally, have to feed you more crap until the hours of training have been met.

This has already happend to me, probably unintentionally. Something in Cromite "broke" the ads and just showed a black screen before the video started.

It was fine. I had no problem with it.

I had something similar happen. I'm fine with a blank screen and waiting 5-30sec. I don't want intrusive ads before during and after a 5 min video on water heater maintenance.

I've seen a few ads on Youtube that I actually appreciated watching. Quiet background music, a useful product, respectful presentation, text with no spoken words, and done quickly.

However, the vast majority are the exact opposite. Loud music, shouting, uncomfortable sound effects, a long playtime, and to top it off, either advertising an outright scam or else a product that I have no interest in whatsoever. Sometimes I have to rip my headphones off to protect my ears. Not to mention the timing -- ads between movements in a classical symphony, or else right during a passage itself.

It's a good reminder that while I've enjoyed Youtube for many years, I also have a CD collection I can listen to instead.

The worst was when Google was turning a blind eye to advertisers putting entire TV episodes and music videos in ads. It was infuriating to have something playing in the other room only to realize what should've been a 2 minute ad break somehow has been going on for 10 minutes.

Well really they could include a hash with each frame of video data, timestamp when clients have started watching and only allow sending the next x frames once y time has passed.

Really, they should just get rid of all ads and force everyone to pay a subscription, because apparently that's what everyone wants. Oh no, wait, they want neither; people want Youtube for free without ads.

Sure, YT could make less profit and therefore serve fewer ads/lower premium price, but in order to convince them to do that, humans would actually have to work together and boycott it to send a message, and as we all know that ain't ever gonna happen.

The next will be downloading the videos in background, stripping the ads, and watching them later.

I'm OK with this. Better than ads.

Making this work would likely mean that the CDN edge servers become much more stateful and the costs of operating that might outweigh the additional revenue.

Not really. IIRC they already used signed URLs. They just need to add a not-before field to the URL.

They could just patch Chrome to make "updating video element props trigger DOM updates".

And you could build chromium and remove just that

Good thing alternative engines exist

True, but they also have a lot of sway over what other engines do

Yandex…For the Win…

Add this to addons.mozilla.org, so we can use it on Firefox & Firefox for Android!

On Firefox I recommend uBlock Origin oder AdGuard, both block ads completely.

Did you not notice the submission title: "YouTube banned adblockers so I built ..."

I've seen a lot of discussion about YouTube banning adblockers, but as a user of Firefox + uBO, I have never seen it happen for me. Perhaps the Firefox extension ecosystem makes it easier to push blocklist updates or something. Or YouTube's detection is browser-specific and they bothered with the largest first.

I use Firefox and uBO and I had it trigger about 4 times now. I go and manually pull the uBO "Quick Fixes" list and still it triggers for me.

Recently it has stopped triggering again though. I have no idea why.

Google will make a change to its ads to get around the adblockers, but no change they make gets deployed all at once.

Instead they spread their updates over users 0.1% at a time over an hour or so. That way if youtube stops working for that fraction of users, they can cancel and rollback the update.

Sometimes this means that you might be in that tiny fraction of users who gets a change before the devs who maintain the UBO lists, and sometimes that change is related to ads.

(It's only happened to me twice in the last 2 years)

In this case, you don't need to mess around with other extensions, you just need to wait an hour or so until those devs have seen Google's changes and they can push their own updates to reblock the new ads.

If you want it to go faster, you can go to the github issues pages for the filterlists and they have instructions for how to get uBlock Origin to generate a blob of debug info to post on github to speed up their updates.

Interesting, thanks for the insights. The next time I feel frustrated enough I'll have to do that.

Part of me was considering just self-hosting an alternative YT frontend. At this point I'm sorta happy with how YT slowly has decreased its usage in my life

If we frustrate Google enough, though, they will try to make up for the lost revenue by deploying it all at once and miserably fail.

They need to just give up and stop fighting the ad-blockers: they can't win, unless they try to force everyone to use a special app to watch YouTube, which obviously isn't going to fly.

There's plenty of losers out there who can't or won't use ad-blockers that they can make their ad money on; trying to harass the 20% of users who use ad-blockers is just an arms race they can't win.

"Can't win" is at odds with Google's self image though.

I just clear filters and purge cache in settings. Seems to be working well so far.

Yeah, I'm using uBO in both Chrome and Firefox and have yet to have them not work or get a "turn off your adblocker" nag or whatever

I use uBO w/ Firefox and got the nag once, around two weeks ago (dismissable warning). Presumably an uBO update got rid of it.

Interestingly I just tried Chrome (Canary build) with uBO and I'm getting ads... :o

Are you logged in to Youtube? People are saying that the YouTube anti-blocking measures are kicking in for logged-in users, but not for anonymous users.

uBlock Origin and Sponsorblock works on Firefox for Youtube even signed in

Yes, there is no question about that the uBlock Origin works regardless of your YouTube session status. The question is whether YouTube's countermeasures kick in or not: nagging you to turn it off, or stop playback.

Your comment is so useful that I actually created an account just to thank you for your wisdom.

Im logged in and see no ads. Safari with adguard, no ads on mac or phone. Update: i do see ads on safari mobile now.

The issue isn't whether you see ads or not, but whether YouTube is nagging you to turn off your ad blocking on threat of video playback being suspended after a few videos.

It’s likely a gradual rollout. So, it will happen eventually.

I saw the popup a month or so ago for the first time, and 10 days ago after that. Simply manually updating uBlockOrigin filters did it for me both times.

No need for the snark.

on Firefox, Tampermonkey addon works with this script:


Will do!

Been watching YouTube on Firefox (Android and MacOS) with uBlock Origin with zero ads ever. What am I missing?

YouTube split tests (“A/B tests”) their changes. If you haven’t seen the modal warning you to disable your AdBlocker on YouTube, then you will soon.

Not necessarily, if you kept your filters and extension up-to-date, you won't see that pop-up either. uBlock handles it just fine. During early days of YT trying to force me to disable it, all I had to do is to open the settings, update filters and it was just fine. Thankfully it's been peaceful now for long time.

This isn't correct. A few weeks ago it started stopping me in FF with uBO running.

Ublock does all this. However in the first few weeks you had to manually update it. In Firefox it works flawlessly now.

I got that modal for some time, switched to yt-dlp for that time, and now I get zero ads or modals again with FF/uBlock. Not sure what they are doing, maybe I'm just lucky.

I noticed it only when logged in. When logged out my UBlock works perfectly. (Note, I havn't logged in for a while, so maybe the situation has improved in the meantime) (Firefox)

That modal popup can be blocked as well. Ad blockers have element pickers for a reason. No need to wait for some official lists updates.

Does uBlock Origin bypass YouTube Anti-Adblock? This website will tell you.


Nothing, it works just fine for now for me too. I'd still recommand an open source app called NewPipe over YouTube on FireFox, it seems way less hungry battery-wise... and there is likely also less data collection happening.

Unfortunately newpipe is bizarrely hostile to sponsorblock, which to me has become as important as Adblock itself: https://newpipe.net/blog/pinned/newpipe-and-online-advertisi...

But I definitely also recommend trying out frontends that support it.

I cannot imagine trying to use video while having to run a gauntlet of both YouTube ads and video sponsor segments.

There is a newpipe fork with sponsorblock[1] which works quiet well

[1] https://apt.izzysoft.de/fdroid/index/apk/org.polymorphicshad...

Oh! Thank you! I knew of NewPipe SponsorBlock but thought it wasn't in F-Droid because the F-Droid folks didn't like that it calls out to the SponsorBlock service. I didn't realize that it was possible to add custom repositories to F-Droid, so now I've done that and it seems to have linked up perfectly. TIL; thanks!

What does sponsorblock provide that hitting the 'L' key a few times to skip ahead doesn't ?

It provides the ability to skip ads without pressing the 'L' key. Meaning that one doesn't have to be at the keyboard to press anything. It also skips to the end of the ad, so you never have to use the 'J' key if you pressed 'L' too many times or if the ad finished 9 seconds ago.

I also prefer NewPipe for longer videos, especially ones I only need audio for. I share to it from the Youtube app typically, which has been getting more and more annoying (from one tap to 3 right now).

it's a tiered rollout. I also had no issues until a few weeks ago. but I usually just need to update the unlock lists and do a hard refresh and I will be back in business for a few days.

For those who are on Safari (macOS and iOS), I highly recommend using Vinegar [0].

But that being said, recently even Vinegar is struggling a lot when I open a YouTube video (although the developer is promptly fixing issues). The video starts playing in the background, but I can't see it, then it pauses for a few seconds and restarts.

It's crazy how terrible YouTube is making the experience on their site!

[0] https://apps.apple.com/in/app/vinegar-tube-cleaner/id1591303...

+1 for Vinegar, I much prefer the native video player. I originally installed it to allow PIP but the ad removal is a welcome bonus.

There is also Baking Soda, from the same author, which does the same thing but for every website except YouTube.


I started using Baking Soda too recently. Much better experience browsing the web.

Using both of these (and yt-dlp) actually shows how hostile the video web is becoming!

It seems a lot of work to do this and worth it.

As a surprised customer of YouTube premium having all ads gone across videos and music across all devices really might not be a bad deal for anyone on the fence for a family plan and all your devices.

In terms of working around ads.. There are some neat solutions that seem to work ok for YouTube on tv.. but so far the family plan seems ok.

Was anyone able tog eat off the premium plan and have no ads on their phones, computers, tvs and smart speakers?

YouTube premium has no ads on the AppleTV app, which solves the TV side for my home. I have to imagine Android TV and other solutions are the same for the most part - is your TV using some kind of odd built in YouTube app that doesn't support the Premium subscription?

The tech in my home also practices diversity and there's Android TV as well as Apple TV - my experience has been the same as yours that Youtube Premium is ad free on all of them.

I have heard some folks using tools like invidious but I'm not sure how well they map to multiple screens.

Being able to put the same account onto the built in youtube apps on TV's and mobile devices has been useful. No need to buy a white noise machine for kids, we just use a google mini in speaker mode only. Sure, I'd like it to be something else but premium has me on board for now.

I also have an extension [0] in which I have couple of shortcuts to skip ads:

- alt+2 to click on Skip Ads button

- ctrl + shift + end to set video's 'seek position' at 100% (useful to skip ads when 'Skip Ads' button isn't available. This makes Youtube believe that the ad is finished playing)

0: https://github.com/varunkho/ramaplayer

I use the Hosts file to block a ton of ads and that works really well. https://github.com/StevenBlack/hosts Something worth considering if your ad blocker isn't working well.

hosts file won't work for the in-line ads present in YouTube. The ads are served from the same domain as the video you're watching.

I think it's worth noting that it wasn't always the case - there was a hosts file repo used by pihole users that effectively blocked YouTube ads.

You keep doing things based on historic knowledge and suffer those ads, while the rest of us will move along with the times and not suffer those ads. Lest we forget? sure, but it's not like they'll be going back to that technique as it's ineffective for them.

I think it's even more worth noting that it wasn't always the case that Youtube started warning ad-blocking users and stopping playback!

Even if we suppose that a simple hosts file could somehow block YouTube ads today, YouTube would detect that. It would not fare any better than any other ad blocker.

