back to article YouTube cares less for your privacy than its revenues

YouTube wants its pound of flesh. Disable your ad blocker or pay for Premium, warns a new message being shown to an unsuspecting test audience, with the barely hidden subtext of "you freeloading scum." Trouble is, its ad blocker detecting mechanism doesn't exactly comply with EU law, say privacy activists. Ask for user …

  1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Cognitive dissonance

    It's quite amusing, isn't it? YouTube seems hell-bent on bombarding those of us who are decidedly averse to adverts with yet more adverts - all in a futile attempt to cajole us into parting with our money for their subscription service.

    What, pray tell, is the purpose of this relentless advertising assault? If I'm already disinclined to spend my hard-earned cash on their offerings, no amount of ad-induced coercion will sway me.

    Besides, it's not as though most of us have the financial luxury to splurge on such non-essentials. We're skint, YouTube. Do keep up.

    1. hitmouse

      Re: Cognitive dissonance

      YouTube is pushing through with huge hikes to premium rates this year "to fund new features". I told the YouTube staffer that the only feature I want is "no ads".

      "But the music you get included" he whined.

      "-every streaming service is throwing in music already". I'm not paying for it again.

      So I cancelled my family subscription. The only way I could make it slightly feasible would be to convince friends who are paying for YouTube already to join my family plan.

      So YouTube either loses some subscribers entirely, loses some to a cheaper plan or I use my time better and watch less ad-supported content.

      1. Spansh

        Re: Cognitive dissonance

        I actually decided to bite the bullet about 3 years ago, even though I thought Youtube Premium was overpriced fompared to the competitors, we used it quite a bit for our child for nursery rhymes and my wife used to like listening ot music through it. So I decided to stump up for a family subscription.

        Turns out that because we use a Google apps custom domain, we cannot have a family subscription, I can pay for it, but my family can't use it. I cancelled it the next day and signed us up for Amazon Music which we've been enjoying since.

        I'm even less enthused by Youtube premium these days because of the sheer amount of channels which embed their own ads/sponsors, if I'm paying for no ads I don't want ads. I know I can skip through those ones but that's not the point.

        I would consider doing it but only as a family subscription, and since they still haven't fixed that they will never get me to pay for premium.

        I do now run an ad blocker and have for about a year, I didn't actually install it because I was avoiding ads at all, let alone on Youtube. I installed it because of a few sites which were completely and utterly broken by ads I couldn't close and blocked their content but were the sole source of something I needed to research.

        1. Throgmorton Horatio III

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          More than a decade ago a music forum I used regularly started having adverts. Initially they were just intrusive, but eventually they came to use so much bandwidth and processing power that they rendered the site unusable and would literally bog down the core 2 duo powered Macbook I was using at the time. This prompted my first forays in ad blocking - suddenly the site was completely usable, quick and slick by comparison - there was no going back.

          Sadly there's no way to persuade ordinary people to pay for content or software now, that ship has sailed. And advertisers just don't seem to understand that an advert needs to win over the viewer, rather than see the advertiser as the son of a bachelor who is deliberately annoying for attention.

          1. Pseu Donyme

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Similar experience with my wimpy 11.6" netbook (Celeron-4M RAM): small, light, runs 10 hours on a charge (so ideal to lug around) also cheap (was 200€ish, which is an advantage in general and also while away from home in that the financial hit wouldn't be too bad if it was nicked or suffered damage while being subject to the tender mercies of luggage handling). This would be practically useless for browsing without ad blocking, but works surprisingly well with with that in place (with a lighter weight Linux such as Xubuntu or Mint XFCE, natch, I wonder how it is even legal to sell these for Windows use).

          2. geoffbeaumont

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Ironically, that site for me was the Register a few years ago. Some of the adverts would hang my browser for a few minutes every time I opened a page with them on (it wasn't a single advert - it was quite a lot of them). Every few months I'd disable the ad blocker to see if the issue had been fixed (I don't want to watch ads - but I do get that the content has to be paid for somehow) - but it hadn't and eventually I gave up. It made a lot of other sites more pleasant to use too, though I still occasionally come across one that breaks due to relying on code the ad blocker blocks - unless I really need to access them for work I just close them and move on.

            1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

              Re: Cognitive dissonance

              I use NoScript type extensions in this scenario. Really useless and crap websites rely on JavaScript to deliver any content but thankfully many still deliver the content with JavaScript turned off. Turn JavaScript off and there is no ad-blocker detection going on.

          3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Most local news sites, as in the online presence for local newspapers hit the ad death spiral years ago.

            They used to be funded by print adverts, which is fine and we learned to ignore anything that we didn't care about. Which was usually most of them but occasionally such local papers had adverts in them for useful local services. It also worked for brand awareness, as one glimpsed the name of a company providing a service and while not wanting the service at the time, should one want the service that brand name would spring mind.

            Therefore it was obvious to these local news sites that they needed advertising on their websites. At first, this brought in income but then the income reduced. Therefore they added more adverts. This brought in a little more income but then it reduced. Therefore they added more adverts. Being idiots they repeated this until their websites were 99.9% bullshit/scam adverts that made the content near impossible to look at or read with adverts following the reader down the page forcing page layout changes, popup content all over the content, doom scrolling and everything else bad about online advertising.

            The fix is quality adverts, curated adverts. However that costs money and it's much easier just spaff as much rubbish as much as possible in the hope that some revenue happens to slide out of it. YouTube has gone this way such that without ad blockers it is nearly unusable to the level that local news sites are, just in video form. Vapid adverts that lie about whatever rubbish the are trying to sell, online game adverts for amazing games which are the same old pay-to-win crap and nothing whatsoever related to the advert, products that are plain dangerous or illegal with bogus medical claims, and so on. These play suddenly in the middle of words even, blare out at full volume and many are unskippable. Then they wonder why we use ad blockers.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Ad death spiral

              Due to many of the choices Youtube and Google made, that isn't really as viable a long term option. Much like the print media empire, the math no longer ads up.

              When there were only newspapers, a handful of local and Network TV stations, and billboards to choose from, the demand for ad space and constrained market size kept prices high.

              Now that the fools have pushed advertisements on almost every surface (literally the gas pumps these days, and the fridge door of stupid people with "Smart" refrigerators.

              So now there is more space to display ads than ads to run or interest. The net value of ads outside the Superbowl is nearly zero and can't easily be revived. So they bombard you with the same low quality ads over and over, and take fractions of a cent for most of them. Most of those ads are unviewed, and the money mostly wasted.

              Google helped break the system in an and attempt to create an ad monopoly where only it can make any real money in the whole industry. Youtube and Gmail literally exist just to keep you signed into your google account so the behavior and interest tracking stalkerware will work. The rest of the business is a rounding error, so if people push back on their current policies, they will blink. Just like they will climb down when the EU regulators knock on the door. But they will also try to run the clock out as long as they can, then appeal any fines they get hit with, and probably pay them with interest on the money they made a decade from now.

              1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                Re: Ad death spiral

                That's true. Good point about the devaluing of all advertising space - even the fabled Superbowl TV advert spots. The race to the bottom that has been successfully executed and it's now a case of scraping the barrel to see if there's anywhere lower to go.

                Advertisers often forget that personal recommendation is the most powerful tool they have - therefore they faked these too.

          4. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            that ship has sailed

            Youtube spent millions of VC money and flat stole terabytes of studio movies, TV, and music to murder the subscription market. Then when Netflix was the hot name around town, they decided they could have their cake(technically someone else's cake they just didn't block someone other than the owner from uploading over and over) and eat it too by offering their own original content as well as a large bribe to their most popular content creators not to bail on them for a bigger cut of the take. Now they want you to pay and still watch ads.

            So AlphaGoogleTube will whine and stamp it's feet as both users and regulators call bull---t on various parts of their shifting but always self serving arguments. But it is important to keep an eye on their big picture operations. Youtube was born in sin and piracy, and only the sale to Google saved them from being torn apart by copyright laywers and shut down. Google knew that many of the people that would sue Youtube would think twice about suing it, and many did. It knew it had the capital to fight every case that was left in court, and drag them out for years. It did. It saw the cases moving through the system and that it was going to eventually lose, so it poured out a river of cash in Washington to literally re-write the laws in it's favor. Then it used all that leverage to create a settlement to all those cases that in effect gave it permanent most favored nation status, locking in a payment rate of pennies on the dollar what any other streaming player has to pay for either music or video content.

            So I am happy to see the EU regulators curb stomp them into submission. For the rest of the world, they can learn the same lesson they themselves taught the movie studios, either make your content available to all your potential customers world wide and for a reasonable rate, or they will rip it and post it on a pirate feed, and while you may shut down and punish a given pirate site or user, you can't police 7 billion people world wide.

            Youtube should have known that it was hubris to try to have it both ways, stealing others content, keeping the lions share of ad revenue, and running a competing premium service that is still loaded with ads, sponsored content, and running a spyware operation on the largest scale in history. It's fight against ad blockers and stream rippers on its public and ad supported content will drive pirates to spin up throw away accounts and while they are at it they will stream rip all the premium content too. And if 7 billion people can pay a dollar a year to a pirate site for unlimited ad free content, it's still a viable business for the pirate. You folks in the EU may not have to bother once your regulators are done with them, we should follow suit and copy your legal framework.

            There isn't anything magical to YouTube or TikTok. If the regulators smash them to bits, the users, creators and traffic will just shift to another platform or platforms. If they get ahead of their skis and faceplant, like the TV networks and so many other media companies have, the audience will move on. And if they try to squeeze too hard, they will just speed that along.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          "if I'm paying for no ads I don't want ads."

          Youtube execs (and those from other sites) need to get tied up and beaten with wet noodles* while being told this over and over.

          *substitute material as required to get the point across.

          1. stiine Silver badge

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            I think the material you're looking for here is brickbats.

      2. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: Cognitive dissonance

        I told the YouTube staffer

        YouTube has actual people you can talk to? Color me stunned.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          OK, but what colour would that be?

          :)

          1. Evil Scot

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Obligatory Pratchett Reference...

            Infra Black

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Cognitive dissonance

      Judging by the adverts, I am a 60+ female, with a newborn baby that needs vaccinating and I wear make-up aimed at teenagers and I need hair products for my voluminous hair.

      All this is derived from me watching motoring videos, GTA 5 videos, Wreckfest videos and various Simon Whistler documentary channels...

      In fact, I am a 50 something bald man and I don't wear makeup - for teenagers or otherwise.

      1. Marty McFly Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: Cognitive dissonance

        I think this is another battlefront within the larger ad-blocking war.

        Google provides a new Chrome 'feature' which allows you to 'take control' of your advertising preferences. No problem, I'll turn off all the settings. Google then serves up the most irrelevant advertising it can find just to punish people who turned on the privacy settings.

        Google needs to revert to the old advertising model of tying advertisements to content, rather than to viewers. Look at old-fashioned over-the-air TV programming. Beer commercials during sports programming, and breakfast cereal during children's shows, etc.

        If I have Google's trackers turned off, they should target their ads based on the content being viewed, but they don't. Instead they show annoying and irrelevant ads designed to irritate viewers. The other day I was watching a motorhead video and an ad targeting alternative lifestyles popped up. Doesn't match the content, it is a waste of my time, Google's bandwidth, and the advertisers money.

