YouTube’s new aggressive tactics to disable ad blockers has led to a wave of ad blocker uninstallations, according to data from ad blocker companies.
The video platform, owned by Google, escalated efforts last month to crackdown on the popular add-ons used by millions to skip ads. It now uses repeated pop-up messages demanding viewers turn off ad blockers or lose access.
According to a Nov. 3 Wired report, previously unreported statistics show the campaign is working. Ad blocking tools Ghostery and AdGuard experienced multi-fold surges in daily uninstallations throughout October.
Ghostery tallied three to five times its typical daily uninstalls during the crackdown. Over 90% of users cited YouTube as the reason in a survey.
The Cyprus-based AdGuard saw uninstallations spike from 6,000 a day to as much as 52,000 daily. Its complaints flooded in at a rate of 4 per hour
“Where the issues come is when they feel the line is overstepped,” said Matthew Maier of ad blocker company Eyeo, which declined to share usage data. YouTube relies heavily on ads, but many users install blockers to eliminate disruptions, data harvesting, and security risks.
Despite the uninstallations, many sought alternatives after their ad blockers stopped working on YouTube. AdGuard and Ghostery both saw large numbers of new installs as people looked for fixes.
Some disgruntled users are recommending open-source sites like Newpipe that can play YouTube videos ad-free using workarounds. But Google seems intent on pressing ahead. “This game will continue,” said Andrey Meshkov of AdGuard.
Yet constantly updated ad-blocking code and alternatives suggest the uninstall wave may be temporary. “I could hardly see them being ready to do any ads that can be deemed acceptable,” Meshkov said.
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