The thing is, subscribing to that file is usually just one click in a list of lists to chose from in common adblockers. Functionally (for Webbrowsers) it's the same, just on another layer. While adblockers (in Webrowsers) can do more, which isn't possible with hosts-style blocking alone.

So host-based blocking alone could be considered as just an 'emergency wheel' in case you'd had a flat, or something.

Same domain, won't work

... and if it worked, YouTube would detect that and retaliate!

Back when a hosts file was able to disable YouTube ads, YouTube didn't do that.

That's definitely a technique to keep in reserve if they get better at detection, but uBlock Origin currently works very well on Youtube as long as its filters are up to date.

If i'm logged in it fails constantly when i'm logged in (a few videos daily seem to work ok, after that it refuses to load a video, even though a "anti adblock" popup is still blocked)

...but it seems to work ok in incognito tabs, so youtube gets even less data on me now.

ublock origin folks have asked people to not run any other blocker extension alongside, those seem to trigger the anti-adblock scripts. It might be the same case for you.

Personally anytime I get a pop up I clear the filter cache and update it again and it's worked the 3 times it happened.

Ultimately the conversion rate of spam continuously proves one of the worst advertising methods. They are ripping off companies they lie to about the conflated stats, and irritating the 80% of users that will never buy anything for various reasons.

It is going to be an interesting waste of resources. =)

Did you mean conflated or inflated, I feel vaguely like it could go either way here

Tricky question, but yes...

The fact is the CTR for brand aware consumers will be negatively affected by burning goodwill with peripheral viewers. Thus, while increased paid impressions will be good for Google/Alphabet short term revenue, the actual consumer sales for advertisers will show a degraded campaign performance.

It was called a contaminated lead pool if I recall. If 80% of traffic now associates a brand as a nuisance, than it will cost >12 times whatever people spent on the bad Marketing plan to attempt to "fix".

Spectacularly bad business decision, as someone is letting the dog drive =)

Thanks for clarifying, I didn't want to nitpick but my curiosity always gets the best of me. Sometimes it works out :)

Looks like YouTube is already detecting this or has some logic to detect that the ads were played at a different speed.

Try moving through a video when this extension is active and you can see that the advertisement is getting active for almost every possible forward / reverse time selection on the video timeline.

It is just too many blank screens and though it saves a couple of seconds in the actual advertisement watching space, it does provide an unpleasant experience of watching the black screen for a few seconds.

I can live with that (and most should be!), but wanted to record this observation so that it get's to the developer's attention for improvements (if possible!)

Hope it helps.

Thanks for trying it out!

For longer videos Youtube will insert multiple ads during the content which you might be hitting if you search through. The extension should still trigger for those ads, but it's not as seamless an experience as the ad blockers. Is that what you're describing?

Open to feedback! Have my email in profile & listed with the extension

There is a javascript library for interfacing with Youtube's API directly. It can also run on browsers. Using this, it's pretty easy to create a simple extension that replaces the default video player with your own. You can do a lot to improve your experience this way. I've made one which allows for higher quality streaming, pre-buffering video in the background, more subtitling options, etc... [2] [3].

[1] https://github.com/LuanRT/YouTube.js

[2] https://github.com/Andrews54757/FastStream

[3] Chrome (also available for Firefox): https://chromewebstore.google.com/u/1/detail/faststream-vide...

Wow, faststream works great for normal web players. Doesn't seem to work on any youtube videos when using the ff extension in the store though. Gets stuck loading forever.

Edit: fixed, works well in every test case

Seems like it is a Youtube.js problem. will investigate, doesn't happen on Chrome.

EDIT: It seems like Firefox has some special unsafe eval rule breaking dash.js

EDIT2: Problem was actually FF's sendMessage not toString()'ing URL objects. I've fixed it in V1.2.1 for FF (approval by mozilla pending)

EDIT3: V1.2.1 (Firefox hotfix) is available now


Kind of unrelated, but how difficult do you think it would be to hack support for glsl shaders in a browser? I tried to look into it once, but got a bit lost in the media source side of things. My idea was to try to add glsl shaders as post processing to video streams like in mpv but without having to jump through all the hurdles of passing data to mpv.

Example of a shader I was playing with https://github.com/TianZerL/ACNetGLSL

Isn't GLSL already supported by WebGL?

Yeah all the pieces are already there, but I was trying to make something like a player replacer that would let the user load arbitrary glsl shaders to use. The idea being to provide usable upscaling or filters for weak connections or old videos, correct shaky videos, etc. in real time.

I just found this for fsr [0] which might work for the upscaling use case.

[0] https://github.com/Hajime-san/web-fsr/tree/main/browser-exte...

Do you happen to know how well (or at all) the library supports subs/sub notifications and if people have built alternative UIs around that? The default youtube UI for that is a tremendous clunkfest.

This is nifty! It might be interesting to interface it with Sponsorblock in the future.

Hey you should post about this on our extension devs server , people would be super interested https://discord.gg/mHPkCCBx

I'll check out the Discord server because I want to see cool stuff other people are making, but I have no intention of seriously marketing my extension. I don't really want it to "take off" and become popular.

To me, FastStream is just a fun hobby project, not a product. I intend to always keep it free without unnecessary bloat or spyware of any kind. So, I don't really have a desire for it to be "successful" beyond it being immediately useful to me and a couple of my friends.

That’s totally cool I appreciate your intentions with the extension :) people have built some really cool things with extensions

Been enjoying https://grayjay.app/

You're doing the Lord's work. Thank you.

Now with this bit of free free-time, the Lord might finally be able to convince YouTube to make their ads more bearable, so people don't have to install ad blockers to begin with.

I installed mine after YouTube starts to show 45 minute (yes, indeed) long ads to me, the entire pod cast session of it, AFTER I've watched the first ad but decided not to tap "Skip Ad".

If YouTube don't want to control the quality of what they are showing, then guess I'll just help them not showing it. And if doing so is a cause for a ban, then I guess just ban me :)

I also made one a week or two ago. This one will swap out the video with an embedded player which generally skips ads.


ublock origin works fine on YouTube, if not, couldnt this just be a filter rule?

It does. But i think youtube attempts to detect the adblock (which ublock origin continues to evade with new updates?).

This extension does not block, but instead just fast forward the ad (playback speed at 10x - tbh, it could'be been at 100x probably!) and mutes it. So from the youtube js perspective, the ad has played and wasn't blocked.

uBlock Origin as far as I can tell has been winning the race. As long as you stay up to date and clear the cache now and then. I've had one occasion (recently) where I got some ads which was fixed by updating uBlock origin, but maybe I'm not in Youtube's anti-adblock cohort.

When they first started this, a month ago (or so?) I just right-clicked and used block element with uBlock Origin to block the popup and the div element that covered the page to dim it.

I've not seen it since. Only side effect is videos sometimes pause right as they start. I assume because it stops the video and shows the pop up. I can just resume immediately though.

FWIW as long as you manually update the Quick Fixes uBlock Origin filter list every day or so, you'll probably never see a YouTube ad. Every new Google measure gets cracked very fast IME.

Just stop using the YouTube frontend.

I've been running my Piped instance for a while, and there are many public Piped instances available on the Web as well.

And, if you don't want the headache of running your own proxied instance or hopping between public instances, use Platypush - it wires together Piped as a backend, with yt-dlp as a local proxy/scaper, and a multitude of media plugins to allow you streaming directly the YouTube media files to any media device. Plus, thanks to yt-dlp, it doesn't only work only with YouTube, but with hundreds of other websites with closed media URLs (Facebook, TikTok, Twitter...). And then just use LibRedirect/UntrackMe to convert all of the YouTube URLs to Piped URLs - you won't send a single packet to that digital sewage, and you won't even notice any difference.

Just...stopping relying on YouTube's frontend. I've been chasing their API and FE changes for a while. I even set up a small Selenium suite to scrape video results directly from their UI. It's quite clear that they've decided to invest enough resources to embrace full war against anybody who's sick of their ads. They are in a terminal phase of enshittification - the one where they look so much after they bottom line that they don't care if they to turn their whole platform into a big billboard or shut down all of their APIs. Either I consume videos from anywhere else, or, when I have no alternatives, I use Piped. But avoid youtube.com at all costs: it's a walking digital cancer in its terminal phase.

Even paying a subscription to them to get rid of the ads wouldn't help. I'd rather direct my donations to open or non-enshittified services than supporting a dying business model.

If YouTube (and google) forces me to look at ads, I will simply start clicking on all of them, and they can deal with the lower conversion rate

You might want to check out https://adnauseam.io/ then.

It might be fun in short term but not sustainable long term lol

I have been using an extension [1] to remove YouTube suggestions (a la Unhook, but open source). It has this feature as well, but sometimes I get startled from the sudden appearance of mid-video ads.

[1]: https://github.com/lawrencehook/remove-youtube-suggestions

StopTheMadness implemented something similar but YouTube eventually got wise and I had to stop using that one too.

I'm not aware of any issues with StopTheMadness skip video ads. Please email support.

Shout out to yt-dlp, which allows you to download videos and watch them on your own terms. :D

Also, if anyone knows, if you open a YouTube URL with something like mpv, I assume it starts playing as an "embedded video" in your video player. Does YouTube serve adds in that case?

I think mpv specifically just uses youtube-dl or simliar (yt-dlp), so it should be very simliar to whatever you download.

Nice - The mute alone is worth it

If you have Problems in the chrome webstore than you could Build This for Firefox.

You can also use Brave browser. Is it a fair option for everybody?

I use brave. Ads are present. Uborigin used, too.

Latest version? I don't see any ads.

Presumably the different experience is due to their A/B testing.

uBO works for me, just requires a manual filter update once in a while. Though I like this approach in it's own way as it still costs advertisers but delivers no value to them, maybe something more like Ad Nauseum which would click the ads too.

How delayed are the Chrome web store stats? This was posted 16 hours ago, there are still no reviews and "5 users."

As the creator, I'm also curious - It still shows me 0 page views for the 18th

As I walk down the road I don't hvae to give money to the many adverts that are shown in the streets.

Weird you use chrome, and not firefox.

This is a cat and mouse game. YouTube changes small things all the time breaking code like this. I used to manage an in-house YouTube video editor that needed to do similar things to what you're doing. At least once a month I needed to dive into a debugger and reverse engineer whatever change YouTube made that month. Sometimes it's something as silly as a parameter name or ordering.

I’ve been trying to use Invidious but they seem to have a lot of memory leaks.

Just a matter of time before g embeds ads in videos. What’s next, ai again?

Inference at scale is expensive- so you pay a subscription to the ai service that watches the video for you at 10x and cleans up the output into a new video stream without ads or sponsor segments. Summary in text form is also provided.

Maybe the AI service could be ad-powered.

Nature abhors a vacuum…

SponsorBlock already does something similar in a crowdsourced way

I just skip and I'm thankful for the FREE content.

I wouldn't pay for YouTube, so I'm fine with 5 seconds of something I ignore while waiting for the skip button to activate.

Downvoting honest people in a thread full of people discussing how to avoid paying for something. What did I expect?