        Just another battlefield on the war on user's privacy and data.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          Exactly, profiling the content is a lot more sensible and a lot more accurate and it doesn't invade privacy. BUT it won't work for the big advertising tech companies, because anyone can do that, there is no "special sauce"...

          1. Zolko Silver badge

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Exactly. The funny thing about this is that huge amounts of money are spent by marketing directors of commercial companies, paid to other marketing directors of advertising companies. And I'm quite certain that these marketing droids switch from commercial companies to advertisement companies and back, with a CV that highlights their "competence " in advertisement brokering. So all-in-all, this entire advertisement business is a parasitic scam : if it disappeared overnight, we wouldn't even notice (since we have ad-blockers anyway). Wasn't there something about an Ark-B or something ? What about that Marsian base that Elon is projecting, who will be sent there ?

            1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

              Re: Cognitive dissonance

              But the other Golgafrinchans later died from a disease picked up from an unsanitised telephone handset ...

              Otherwise, your proposition does sound tempting.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          Never in a thousand years will you convince me that Chrome or its derivatives are good and secure browsers. They are spawned by the advertising satan itself and thus are already compromised.

          If a person collected the data these entities do they'd be accused of stalking and locked up.

          viva La Ad Blockers!

        3. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          Content related advertising? Just who do you think you are, heretic. That would require effort and effort costs money. It's much cheaper to just throw lots of rubbish and hope some of it sticks - the difference between a 0.00001% click through rate and a 0.000001% click through rate isn't that much anyway. Today you will now be burned as a witch because that is what our profiling has categorised you as. Would you like legal advice or a new fat slimming pill? Get them while stocks are limited, they'll be delivered in 28 days.

        4. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          '@Marty McFly

          "The other day I was watching a motorhead video and an ad targeting alternative lifestyles popped up. Doesn't match the content, it is a waste of my time, "

          Given Lemmy (most well known Motörhead member) was a roadie for Hendrix and a member of Hawkwind, then could be argued "alternative lifestyles" (depending exactly what) could be Motorhead relevant as Hendrix & Hawkwind had a good following amongst many people with "alternative" interests.

      2. veti Silver badge

        Re: Cognitive dissonance

        Their demographic research tells them that 50-something bald men very often have adolescent daughters who routinely use their parents' PCs for whatever, and who are horrifically insecure about their appearance and particularly their hair. And far be it from them to allay such insecurity, when there's so much better money to be made by stoking it.

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          My daughters don't live here, I am a grandfather, so they are no longer adolescent and even as they lived here (they've been gone nearly a decade), they had their own phones and PCs.

          1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Please do not interfere with the Marketing Department's reality distortion field.

          2. Dimmer Bronze badge

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            I do, so I thought it was funny (but true)

            :)

      3. fandom

        Re: Cognitive dissonance

        But then, if they showed adverts that fitted you perfectly you would complain about their surveillance, wouldn't you?

        1. teebie

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          Hmm, that is a true dichotomoy

          Hang on, is 'true' the right word?

        2. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

          Re: Cognitive dissonance

          Indeed.

          There was a case a few years ago where Target were profiling customers based on purchases - linked by the loyalty card, credit card, anything they could. <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/>A 16 year old girl started getting coupons for baby products</a> ... and I suspect many are ahead of me already on this. Her father was outraged and had a good rant at the local manager ... how dare they be sending this sort of stuff to a 16 year old, blah, blah. Shortly afterwards, she realised she was pregnant. Yup, Target's data mining had picked up on her being pregnant from her changes in buying habits - before she knew.

          After that, to avoid the "creepy" aspect, they added a load of randomness to hide the targeted nature.

          1. Yankee Doodle Doofus

            Re: Cognitive dissonance

            Interesting article, but you have misrepresented it. Target knew she was pregnant before her father did, not before she did. THAT would be REALLY creepy.

            1. I could be a dog really Bronze badge

              Re: Cognitive dissonance

              Yes, sorry I mis remembered and didn't re-read the article properly.

              I vaguely recall that there have been cases of data mining showing something before the person realised it - but that's just vague memory and I can't put a finger on any examples. I believe it is a known that people can change habits subconsciously without having realised (yet) that the underlying event (such as becoming pregnant) has happened.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's not mistargeting

        The companies just didn't remember to uncheck the "waste all my ad campaign budget" box when they uploaded it to Adwords.

        Yes they literally set the defaults to allow them to spend all your ad budget for you on unrelated sites you didn't select as part of your campaign, without your specific or prior approval.

        Fine, fine people who totally aren't an evil monopoly right?

    3. Sampler

      Re: Cognitive dissonance

      I actually paid the subscription service.

      Was a long time user of Google Music, I loved being able to upload my music to the service and be able to stream it at work or my phone on the go. Eventually I ponied up for the premium service as it was worth $9.99/m (AUD) for access to pretty much every record that wasn't in my collection and hey, free YouTube Red thrown in (when it started) so good bye YouTube ads, nice.

      Then came the push to YouTube Music, an absolutely crippling of the UI to make it more like Spotify or whatever (which is a tech trend I still don't follow, you have program X, you're doing ok, program Y comes out, it's popular, so you redesign your service to be a half Frankenstein of it, no one will switch to you because it offers nothing more than what they already have, existing customers leave because it's no longer what they wanted). Eventually my uploaded music disappeared altogether and I'm left with the poor Spotify impersonator.

      Now they want to up the fee to $16.99 a month (AUD) from the $9.99 I was paying, yeah, nah, feck off.. I was already disgruntled, now you've pushed me out. Just like Netflix when they stopped me sharing my account with my friends, hey, I wasn't really watching it, but happy to pay it so my mates can, now they can't, well, that's a subscription you've lost (and the top tier 4k one at that).

      I went off and found Plexamp, ironically, it gives me access to all my media on the go, at work or stream to my phone, and, with a $10.99/m (AUD) subsidised Tidal subscription, I have access to all the albums not in my collection - so now I'm back to what I wanted, paying about the same, and Google can go fuck themselves, it's not like they're sitting on billions and actually needed to up the price in the first place.

  2. b0llchit Silver badge
    Holmes

    Supply-chain Control

    And now, please look why google has been pushing chrome. They control it and are actively undermining the ability to use content filtering (ad blockers) in the extensions.

    It is the standard book of the monopolist. Control all parts in the chain and then squeeze and squeeze a bit more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Chrome

      "And now, please look why google has been pushing chrome."

      But why do people use it? 63% or something now? Why??!

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Re: Chrome

        Because it's standard on Android and Windows and ordinary people don't give a fuck about which browser they use as long as failbook/instagram/whatever is working?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Chrome

          It's not the standard on Windows, in fact Edge started putting banner bars saying don't use Chrome when you went to the Chrome site. I just checked it again now and instead of the banner I get "ChromeSetup.exe could harm your device. Do you want to keep it anyway?" Amazing.

          1. mostly average

            Re: Chrome

            That's true, however PC is no longer the most common means of surfing the interweb sewers. All the youngins these days use fondleslabs, most of which run android. Microsoft is desperately clawing for control of a relative minority.

            1. katrinab Silver badge
              Gimp

              Re: Chrome

              It terms of tablets that actually get used, Apple basically owns the market, so it is going to be Safari or a skinned version of it.

              1. veti Silver badge

                Re: Chrome

                Apple owns a shade over 50% of the market, but Android has over 40%. That's a pretty generous foothold.

                As for phones, globally Android is over 70% of that market.

                1. Yankee Doodle Doofus

                  Re: Chrome

                  Indeed. and I suspect that smartphones outnumber tablets 20 to 1, so even if they are combined into one category, I'd be willing to bet that Android is still over 70%.

            2. StudeJeff

              Re: Chrome

              True enough, but when shopping for a new tablet recently I bought a Surface Pro. It's not Apple (I don't do iStuff), and unlike Android I know how to make Windows do what I want.

              If I had it to do over again the only thing I'd have done differently is spring for a higher spec machine.

          2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: ChromeSetup.exe could harm your device

            Ooh, that looks like a new billion-dollar lawsuit in the making.

            Somebody tell . . . wait, no. Forget it. Let Google find that one out itself.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: ChromeSetup.exe could harm your device

              They also do the same for Firefox, which is just not cricket.

          3. Alumoi Silver badge

            Re: Chrome

            Chrome, Edge, same shit different name. I'm pretty sure MS removed all Google spying and replaced it with its own, but ICBA to check so, for me Edge = Chrome.

            1. ecofeco Silver badge

              Re: Chrome

              MS did. It's called Windows 11.

              I've spent a ridiculous amount of time turning off the spyware crap in Win 11.

              It's a decent OS, except for all the spying. It's just one big spyware system. I thought 10 was bad. 10 was nothing compared to 11.

              But so is Apple and Google these days. Big Brother is here and his name is Googleapplesoft.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Chrome

                "It's worse than that, it's dead, Jim, dead"

                Microsoft has gone a step further. By convincing its users to use MS Defender (because of course you would buy a lock from someone who just broke into your house) it now also has the ability to block any application that prevents its data acquisition, and I have heard from someone who uses Windows that the software he used to stop the data exfiltration has indeed now been tagged as malware.

                Make so mistake, no pesky Human Rights are allowed to stand in the way of US companies making a fortune off your information.

          4. Fred Daggy Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: ChromeSetup.exe considered harmful

            Its not wrong. It may not be right, but not wrong either.

        2. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Chrome

          It isn't standard on Windows, that would be Microsoft Edge - Chromium without the bad bits from Google, but with the bad bits added by Microsoft. And if people didn't care what browser they were using, all those Windows users would be using Edge...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Chrome

            poe-tay-toe... poh-tah-tow

      2. Andy Non Silver badge

        Re: Chrome

        Path of least resistance, especially for those who are not technically savvy or who don't care about their online privacy.

      3. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Chrome

        I switched to Chrome at the time when Firefox was practically unusable. Bloated, slow, memory hungry. I remember procuring extra memory so that people wouldn't have to wait ages for the pages they need to load, because machines were constantly swapping.

        Chrome made life easier. Probably there is still that myth going that Firefox is crap.

        1. Gob Smacked

          Re: Chrome

          I never switched. Firefox + addons all the way. Can't say I recognize the "practically unusable" thing. It has been marginally slower for a little while, but that's always the same arms race - it'll be number 1 next for a while, etc. Ad infinitum. Just give it a try. Recent Chromium based browsers even returned to the original way downloads are shown, so it's a warm, fuzzy feeling of recognition on Firefox...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Chrome

            much of the performance problems come from the ads and web design loading oodles of active elements and a plethora of scripted elements modern design mashes as much as possible into a single "dynamic" viewer knowing that the majority of users have short attention spans and get clickey with the tiniest of sparkly...

        2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

          Re: Chrome

          As a firefox user since it's inception... I have never once experienced this in... what... 20yrs now. Sure it could use a lot of resources, but chrome was even worse for multitab users like myself (30-40 open on avg across 3 windows)

          What I did see happen multiple times... were sites being deliberately broken by companies so that only a specific browser would work... guess what company did that the most? Go on... take a wild guess?

