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YouTube Intentionally Slows Down Videos for Users With Ad Blockers

YouTube Intentionally Slows Down Videos

YouTube has confirmed that it has intentionally inserted delays of around 5 seconds when loading videos for users who have ad-blocking software enabled. This loading delay occurs regardless of which web browser is being used, as part of YouTube’s extensive efforts to counteract ad blockers across all platforms and devices.

Attempts to Improve the Ad Viewing Experience

“In the past week, users using ad blockers may have experienced suboptimal viewing, which included delays in loading, regardless of the browser they are using,” said YouTube spokesperson Christopher Lawton in an email statement after numerous user complaints emerged online. He suggested that disabling or uninstalling ad blockers should resolve the loading delays. However, there may still be some temporary lag issues until the browser cache fully clears and refreshes.

Lawton explained that YouTube is constantly adapting and advancing its ad blocker detection systems, so users can likely expect more changes like this 5-second slowdown in the future as the platform continues to work to maximize its advertising reach and revenue. The video delays seem to range from 3 to 8 seconds, based on user reports.

The loading delays were first reported as only impacting Mozilla Firefox users specifically. But further analysis of the code showed no evidence that YouTube checks or detects which browser is being used. Following user complaints spanning various internet forums and sites, it became clear that Chrome, Edge, Safari, and other browser users also experienced similar video slowdowns upon detecting ad blocking software. In addition, you can also read an article on- How Bard’s YouTube Analysis Impacts Video Creator Monetization

Intermittent 5-Second Slowdowns

In testing, the extra 5-second delay has not affected all YouTube viewers consistently. Despite attempting to reproduce the loading lag issue through various methods, such as using ad blocker extensions, private/incognito mode, and different machines and accounts, some users have been unable to trigger the intentional slowdown. This indicates an intermittent or partial rollout of YouTube’s anti-ad block initiative rather than applying universally to all videos and viewers simultaneously. Additionally, you can also read about- YouTube Begins Testing New AI Features to Enrich Viewing Experience

Google Takes a Strong Stance Against Ad Blockers

The recent video loading delays signify Google and YouTube’s uncompromising stance toward limiting the use of third-party ad blocking software. Google has made multiple significant policy changes around advertising and ad blocking in recent months, particularly on YouTube. For example, YouTube started selectively disabling videos in June 2022 for some viewers detected to have ad blockers enabled on the site.

Last month, YouTube also launched a “global effort” to strongly encourage users towards either enabling ads or subscribing to its $13.99/month Premium ad-free service. “Ads are a vital lifeline for our creators,” YouTube spokesperson Christopher Lawton emphasized regarding the platform’s dependence on advertising revenue. Moreover, Google detailed a major change to the Chrome web browser last week that specifically hinders and obstructs uBlock Origin, one of the more popular ad blocking extensions with millions of active installs.

Independent ad-blocking developers have competed with internet and tech giants over the ethics and methods of online advertising since the early days of the web. However, currently, Google in particular appears determined to systematically undermine popular ad blocking software to protect its dominant digital advertising business model centered around tracking users and selling high-value targeted ads. The video loading delays on YouTube exemplify Google’s latest salvo against ad blockers seeking to maintain an arms race for the foreseeable future.

You May Find Interest: YouTube Premium Subscription Price Hiked in Multiple Countries


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