They didn’t block the brave yet

I regularly get nag screens though.

no you don't

As a subject matter expert in things that appear on my screen, I assure you that I do.

ublocker on chrome is working fine! just update de filter

you can skip this extension and just install brave browser

But then I'd have to install an entire browser compared to just installing an extension. And I'd have to use Brave...

This is cool, but it would be even better as a Firefox extension

good work, bud. just pray that it will keep working after those asshole at google make the god awful web attestation on by default. you don't forget about it do you?

Good idea

just pay for premium, it's like $10 a month

Personally, if I had to pay, I'd so much rather pay per view.

Subscriptions just tend to pile up and many of them sitting idle for long periods of time. I would love pay-per-view for streaming services as well, instead of having Netflix/Hulu/Disney+/Prime/etc subscriptions (as opposed to juggling between them, or choosing just one to stick with). Same with VPN that I use very sporadically, it feels stupid to pay a monthly fee for something I use maybe an hour per month on average.

“Why dont you just pay the ransom, it's not even that expensive”.

Agreed. If you hate ads and are given a reasonably priced option of not seeing them, you should choose that option. To support that option and signal that people want that option.

until they raise it.

Or add ads to it (most likely a mix of both: raise price and offer a version with ads that's at the former price, which is what Netflix did if you factor in their policy change on account sharing)

Not a lot of people will like to hear this, but you can pay YouTube a few dollars per month to remove ads and allow the player to run in the background. A lot of tech people will probably earn that money in a few minutes. Is it really worth investing your own time to remove ads?

I have no intention of ever giving YouTube money. A multi billion dollar company basically treated it as a loss leader for over a decade to eradicate the competition, and now they have “won” they want to squeeze users as much as they can. Resources are cheaper and yet they now show more ads per video than ever. No doubt they are trying to position YouTube so it can survive on its own going forward now the regulatory bodies have awoken. I have no intention of supporting that.

FYI, I use adnauseum and don’t seem to get served ads on YouTube on my desktop where it is installed. I don’t choose to “block” ads on YouTube, so I guess they just aren’t serving them to adnauseum users.

So if there hadn’t been a giant company with ample resources to subsidize YouTube all that time, who could have built a comparable video service and how would it have survived? Wouldn’t that mean they would have had to squeeze viewers for money in the same way sooner?

There is no mandate that YouTube must exist in its current state. YouTube serves two roles, one as a free service to host videos, one as a roulette machine that might pay out money if your "content" is favored by "the algorithm".

A huge amount of videos on YouTube are created for their own sake, with no expectation of going viral or making money off them. PeerTube fulfills the "free video host" role while also being ad-free. I might be naive, but I believe this is how most people saw YouTube around 2012.

The "seeking to make money on YouTube" role is artificially created as a result of a massive corporation running a loss-leader for a decade, dictating what content gets popular through recommendation algorithms, and literally paying people to encourage them to produce more of the desired addicting content.

Who knows what would have happened if YouTube had not been bought out and been allowed to compete fairly with P2P technologies as they emerged.

P2P never really had a YouTube-like creator scene; almost everyone using P2P was using it to download movies for free. YouTube was almost the same way at first until YouTube got spooked by the (arguably baseless) Viacom lawsuit and decided to adopt proactive copyright filtering.

Speaking of litigation, nobody's been sued for watching YouTube. People got sued for BitTorrent traffic all the time; up to and including dedicated settlement extortion operations (e.g. Prenda Law). This is a third role of YouTube we don't really consider: they handle all the stupid copyright stuff so that users don't have to. P2P inherently shoves all the liability[0] onto the users because you dox yourself every time you use it. Imagine, say, someone suing individual P2P users to try and shut down, say, a SSSniperWolf[1] video.

If you took YouTube away today, you'd have creators moving to Nebula or Floatplane, because there's still money in that. There really isn't money in PeerTube. Monetization is the thing that really put YouTube on the map, not free distribution.

Though, to be clear, video distribution is still hilariously expensive. Google considers YouTube to be profitable and has done so for many years, but that is almost certainly because YouTube gets to use Google's favorable peering arrangements with last-mile ISPs. These same ISPs also did all sorts of questionable things to throttle or block BitTorrent traffic back in the day, I imagine they'd come up with new attacks on PeerTube traffic today. The underlying problem is that we don't have any common-carrier regulation on ISPs, so they price traffic based on "value" - i.e. how much they can double-bill the sender of the packets - rather than the cost of that traffic.

If you want a viable YouTube competitor, you want net neutrality regulation.

[0] Ok, before you cite a Ninth Circuit opinion arguing that mere downloading still has liability or something, I'm not saying that you CAN'T EVER be sued for watching YouTube, only that you'd have to sue Google first, and they have big pockets.

[1] Notorious "reaction streamer" that doesn't actually do any reacting in her videos made up of entirely other people's YouTube uploads. Recently infamous for tracking down JacksFilms' physical location and bragging about it on Instagram.

> A huge amount of videos on YouTube are created for their own sake, with no expectation of going viral or making money off them.

It's estimated that there are 1 billion YouTube videos, compared to 600k videos hosted by PeerTube. Thats a 4 order of magnitude difference. Saying that PeerTube can "fill this role" is an outrageous assumption about scaling.

Sure, I should have said "P2P based video sharing like PeerTube". The point is that for videos with no expectation of making money, P2P is a better model than YouTube, as it is both free and ad-free.

I am not saying that PeerTube is better and that people should be using it. I am saying that it is worse, because of the way YouTube developed and made competition impossible.

>who could have built a comparable video service and how would it have survived?

Don't conflate being unwilling to give Google money with being unwilling to give anyone money.

I want out - I want to switch to a competitor, I'll pay money to do so. But Google's anticompetitive practices have taken that option from me. They broke the system and then get mad when I refuse to work within that system; so what?

I’m familiar with Google’s anticompetitive behavior regarding search. What have they done in that way regarding YouTube other than just have a bunch of money to finance it?

> So if there hadn’t been a giant company with ample resources to subsidize YouTube all that time, who could have built a comparable video service and how would it have survived?

My two cents:

1. Decentralization. I run my own PeerTube instance, with a bunch of my videos and a few viewers per day, and it requires basically zero maintenance. A RPi4 with a decent SSD is more than enough to run it, and unless you get hundreds of views per minute a decent home broadband connection is also more than enough. If you get more traffic, you can always ask people to contribute - and most of the folks on decentralized networks usually are happy to contribute. Plus, being ActivityPub compatible, from a single Mastodon or PeerTube profile, or even any RSS/Atom reader, you can follow channels on any instance. We often underestimate how easy it has become to run your own stuff if you know how to run a Docker container, and how easy it is to use syndacation and open protocols to publish to one place and broadcast to everyone. For some reason, the "you need a big centralized platform with big servers that can autoscale, big financial backing and a big surveillance adware business model in order to serve some .mp4 files" dogma is hard to kill.

2. Creators-run platforms. I've been an early supporter of Nebula and I keep contributing to them. I get all the videos that my favourite educational creators post on YouTube, plus exclusive content, without ads and without YouTube's hostile practices, for ~$3/month, and I know that the platform is run by the creators themselves, so the money goes directly to them. The success of platforms like Nebula sends a clear message to YouTube: people are happier to pay a monthly subscription to a service that only offers a curated subset of what's available on YouTube, knowing that that money goes directly to the creators, rather than watching ads every 5 minutes on YouTube and getting all of Google's privacy-invasive and developer-hostile business practices.

If I understand it correctly, as a PeerTube viewer I'm not only downloading the video, but also sharing it. Before I watched it.

This is a problem in countries where uploading copyrighted and illegal material has strong legal consequences (so I'd not want to share a video before I watched it fully so I can at least can see it doesn't have any obvious illegal content)

The viewing-is-sharing model is indeed a problem of PeerTube - and, I'd argue, of any decentralized network based on a P2P mesh. But it definitely alleviates the content distribution asymmetry problem - by spreading the load on the viewers small/medium instances can afford to scale up much more easily.

You can alleviate the problem by browsing some "borderline" profiles/instances with Tor/VPN though, or even just disable the "Help share videos being played" setting from the profile settings.

This is faulty reasoning. Chocking all competitors in the crib does not mean there have not been competitors nor does it mean these platforms with superior UX could not still come to dominate.

But having the size of YT means it’s very hard to lose.

Personally, I wish platforms like peertube or bitchute would be much more know. But since YT is the place where everybody is watching it naturally follows that somebody new will post the video on YT first (and only) as well.

I don’t think the question is about a superior UX. It’s who could afford to run a huge video platform without moving to monetize it and achieve profitability in the way that Google is doing now.

Do we need a giant centralized video service? Wouldn't it be better to have smaller independent services which each can set their own moderation policies?

Indeed. Splitting the “hosting” and “discovery” would be a much more market friendly way to do that.

You'd still be buffering RealPlayer.

No, DailyMotion (and probably others) existed before Youtube and worked just as well. They simply lost at the "winner takes all" market share war.

How much did Daily Motion pay their creators?

It’s a shame that RealPlayer is remembered like that, given that they were doing their best with 56k modem connections. My current internet connection is something like 15,000 times faster than in 2000, so I expect that I would probably not be waiting for buffering.

Basically, you have elucidated their entire revenue model. Those exact words came out of some executives orifices, and like you I would not give them the better part of a millionth of a cent.

I recently had a site owned by the theme plug in. (They were using word press? What are they stupid? ) chrome edge and others had problems. Firefox/nightly with a hosts file and ublock origin? Nothing. I cannot remember the last time saw a youtube ad. Kudos for everyone that got this to work.

> treated it as a loss leader for over a decade to eradicate the competition, and now they have “won” they want to squeeze users as much as they can

every silicon valley startup ever has this same plan of attack, and no one bats an eye. it's kind of like a long-term bait-and-switch. that's just how these things work, apparently. sadly.

Yes the entirety of web2.0 has been a bait & switch scheme. No one can actually afford to just serve the platform, ads don't generate enough leads to make up for the cost of running them, and the average person can't afford to pay a $5-10 subscription for each web service they have grown accustomed to using every day.

You realize that it’s not “just a few dollars” right? Where I live, it’s as much as a cable TV subscription without the cable TV.

Second, the entire reason they have those insane costs is because they got rid of the competition. Doing this at smaller scales is not nearly as expensive per user.

> A lot of tech people will probably earn that money in a few minutes.

Great. Good for them. What about the rest of the world, some (many) of whom can't afford a(nother) monthly subscription fee?

Are they now to be excluded from participating in popular culture, if they do not wish to be subjected to obnoxious advertising?

Youtube basically reached a de-facto status of a public library, considering it contains archival TV shows, sports matches, original music, documentaries, lessons, instructions, clips of contemporary life, and so on. While median quality is much lower, it easily rivals Wikipedia in breadth and depth.

It my opinion, it should be publicly funded, without discriminating access based on willingness (ability!) to pay or to be subjected to ads.

It's possible that my comment is misinterpreted. YouTube is a service provided by a company and you have to pay for it in some way. You can pay with your time and watch ads, you can pay money and not worry about ads, or you can somehow cheat with tools, so you're again investing your time to install and maintain the cheat.

My sole argument is that a lot of people in tech are better off just paying for Premium because their time is worth more than using a cheat or watching/dealing with ads.