          A shout out (in addition to google for this practice) was Sky in the UK, who disallowed their sky go service from working on anything except IE/Edge because they only allowed the use of silverlight... admittedly this was years ago now, and I only discovered it after I cancelled sky over their pricing bullshit and the fact they lied about the F1 and placed it behind a paywall after they 'upgraded' me for free to a much better service... so as I was within the first 2 weeks of the new deal... I cancelled it and my entire service, switching phone and broadband away too.

          So I started using my folks sky account to watch the F1 via sky go... until they pulled the same bullshit with my folks a couple of years later.

          Not watched the F1 since... about 5yrs and counting now... and ya know what. I don't actually miss it. 40yrs of watching since I was a little kid, going to races as far back as the last one at Brands Hatch in 86 as a 6yr old. I lived just 10 miles from Silverstone and went there a lot until even that got priced out of my range.

          1. Tom Chiverton 1

            Re: Chrome

            You know it's on Channel 4 too, for free, right?

            1. DJO Silver badge

              Re: Chrome

              Delayed edited highlights.

              And nobody tell me the result to yesterday's race, I've not watched it yet. Also C4 has been having trouble lately with overloaded servers.

            2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

              Re: Chrome

              Delayed highlights with 5th rate presenters hours after the results are already known?

              No thanks.

          2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: Chrome

            I stopped watching F1 the moment the rights holder signed a deal with Sky. I'm not giving Sky any money, so F1 was then not available to me. Haven't missed it since.

            I wasn't bothered by all the adverts on the cars, tracks, etc; but me having to actively pay a company that I don't like so that I can watch it was a step too far.

          3. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Chrome

            If you want to watch rich kids zooming around in circles in souped-up racers, this is available to view for free in any Tesco's car park after midnight at the weekend.

            1. stiine Silver badge

              Re: Chrome

              You must be the only one here who's back garden overlooks a Tesco's car park.

              1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

                Re: Chrome

                Ehwut? If I had a back garden (I don't) it wouldn't overlook Silverstone either.

                My point, which seems to have zoomed past you at 180mph, was that, to me, F1 is only exciting for those partaking in it. There might be a little excitement for the viewer when they all go round the first corner and some of them might crash, but the rest of the "race" is a couple of hours of watching cars go in a circle in formation.

                If you wanted to watch cars crashing, there'll be plenty of that available (for "free") on YouTube, which I say with an awareness of the irony of posting that in the comments on this article. I'd be wary of anyone who habitually watched that sort of thing for entertainment, however. There's probably a fair cross-over between those, and the perps of unsolved murders.

                I believe the dullness of the "sport" is even more true now than it was 20-odd years ago which was the last time when I bothered to watch any of one of these races, because there is even less overtaking now than there was then. Either way, the ones driving the cars invariably seem to be men from a background where the family could afford to pay for their child to drive fast cars for a living, much the same as the parents of those with souped-up Vauxhall Corsas in the Tesco car park, except for the "class" difference. IMHO, it's no more an actual sport than murdering wildlife with dogs, but then there are those whose opinions will differ. Of course, that's absolutely fine, I'm not saying my opinion holds any more weight than theirs, just that I don't agree.

                1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                  Re: Chrome

                  I used to enjoy watching F1. Then I found that what really happened was that I watched the start to how many cars stacked it into each other on the first corner and then I stopped paying any attention at all until the final couple of laps. Yeah, sometimes stuff happened somewhere in-between but not a lot really and I really found it hard to get excited by fuelling strategies and type change timings.

                  This doesn't stop the cars being amazing examples of engineering, just that the spectacle of the race itself just wasn't there.

                  1. Binraider Silver badge

                    Re: Chrome

                    I went off it around about the time the Schumacher/Hill rivalry came to an end and ITV got the license.

                    I recall a very specific interview where they got one of the techies where he was edging towards some detailed discussion about differences in the car design and setup; to only be unceremoniously told by the ITV presenter to keep the details down to a level appropriate for "our audience". I've hardly watched F1 at all since. Go figure.

                    It could be worse, it could be the even more ludicrously tedious to watch Formula E.

                    The WRC and banger races are the only forms of motor racing I have any time left for on TV. Coverage is at best sporadic.

                    1. DJO Silver badge

                      Re: Chrome

                      And yet F1 is increasing in popularity.

                      All we have here is a succession of people saying "I haven't watched it years so it must still be crap (get off my lawn)".

                      F1 appeals to some and not to others, the same for football, throwing the javelina*, under 15s synchronised underwater tiddly-winks and every other sport but just because one person hates it or cannot be bothered to find out does not mean it's crap.

                      F1 is different every year, admittedly the last 2 have been pretty dull with Max up front but there's always some good racing in the midfield, just a shame the majority of TV producers manage to miss many of the good bits.

                      I will grant you that Formula E makes paint drying look interesting. But I'm sure someone somewhere likes it.

                      * Throwing javelina while a bit on the cruel side, is a far better spectator sport than throwing javelins.

                      1. Binraider Silver badge

                        Re: Chrome

                        The puerile coverage is the main issue. "Max is Fast today". "the Red Bull car is Fast". No shit. Why is he quick? What's different about his car to the rest? Voodoo? Cheating? Schumacher and his traction-control-that-wasn't-traction-control? I do not for one moment believe the differential in driver skill is the cause.

                        Remember the 70's cars that bent the formula rules to the high heavens to try and get an edge? It's still happening. Just not talked about.

                        Even NASCAR offers considerably more background on what is actually going inside than any F1 coverage since the Beeb lost it in the 90's. It's not really shown in the UK of course, but there's something quite satisfying about a form of racing where driver skill is the determining factor. F1 isn't the latter anymore by any stretch.

                        1. DJO Silver badge

                          Re: Chrome

                          I do not for one moment believe the differential in driver skill is the cause.

                          No, surely not, from what you're suggesting anyone would think Red Bull have a history of bending the rules.

                          Oh wait a minute - they do.

                          Also while Max is undoubtedly a fast driver he comes over an arrogant spoilt little shit. While a degree of arrogance is necessary if you want a F1 seat, he seems to push it to and beyond new boundaries.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Chrome

                  Now, you get to prove that I'm a murder....good luck with that.

                  I'm sure Mr. R Atkinson would appreciate that characterisation.

                  Also, you kill wildlife with GUNS. the dogs are just to retreive them.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Chrome

              For us, all the "cruisers club" hang out in the layby opposite a McDonalds. Rarely actually see them driving. I guess the petrol is expensive. I occasionally take the Scooby Doo along there just for the hell of it on a Friday night in make-lots-of-noise mode. The looks of envy from the beat up Saxo VTR owners are most amusing.

              Tearing down the autobahn a couple of weeks ago, legally, at 110MPH+ was a ton of fun :-P

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chrome

        because it's become (not by coincidence) equivalent to 'googling'. Most people, including my family members, it hurts me to say that, put up with this shit for some ambiguous, at best, 'convenience' of chrome over other browsers (in plain English, shiny-shiny, more shiny that shitty opera shiny, or trying-to-be shiny firefox, etc.) It is somewhat depressing to see a young, bright person in my household explain, semi-embarrasingly to me, that 'oh, just wait a couple of seconds, it [the ad] will run and you'll see this great x, y, z I wanted to show you on the screen'. It just feels like... hopeless (and why did I bother all those years, gentle persuasion, etc.)

        1. Dacarlo
          Coat

          Re: Chrome

          My usual response to people showing me something being preceded with adverts is to crack my knuckles and declare in a Scottish accent.

          "Adverts? How quaint".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Chrome

            I go full Victor Meldrew, probably the best Scots accent for moaning about anything. Mrs Anonymous knows its coming and no longer points the Chrome book at me if she knows advertising is involved.

        2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Chrome

          Half the advantage of my media centre is that I have ripped the damn DVDs to it and as a result I don't have sit through the red-book breaking non-skippable adverts (typically Disney) and the lies about copyright violation being theft. It's not - it's copyright violation and cannot ever be theft (this doesn't mean that it's right, just that calling it "theft" is lying). The 20 minutes of adverts before the film one wanted to watch on VHS were bad enough, but abusing the DVD standard to make the damn things non-skippable is just taking it far too far.

          When I want to watch a movie it starts pretty much instantly. That's the aim really. I don't start a movie to watch 20 minutes of adverts before it starts.

      5. HereIAmJH

        Re: Chrome

        I have never liked Chrome for some reason. Even though I have been using other browsers that use Chromium. At work they allow us to use Edge or Chrome, and I always preferred Edge. Then for some reason they blocked uBlock on Edge but not on Chrome. So I'm basically forced into Chrome there. At home, when I gave up on Firefox I went to Opera and now Vivaldi. And even though both of those have built in ad blocking I still use uBlock and disable autoplay on videos. If you really want a horrible browsing experience, try the Google News app on Android.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Chrome

          Why give up on Firefox? It is my de-facto browser, indeed the only one I consider at this point as being usable.

          Well...usable with the 20+ plug-ins installed, but usable none the less and I rarely see any advertising. I'm quite horrified when I see YouTube or facebook on someone else's machine, the whole net is infested with creepy spying stalking adverts and it shouldn't be allowed imho.

          1. Binraider Silver badge

            Re: Chrome

            It's a bit memory hungry (what browser isn't) but generically Firefox is my go to. You do have 16GB+ of RAM now, don't you?

            The mobile version is a bit of a turd; but again, over having Chrome profiling you I'll still use it.

            1. iain666

              Re: Chrome

              For mobile the duckduckgo browser is excellent.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Chrome

        Because every Google web property had a popup, technically an unbypassable iframe, that told you to download and install chrome. After clicking 'fuck off' 1000 times in a day, most sane people (who aren't RAF bomber pilots who have their own special solution to this type of problem) just install and start using chrome because it saves wear and tear on the the mouse-clicking finger.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      And consider what happens

      If Apple is forced to allow "real" Chrome on iPhone. The iPhone's installed base of nearly a billion users and the fact nearly all of them browse using Safari is the only thing forcing web designers to take non-Chrome browsers into account now, given how tiny Firefox's user base has unfortunately become and Microsoft's capitulation to Google in basing Edge on Chrome instead of continuing to develop their own browser technology.

      If iPhone owners are able to install "real" Chrome, more and more web designers will essentially force them to do so by taking the easy route and designing sites only for Chrome. Either explicitly via a "best viewed in Chrome or Edge" badge or implicitly by having random bits of lost functionality / viewability on non Chrome browsers like Safari or Firefox the world will be pushed into Google's grasp using Chrome or a Chrome derived browser.

      Not long after that day arrives say goodbye to any API support from the browser that allows anything beyond the most basic ad blocking. Mysteriously all of Google's ads will get through, it will only be those of their competitors like Facebook that may get blocked.

      Google needs to be forced to spin off Chrome and permanently barred from offering their own browser. They control far too much of the internet advertising business, the conflict of interest is massive.

    3. The Travelling Dangleberries

      Re: Supply-chain Control

      Vivaldi and FreeTube fix some of these supply-chain issues here.

  3. lansalot

    Pay for premium.. and get "sponsored" videos?

