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YouTube's plan backfires, people are installing better ad blockers

People are scrambling to find a better ad blocking alternative.
By

Published onNovember 3, 2023

TL;DR
  • YouTube’s crackdown on ad blockers is causing users to uninstall the software in record numbers.
  • However, an even higher number of users are instead turning to better ad blockers that won’t trigger YouTube’s warning.
  • Some users are even going as far as to switch to a new browser.

YouTube recently expanded its ad-blocking efforts, transitioning from just a small experiment to a global launch. The move appears to have had some success, as users are uninstalling the software in record numbers. But you can also argue it has had the opposite effect, as even higher numbers of users are turning to better ad blockers.

Hundreds of thousands of users have uninstalled ad blockers in October, seemingly in connection with YouTube’s broadened crackdown, according to a report from Wired. At the same time, data shows that record-breaking numbers of people are also installing alternatives that won’t be caught in YouTube’s net.

YouTube on smartphone stock photo 18

Krzysztof Modras of Ghostery — one of the more popular ad blockers in Chrome’s extension store — says they have seen three to five times the amount of installs and uninstalls over the last month. Over 90% of those users who uninstalled the extension cited the software failing on YouTube as the reason for their decision. However, the company saw a 30% uptick in installations on Microsoft Edge, with users attempting to find a suitable alternative.

Another blocker, AdGuard, told the outlet they normally see about 6,000 uninstallations per day on Chrome, but that shot up to 11,000 per day between October 9 and the end of the month, peaking at 52,000 on October 18. However, the paid version of the extension appears to be immune to YouTube’s ban. It’s reported that the company says when people realized this, user counts increased, reaching up to 60,000 installations on October 18 and October 27.

Right now, it appears YouTube’s crackdown on ad blockers has people scrambling to find a better alternative. Some people are even turning to solutions like Newpipe, a YouTube-like website that’s capable of running videos from the platform without ads.

Experts from the industry, like Modras, are warning that YouTube’s efforts to stop ad blockers could result in more complex blocking tactics. These more complex tactics could lead to the creation of unintentional security holes.

If you’re looking alternatives, extensions like uBlock Origin still work when used on Firefox. Adblock Plus has also offered some suggestions on how to get past the anti-ad block wall. There’s also the option of biting the bullet and paying for YouTube Premium.