And for those who think it's not worth it, that's totally fine. I'm not arguing that you should pay or even use YouTube.

My only point is that devs should think carefully about the value of their time.

Is it really cheating though? My computer, my rules.

Copyright effectively gives YT an arguably illegitimate monopoly status on a lot of content which hasn't been uploaded elsewhere. Compared to, say, "modern" Usenet where files are distributed and users choose their provider.

Ads are trash and I'm somewhat willing to pay, but not on the Google terms that takes away my privacy and right to run FOSS.

> My computer, my rules.

YouTube server's not running on your computer.

> YouTube server's not running on your computer.

The client is, my browser is, and the ads that I suppose they want me to watch would be displayed through my computer.

You totally have the right to not watch the ads, because you're right, it is your computer and you get to decide what is done with it.

But if that's the choice you prefer to make, then the objectively more ethical thing to do is to not watch the video content either.

Would it be ok for me to manually mute the ad and spend the 20 seconds on a bit of breath work? I'd hate to do wrong by the monopoly...

lol, this here is the right attitude.

For some reason people have misconstrued ones responsibilities towards ones neighbors with ones responsibilities towards multi-billion dollar companies.

copying isn't theft, convincing people it is theft is tantamount to the scam that caused people to believe diamond rings were a part of marriage proposals.

It's no more unethical to refuse to play specific content on a device you own than it is to refuse to purchase a diamond ring when proposing marriage.

>It's no more unethical to refuse to play specific content on a device you own than it is to refuse to purchase a diamond ring when proposing marriage.

That's a strained analogy at best. Let's just go back a few decades: is it unethical to mute your TV and go to the bathroom in 1980 when a commercial comes on? Of course not. So is it unethical to not watch an ad on YouTube? Of course not. Using an ad-blocker to make the experience more seamless therefore isn't unethical either.

If YouTube wants us to watch ads without being able to skip them, then they need to shut down their web service, and make special closed-source player apps that allow them to fully control the viewing experience. Good luck with that.

You're obviously not aware of the history of diamond rings.


> In the early 21st century, the jewellery industry started marketing engagement rings for men under the name "mangagement rings".


> The idea that a man should spend a significant fraction of his annual income for an engagement ring originated from De Beers marketing materials in the mid-20th century in an effort to increase the sale of diamonds. In the 1930s, they suggested that a man should spend the equivalent of one month's income in the engagement ring.[40] In the 1980s, they suggested that he should spend two months' income on it


it's a marketing swindle, not an analogy.

I'm perfectly aware of the history of diamond rings and De Beers' marketing campaign. I just don't think this analogy works very well, and it really seems like it came out of left field. The diamond-ring thing is really about following the crowd, and whether it's ok to ignore certain social customs because it might make your spouse's friends think you're cheap or uncommitted.

Blocking ads has nothing to do with people thinking you're cheap, and certainly nothing to do with commitment to a relationship, or your prospective spouse's opinion of you. It's only about whether you're somehow morally obligated to pay attention to advertising that comes along with something free. There's nothing at all free about diamond engagement rings.

The ethical thing to do is shutdown YouTube because it got popular from serving pirated movies.

YouTube is an inanimate phenomena.

Blocking ads is about as unethical as shielding your eyes from the sun.

But the cost of you watching the video you want to watch is on their dime, and the person who made the video gets nothing for their work either.

Pretty sure most people who upload things to YouTube get nothing from the video. YouTube knew what they were doing when they destroyed competition by making uploading anything for free. This is their fault and should have to live with the consequences or charge people to upload content. Charging viewers to watch content is stupid.

If YouTube blocks your player due to your ad-blocker, they are clearly telling you that they no longer want you as a visitor, and you can rest assured that your client did not download any ads. Using your argument, this is a win-win situation.

In reality, however, this is just a dumb justification for unethical behavior because people with ad-blockers will just investigate how to circumvent anti-adblock measures, to keep consuming content for free.

And this behavior is akin to software piracy, which ensured monopolies thrived. Just as in the 90s, when software piracy helped companies like Microsoft or Adobe to own the market, YouTube is now a monopoly thanks to people like you. Because alternatives, like Vimeo or PeerTube, can't differentiate by being ads-free.

And now, the monopoly, which ad-blockers helped create, is used as further justification for the existence of ad-blockers. Funny how that works out.

I wouldn't care, except the writing is on the wall for where this is going. In truth, ad-blocking still works simply because publishers like Google still allow it to work, by not investing in anti-adblock tech or lobbying for legislation that bans it altogether (e.g., DRM). It's either that or paywalls everywhere. And this will hurt the open web, much like how software piracy hurt general-purpose computing.

Enjoy the freeloading while it lasts.

As I said in another post, this idea that it's unethical to avoid watching ads is one of the great scams in history, on par with convincing the american public that purchasing diamond rings is a major part of marriage.

but shush, we don't talk about the pirated ... err blood diamonds involved, ethics only becomes important when it's the public doing something they don't like.

It's really interesting seeing a corporate boot-licking comment like this. I guess you refuse to mute the TV when commercials come on too?

YouTube is a service provided by millions of content creators hosted by YouTube. If they put their content elsewhere, it will disappear and never be seen. YouTube is the tax people are being made to pay in order to have their videos seen or to see videos now, not some great provider

> YouTube is a service provided by millions of content creators...


Now, how do you think these millions of content creators get paid for their content? And why do you think they willingly upload the content to <insert here your streaming platform of choice -- YouTube, Twitch, Nebula, etc>?

Putting YouTube aside -- there's basically three options for the future of content:

1) we pay for content

2) somebody else pays for it (like advertisers), in exchange for something they need (e.g. visibility, ability to sell you products)

3) you freeload folks in #1 and #2 for as long as you can get away with, until you become the majority, and things start crumbling apart (creators stop producing, paywalls create a caste-like system, etc).

> Now, how do you think these millions of content creators get paid for their content?

People will continue to make and share videos regardless of whether they get paid for it. There are countless channels that have less than 1k subscribers (Google's threshold to pay you anything at all), that upload semi-regularly and often have interesting content. (I subscribe to those via RSS, just to make sure I don't miss an upload.) People made content long before YouTube was able to pay anyone anything at all.

People make their videos even though YouTube basically guarantees them nothing in terms of promoting/driving traffic (btw even if you have a million subscribers, you have to continue to game the algorithm, please remember to upvote this comment!). Even after that, your payout is a cut of Google's ad/premium income, not "pay per view".

Finally, people make sponsored content, set up tip jars, sell merch, etc because ads alone can't fully support a high-effort channel.

More importantly, YouTube has been generating losses for a heck of a long time (including after being acquired), which again - considering that it is a de facto public service, makes me think that it should've been publicly funded. (By whom? Excellent question. Maybe tax some of those billionaires who poured VC money to kickstart it.)

I'd rather have medical care for all than free youtube...

Agreed a thousandfold. Meanwhile nothing stops us from pursuing both concurrently.

That argument could work better if premium wasn't priced at probably 10x the average revenue per user they are getting with the ads.

I don't think even Google consider it as a real option internally, it's just a way to get more money out of higher income users.

How did you come up with this number? Advertisers pay a varied rate per impression. Actually, high income users are valuable ad viewers and I'm sure advertisers pay a premium to display ads to them.

They make 11B$ from the premium subcription with only 80 millions suscribers whereas they make around 30B$ from the ads from the rest of the 2.6 billions users.

The pricing of the premium subscription is absolutely insane, they get peanuts from each users from the ads compared to that.

That is surprising! I read somewhere that advertisers are paying $.1 to $.5 per impression, which seems like it would add up pretty quickly over a month.

I still think if you are a high value target for advertisers, it’s a probably a worse deal for YouTube if you’re on premium.

It’s a little pricy. But it’s a bundle with YouTube music which is better than I expected. I think the payments to creators are a little greater because of that.

It’s also a little bit moot because YouTube creators often in-line their own ads so they can’t be skipped…

For the latter there’s the open-source SponsorBlock: https://sponsor.ajay.app/

I wouldn't mind paying but I refuse to pay to give them my data and mass-disseminate that for that pleasure. Once they have no access to it and its a black-box they stop obsessing about, we'll talk.

They still get your data as long as you use the service – and by using it you’re telling the creators and anyone you share links with that they need to keep giving Google their data, too, because that’s where everyone else is. Fighting this requires privacy legislation and not using YouTube.

Then they need to fix that. That's the future. This is not a negotiation and consequently, I'm amused by the tenor of this topic and the various threads that try to shift the Overton window as if that is or will remain the case

No, it’s not a negotiation. They’re going to keep tracking you and blocking ad blocker users. What I don’t understand is how anyone can care about that and think they should be putting their time and energy into cementing YouTube’s market share rather than voting with their feet.

"Voting with their feet"? With what alternative? Which other site has TF2 video tutorials on the best rollouts for cp_granary? Cmon, give me a cp_granary rollout video link that's not YouTube.

Not my game so I can’t say, but if it’s that irreplaceable in your life doesn’t that mean YouTube is providing you a valuable service and you should pay them for it?

It’s easy to host video now so I’d also note that not treating YouTube as a fundamental human right would also open up room for competition. If they’re so bad you can’t stomach paying for what you like, why are you spending your time helping them maintain their high market share?

Tracking and selling my shit is not a valuable service in my eyes. And even if they did, I just can't trust them anyway.

They can only do that because you visit their site. Why are you helping boost the numbers for a site you dislike that much?

No comment

odd you make that claim considering my adblock successfully removes ads from youtube's service.

Yes, for now. It does nothing to prevent Google from seeing what you do on their servers of linking that to what you do elsewhere, and your activity tells anyone who makes videos that the place their stuff will be watched is YouTube.


How 'bout their choices are:

1) no money + they get data

2) money + they get no data

3) no money + no data (me ;)

Choose one. Non-negotiable. Seriously. Gatekeep or pretend like you have any jurisdiction or power all you like while I sidle by on option 3)


Don't back off from your original point, friend. It made complete sense.

The person replying to you probably wouldn't work for free or "exposure," would they?

YouTube isn’t a service. YouTube is a website. The fundamental principle behind the WWW is everybody is free to point their user agent at a public website. Google wouldn’t exist without that principle, they built their empire based on having a crawler download everybody’s websites.

If YouTube wants to put a paywall up then fine, but until then I’m going to keep using my user agent which includes an ad blocker. I didn’t turn the adblocker on specifically for YouTube and I’m not going to turn it off for YouTube.

I'm failing to understand the difference between a website and a service. Are you saying that all modern SaaS offerings are just websites? Can you give some examples of a "service?"

Until it's publicly funded, it needs to be funded somehow. People who don't pay and block ads are scamming YouTube, or scamming advertisers.

Won't somebody _please_ think of the advertisers!?

lol, do as you like. But this attitude that we are somehow owed a service like youtube for free without ads is comical.

Let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that the adtech industry is just serving up harmless banner ads or 30 second videos and calling it a day. Seeing an ad is one thing, the surveillance that comes with it is a whole new insidious beast.


Sure, maybe we shouldn't be using YouTube at all. And I would prefer if we had more legal protections for user data in the US. But that aside, the sheer size and quality of YouTube. It's availability on every phone tv or whatever. This doesn't just happen magically.

> This doesn’t happen magically.