    Noticed recently that despite my Premium subscription, I now get a top suggested video that's "sponsored". And nothing I'm interested in.

    Way to undermine your own model, Google...

  4. paulm

    Unblock and get infected

    The last time I disabled my adblock for a site that I very explicitly wanted to support, it took about 5 minutes before my antivirus flagged up than an ad was trying to breach containment and access information that it shouldn't have.

    That's the big issue for me. I don't mind (too much) having uninteresting ads. The problem is that ad networks are STILL bad at preventing malicious ads.

    Oh, and ones that break out of their spot on the page and cover up content.

    Ads should be adding value. If your ad is preventing me from doing what I want to do, then I'm not going to want to purchase your product. You've just annoyed me. If anything, you're now blacklisted. If I happen to notice your ad while I'm doing stuff and it peaks my interest (without interfering with my activity) THEN I might further investigate your product.

    1. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Unblock and get infected

      Ads should be a static image, that doesn't need six megabytes of javascript, and 14 more imported dependencies.

      It doesn't require write access to my hard disk, nor read access to anything - it's a fscking image, it can be served up as one. That should reduce the cost to the advertisers by an order of magnitude.

      And you target them as you always have - find an outlet that serves the audience you think will want your product, and pay them to display it.

      1. bemusedHorseman

        Re: Unblock and get infected

        Exactly, someone finally gets it. There is NO REASON for ads to have literally-arbitrary, unscreened JavaScript embedded in them. Project Wonderful seems to be the only ad network that gets it, they forcefully constrain the ads to whatever spot a website dev has allocated for it, static images or text only, no fullscreen overlays, no scripting of any kind, just ads the way they used to be and should have remained.

        Unfortunately, the genie's not only out of the bottle, it's retroactively erased the bottle from history and is straight up getting paid by bad actors to "look the other way" with embedding drive-by malware downloads in ads. Load any page on the internet, and if the wrong ad happens to get selected by AdSense, game over. No user interaction needed, the mere act of the resource being loaded on the page triggers the payload to be installed.

        Also gonna shorten the article subtitle while I'm at it: "Ad blockers are firewalls". Full stop.

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Unblock and get infected

      The same here. 90% of the virus warnings we get at work are adverts on legitimate sites.

      At home, I run PiHole, which blocks most things.

      Interestingly, as I was reading this article, I suddenly realised that there were no ads being displayed. I am not at home and we don't have any DNS blocking at work and I am not using an adblocker in Firefox... Just tried Safari as well, a couple of Register house ads and that was it and just checked Edge running under WoA, no ads there, either - and just checked another site, no ads there either.

      Maybe our AV software has had an upgrade that blocks ads? I'll have to check the settings. Very strange, but nice.

      Edit: Nope, just tried a colleague's PC and Chrome and I'm getting adverts, so not AV either. Maybe macOS? :-S

      1. Marty McFly Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Unblock and get infected

        PiHole is an eye-opener. I was shocked at how much garbage was being generated from devices on my home network. Roku, AppleTV, and 'Smart' TVs were the biggest culprits. Literally 50% of my outbound DNS lookups, happening 24x7, whether I was using the devices or not.

        Roku & AppleTV are now in the dusty drawer of old tech. And the SmartTVs are no longer on my network. I use Mac Mini's and watch everything through a browser that I control the content on.

        If you are a tech worthy of your skills (you are reading The Reg, right?), you really need to be running a PiHole. It is very lightweight and was a great re-purpose for an old RPi 2 Model B.

        Tech Tip:

        A lot of premium services (Amazon Prime, Paramount+, etc) will choke on PiHole because it is blocking their stuff. Use two browsers. I use Brave for all my browsing and surfing. I ONLY use Chrome for watching the premium services, and I have Chrome configured to use DNS over HTTPS - effectively bypassing the PiHole. I know they are already tracking me on the basis of my subscription, so it doesn't matter that they can track in the browser too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Unblock and get infected

          I run a PiHole and don't have any issues with Paramount+ or Amazon Prime (in the UK). Admittedly I may not have them in one of my block lists, but I wouldn't allow access to Prime etc to put anyone off running as PiHole. Otherwise in complete agrrement.

          1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

            Re: Unblock and get infected

            My Vermin Media Virgin Media TV box has recently decided that it is "not connected" to the router when trying to access Netflix, despite being attached with a fairly short network cable to the (non-VM) router sat on top of it. I suspect this is related to the use of a Pi-Hole, but, quite frankly, they can cock off, and if they keep that up, will likely result in me looking for an alternative (and probably less expensive) internet supplier, and a 3rd-party set-top box that doesn't try to scam me.

        2. Binraider Silver badge

          Re: Unblock and get infected

          Snap on the Samsung TV rubbish, it was generating extortionate amounts of junk. PiHole neatly blocked the ads that appeared embedded in Samsungs OS (sorry, I don't know the name of it).

          We did have to whitelist a few URLs to allow UKTV Play to work; but in the main it does improve the experience of using the web.

          Can you get a non-smart TV? Yes, it's called a Monitor. Lot of upside to running that way round!

    3. HereIAmJH

      Re: Unblock and get infected

      The big problem is that Google isn't interesting in solving the problems with Ads. Over the years, browsers have addressed some of the problems. The Blink tag. Pop-overs, pop-unders. But the advertisers networks, like Google, need to keep the hacks and scams out of their networks. Until they earn the trust of the users, most of us are not going to turn off ad blocking.

      Another issue that drives me nuts relates to streamers, like YouTube, specifically. There is little more annoying than watching stream go into a commercial in the middle of a sentence or a dramatic scene. We never had that problem with broadcast TV because the networks worked with the content providers to bookmark specific locations for ad rolls. Yet when they stream those exact same shows, the streaming networks just seem to pop in commercials anywhere. YouTube should be working with their content creators to bookmark ad locations in their videos that won't break the flow of the content, the reason we are there.

      Google just has the wrong approach. People will actually come to a site for ads. Look at all the 'Deal' type websites. They are basically just independent advertisers living off of affiliate programs. I have one that I check daily because they tend to report sales that interest me. It probably drives 75% of my Amazon buying. And there are all kinds of channels on YouTube for the deal of the week. Over the weekend I was watching review videos on Temu items for cheap stuff that I probably don't need. Those sites/channels aren't trying to push ads down my throat. They are upfront about what they offer and let me choose how I spend my time.

  5. simonlb Silver badge

    Their Own Worst Enemy

    It's like running an app that asks you to disable your firewall; that app is never run again. Please disable my ad blocker? Sure, if you stop pushing turds through my digital letterbox.

    It's not so much the addition of an advert to a video you want to watch, it's the increasing number of adverts rammed into the videos. Time was when you'd have an ad you could skip past after 5 seconds at the start of the video, but now it seems to be two adverts to start with and a load more throughout the video which just get in the way, which is why people started using ad blockers.

    YouTube (and others) need to rethink their whole strategy on this and be sensible: I'm not averse to a subscription model for a service I use but it's the cost that dictates whether I use it, and these companies seem to think that $10/£10 (or more) a month is a reasonable entry price. It isn't, it is way too much and could easily be half or a quarter of that while still allowing them to make a profit. I would happily pay $2.50/£2.50 a month for YouTube to be ad free and would allow it through my ad blocker, but unfortunately the corporate greed with these companies is so rampant they wouldn't go for such a low subscription price which is a shame as the cost to set up and collect a subscription is exactly the same. What do you want: A minority paying a high subscription fee whilst also having to try and block millions of machines using and blockers to avoid embedded adverts, or a majority of reasonably happy subscribers paying a dirt cheap subscription each month? Or I'll put it another way: $2.50/£2.50 a month every month for a few million subscribers for potentially years, is much more that $0/£0 a month from no-one.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Their Own Worst Enemy

      c.f. Lord Alfred Harmsworth: a thousand people will hazard a halfpenny where one will risk a shilling...

      1. graeme leggett Silver badge

        Re: Their Own Worst Enemy

        And that's how we got the Daily Mail

  6. Alumoi Silver badge

    Content providers have to be paid. We get that.

    So set up pay per access sites.

    Ohhh, nobody will pay for your 'content' and your children will starve.... Well, tough luck, maybe your 'content' is crap and you should go back to your old job.

    As for the so called news site. Yes, the ones that became click bait traps for ads. Go back to journalism, set up pay per access, have a special subpage dedicated to ads (you know, like you did in the old paper only times) and let your readers decide if you are worth it.

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Content providers have to be paid. We get that.

      Go back to journalism

      Something we now longer have. Especially investigative journalism is very much dead.

      Unfortunately a niche nobody wants to fill, but I would happily pay for access to something like this.

      1. Vincent van Gopher

        Re: Content providers have to be paid. We get that.

        Investigative journalism isn't totally dead, maybe in the daily 'newspapers' but Private Eye is still out there - plus hopefully a few others too.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Content providers have to be paid. We get that.

        investigative journalism is frightfully expensive, while other... 'variants' are 'cost-optimised' and you can out-shit competition with cheap shit and more of it. Unless their floodgates of shit are wider, they win.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Content providers have to be paid. We get that.

          ... there's a goatse meme in there somewhere.

          :: wanders off to wipe ::

      3. Anonymous Coward
    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Content providers have to be paid. We get that.

      Actually Patreon is filling this gap. I can easily send money to content providers (Youtubers, in my case) that I enjoy and want to support.

      I spend about $40/mo to support about half a dozen channels.

  7. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Nail, meet head!

    Buy a computer magazine and it would be full of adverts for computer stuff – much of which you'd actually want to look at. The publisher didn't demand you have to see ads for butter or cars or some dodgy crypto. That model has gone away, which is why we need ad blockers.

    This! I remember the good'ol days of buying a couple of inches of PCW or Byte magazines that were mostly advertising. But the adverts were relevant, and often I'd see stuff I wasn't aware of, and actually wanted to buy. In the online world, despite all the data rape, ads mostly aren't relevant and so become annoying. Then again, content online is often more specific and eclectic. So at the moment I'm watching michaelcthulu sculpting a Buffy Scythe. Maybe it's just me, but I find the process of craftspeople turning lumps of hardox into stuff strangely fascinating and relaxing.

    But the ads frequently aren't at all relevant to the things I'm watching. How hard could it be to categorise a video like that as 'crafting' and show ads from tool & crafting suppliers? If I'm watching that video, why am I shown ads for pregnancy test kits, or crypto scams? But that's also one of the oddities around YT in general. Content creators don't seem to have any control over the adverts shown, even though they know their audience. Why not let content creators pick from a list of advertiser categories? That would make ads more relevant, improve the creator's monetisation, and allow advertisers to target audiences more effectively.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: Nail, meet head!

      Charge a sane rate (the $2.50/month seems reasonable) but:

      - once charging, no adverts, ever

      - no data gathering beyond 'users who follow this content also like this'

      Or no adverts, but as The Eel points out: provide adverts which are relevant to the subject being watched. And let me skip them after a few seconds if I'm not interested. And never in the middle.

      1. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: Nail, meet head!

        Amazon are taking issue with that... pay for our service... thanks, but now we're going to remove the ability for you to see 'only' what is free to you so we can show you lots of stuff we'd like you to pay extra for.

