YouTube Adblocker Controversy Continues

John Lister's picture

Claims that YouTube deliberately slowed down computers running ad blockers turned out to be bogus. The problem was actually with the ad blockers themselves.

The claims were made by users of online forums who reported significant slowdowns when watching YouTube while running an ad blocker. Reports varied from those saying video playback was slow to start and repeatedly stuttering to those saying the entire Chrome browser was slow to respond, even on other tabs.

Deterrence Measures

At first glance the claims appeared plausible. That's because last year YouTube carried out multiple experiments to deter ad blocker users. In one case, it showed users a pop-up messages suggesting they either disable the ad blocker or subscribe to YouTube's paid service which has no ads.

In another experiment, YouTube inserted a five second delay before playing a video if it detected an ad blocker was being used.

In that context, it's not surprising users assumed the latest slowdowns were an intentional ploy to frustrate those who use ad blockers. Many online commenters reacted furiously, with one even claiming they were on the verge of buying a new computer.

In fact, it appears the problem was simply a bug in the hugely popular Adblock Plus tool, along with a similar tool simply called Adblock. They are separate products but originate from the same project and code. (Source:

Update Fixes Bug

The delays should be removed by the latest update to the tools. Experts have also noted the delays were particularly troublesome for anyone who was running both tools at once in a "belt and braces" approach. They add that even without the bugs, this generally a bad idea as having two tools trying to perform the same overall task simultaneously risks conflicts and unexpected problems. (Source:

Meanwhile the debate over ad blockers and YouTube rages on. Supporters of the site say it's perfectly reasonable to take steps to make sure people watch the ads that fund the service. Critics say it's not the principle of ads they object to, rather than they consider many of the ads shown on YouTube to be inappropriate or promoting scams.

What's Your Opinion?

Were the users reasonable in jumping to conclusions? Is YouTube right to deter ad blockers? As YouTube offers a paid ad-free service, is it fair to treat viewing ads as the "price" of watching videos on the standard version?

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (8 votes)


drobinson_nc_16614's picture

I don't mind adds, but reputable websites should have reputable ads from their clients. Why do they allow so many (too many) ads that are scams or contain malware? Fox News is the worst! I believe that 99% of their ads are major scams "not sold in stores" or pharmaceutical adds that push drugs that don't work, or "ask your doctor if this is right for you". What happened to retail commercials for real products?

anthonyis2000_3690's picture

At first I was having to wait about 5 to 9 seconds before the you tube video would start to play.
Then when I selected a video to play a pop-up would display saying my video player would be blocked after viewing 2 videos and that actually happens. They say I can disable the blocker or pay for you tube premium.
Now I get the picture saying ad blockers are violating you tube's terms of service. They state that I can view videos if I purchase you tube premium or deactivate the ad blocker.
Today I selected a training video for IT and instead some game started playing

The computing world really turning into a real disappointment.

topgum's picture

Adds take up bandwidth and do a lot to slow down even a speedy internet

Draq's picture

In general, I don't mind the concept of ads. Nothing is free, and ads bring in money to support sites.

That said, if the ads are intrusive, badly placed, or slow down the page or my machine just by being there I have no issues with blocking them. Malvertising is also a major concern which is why I run an ad blocker on principle.

So if a site like YouTube wants people to disable their ad blockers and watch the ads, they need to do some housekeeping in that department and address why people run ad blockers in the first place. This whole concept of carrying on as usual or even making things worse while expecting people to stop blocking the annoying behavior makes no sense to me. If they think forcing everyone to stop blocking their ads is the solution with the way things are now, they're delusional.

buzzallnight's picture

They flicker for a second and then they are gone :)

I am not going to tell you what I use but I will give you a hint,

use a different browser with abp...