Correct! It happened by offering a completely free service with no advertising, in order to become the dominant player and eliminate all the competition, some of which was trying to use more sustainable business models. The idea that YouTube should be free also didn’t happen magically, it was (and still is) intentionally fostered.

Sure, well was there a competitor you would have preferred to prevail? What was their business plan?

YouTube is free. If you don’t mind ads.

YouTube was free even if you do mind ads, on purpose. To a first approximation everyone minds ads. YouTube used this fact to establish their dominance before switching tactics.

Lots of competitors have tried to use both paid accounts and ad-funding. What competitor I might prefer is irrelevant here, but there are plenty of them, just Google YouTube competitors. Vimeo is a good example of a site with high quality content and a more sustainable business model that tried for a while and was unable to broach the same market. YouTube so far surpassed everyone by offering videos without ads until more recently, in order to gain market share. The mindset you’re currently arguing against was established and curated and encouraged by YouTube, and they’re still hoping you hang on to it while they keep cranking up the amount of advertising and trying to normalize the bogus idea that avoiding ads is somehow bad. They do not have to offer an ad-funded business model, so if they don’t like the cat-and-mouse adblocker game, they can switch to paid accounts only.

It’s perfectly fine to block ads, because it’s perfectly fine to ignore ads we didn’t ask for. You can fast-forward or turn the volume down manually, just like you can write software to automate it. As a society, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’ve had this same debate over VHS and DVD warnings & trailers, over TV and cable ads, over radio ads, and over general internet website ads. It will never change because advertisers are not allowed to force us to watch ads, as much as they’d like to.

I think it’s fine for people to block ads and i think it’s fine for YouTube to try and counter that.

The issue is those who turn it into a moral or ethical dilemma, as if people avoiding ads is akin to cheating on ones spouse, theft, murder, etc.

Same, agreed!

If you don't agree to the terms of service, don't use the service? It's not a right or necessity to life.

How I watch the served content in my browser isn’t covered in the terms of service, nor is there valid legal precedent for that. It’s my right to turn down the volume or fast-forward at any time, by any means. If YT doesn’t like that for fear of losing money, then they shouldn’t serve free videos at all. Or they can thwart ad blockers. Their being under the same company as the most used browser gives them plenty of monopoly power to control the flow of ad blocker extensions, and turns out they’re exercising that power. And I haven’t argued against any of that. My sole point is that there’s nothing inherently wrong with people skipping ad viewing by manual or automatic means. Being bad for YouTube doesn’t mean it’s bad or wrong for anyone else. I don’t expect free anything, but I do have a right to consume the “free” content they offer however I like.

You’re right. It’s not magic at all. It happens via monopoly and network effects

If you’re worried about surveillance, stop using YouTube. It’s a Google first-party product, they don’t need ads to collect and resell information about your viewing habits.

You have a YouTube alternative to recommend I take it? Because I looked for one and there isn’t any, just a bunch of half baked sites that I can’t get to work properly. YouTube ate everything

I don’t use YouTube much so I’m skeptical that it’s impossible to live without it but the point is simply that if your top concern is surveillance, then you don’t have a choice where you continue to use Google services.

Put rabbit air antennas on your TV and tune into PBS. Minimal ads except for "this broadcast is sponsored by viewers like you" and no tracking.

Turn on your TV or radio? They're still there. Read a book?

The attitude that we have to somehow endure whatever advertisers want us to and be grateful for it, just because YouTube destroyed all competition with a free-to-use model they changed after becoming a monopoly, is comical.

Considering Google and advertizers have been scamming us for decades, I'm just clawing payback.

Which advertisers have been scamming us? And does that subset encompass everyone who advertises on YouTube?

Not to mention everyone who creates Youtube videos with the expectation of making money.

Those get money off Patreon and sponsor deals. And they’re welcome to come over on Nebula or equivalent.

In any case, if they make the choice to live off advertising, it’s their problem. They are not owed a business model.

And you are not owed online videos.

I am not arguing otherwise. I’m not the one complaining, though.

How is it a scam to watch 15s of ads before a 10 minute video? Wait until you hear about cable TV.

It's 30s every two minutes.

It is factually incorrect to call it “scamming”, and this cancer of an idea needs to stop.

YouTube has the right to offer only paying accounts, and stop serving free videos. They are choosing not to exercise that option. In fact, they chose to monopolize video streaming by initially offering free videos with no ads. Demanding ad viewing time is a recent change to their business model.

Consumers also have the right to pay for YouTube, or to not watch YouTube, but when YouTube chooses to serve “free” videos with ads that are annoying and waste time, as long as there are easy technical options for removing the ads, the temptation is pretty high. There is no law that you must watch ads, not on YouTube, not on TV, not for billboards, not on the internet. And basically nobody wants to waste time watching ads. This is why it’s wrong to call it “scamming”.

BTW I’m perfectly fine with the idea of an ad-funded business model for free services. I’m only objecting to your framing that avoiding ads when they can puts consumers in the wrong. YouTube’s funding is YouTube’s business, and they are free to fight against ad-blockers, but please don’t be a shill or vilify people for doing the obvious and legal thing. YouTube wants you to spout this crap because Google and advertisers would love it if there was public support for making ad-watching legally mandatory, and that would be a nightmare dystopian future we don’t want.

And more importantly, they are scamming the content creators. They are not usually a massive company, but working alone, with YouTube revenue as their main income.

I can tell you've never actually been poor, you image what they're worried about is "participating in popular culture".

That's the middle-class concern of children who have never known what it's like to go hungry.

Of all the things to push for being publicly funded, this aint it. How about daily medical and dental? How about insurance for vehicles so the poor don't get unduly punished?

I could go on and on, your perspective is just out of touch.

> Are they now to be excluded from participating in popular culture, if they do not wish to be subjected to obnoxious advertising?

I think they should pay their fair share and not expect us to give them stuff for free

The 'Us' that want 'that'? Crap! I thought I was a part of a different 'us'. Or is this a different 'us' to the one i first thought?

Why should you get content for free if you aren't able or willing to pay for it?

Do you want to work for free?

I work for free every time I contribute to an open source project, and I directly donate to content creators I enjoy watching, so you'll have to come up with a better argument.

>Why should you get content for free if you aren't able or willing to pay for it?

What about the first language you acquired? I hope you pay a per use perpetual fee for every sentence popping in your mind in its expression space, and that your license to use it also includes an obligation of permanent report of every single bit of intimacy that you might experiment.

> Do you want to work for free?

If I "[worked] for free", I'd be giving away hours of my time.

When Google "[gives me] content for free", they're losing fractions of fractions of a cent in bandwidth.

This is a shitty equivalence.

Convenient to forget the video creators.

For me, the money itself isn't really a problem.

Creating a Google account, however, is a problem. Having to log in with that account is a problem. Having to link the account with a credit card or some other payment method is a problem. Having the account tied to my identity via a phone number, and/or the payment method, is a problem. Having the account used to track my viewing history is a problem. Having to possibly deal with a suspended/banned/compromised account, payment issues, and so on, is a problem.

Those are far too many problems to deal with, just to watch some videos.

If there was something more like dropping coins/bills in the hat of a street performer, I'd generally be willing to pay.

Chef's kiss. How are techy people this damn ignorant about what's really going on in that contract. Yes the ads are invisible, but you can get that for free but more importantly, free of the Goog's nonsense and aggregation. Why do you pay to sow your data like its wild oats or something? Sad!

Same, I technically have a Google account and Gmail address because I'm an Android user. I've never actually used by Gmail address or given it to anyone, I don't log into my Google account on the desktop so all my Google account has is a small amount of data from my phone.

I've never looked into Youtube Premium until this thread but it seems to be available for 10€ a month in my location. That's a reasonable amount of money I could certainly pay if I had the option of doing so privately. I don't want to have my viewing history associated with my account, I don't want to log into my Google account and have it remember my searches.

Give me a way to pay for the service without my subsequent use being tracked and data mined, and I'd be happy to pay.

Ironically, if you watch youtube in incognito mode, it doesn't complain about adblockers.

> If there was something more like dropping coins/bills in the hat of a street performer, I'd generally be willing to pay.

Some of the people producing on youtube have arrangements for this (kofi, patreon etc); there's also one built into youtube called "superchat", but of course that relies on being logged in and giving google your payment info.

...and YT gets 30% of that. So it's still a fail.

You're right in the absolute, but the issue here is that YT has a monopoly. So if it gets too easy for them to make people abandon ad blocking like this, what stops them from rising their prices every year ?

I see this as a nice "balance" that reminds them (if enough people don't cave in) that their monopoly is not giving them a free rein to do anything they want.

YT doesn't have a monopoly, it has market share because 99% of the users watch content for free (via ads). If they made everyone pay or the ads were unbearable you'd see the market shift to other youtube front ends or other streaming sites entirely.

Personally, I pay for YT premium since it's a slightly better way to support creators (that I don't directly pay via Patreon) and I get Youtube Music. If they raised their prices unreasonably, I'd just enable my youtube-dl script on my plex server and watch for free there.

Where exactly are YouTube’s competitors? It has none for 99% of the content I watch, although udemy is good for beginner courses

Directly: sites like Twitch are close. Indirectly: Netflix, HBO, etc. all compete for screen-based entertainment.

I also watch a lot of Youtube, outside of a couple of good movies and TV shows that I stream from my plex. So YT premium makes a lot of sense for me

Do you use Twitch? I don’t really see the direct competition besides YouTube’s small amount of live streamers that directly compete with Twitch streamers.

Tiktok is probably a better direct competitor, but I see twitch and youtube as fairly comparable


Also - just because it doesn't have the content that you, personally, watch, does not make it not a competitor.

They are quickly losing that monopoly to TikTok. It's only a matter of time. TicTok has added 10 minute videos. When they add 1hr videos it will mostly be the end of YouTube's monopoly

Which, FWIW, they got there by being the only player. It's interesting that no one else has really tried until TikTok

TikTok is a skinners box, we shouldn’t subject ourselves to machines that are that manipulative

Also, if there’s a thing I would want to support less than a massive data harvesting scheme is a Chinese massive data harvesting scheme.

I thought tiktok only had brainless videos though.

Maybe that was true in the past but there's a lot of high value production nowadays on it, including short series.

Nope, content creators are moving en masse due to more fair payout model

Source? All I've heard about TikTok is that it barely pays out at all so content creators mostly sees it as a way to get eyeballs on things that do generate money, like their youtube channels.

TikTok is eating the lunch of YouTube, Instagram and Facebook & expanding content by attracting higher quality creators. They're even expanding into shopping. At one point, YouTube only had random videos or pirated shows.

Tim Tok has been struggling with a massive problem where many creators that actually start to get big on the platform end up migrating to YouTube anyway because their pay sucks compared to YouTube, the same goes for instagram and every other platform in the industry. Youtube has a lot of problems but nobody pays better than them https://youtu.be/jAZapFzpP64?si=KrLqetuhzmer2T8H

How do I see 10 minute videos? I usually get mostly brainless content with the stupid voice or music in it.

Than search up some of the content you would like to see. The algorithm is quick and effective.

Between Reddit, TikTok, Twitch, Instagram, etc Youtube hardly has a monopoly.