        Oh and then in 2024, we're also going to show you ads on the service you paid for that contained no ads... but we'll happily not show you ads if you pay us again as an optional extra.

        The ad industry is toxic... it needs to be nuked from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

        If amazon/netflix start showing me ads or asking for extra to keep them away... I'll have to dig out my old hat with a skull and crossbones on it.

    2. Andy Non Silver badge

      Re: Nail, meet head!

      Back in the day I used to buy electronics magazines and relished going through all the ads in there, looking for bargains like mixed bags of electrolytic capacitors etc. Online ads are just so irrelevant, intrusive and some a security risk. So I use an ad-blocker. If YouTube hits me with "Unblock Or Eff Off" I'll be effing off. I like YouTube to play background music while I'm on the computer, but not enough to turn off my ad-blocker. I'd maybe pay £2 per month for ad free, but no more. Even then I'd be reluctant to part with my CC number to Google, trust is in limited supply.

      1. Alan Mackenzie

        Security

        Correction: if some adverts are a security risk, then because you don't know which ones and haven't the means to treat them differently, ALL of them are security risks.

      2. navarac Bronze badge

        Re: Nail, meet head!

        I started getting this crap on YT a fortnight ago. Those channels I subscribed to, especially through Patreon, were told why I was withdrawing from their channel.

        Then I EFFED OFF of YT. Bye Bye.

    3. Captain Hogwash

      Re: Why not let content creators pick from a list of advertiser categories?

      Because the content creators aren't paying for the eyeballs.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Why not let content creators pick from a list of advertiser categories?

        Because the content creators aren't paying for the eyeballs.

        But without content creators, YT would become the ad channel. YT needs content to wrap ads around. Some content creators spend a fair bit on their content, and unless they have other revenue streams, would like to get paid for their work. It's a bizare and broken system. Guntubers and outdoors channels regularly get 'demonetised', which means they still get ads, but YT keeps the money. They're told their content isn't 'advertiser friendly'. Sure, there's a whole bunch of tat being flogged that isn't relevant to 97% of the viewers of that kind of content. Yet outdoor sports and activities are multi-billion dollar industries. Yet outside of sponsorship deals with creators, there doesn't seem to be any mechanism that allows advertisers to select content, or content advertisers. So advertisers waste money having their ads pushed to viewers that probably aren't their target audience, and the audience reachers for the ad blockers because they get fed up being bombarded with irrelevant carp. As long as YT gets the money, they don't seem to care.

      2. Jedit Silver badge
        Pirate

        "Because the content creators aren't paying for the eyeballs."

        No, but their audience will be paying through them if ScrewTube gets its way. Which it won't, not from me.

    4. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Nail, meet head!

      Now you are thinking of the content creators - their bottom line is irrelevant for YT / Alphabet.

      But I wholeheartedly agree: show me relevant ads! I'm actually good with that (ok, mostly). Don't show me crypto scams, pyramid schemes, irrelevant stuff - instead, when I'm looking at, say, a video on repairing some bike stuff, show me ads for a cycling rag, or a bike parts dealer, or maybe even some equipment like jerseys, or maybe even nutrient supplements for athletes (I'm not interested, but they might be relevant for others in my position).

      The current system is broken.

      On purpose.

      Never attribute to the incompetence of Alphabet what can be explanied easily by greed and malice.

      1. m4r35n357 Bronze badge

        Re: Nail, meet head!

        "Never attribute to the incompetence of Alphabet what can be explained easily by greed and malice."

        THIS! You might think you are being smug or clever saying it the other way around, but you are only enabling the Adam West "insanity defence".

    5. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: Nail, meet head!

      I agree about the usefulness of specialist ads back in the day. But that was before Google. These days, if you want to buy something, you don't flick through the ads in a magazine, you hit the big G and your favourite ecommerce sites. Maybe your signed up for sites and they email you special offers.

  8. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "It's like running an app that asks you to disable your firewall"

    Or a site that demands you turn on scripting, without which no content is accessible.

    For every site that serves malicious entities via ads, there are gazillions that do so via javascript. In the toss up between the annoyance and minor risk of ads and sure fire exposure to malicious content via javascript, the priority is obvious. But then hardly any site on the web is accessible these days, ads or no ads.

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: "It's like running an app that asks you to disable your firewall"

      Typically, I'm okay with enabling scripts on the domain I'm looking a, but not numerous third-parties.

      However, if I go to a site, and it won't display without enabling scripts, and I drop down the list of blocked domains in the NoScript menu, and it's more than one or two, all with cryptic names that look like advertising domains, off I fuck to some other site, which, no doubt, has exactly the same scraped content.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The current system is broken. On purpose.

    I don't think it's broken on purpose. The fact of its being broken (from the web user perspective) just doesn't affect the bottom line of the ad brokers. They get paid whether or not a click results in a sale (and particularly regardless of how many folks hate ads). But the whole of advertising has always worked like this -- you rent a billboard for a stated fee regardless of how many sales result from it (and not even on the basis of how many folks stopped and looked at it a.k.a. clicked).

    But the famous aphorism "half of our advertising is wasted but we don't know which half" remains true so nobody is going to stop forcing ads on us one way or another, whether it's online or elsewhere. I've noticed on the London underground (tube) escalators that it's impossible to totally ignore the modern flickery video screen adverts unless you close one eye and look down at the steps, because the visual field is otherwise wide enough for the ads to flicker in the peripheral vision. This is to me just as annoying as online ads, as is the huge video display in the centre of our local pedestrian mall (and that comes with unwanted sound as well). But none of this is done maliciously to annoy us -- it's done to make money regardless of our personal preferences, and as it persists it's probably achieving that.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The current system is broken. On purpose.

      It's worse for everyone.

      Perhaps half of an advertising budget used to be wasted, but it's far worse now. These days an advertiser is lucky if half the impressions they've been charged for are even real people.

      The waste is likely well into the 99th percentile and rising for "online adverts".

      - hence the meteoric rise of "Sponsored content" instead.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This adblocker isn’t for turning

    If YouTube has a problem with that, they can find some new customers.

  11. Wade Burchette

    Advertisers still do not understand why people use ad-blockers

    Many people don't use ad-blockers because they are moochers; they use them because of web advertisements do. They are creepy, in-your-face, and far too often malicious. It is none of your business what I click or what I like. Nothing -- not an advertiser, not an operating system, not even a government -- should track me in any way. (The government would need a warrant issued by a judge to track me, no exception.) No company at any time should ever know my physical location. The only relevant part of an ad should be the content of the page, never ever to me. No ad should cover over a large part of a website, nor should it match the content of the website, nor should it pop-up or pop-under; all ads must be small and distinct from the rest of the page. No ad should ever anything dynamic code for any reason, no exception. The only code allowed on ad is plain HTML -- this is to prevent malicious ads.

    When the internet went from luxury to necessity, web ads were static and only a small part of the page. And they worked! If that worked once, it can still work again.

    Until advertisers address the why, they will never win the war on ad-blockers. Calling me a mooch will not work because the advertisers is the one who is morally wrong, not me.

    P.S. I do disable my ad-blocker on El Reg, but I do not disable NoScript. Because I keep NoScript enabled, I do not see any ads here. With the sheer number of malicious ads out there, NoScript is a must have.

  12. Piro Silver badge

    Ad-blocking still works just fine

    and if it didn't, there are alternatives to access the content without YouTube's front end

    1. HereIAmJH

      Re: Ad-blocking still works just fine

      Currently there is a battle between ad blockers and YouTube. For a while there you had to update your adblocker's signatures on a daily basis or get the nasty YT popup. Also, you only got blocked if you were logged in. Log out, or use private browsing, and you'd never see the an adblocker check.

      It will come back in a nastier form once Google has a chance to have a few meetings and brainstorm a new approach. I think they are navigating a slippery path. I have gotten to where I view YouTube videos regularly. Seems like no-one can write a how-to without making a video on it. And I subscribe to enough channels that I don't like watching anonymously because I won't be able to see which videos I have already watched. But if Google comes down too heavy handed on ad blockers I will be gone. There are just too many options for streaming entertainment.

  13. Greybearded old scrote Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Sadly

    No amount of logic is likely to achieve very much.

  14. HandleBaz

    Handy Script

    uBlock and friends are usually on top of things, but for when they're not, I've got this handy script that opens and embedded version of the video I'm watching in the same window, neatly bypassing any ads.

    I don't really understand what it does, as I don't speak JavaScript, and had chatGPT make it for me.

    I store it in a bookmark called "Fuck off Susan".

    javascript:(function(){const getURLParameter=(name)=>{return decodeURIComponent((new RegExp('[?|&]%27+name+%27=%27+%27([^&;]+?)(&|#|;|$)').exec(location.search)||[,""])[1].replace(/\+/g,' '))||null;};const VIDEOID=getURLParameter('v');if(VIDEOID){const containerHTML='<div style="position:relative;width:100%;height:0;padding-bottom:56.25%;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/'+VIDEOID+'?rel=0&modestbranding=0&hd=1&showinfo=0&controls=1&iv_load_policy=3&wmode=transparent&autohide=1&safe=active" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;" frameborder="0"></iframe></div>';const primaryInner=document.querySelector('#primary-inner');if(primaryInner)primaryInner.innerHTML=containerHTML;}})();

  15. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Ad blockers exist... because...

    The ad industry is ultimately toxic and vile. The 'good' advertisers don't survive and no longer exist.

    If the ad industry hadn't resorted to ever increasing, dirty, underhand, manipulative, devious, illegal ways of forcing them upon you, tracking your every move, building data files on every single person they can... then ad blockers simply wouldn't need to exist.

    That's not changed... the industry has only become worse.

    So anything any user does to protect themselves and their privacy... is not only acceptable, it's essential that everyone does it.

    But an adblocker isn't enough, you need to ditch chromium browsers, use script, tracking and cookie blockers, containers to sandbox sites and a VPN to mask your location and prevent ISP spying. Throw in a new DNS provider whilst you're at it.

    I keep anything related to meta, blocked at every possible turn, what does get through is isolated from everything else.. Google is also isolated in it's own container and they do work. I remain signed in for YT/Maps/Calendar/Sheets... but should I accidentally open a YT link outside of said container... it doesn't know who I am.

    Ebay/Amazon... also sandboxed, my banking also has it's own container and is isolated from cross tab spying.

    That will never change... the ad industry (and the related anti-social media sites that grew out of it) is forever toxic... it will never and should never be trusted... even on el-reg. They created this monstoer and have to reap the consequences of their own actions... Nuke em from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

    tl:dr fuck all advertisers

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Ad blockers exist... because...

      I've posted this before. I read this book when I was a teenager in the 1980s and I have done everything I can to avoid adverts ever since. Occasionally I've been privy to people actually discussing adverts like they were a TV programme. All I can say to that is "you, sad, sad, bastards".

      1. Adrian Harvey
        Happy

        Re: Ad blockers exist... because...

        Yes! I remember reading that in the 90's - great book and increasingly relevant. I think of Chicken Little whenever I hear about the developments in artificial/cultured meats.

  16. Mishak Silver badge

    Let's not forget "targeted" ads

    You know, the ones where you spend a week choosing a replacement for 'X', you buy it, and spend the next few weeks being bombarded with ads for something you won't be replacing for a decade,

  17. Pseu Donyme

    Different revenue model ...