It's like people are being intentionally obtuse in this thread, almost like there's a bunch of paid shills

Let's read your list and consider which of those options hosts long form video content

Reddit: a link aggregator, not a video hosting site Tiktok: Chinese data collection machine that hosts very short form videos Instagram: data collection machine that hosts pictures your mom likes and short form videos Twitch: focused on streaming and gaming, not a YouTube competitor

Depending on your threshold for "long form", nearly all of them:

Reddit has supported direct video uploads for literal years, maybe 5 years at this point, and up to 15 minutes in length. TikTok also collecting your data doesn't change that it hosts videos, and supports up to 10 minutes, and that limit has been increasing as they try to be a more general purpose video platform. Instagram hosts pictures, but also livestreams and videos, both short-form (a few minutes), and long-form (IGTV supports to an hour). Twitch is the only one that seems to clearly not support long-form video content, but even then it's still a competitor because that's not all Youtube does either.

TikTok absolutely is a competitor. I'm not sure why it has to host long form content for it to be considered a competitor.

If more people get their video entertainment from TikTok, then they watch YouTube less.

Most blatantly, YouTube literally launched shorts recently - an exact TikTok competitor clone.

There's nothing quite like being forced to continuously pay someone money to solve a problem they're causing you. Well, there is something a bit like that, and it's called "racketeering". Paying youtube to solve the problem of youtube's obnoxious ads may not rise to the same level, but it's close enough that I find it extremely distasteful.

Don't reward companies for creating artificial problems just so that they can bill you for getting out of your way. Save your money for companies that offer solutions to problems they didn't invent.

YouTube is a private service funded by revenue that has to come from somewhere, we're not entitled to have it for free. How do you suppose they'll earn money without ads or subscriptions?

I've been paying Google with my data since long before youtube started. They've certainly been collecting it and profiting from it without writing checks to me. Maybe when youtube stops collecting data and they delete all they have they can start asking for money, but ultimately I'm not going to worry about how the trillion dollar multinational corporate giant which has been exploiting us since at least the 2000s is going to keep stuffing their pockets with cash. They've done pretty damn well for themselves so far, even though ad blockers have always existed. They'll figure it out.

And I bet you use Google's other services for free.

The whole point is that there is no moral/ethical way to enter a “contract” with a party who has been knowingly siphoning (read “stealing”) your and everyone else’s data without being upfront about it since time immemorial. Oh you want to enter a contract with me? Send me an invoice at the end of every month about what data you collected from me and how you used it to pay for the services. Otherwise, there’s no way they won’t be double dipping.

Or they can drop the adtech business or spin it out as a separate company. But either way currently there is no way to fairly deal with ad tech companies with thinly veneered “free” services on top.

Your data is not worth anything. If you think I’m wrong, trying paying your mortgage with it.

Somebody should tell that to the multi-billion dollar a year industry that sprung up over the buying and selling of the most mundane details of our lives. Or maybe they should ask why basically every company everywhere spends so much time and money collecting, storing, and managing far more data on their customers (and anyone else they can) than they actually need to conduct their business. Companies don't usually like spending a bunch of resources for zero reason. The idea that "your data isn't worth anything" is demonstrably false. Your data is so valuable that it's making companies money hand over fist, and most of it that is at your expense.

Try to sell it and let me know how much you get.

Spoiler: $0. Your data is not worth anything.

You have an extremely weird idea about the relationship between “how much something sells for in the market” and “how much something is worth”. Could you answer how you view this relationship for the following things?

1. Your kidneys, or heart, or any vital organ.

2. Weapons grade Plutonium.

3. Falcon heavy.

4. A single grain of rice, 100 million times.

What you are saying implies “we don’t have a good marketplace for user data”, which is pretty obvious. But I have no idea how “thus it is worth nothing” follows from there.

I can’t pay my mortgage with a car either. Or US dollars, for that matter. Are those worthless as well?

Huh?! You can sell your car, or take a loan against it. You can convert US dollars into your local currency.

Your individual data is worthless. Data is only worth something in aggregate.

Is it not like saying that any individual worth nothing because their social value is zero outside a collective?

I can give away some data to use a service. Companies generate money using this data. It is not useless.

I’m sure the market was drunk on the day when Apple changed iPhone privacy settings and Facebook’s valuation dropped by 10 digits US dollars. /s

I am paying for that although I don't use them and don't watch ads. Guess who pays for the ads other people watch

It isn't the user's responsibility to find a working business model for a corporation. The same principle applies whether it is a news web site or a free video hosting web site.

A business model based on taking away basic web browser functionality like being able to play videos in the background and removing unwanted content then selling it back to the user is a toxic business model. Anybody who pays for a blatant scam like Youtube "Premium" is part of the problem.

Nobody is asking you to find them a business model, just to be honest about what you’re doing. If you don’t like YouTube, stop going there - then Google doesn’t your data and you don’t have to care about their design decisions.

Surprise: you can like the content on YouTube (which is not their property in the first place) without liking YouTube. YouTube is practically holding an incredible amount of knowledge and information hostage to feed Google’s insatiable desire for profits.

You can like the content while hating the delivery mechanism and trying to fix it up to the best of your ability.

But you’re not fixing it up at all: only ripping off the people who made the content you like. Google still gets all of your data and they can share it however they want at that point.

Go watch my videos on YouTube. I won’t get a dime. I have no idea what you are talking about. Maybe, if I get enough subscribers, Google will bless me with some portion of the money they get.

Why did you put them on YouTube? If it’s for free hosting, ease of use, or ease of discovery, well, that’s what they’re giving you even if you don’t generate enough activity to get a direct payment. Nobody is compelled to put content on YouTube, they’re doing it because they get something out of the deal – and that’s paid for by ads. You don’t have to like it but if you don’t, stop using it and start supporting creators elsewhere so you’re not reinforcing the idea that everything has to be on YouTube.

That’s kind of not the point. They ate the competition by offering free hosting, that was their entire point of existing. Now they are realizing why everyone else was charging for hosting… but charging the wrong person.

In reality, I once had monetized videos until one day they changed the rules to “number of subscribers” and none of my videos mentioned “subscribe” so I didn’t have enough. Oh well.

Anyway, it doesn’t really matter. Most people will never see a dime of the money made from their videos. One-hit-wonders on YouTube are now pointless.

None of that sounds like a reason for you to spend your time reinforcing their market share, though. If you keep telling creators you’ll only watch them on YouTube you’re helping Google get closer to a real monopoly.

> YouTube is practically holding an incredible amount of knowledge and information hostage to feed Google’s insatiable desire for profits.

Free storage of data uploaded by willing users = hosting the data hostage?

Yes, because YouTube is changing their stance between when a large part of the data was uploaded and now. If they chose to compete fairly from the beginning instead of using their search ad revenue to kill off all the competitors we might have had something resembling a remotely free market instead of the unthinking, unfeeling monolith we have right now.

> Yes, because YouTube is changing their stance between when a large part of the data was uploaded and now.

This is untrue. As there was significantly less users on Youtube early on, it's highly likely that most of their total content consists of recently uploaded videos. This becomes more and more true as time goes on.

It’s a monopoly. You can’t exactly go elsewhere. Try it for 30 days

I have been doing it for considerably longer than 30 days. It’s not hard.

>YouTube is a private service funded by revenue that has to come from somewhere, we're not entitled to have it for free.

On what basis?

I'd go to a competitor, but there isn't one, due to YouTube's VC-funding-fuelled anticompetitive practices. I literally wish that private service funding never existed; I don't owe YouTube here.

If they don't earn money then they'll go bankrupt and open up room for someone else, which is an outcome I'm perfectly happy with.

My only concern is preserving videos between when YouTube goes down and a competitor comes up, because a lot of them are liable to disappear.

In fact, a lot of Youtube videos disappear anyway, so we ought to back them up regardless.

Absolutely. I've got zero time for the argument that I should be paying one of the world's richest companies rent. Particularly when they're going about it this way.

I'm not signing up to their enshitification pathway.

Great work extension author, I look forward to checking this out.

I was considering getting YouTube Premium, but then I realized that it wouldn't work while incognito. I very often open videos in private tabs so it doesn't destroy my recommendations, so I'd still need an adblocker.

You can remove videos from your YouTube history and then they won't influence the recommendations you get.

Recent product improvements have also made this process really easy.

There is an incognito mode within YouTube by clicking your profile picture and “turn on incognito”

Also available on mobile.

Works great with Premium.

On my iPhone, selecting this option brings the ads straight back, unfortunately.

I think this is only available on mobile, actually. I don't see this option on desktop.

> I very often open videos in private tabs so it doesn't destroy my recommendations

+1, I thought you were talking about me :)

in youtube history settings you can turn off history recording while you binge on trash content, and if you forget, you can remove it from the list in history. the setting persists across sessions and devices. note that this is different from the incognito setting which does turn ads back on...

I do this to keep my recommendations clean.

Can you do this on a mobile device like an ipad? Can you do this when not logged in?

If you log in to YouTube it does.

I cancelled Netflix, Apple TV+, Disney+. They just kept getting more expensive yet I barely watched content on them.

Youtube Premium is the best subscription video service out there in my opinion. I'm very happy with it being the one thing I pay money for.

Just the one last one to quit and your free ;) - I don't use any of them and I don't see ads

I would pay a few dollars for ALL the Google benefits: no ads, a little bigger drive, youtube premium, music. Then i'd feel i had a bargain. By splitting everything i just feel..milked.

Good point. I never understood why they didn't offer this. Apple does.

Apple's deal is not even a good deal - it only works out if you use all the services that no one uses.

Yes, it’s worth it to exercise my right to choose what runs in my computer.

A web browser is a client application and I get to choose how it renders the content the server sends to me.

Yes, and you get to choose between doing that and getting blocked because it’s their server. Stealing entertainment is hardly a bold stroke for freedom.

They can block me if they want.

I’m not stealing entertainment. They can block my browser’s request or require authentication and payment. They’re free to stop me videos upon request at any time.

My browser requests a video. They send the video and some other stuff. I chose to discard the other stuff they sent. They could just not send me the video if I haven’t paid.

By that logic, going to the bathroom while ads are playing is “stealing”

Try writing out the argument more formally and you’ll learn why that’s not true.

Disabling ads is exactly the same as going to the bathroom during ads. In both cases, I don’t see it. In both cases, I am choosing to do something else than watch the ads. The only difference is… hmm, nothing.

Come on, you can do better than this. Nobody expects you to watch every ad, it’s a numbers game. Advertisers know that people don’t pay rapt attention to every ad but they also know that you’re going to see the at least start, hear it even if you’re looking at your dinner, and the only thing more unlikely than you going to the bathroom every 6 minutes is that you mute the audio and turn off the display each time. A lot of ads are familiar brands, so they don’t even care about watching the full length if it reinforces something positive about their company.

Businesses will pay for those percentage changes because in aggregate a lot of people will see the ads. This changes when they know the odds are zero and that’s why YouTube is doing this.

Yeah, I can do better. How about this: I live in a country where I don’t speak the native language. All the ads I see are in the native language. I am not interested in these ads. In fact, when I do see the YouTube ads on my phone, I hate these brands because that is all I see, the same damn commercials over and over again, that I can’t understand much less determine if the brand is for a car, energy, or something totally unrelated to whatever story just unfolded on my screen (probably soap, but honestly, it’s a total guess).

So, I don’t watch YouTube on my phone any more. I will do whatever it takes to never, ever get ear raped by those commercials, ever again.

And no, even if they go so far to put it in the stream itself, I will hook it up as an input to MythTV and have it remove the commercials for me, just like it does on regular tv. I’ll never see them, I don’t consent to seeing them, and if you disagree, I’ll happily buy some ad space so you can stare at my shiny ass for 30s every 6 minutes.

If they had a premium version for something like a third of the prince I would gladly pay for it. I don't care about Youtube music, offline mode or background playing. I just want to get rid of the ads - and their current model doesn't offer anything that does only that for less money.

I dont think that this would be any cheaper, (maybe excluding yt music would cost them little less? idk) but this price is mostly what they think removing ads is worth and rest is like a free bonus.

In my country yt premium costs almost like Spotify premium and for me it doesn't bring enough value in comparison

They tested a premium lite that only included removing ads, at about half the price of normal premium, sadly they discontinued it this month

That's because it was intended to show the music industry it wouldn't canibalise Spotify subs so Google could get cheaper music licensing, and it showed the opposite. So now ad free YouTube wil never be cheaper than Spotify/Apple Music et al. YouTube Music is bundled because it's free.

Yes, it is. To me ads are totally useless. I have never bought anything. It's nothing else than unnecessary distraction. I'm not worried about not paying this monstrously huge company.

Ads are about subtly and unknowingly influencing attitudes and beliefs, not direct sales

What? Don't you want to shop like you're a billionaire?


I used to have Premium back when it was called Red, because I got grandfathered from Google Music All Access. Then when my card expired they had me put in a new card. They didnt bother grandfathering me, so I didnt bother with YouTube premium since I am not paying double, despite paying for Google Music All Access… since launch. My phone renewal was around the corner so I got an iPhone this time and got Apple One with everything it offers. I am much more happier. Last I heard they wanted to nerf Google Music for YouTube music which is an awful exchange.

Now I dont mind ads but if they are annoying or too many, or worse: their new adblocking system was detecting me as adblocking despite me having it all off, or it not working on mobile whatsoever, you know the site is just flat out broken for me, well… I will just refuse to go on YouTube.

Or you could not give them any funding to push their DRM agenda on the web?

I am happy to steal the content and I shall do that with yt-dlp and VLC because it is the best user experience for actually watching videos. The browser is not anyway.

I personally just watch the ads, but I understand why one would not want to subscribe to the service even if it is reasonably priced. It is not the sticker cost, but the additional cost of the cognitive load that comes with a subscription. Having to remember yet another service that needs to be paid for, that needs to be cancelled when you don't want it anymore, that needs to be included in budgeting, etc. occupies a lot of mind space for the lifetime of the service.

An ad blocker can be created and then forgotten about.

Most of us pay for a lot of services like netflix, spotify, etc.

We are ok with paying, but not:

- giving money to a user hostile company with a terrible moral track record

- giving money to keep being tracked anyway

- having to log in with a google account that can be locked down any time with no given reason, and will take over your entire android phone even from a single app

- being served ads from other unrelated services using data collected from google service we paid for

Probably not worth anyone's time to remove ads but I can't convince myself that the premium subscription is worth buying, I feel like many are in a similar situation and struggle due to how addicting (and useful) the platform can be.

About two years ago, pre-adblocking crackdown, I was having a great time with YouTube and I considered buying the premium subscription because I really liked the product.

Then the number of ads and their frequency changed massively, ruining the whole experience for me, the premium subscription went from feeling like "something I want because of perceived value" to "something I now need because YouTube has been made unusable in an attempt to coerce me into paying".

I went from checking out the prices and planning the purchase to blocking the whole domain on my pihole for all devices except my workstation.

I was also very disappointed by the subscription model: no yearly plan, no way to bundle it with the Google One subscription that I already pay for, the price of a family plan Vs individual subscription is predatory and anti-consumer (325% higher per individual).

Yes. For start I worry that if I will use YouTube while logged then it will increase risk of my mail account being randomly banned by Google. I already got "your account is temporarily disabled" once after I used "import mail filters" feature.

Also, I do not want to risk accidentally sharing exact videos I watch, while logged in.

Also, I anyway need to download videos as browser player lags while VLC does not.

Your account isn't going to be randomly banned just from watching Youtube.

I'd pay for YouTube if it curated its content to skip all the clickbait, engagement garbage, AI-generated channels, scam videos and so on, which make this unbearable to use.

Even if you remove the ads, it's WORK to find quality content on YouTube these days, and this happens to a large degree because they incentivize their content providers to trick the algorithm and users into watching garbage for money. We saw the same happen with Twitter in real time when they announced revenue sharing.

YouTube is more broken today than it ever was. I don't know the exact recipe for fixing this, but this ain't it. I'm not paying to support this cesspool.

A family plan is an order of magnitude more than a few dollars. £20/m (£240/year) in the UK. That’s a few dollars a month short of an Xbox Series S console yearly.

YouTube wiped out part of the music industry by hosting so much illegitimate music and had either zero or almost zero ads for most of its history until it’s monopoly was complete. Now that it’s captured almost 100% of online video content, it’s pulling a bait and switch and pretending to be copyright friendly while bombarding it’s captured audience with ads who have nowhere else to go. They don’t deserve a penny from any of us

And anyway, the videos themselves are ads and contain sponsored and affiliate content anyway, the tracking is intense, etc. you don’t get much value from your subscription

Yep #enshitification engaged.

This is the worst time to replace your ad blocker with YouTube Premium, because by doing so, you're rewarding their bad behavior.

I agree, which is why I cancelled my Premium subscription when all this started. I’m not interested in paying Google to degrade the viewing experience for everyone else.

Youtube isn't worth the "few dollars" for me (it's actually very expensive). However, I'm using an ad blocker instead. They still work and give you a seamless experience.

of course you can pay, but where's the fun in that.. in a hacker's mind hacking youtube is time well spent.

As a student, while I do write and maintain software for my job and my FOSS projects, I do not make enough to justify yt premium at all

They should definitely offer a free or almost free student version. Supporting students is a good thing.

There's a Student version of YT Premium for ~$8/month.

There is a free way for students to use it - with ads.

There's an even better free way for students to use it - with adblocker! It even saves Google the bandwidth of streaming the ads! How considerate!

They proverbially kick me in the shins for every video I watch. Typically more than once, and for ever increasing periods of time. And once they're done kicking I get asked if I want to give them money so they stop kicking me.


Some people are just freeloaders. They'll dress up their refusal to pay in any number of ways but what it comes down to is they just want stuff for free and aren't honest enough to just say that.

This just means that Youtube isn't worth the ad watching time for them that Youtube feels entitled to. I personally, for example, will continue watching Youtube with an ad blocker but I'm also perfectly fine if Youtube closes entirely or becomes subscription-only.

This is a fact that internet publishers simply don't want to accept: the value of what you're offering is so low, that the most I'm willing to pay you for it is zero dollars.

This affects publishers both large and small, from Youtube to mommy bloggers. Like all those recipe blogs filled with bloat so they can stuff more ads. And the passive aggressive popup complaints about asking me to disable my adblocker: absolutely not. Sorry dude, but the value of what you're offering is worth "free" to me, and you can prove this to yourself by switching to a subscription payment model for whatever you're publishing. You'll make almost nothing compared to what you make from ad revenue because what you're offering just isn't as valuable as you think it is.

Oh kind of like how Google has been freeloading on our private data for decades? Yep you're right, Google isn't honest enough, so I'm happy to stick it to them.

As someone who uses ublock and gives £50/month away on Patreon: no

Call me a freeloader then. My computer, my internet service, my choice. I'll do what I want with my computer as long as I don't break a law, there is no moral right side in this debate.

That’s a valid position as long as you don’t complain about them locking down their service more.

Next thing you know, you won’t be able to mute your speakers or switch to another tab. Or even leave your chair to go to the bathroom. After all, YOU MUST PAY YOU DUES to watch YouTube!

… or you could stop dealing with them entirely? I wouldn’t eat a restaurant with TVs blaring ads, either.

I am not giving into Google s coercion. Why are you?

How should YouTube be funded? How is it coersion?

>How should YouTube be funded?

They should stop doing evil shit, then I'd happily pay.

It's coercion because they're a monopoly due to their anticompetitive practices. It's like killing your parents and then asking the judge to give you a break, because you're an orphan.

> How should YouTube be funded?

Maybe they can do something with their trillions of dollars, or since we're already paying for youtube with our data, maybe they can do something with that and all the other highly personal and intimate details of our lives they've collected primarily without our consent (and at times through violations of the law). Seems like they ought to have some kind of way to make money with that... Maybe they can let people pay them to get to the top of search results or something. Maybe they could sell locked down data collecting laptops or do something with cell phones? They seem pretty smart, I'm sure they'll figure it out.

or maybe they should cut monetisation by half.

I don't think it should be funded at all.

It's up to them to figure out. But if their only solution is inconvenience users to the point they start bleeding money then screw them.

They have figured it out, and they even have two options so you can pick which you prefer.

There's also third option. They can die if they don't know how to be profitable in sensible way.

Who says they haven't found a sensible way to be profitable? Alphabet makes billions in profit every year. I've been a happy subscriber to Youtube for 8 years. It seems completely sensible to me.

I enjoy the premium features. I’m happy to pay for software I use a lot. Content creators get paid for videos I watch. I hate ads.

From my point of view it’s more than worth the cost.

In the UK it's £13/month which is noticeable for people in ordinary jobs, paying rent, and with half a dozen similar things wanting monthly money also.

Agreed. It’s clearly over the limit of things you care about.

I don’t regret the couple of evenings I spent installing Yattee and Piped on my own server. Now I need not worry about YouTube.

Over 10 years I’ll have saved enough to get a MacBook Pro

>Is it really worth investing your own time to remove ads?

Exactly what time are you referring to? It took me precisely zero time to remove ads on YouTube: I already have uBlock Origin installed, because ads on all the other websites are so unbearable, so I don't have to do anything at all to block ads on YouTube: it's already done for me.

By contrast, subscribing to YouTube Premium would require a fair bit of my time, in going to the website, figuring out where to click, going through the payment process page, digging out a credit card, etc. etc. Then I have to worry about managing yet another subscription, which will take time every month.

Is it really worth investing your time to subscribe to YTP when you can just block the ads by default by having a proper ad-blocker installed on your browser in the first place, which is a prerequisite for safe browsing in the modern age?

> A lot of tech people will probably earn that money in a few minutes. Is it really worth investing your own time to remove ads?

Well, my anecdote: I'm a tech worker, but I make some multiples lower compensation than SV comp. I'm pretty frugal, but my household budget is still pretty tight. I can't pick up OT shifts at my job or easily transform my free time into money at a worthwhile hourly rate - and if I could, any additional money I'd make would be taxed at a relatively high marginal rate. To widen the gap between my income and expenses, it tends to be more time-effective to reduce my expenses by avoiding paying for services where I can do the work myself. Every dollar I save on expenses is a dollar that either a) goes into tax-advantaged retirement savings accounts, b) pays down my mortgage, or c) pays for self-investment, e.g. home insulation upgrades. (Once I run out of those options for my money, it will affect the marginal value of my time, but I'm some decades off still.)