    ... is what is sorely needed to replace ad revenue. Thinking of which I seem to recall some Guardian bigwig years ago suggesting an internet tax collected by ISPs where the monies thus obtained would be divvied up by those providing content for profit. It seems to me that this could be improved by a) making it a voluntary extra fee (say 10 $/£/€ /mo or so) which the ISPs would collect and for which the subscriber would get access to paid sites and b) strictly banning all unsolicited ads on the net. An illustrative, simplistic scheme would be giving paying subscribers an odd IP address and everyone else an even one from which a server could instantly tell if revenue from a particular visitor can be expected or not and decline to serve paid content in the latter case. The real problems, of course, lay elsewhere, such as on what basis the money would be divvied up without too much opportunity to game the system, who'd keep the tallies (the ISPs probably?) and how to make sure that only the tallies and not everyone's complete internet access history is collected (and these are merely technical problems as opposed to those on the wider scheme of things). At any rate, some such scheme would provide income from content while - by cutting out the ad-pushers as middlemen - dealing with much of what seems to be at the root what is currently wrong with the internet: the business models based on ad revenue - where the user is the product, not a customer.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Different revenue model ...

      Ad-supported content is a viable business model, as long as the adverts are regulated and chosen based on the content being shown, not the individual (browser) accessing the content.

      TV worked just fine for both channels and advertisers, as did the early ad-supported web.

      The moment the targeting switched to the supposed individual viewer, it failed, hard. Sites no longer bothered with content because the adverts were no longer related to the content, viewers got pissed off and eventually, blocked them entirely.

      Google only exists because it started out with text-only adverts that did not annoy. They would do well to remember that.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in the internet's time span it's practically medieval

    I suddenly felt way past the use by date reading this, for me 100s of newsgroups I subscribed to happened, pretty much, 'not long ago'...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stop pushing turds through my digital letterbox

    but you don't mind getting free goodies getting through your digital 'all-box', do you?

    p.s. I hate ads, I block all ads, way past the point of overkill, but I don't get this indignation that the free goodies come with turds, as if people _genuinely_ believe that strangers want to give them something for free because they love everybody so much.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It promises things to advertisers that it cannot deliver,

    .... while the advertisers promises things they know they won't deliver, so it's only fair, no? ;)

  21. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    I started getting the YouTube warnings and then a block when I visited Germany recently. Back in the UK, no sign of it. It was pretty easy to evade, anyway - since the block is by username, going in through private mode (quicker than signing out) worked fine.

    1. TheFifth

      My Wife has started to see the advert warning message in the UK. Thankfully I haven't yet, although I have a lot more defences setup than she does. Every time I offer to take a look at her machine and try to sort out the ad-blockers on it, she says she's 'too busy' right now. Up to her I guess!

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Just set up a PiHole on your LAN and configure your router to point to it as the local DNS server when handing out DHCP leases. Job done, your wife will see fewer ads and you won’t have to touch her machine - well, unless her browser has DNS-over-HTTPS enabled (AKA Cloudflare’s end-run around PiHole) :)

        1. TheFifth

          I used to use a PiHole, but it does nothing for YouTube ads unfortunately (didn't when I used it anyway). Also, just changed provider and their router doesn't allow you to change DNS settings. I had been using my own router to get around this, but the new provider comes in at the opposite end of the property, so my router has been repurposed as a repeater to get access to the front of the house. Will probably sort out a new PiHole once I run some new cabling.

          1. quxinot

            Using ublock origin, just update the filters periodically and they've been very good about stopping the YT nags.

            PiHole is awesome, I just run it in a VM on my NAS machine.

  22. TheFifth

    YouTube made me use an ad-blocker

    I now block all YouTube ads and also use SponsorBlock to auto-skip past sponsored sections of videos.

    I used to not mind an un-skippable five second ad at the start and end of a video, or even a longer, skippable after five seconds advert. However, those adverts became longer and more frequent to the point where YouTube is almost unwatchable without an ad-blocker. Now the norm seems to be two 15-30 second un-skippable ads at the start and end, and also 5-30 second un-skippable ads every 3-5 minutes. When you're watch a video that is 45-90 minutes in length it become ridiculous, especially when it's the same un-skippable advert repeated every 4 minutes. The straw that broke the camel's back for me was seeing the same Microsoft Dynamics (I think) advert around 30 times in the space of a couple of hours.

    And this massive increase in adverts has happened at the same time content creators are saying their ad income is in the toilet. I would likely put up with it if I thought the money was going to the creators.

    YouTube won't get a penny of my cash. Instead I pay the content creators I watch the most directly via Patreon. Ironically I'm paying more a month than it would cost me for a YouTube premium subscription, but I'm far happier with where my money goes.

  23. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Firefox broke audio

    Firefox stopped supporting ALSA and went pulseaudio only, so sound doesn't work now. (actually, I do have "apulse" if I really need sound. or Chrome.)

    This has the side effect that I download all my Youtube content and view it with something like mpv, and a side effect of that is no ads, except for the ones the creators put in for their sponsors, which are usually relevant to the point that I have actually bought several things that way.

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Re: Firefox broke audio

      I think you may have a problem that is down to your particular setup. Firefox + Pulseaudio here = no problems with audio, and it's been that way forever (regardless of your/my view of Pulseaudio and its creator).

      1. KarMann Silver badge

        Re: Firefox broke audio

        I think you missed the point there. Gene has ALSA but not PulseAudio. And Firefox apparently no longer supports ALSA, so that's Gene's problem, not that it's not working with PA for whatever other reason one might imagine.

        1. Adair Silver badge

          Re: Firefox broke audio

          Point taken.

  24. Tron Silver badge

    So nobody did economics in school?

    Online services need to cover their costs. A free online service is typically paid for by advertising, just like ITV and other TV stations. So why should you be allowed to freeload? Pay for the premium service or mute the adverts and wait for them to finish.

    Despite working on it for years, the personalisation of ads is still really crappy. You shouldn't be afraid of it as 'spyware' because of this. The extra value (that advertisers are charged) isn't matched by the quality of the tracking. GCHQ are never going to use stuff like that to identify you, because they know it is bollocks. So stop whining. You are not superior to the majority of users who just accept adverts in return for free content.

    Governments want to abolish the ad-supported model that offers free content. If they do, everyone has to pay, and they can track every user when they pay. So complaining about the ad-supported model plays into the hands of governments and ensures that you will be tracked and monitored by the state in the future, when all access has to be paid for.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: So nobody did economics in school?

      I think you mis-understand us. I use NoScript and uBlock and I don't mind websites that refuse to display content. I don't *use* those sites, obviously, but I don't *mind* them existing either. Their site, their choice.

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: So nobody did economics in school?

      Sorry, you act like we OWE them patronage.

      Maybe if Google had not spent, checks notes, 26 BILLION dollars on monopolizing search engine placement, they might not have such onerous overhead?

      Think of the Internet as street busking writ large. Got something good? You might make money. Anything less and too bad for you. Oh wait, that's how all business works. Unless it's been gamed and rigged.

    3. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

      Re: So nobody did economics in school?

      Do you work in the ad industry or something... because you're fawning over their bullshit like you get paid too.

      If a site wants to block me for daring to use plugins that help protect my privacy from their tracking and data collection by multiple 3rd parties... I'll go somewhere else for the information I'm looking for. I don't OWE them jack shit. They have NO entitlement to invade my privacy EVER.

      They created this clusterfuck, they decided to declare war to try and force their insidious ads onto everyone... and if it's a war... anything goes... everything is a legitimate target (according to the media and western backed terrorist states)

      So lets fuck their shit up

    4. BJC

      Re: So nobody did economics in school?

      It's fine. It's their choice to prevent viewing if an ad blocker is detected. No problem.

      For myself, I've realised how few videos are sufficiently important to whitelist YT. Turns out my viewing has been more habit than need. I'm sure I'll whitelist for the odd thing, especially since so many sites embed content on YT (including The Reg). It turns out that this YT change might be a good thing for me - I now have more time for other things.

      Each to their own though. As you said, that's economics.

      Speaking of economics, is it monopolistic behaviour to cross-subsidise a video service to avoid charging (and ignore revenue circumvention) until there's minimal competition?

    5. Simon R. Bone

      Re: So nobody did economics in school?

      I'm afraid you and I appear to be the lone voice of reason here - I know Youtube creators who rely on ad income to fund their work and anyone viewing their content with an adblocker installed is ultimately endangering that - it's quite simple - if you visit someone's site, please abide by their rules eg for YouTube watch ads in return for viewing content - if you don't like ads then don't use the site, what gives you the right to think you can override their T&C's?! don't instead install a technical solution and start spouting concerns about "privacy" or CPU cycles when really you just don't want the minor inconvenience of sitting through adverts - if EVERYONE had an adblocker today half the Internet would disappear and what exactly would you replace it with??? Paywalls?! How on earth is that better?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: So nobody did economics in school?

        I have an adblocker to protect my computer from infection by viruses and trojans, and reduce my familial exposure to scams.

        If the adverts were text or image only, and the ad networks did some basic due diligence to reject the scammers, then I wouldn't need one.

        It'd also make the adverts themselves far more valuable to advertisers, and thus they'd pay more.

        They created the problem. Their business model requires me to take action, so I have.

      2. The Dogs Meevonks Silver badge

        Re: So nobody did economics in school?

        You have utterly failed to grasp the actual problem. If you can't even see what the problem is, then any solution you claim to offer is worthless and can be ignored by anyone and everyone who does understand the problem.

      3. Adair Silver badge

        Re: So nobody did economics in school?

        You are definitely (wilfully?) missing the point. It's about trust: we can't trust what gets shoved down our computer's throat (let alone our own) in the name of 'advertising'.

        Where there is no trust people, very sensibly, erect defenses. The problem is not defending against wilful, and often malicious, 'attacks' on privacy. agency, and sanity. The problem is the 'attacks'.

        If you enjoy having your computer and brain served wanton and active garbage (with an occasional side-dish of criminality), without any comeback on your part except the 'Off Switch' then that's your choice. It's not mine.

      4. lukewarmdog
        Coat

        Re: So nobody did economics in school?

        It's you, you didn't do economics in school!

        Right, right?

        Now that will be £500 for reading this unwanted message.

        What? It costs me time to run this exciting service!

      5. veti Silver badge

        Re: So nobody did economics in school?

        I think I have the right to "override their T&C's" because (1) I never agreed to them, and (2) they themselves are freeloading on the open standards and structure of the internet, which is the same technology that I'm "exploiting" to block their ads.

        They want me to stop freeloading on their service? - fine, they can build their own delivery system using their own technology and set their own rules. Until then, they can fuck right off.

  25. Herring`

    Enshitification strikes again

    The thing is, if online ads hadn't become annoying and intrusive, ad blockers would never have happened.

    When I'm away from my home network and the PiHole, the web is a horrible place.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale

      Re: Enshitification strikes again

      "When I'm away from my home network and the PiHole, the web is a horrible place."

      That's why I set up a WireGuard VPN on my router so I can have all the benefits of my home network while I'm away.