It's more than a few dollars. It's not an expense that makes sense to everyone.

Anecdotally: I use YouTube very rarely. I follow a couple of channels that post new episodes now and then. And sometimes I need to study some DIY technique, or someone sends me a link to something they thought was funny or interesting; basically my use is random and mostly utility-driven, and certainly not fueled by me endlessly trawling YT for entertainment.

So for me, the ads are super annoying because they steal time away from me when I need to access some random video, and ad-to-video ratio is rather huge. But since I'm a light user, it will never make sense to pay for it. In fact, I often close down a video when I'm met with an ad, because it's just not important enough. For me, the ads kill the potential spontaneous joy that could be had from a short video.

Many people do pay for YT, and I don't really understand the attraction unless you're a parent with kids. But everyone is different.

Same. I would gladly pay for adfree, but the price is hard to justify for infrequent casual users.

They should introduce a lower tier with a usage limit. Say $5/mo for the first 50 videos being adfree.

So how much would you pay per video to not have an ad?

>A lot of tech people will probably earn that money in a few minutes

The average compensation for a software engineer, in the realively wealthy country of Italy, is like 40k annually. 140 bucks per year just to remove ads is obscene

You can get a netflix subscription for that money (which invests billions into content) or like 5 digital newspaper subscriptions (who do investigative journalism)

Haha. This. I had to swallow that $30 a month cost. Because by going through the family sharing, I am saving so much heaxh and time wastage for my family who use YouTube for learning (school, college…), parents who watch videos, listen to music etc. well worth it for me.

I tried that once, but paying changed the ui in some way that I found to be a huge degradation. Dont remember what exactly it was, but now Im using the adblocker again. Just ublock works fine btw, as long as you keep it and its filters up to date.

It would be useful if you can elaborate because as a paid user I've never spotted any UI or UX degradation and I'm now curious.

It might have been a ”continue where you left off” player that always showed on the main page or something like that.

Continuing is never desirable so I always had to waste a click closing that so it wouldnt obscure part of the screen.

I'm or probably won't pay but this feels immoral. Not a fair transaction where you consume content and bandwidth but give back nothing in return.

Sure , supporting the evil megacorp suppressing any real alternative products seems like the ethical thing to do.


>Is it really worth investing your own time to remove ads?

Yes, because like anything google, pretty soon the few dollars you pay per month to make ads go away will mean "pay to see fewer ads". Exactly like what happened to cable and subscription services.

A few dollars? Try in the order of 17 bucks a month. It costs more than Netflix where I am.

Yes, it is worth my time.

Ads are cancer.

If you can't find some other less toxic way to support your business then it should die.

FYI, I pay for plenty of other streaming services. I just don't feel YouTube is worth it. The content creators are worth it, YouTube itself is not.

And if all the "tech people" pay a fixed charge for YouTube regardless of how much they actually use it, they'll remove ads entirely, right?

Get real. Fuck ads. Nobody should ever have to deal with them.

The only options here are

1. deal with ads,

2. pay to support the service without ads,

3. use adblocking and be a free rider off people doing #1, or

4. expect web services to be given to you as an act of charity

You and I are both doing #3, but let's not pretend it's some act of noble civil disobedience. It is good for us that others are subjected to ads, as it allows us to get useful services for free without having to be.

First of all YT and other companies hooked people on free stuff and after years are doing bait and switch - it is totally on them - not on the people wanting free stuff. They should not offer free stuff in the first place to be fair.

Which is also now they are abusing their market position built by cutting all other companies that could do the same but simply could not get past dumping price of free by VC fueled "startups". Which I believe some government org should look into.

Second of all they benefit by externalizing all negative effects of their platforms where they don't handle moderation of offensive comments towards creators which causes lots of psychological damage. There is whole load of evidence they even set it up in ways to specifically get people dependent on dopamine from watching just one more video.

Lastly - cable TV in US was paid with no ads and when they found out they can earn more money they still put in ads.

For me it is noble act of civil disobedience.

>They should not offer free stuff in the first place to be fair.

Plenty of people are perfectly content with the model of free ad-supported services. Who are you to step between them and those services and say no?

> First of all YT and other companies hooked people on free stuff and after years are doing bait and switch - it is totally on them - not on the people wanting free stuff.

So you're addicted and can't stop now?

If you hate YouTube this much, then stop using it.

I do block ads as an act of civil disobedience. I also pay for services, when I consider it to be appropriate. The problems with the ad industry run much deeper than ads merely being annoying to look at.

It is bad that anyone is ever subjected to ads.

We're talking about this right now on a web service given to us as an act of charity (modulo the occasional sponsored job listing), and I'd like more of the web to be like that. Refusing to participate in the ad revenue model makes sites like this more likely to arise.

> We're talking about this right now on a web service given to us as an act of charity (modulo the occasional sponsored job listing)

I think your modulo is missing some aspects. How many VCs are as famous as YC among tech workers? How many of them have as much credibility in the tech scene as YC? How much of that comes from this site?

I don't know how much it costs to run it, but I assume it's peanuts compared with what YC gets out of it. I wouldn't confuse altruistic charity (e.g. donating anonymously to a cause you don't personally benefit from) with what boils down to sponsorship and getting the goodwill that comes with it.

Adblocker users aren't free riders, they still pay the money google gets for showing ads

Ads pay for everything online? How else do you pay for everything unless you pay them directly??

It's so sad to hear people talk like this. Can you not imagine anyone doing anything just for public good?

Sigh, almost nothing can survive without money to pay for it. Either through donations, some type of business model, etc.

My day to day "job" is something for the public good and I do it without getting paid for it. But it still has to make money to survive even with that.

Even small non-profits have operating costs to cover.

When we’re talking about consistently serving video at the scale they are, those costs won’t be minute.

Obviously they’re looking to turn a profit (if not profiting already), but I don’t think the situation changes dramatically either way.

This is why we can't have nice things.

A common model is to have a free tier subsidized by the premium users. The free users still provide value to the company, because they're all prospective premium users.

Might not work here, we are not on the inside so can't see.

If youtube can't make it work, I hope they go bust so that something better can take their place.

What they are doing is working great... not sure why you would say that. They are the most popular platform, fantastic services and adding more, and easy to pay to remove ads for a reasonable amount of money. Their model is working great from a business and service perspective.

What else do you want?

You want it to be free for you where you don't have to pay anything to use it? Seems like you don't have a realistic view of what it costs to run / build / maintain this.

I've served terabytes worth of video content from my home internet connection, for free.


You're correct that I don't know how to run YouTube, the company, but I absolutely know what it takes to serve video. I'd like to see more people who aren't YouTube operating in the same sector.

Hopefully you can see how the chasm between those two things is like the Grand Canyon :)

I love "the confidence" as I think that is what makes a great entrepreneur who says something like "Oh that is easy, I can do that", cut to 10 years later and a lot of pain, and maybe they have...

If you have a better way to fund sites like YouTube that doesn't involve either adverts or paying a fixed subscription I'd love to hear it!

Pay by use, for either the people watching or the ones hosting video content

I believe Vimeo does the latter if you want. Guess how many people use that...

Its better than ads though

You can't! No ads is bundled with Youtube Music and other useless options.

I want to do the opposite of supporting google, so yes it its.

I don't personally use adblockers. I have no problems paying a few dollars a month. I do have an issue with providing banking details to social media platforms.

You don’t have to, you can pay through Apple Pay or Google Pay if you’re on mobile.

Funny. Don't give Youtube your credit card, use Google Pay instead.

What is funny about it? The person I responded to was concern about sharing banking information with social platforms. Apple and Google pay aren’t social platforms.

A few dollars? Don't remember what they charged here, but I found it completely overpriced. There are many months a year I manage not to waste any time on Youtube. While I generally prefer paying for service over surveillance capitalism I found Youtube far too less value for the money for my usage. For someone using it hours every week, the price might be more in line with the costs.

I could subscribe to a pay per view with monthly cap model.

For now I use it with ads, hate it, and use it less. Only for information gathering, certainly not for entertainment.


ads represent (to me) psychological coercion, exploitative capitalism, fear-mongering, and generally the worst cultural and psychological trends packed into dense snippets of trash.

very few of the things I actually use and adore were ever advertised to me in any way other than by trusted word-of-mouth, and the results of that are staggeringly better-fit than anything i've ever encountered on the web.

and that isn't even talking over the ads shown for wars and efforts I don't support, ads that are vehicles for malware, or ads that are vehicles for either propaganda from a state agency or somewhat radical organizations.

Most videos on YT are simply not worth my trading of values for the exposure to the trash. The transition from "creator place" to "media moat" isn't something I appreciate nor am I willing to participate in.

simply put : Ad-blockers simply enable me to stay in a better place mentally. The moment they started getting iffy on YT I tried to disable them and got a bunch of war-gore imagery thrown in my face from some NGO relief group begging for money in the midst of a hobby machinery video, these types of ads and abusive imagery are simply inappropriate, and I won't let the media be held hostage against me for the sake of collecting a toll or else being exposed to it : I just won't participate on that side of the net.

This response does not really address the question in the comments it is attached to.

Uhm right. So you agree that paying to remove ads is the sensible option?

Then coercion succeeds. The point of coercive ads is to make you spend money. Either on advertised products ... but if they can force you to pay for just not seeing the ads it's even better. It's cutting out the "middle men" of real world economy from this extortion scheme.

I'd pay in a heartbeat for youtube premium if youtube weren't owned my the FAANG companies. I dislike these companies and don't want them to have a cent of my money so I'll continue to be a freeloader and I don't care if the company goes bankrupt because the world needs more competition.

I can't (in my country).

i am subscribing to yt premium but i don't like supporting google. i despise their active shadow banning on yt. this company is actively blocking legit constructive comments on "sensitive topics" such as religion. it's disgusting and also dangerous that a big corporation is declaring what should be allowed and not allowed to think and express.

It's $14 month now. It's still worth paying for.

You can also do this for _free_


"a few dollars"

You don't want to make inconveniencing you profitable for companies.

If you like watching video, the people who make and host it need to get paid somehow. There are only three real choices: don’t watch it, watch with ads, or pay to watch.

Anything else is just fooling yourself into believing that other people will work for free making the things you like and the endgame for that is unskippable ads and more content only available to subscribers behind DRM.

There's huge gap between "they need to get paid" and "viewers need to pay for viewing".

There is this thing called mécénat in French that translates to patronage or sponsorship. Which means that whoever has the money and wants to see the thing created, pays. And everybody can enjoy it.

And this doesn't need to be a single rich person. In modern times communitites can fund millions for projects they want to see created.

And YouTube doesn't create anything at the moment except wonderfully popular YouTube Rewind videos.

Because that wasn't the deal.

Nobody complained when YT was monopolizing online video because it was convenient and free and then they proceed to bait and switch us into paying.

Screw them, I won't pay out of principle.

The deal was that you watch ads in exchange for unlimited video. Then they added the option to pay instead of watching ads.

If you no longer like either deal, stop reinforcing their market share: your usage tells creators they need to stay on YouTube.

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