      1. Herring`

        Re: Enshitification strikes again

        I was thinking about setting opening the port(s) so I could use my Pi as DNS from elsewhere (Zen! Static IP!, 100Mb upstream!) but it seemed too much of a risk.

    2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Enshitification strikes again

      Not just annoying and intrusive, but vectors for unauthorised code to run on the client's computer, so a real and significant malware risk.

  26. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I have a YT channel and Google decided that my channel was not monetizable, yet decide to still run ads on my videos. So yeah im gonna block ads on Youtube cos i don't give a toss if Google are loosing a few dollars from me not watching ads.

    As a way to compensate creators whos videos I watch, that don't have their own sponsorship in their videos, Ill play their videos without adblocker in a browser inside VM, where the ads don't bother me and their is no risk of my computer being compromised by malware.

  27. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Firefox

    and ublock still work fine at blocking the ads.(linux and windoze versions)

    But the ad blocking would'nt be needed if youtube matched the ads to what is being watched.

    Eg I'm watching (well listening) to highlights of Wagner's ring cycle while designing my latest attempt in KSP, the last thing I want is 1/2 way through Siegfieds funeral march is some ads cheerily blasting 'buy this its super plus good' or 'electrol dysfunction? use AS50 to overcome it'

    How about some not so obtrusive banner ads for the english national opera instead.... something I'm liable to click on as I'm already listening to classical music.

    But no , lets do the equivilent of having a screaming toddler jump up and down in your face ... then wonder 'hey why does everyone use an ad blocker?'

  28. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    The ASA

    I discovered yesterday that the UK ASA has legal jurisdiction on internet ads shown in the UK. Maybe someone needs to show them what the internet is....

    https://www.asa.org.uk/static/uploaded/6829937c-f185-4be6-9455e501af1df1e3.pdf

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The ASA

      Are a toothless and utterly pointless organisation, who's greatest possible power is to ask someone nicely not to run a specific advert campaign again, several months after they already achieved their goals and are working on the next advert the ASA will ask them not to use again after it's already over.

  29. The Central Scrutinizer

    I use YouTube purely for information on certain topics (yes, really). I have my favorite channels that I visit semi frequently plus some others that seem worthwhile having a look at.

    YouTube has been bitching at me for some time now to turn my ad blocker off, and now it seems it will refuse to play any more videos for me until I do.

    My response is very simple. FU Google. I'd rather go without than participate in your craptastic ad infested shitstorm of an "experience".

    1. Adair Silver badge

      Am I doing something right/wrong? YT doesn't moan at me, and I'm running uBlock and Privacy Badger, plus a cookie destroyer that doesn't even allow YT to set cookies, but no whining from YT.

  30. Sora2566 Bronze badge

    So, I think YouTube is doing a stupid here... *but*.

    Blocking ads is legal - you're just choosing *not* to download something.

    Blocking ad-blockers is also legal - you are allowed to make "View my ads" a condition of viewing the website, and try and enforce that.

    Blocking ad-blocker-blockers is *not* legal, as you are now circumventing the "conditions of entry", as it were.

    So I think that what YouTube is doing is user-hostile and they should definitely be using content-based advertising and massively ratcheting down the (download) size and interactivity of online ads as other people have said... but I'm worried that if they raise a stink about ad-blockers in a court somewhere, that they'll actually have a leg to stand on.

    1. DryBones

      From what I've been reading, in the EU they do not. Because they performed operations that were not explicitly authorized by the user in order to do their fingerprinting. Which makes the operation of their blocker-blocker illegal.

      1. Sora2566 Bronze badge

        The EU have a problem with YouTube's activities because of the privacy-invading nature of their "are you using ad-blockers" check, not because of the check itself. If they change their check to be privacy-preserving, I'm worried the law will switch around to being on their side.

    2. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Incorrect.

      Blocking ads is legal.

      Making, or trying to make ads unblockable is also legal.

      Sending code to run on someone's machine without their consent in order to establish what software is installed on their machine is not legal. Whether this is used to detect ad-blockers or decide whether to serve content is moot.

      Blocking ad-blocker-blockers is not only legal, but is preventing the illegal use of unauthorised software on a computer system. If anything, it is law-enforcement.

      Are you going to claim that running antivirus software, or a firewall is illegal too?

      1. Sora2566 Bronze badge

        No, of course not.

        But "did our ads load and show" which is the information they actually *want*, their check of "do you have an ad-blocker" is the wrong way to go about this - isn't that. And I'm worried that if YouTube takes off their Google hat for a minute and does this check without data-slurping, then the law will switch around to being on their side.

        1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

          On a technical level, though, no web site has the right to know anything about the browser it is serving to, other than the content of the request headers sent to it. Including scripts that "report back" any further information about the system on which they are running is arguably unauthorised intrusion into a computer system. The owner of the client machine is fully within their rights to block such scripts from running (e.g. by using NoScript), and to prevent their downloading in the first place. The owner of the client machine is also fully entitled to choose which files their browser requests from the source web site.

          What the advertisers are doing, is making the downloading of adverts contingent on the service of the site. If they can manage to do this entirely on the server side, then so be it, they are not intruding onto the client's machine. However, what they are trying to do is make the downloading and execution of potentially malicious code (and it is potentially malicious, not just in theory) a requirement for access. Under EU law, this is not legal.

          This does also raise questions about consent for running any scripts that are within a web page, because we are long past the days when a web site was static images and text, so there is a discussion to be had about assumed consent for the scripts which are necessary for the operation of a web site, such as the scripts that make a drop-down menu work, or load a page dynamically. What the advertisers would like to do is to make these inseparable from those used to serve their malware advertising scripts.

          On a side note, ad blockers can't do very much to remove static images served from the same domain as the main content of the page, as these would be indistinguishable from legitimate content. For some reason, those using ad blockers don't see these all over the place, though. Why is this? The answer is plain: the "advertisers" aren't actually interested in presenting adverts as their primary business activity. They are interested in tracking and measuring the "user" via the delivery of the ads they do try to push, from other domains, and via scripts. No, thank you very much.

          As for the malware aspect, and why I state that this is not just theoretical - the ad providers, such as google, are largely serving up whatever "advertising content" the third parties that use their service supply, with little to no checking on content or purpose. Malware regularly slips through in this way, or so I am told. Because I am savvy enough to make sure that I don't see them, I can't speak from first-hand experience of being hacked vis this route (to my knowledge).

  31. Cruachan

    I got hit with this, (ironically) did some googling and discovered that switching from AdBlock Plus to uBlock Origin gets around the problem, for now at least.

    It's no surprise Youtube are doing this, given who their parent company/evil overlord is, but in the brief period I allowed ads they couldn't have made any money anyway, as there were no ads for anything other than the new Google Pixel, although there's probably all sorts of accounting fuckery going on there which is for another thread.

    I don't trust Google to start with, but especially not seeing as just a few weeks before the adblocker detection started I was also one of the ones who was treated to a blank homepage. Reason? Apparently because I don't share my watch history with Youtube they can't decide what I like (despite being able to do so with around a 2/3 relevance, 1/3 generic influencer shite for years and indeed still doing so down the side of videos I watch). It's abundantly clear that my not sharing data with them has made them target me to try and force me to, so that when the adblock detection came in I would get "relevant and personalised" advertising. 5 times in a 13 minute video being the record, everyone of them an ad for the Pixel.

    1. TheFifth

      This is what gets me, it's the same 30 second un-skippable advert every few minutes. Without an ad-blocker, you'd go insane.

  32. streaky

    I wouldn't mind..

    But YT refuses to pay content creators I like. The ones they do pay are on a knife-edge, even the tame, run-of-the-mill, milk toast creators can't say anything or do anything for fear of a completely arbitrary and capricious monetisation system. This is just YT being greedy and wondering why nobody is on their side - nobody likes you, we're just stuck with you - there's a difference. We're not always going to be stuck with you. Remind me, why shouldn't I use an adblocker again? The commercial failure of youtube will be a boom time for the internet and we'll all be dancing on your grave.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The ones they do pay are on a knife-edge

      "Content creators" decided to make content for a massive corporation in the hope that they'd get paid enough to live on.

      That's not a viable business model.

      1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

        Re: The ones they do pay are on a knife-edge

        Just because you are "creating content" doesn't mean you are owed money for it. I could stream live footage of me playing video games, and it shouldn't be any more a paying job than taking a dump.

      2. streaky

        Re: The ones they do pay are on a knife-edge

        It's an entirely viable business model, many people have amassed much wealth doing it. That's YT's business model, enabling that. What YT needs to do is not be arbitrary.

  33. Binraider Silver badge

    If the ads weren't so pervasive we wouldn't be bothered about the presence of a few.

    Ad quality is low, repetition is high and hence nuisance factor causing us to seek a blocker is also high. There are also questionable practises about volume levels suddenly changing between ads and main content - which in broadcast media is a no-no in the UK.Though some channels flaunt the boundaries.

    I get that it is a business and it needs to earn a living; I do not see Google struggling on that front any time soon. Tone back quantity a bit and you won't have people seeking blockers; or alternatives.

    One other big change. Being a "professional" logger is a career choice. YT have done their damnednest to make the income stream for mid sized streamers very poor. Channels routinely have to resort to Patreon or similar to keep going "for financial" reasons. So where's the revenue from all these ads going, if not back to the content creators.

    Yes, that.

    MightyJingles did an excellent blog on the subject a few weeks ago and how YT's policies are changing for the worse.

  34. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    Personally, I don't use an ad blocker. Mainly because I used to moderate a small forum (cableforum.co.uk), and the ads on that site paid for the running of the forum, with a little profit each year (we aren't talking telephone numbers, maybe £200 a year). So I am very aware that, for smaller sites (and creators), the ad revenue can mean the difference between the site continuing or failing.

    Youtube isn't going to fail because I turn on an ad blocker, and some of the larger creators I follow aren't really going to be affected. When you've got millions of subscribers, a few of them blocking ads isn't going to cause you problems, but I still don't run an ad blocker because some of the smaller creators I follow have maybe 200 followers. They will be impacted by the lost of my advertising revenue. Ok, so the big news channels won't, nor a channel with millions of subscribers, but I don't think you can restrict ad blockers to certain creators.

    Besides, I have my own internal sort of ad blocker. I ignore them. I watched 3 youtube videos this morning. Had maybe 6 adverts between them. I couldn't tell you what any of them were for.

    Don't get me wrong: I am not against ad blockers. I even looked at setting up one of my raspberry pi's using Pi-Hole to provide network level blocking. The only reason I didn't is I didn't want to have to deal with the complaints from the other members of my house if and when their favourite sites and apps stopped working.

    1. TheFifth

      "some of the smaller creators I follow have maybe 200 followers"

      Just a note, the cut off for monetisation is a minimum of 1,000 followers and 4,000 hours of public watch time within a 12-month period or 10 million public YouTube Shorts views within a 90-day period.

      YouTube will still put ads on those channels that fall below this threshold though, but not a penny will go to the creator.

      So if the channel has only 200 subs, all you're doing is giving YouTube more income.

  35. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge
    Unhappy

    I have a monetised YT and allow some ads to be placed on my videos, as I use YT as an income stream.

    Until now I've tried to balance the placement of ads against user experience - happy to have a small banner ad at the bottom of the screen for a few seconds at the start of a video, less happy to have anything more intrusive like full-frame ads which interrupt the video.

    Unfortunately YT are removing the option for creators to select ad types to use, and are pushing for more ads on videos, so I expect that more of my content will be interrupted with skippable and non-skippable ads, potentially in the middle of videos. I don't think that non-creators realise that YT are doing this, and worry that viewers of my channel will hold it against me personally that my content is now more ad heavy.

  36. Luiz Abdala
    Windows

    Why would ads in regular pages allow any sort of script?

    As I understand, those are the actual security hazard. Only allow ads made of JPEGs like it's 2001 again and we are good to go. (The ignorant Windows user logo relays that I have some idea that's not so easy to fix.)

    Now, how can YT pickup that you downloaded their code, but the interpreter on our side deleted some chunks off it? Privacy indeed. It still spends some bandwidth, but ignoring that, there should be no way for them to sniff it out. From their point of view, I perused the entire content of that page that carried the video I wanted to watch.

    TLDR; make our browsers lie they displayed the whole thing with full ads to us if youtube scans them...

  37. lukewarmdog
    Megaphone

    Content Providers Need To Be Paid

    I'd argue that they don't.

    I don't need *this* much content in my life.

    YouTubers with second jobs peddling energy drinks and taking up boxing?

    If you can gift your mate a SuperCar as a Surprise!.. I'd argue that we're paying you too much.

    In fact so many of these 'Influencers' live undeserved lives of luxury that I'd say they're pushing out Real Companies with Real Content.

    Not going to try to define which is which, who is Genuine and who isn't, we're all free to make up our own minds with ad-blockers and our wallets.

    I just think we should maybe aim for a definition which excludes these low-life airbreathing scum from getting paid to live like footballers, to post every second of their lives like it's Reality TV (more shit that should never have been invented) and then maybe, just maybe, I'll lower my ad blocker and see what's actually out there.

    Until then.. nah.

    Also, apologies to any Parents whose kids might be any of that aforementioned scum.

    You did a fine job and I'm sure they'll let you go away with them one day,,

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Content Providers Need To Be Paid

      'Influencer' and 'content creator' are not synonyms. The so-called influencers are creators of content, but they are a subset of the overall pool of content creators and (IMHO) tend to give content creators as a whole a bit of a bad reputation.

      Much of the content creators out there on YouTube are just people who are passionate about a subject and want to share with viewers. As an example off the top of my head....Big Clive. He likes making videos teaching about electronics, and I've learned a ton from watching him. I don't begrudge him a penny of his ad revenue.

      Characters like Pewdeepie, Mr Beast, et al....it's a big "meh" from me.

      1. Anomalous Cowturd
        Unhappy

        Re: Content Providers Need To Be Paid

        Big Clive also does real work, from time to time.

        The passionate ones are the ones who do it without monetisation, IMO. People like AvE, Louis Rossman, etc.

        If people want to support them financially, there are options for that, that don't involve Google, or adverts / sponsored segments.

        If push comes to shove, there is always YT-DLP, as a last resort. They seem to manage to keep up with YouTube's shenanigans.

  38. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "YouTube cares less for your privacy than its revenues"

    Shocking revelation?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Idiot VP Alert...

    A) The guys in San Bruno are not the brightest. They are nothing more than a glorified video server division. Serving other peoples content. The real action is down in Mountain View.

    B) This has all the hallmarks of a newly installed Idiot VP who made grandiose promises to his boss to really bump up revenue. This will end badly. It always does. With a short term gain, a huge bonus for the VP who soon moves on, and serious long term damage to the brand. Idiot VP's have killed a lot of companies over the decades.

    C) Online advertising is based on a huge lie told to its customers. I can count on one hand the number of properly targeted ads I've seen online in the last almost 30 years. Its as terrible as US cable TV channels in the 1980's. Which made most channels unwatchable. And why so many failed. The few that survived kept very tight control over advertising content and quality.

    D) Google is a online search company whose search result quality has declined so much over the last few years that the first page of results are just as useless and irrelevant as the the results served up by the competitors they beat in the late 1990's. Even well formed technical search return garbage results while their competitors first page has good enough results.

    Which is a damning indictment when they cannot even return relevant basic search results. Of technical documentation.

    So what has been the net results of this Idiot VP move. I upgraded my adblocker. Which will have no impact on their revenue as most youtube content is viewed by people who never heard of adblockers. So youtube are not just stupid but really greedy. We are talking a tiny amount of revenue. As for taking money from the content creators. They see so little money from youtube that for 95% of them its a wash. Its even worse than with the streaming services and musicians. That bad.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Idiot VP Alert...

      I would upvote you more if I could.

  40. martinusher Silver badge

    Amateur Nite

    I get the intrusive "You've got an AdBlocker, Naughty You" on a clean Chromebook running Chrome without any extensions. That's right, they can't even make their own code work properly these days. They used to produce working product but yT seems to be falling apart and their search has gone from 'usable' to 'useless'. Maybe they've been laying off the wrong people?

    1. Elongated Muskrat Silver badge

      Re: Amateur Nite

      Maybe they've been laying off the wrong people?

      This is the corporate malaise. An organisation grows to a point where it has senior levels of management who have no connection to the people who actually produce the things they sell. Because they don't understand what their people do, they don't understand how their business operates, and all they see are the spreadsheets.

      The spreadsheets lead them to believe that their employees are a cost, and not an asset, and they decide to make a bunch of them redundant (or just straight-up fire them, if they're in a backward country with inadequate employment law, such as the US) in order to make their organisation more profitable.

      In the same way as removing all the body panels from your car, this makes the organisation appear to be running more effectively in the short run, until the point where it becomes apparent those bits you cut off were vital to its ongoing viability. That car isn't going to make it through its MOT, and you'll probably find that, although you got some cash for the platinum in the catalytic converter, you actually needed it, for regulatory reasons.

      There are then three choices: spend a load of money replacing the parts you removed to get back to viability, at an overall loss, sell off the remaining parts and close up shop, or try to transform the business into something else (in the same way that HP used to be an R&D company, and now it sells ink) without failing entirely. History is littered with companies that went the third way and failed.

  41. veti Silver badge

    Headline fishing...

    "YouTube cares less for your privacy than its revenues"...

    Is there some kind of industry award for the most "well, duh" headline you can get published?

    Is there ANYONE IN THE FREAKING WORLD who ever imagined for one second that this would not be the case? If so, why?

  42. heyrick Silver badge

    Why I use advert blockers everywhere

    In the earlier days of my mobile internet use, say around 2012ish, I didn't have an advert blocker, and the hardware was generally too underpowered to handle something like Firefox.

    Then, browsing sites in France (where I live), I started to get text notifications from Orange telling me that my "Internet+" payment had been refused and that if I wanted to use that service (basically you buy stuff and the cost is added to your phone bill) then it needs to be switched on in the customer settings.

    So, please don't try to guilt me into allowing advertising. My personal experience is in laying claim to a lot of bandwidth (that, back in the day, I was paying for), slowing down everything, and straight up trying to steal from me. They're all a bunch of wankers and they can all fuck right off. If a site won't work with the blockers, I'll just find one that does. There's very little that is exclusive to any particular site these days.

  43. 0laf
    Big Brother

    Adblockers are necessary

    I've used adblockers since the advent of the technology 20yr ago. And IMHO the reality is that the internet is unusable without them. Even mainstream sites are so bedecked with adverts, left right top and bottom, plus popups and pop unders that if I can't use an adblocker then I won't use the site at all.

    And lets be honest YouTube is a cesspit filled with 99% utter garbage. Would you actually miss it?

  44. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    I'm not persuaded

    Advertising has been present in synchronous media since commercial radio, and in print for, what, centuries? Millennia?

    I'm not buying this "we need ad blockers" whinge. Suffer the ads or don't watch the content. Simple. Honestly, some people are so sensitive to any inconvenience.

    I'll also note in passing that I own, and appreciate, at least one product I only heard of through a YouTube advertisement. And I don't watch very much on YouTube.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: I'm not persuaded

      Print media adverts are:

      1, frequently relevant to the content of the magazine (or in the case of newspapers, to the typical readership demographic)

      And:

      2, rarely invasive, even a full page advert, it's easy to turn the page if you're not interested

      Compare with, for example, a typical advert in an app, where the advert will play a video which often cannot be skipped for 5-10 seconds (and double that as it has to download the advert first) and once you click the skip button it's a static page for another 5-10 seconds, and frequently the parts to tap to dismiss are tiny and randomly placed in different positions and any tap outside of this area leads to you being thrown into the Play Store for the irrelevant crap that was being promoted (look, it counts as an interested tap). While this is predominantly an app issue, I've started to see similar behaviour in mobile websites. It's the way things are going. To download unvetted third party content for shit you're just not going to be interested in, with various dark patterns to interrupt your getting anything done simply because somebody somewhere dangled the lure of currency symbols in front of the developers eyeballs. Oh, and don't forget, of its an advertising platform God knows what information is being sent back, but those needs to know a UID and your location? That's for the adverts, not the app.

      In short, it's far far more intrusive than old style advertising for far far less interesting things. It's effectively a giant Ponzi scheme that everybody is buying in to at our expense.

  45. Alan W. Rateliff, II
    Thumb Up

    Dodgy crypto...

    I see what you did there.

    There is very little else I can add to this opinion piece. It hits right on the mark for me. I am not a passive user just watching TV while I do something else. I am active and moving with purpose. Having my time consumed is bad enough, but now you want to consume my attention. No. Pay for it? If the service offers something valuable, sure. There are plenty of streaming services which are ad-free and offer high quality content. But YouTube is not quality content in the sense that I am not as interested in the content maker as I am the actual content. YouTube is, or at least used to be, "broadcast yourself!" which is not a model which resonates with me as a content consumer.

  46. Awk_ward

    Youtube is no better than a London public phone box.

    Nothing but a cheap toilet now and adverts of misrepresented good and a willingness to steal your money at first sight.

    Take advert 1:

    Letitia, a fine blonde haired woman offering her services for BDSM. The photo paints a picture that makes you think you're in for a right treat. Turns out it's Tracy from Tesco's with a dodgy accent and a pack of red licorice shoelaces instead of a decent Cat 'o' nine tails. It's false advertising I tell you.

    Take Advert 2 on youtube:

    "This cryptocurrency is going up fast and if you don't click now you'll miss the chance to make £1000 a day with the prices rising the way they do"

    .... and guess what?

    One bitten, twice shy.

    How about they fix their damn ads, stop selling Crypto to children and more scams than an old Public phone box. Until then, I'm on the Ad blockers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Youtube is no better than a London public phone box.

      I'm interested. What's Tracy's number?

  47. Steen Eugen Poulsen

    As someone living with a handicap that make reading The Registers website hard, even when blocking ad's and being in the lucky category that 80%+ of us is unemployed, blocking ad blockers is basically telling me to fuck off and die, because I'm not welcome in the modern electronic world and it's the only world I have left, as going out the door is constantly telling me to fuck of and die as I'm to much trouble.

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