youtube and their idiotic stunts : forced ads

This blog post stems from the fediverse post from SponsorBlock located at

YouTube is currently experimenting with server-side ad injection. This means that the ad is being added directly into the video stream.

This breaks sponsorblock since now all timestamps are offset by the ad times.

For now, I set up the server to detect when someone is submitting from a browser with this happening and rejecting the submission to prevent the database from getting filled with incorrect submissions.

Warning: I'm no legal or economics expert. I'm a random teen with an opinion which you can agree or disagree with - it's my two cents on a (in my opinion) shitty situation 👍.

I have some things to say about this idiotic stunt of forcing advertisements down users' throats, because YouTube is a stupid big tech product created and ran by a terrible company, Google, which has been scolded numerous times for its way of handling freedom, privacy, monopoly-like status, exploitation of creators, etc.

This situation is probably the last straw for me - the only reason why I even have a google account at this point is because I use YouTube to watch various creators, listen to music along with making use of the YouTube's recommendation algorithm to help me discover new content. Now, as my rights to opting out of ads are being revoked, I have absolutely no reason to stay on this piece of shit platform and continue being a milking cow for a shitty cooperation - self-hosting on my server is fine.

Moreover, the mentioned approach to ads on YouTube's end has various flaws which will most likely worsen the overall experience of YouTube users, make some of them leave for good (such as I) on top of having a negative effect on the platform as well as the content creators who do YouTube as a job in the long-term.

But will YouTube listen? No. They never have - always avoiding all conflict and turning a blind eye to any controversy, big or small on the condition that they can walk the thin edge of legality to optimize their profit and ignoring what the users, creators, general community, etc. - consequently having people give up and forget. All of this sounds like a big monopoly scandal and it's wild how something like Google is legal in the first place.

# Arguments

The aforementioned situation has many downsides and maybe one upside, and that's only for Google - revenue. But it's all short-term and it'll fade, hopefully.

Let's take the argument that this approach "ensures revenue for both YouTube and its creators". Personally, I think that in the short-term this argument does make sense, although, in the long term, whilst also considering how aggressive YouTube advertisement tactics are as well as taking the user experience into account - is that truly the long-term solution? It's truly not, and if anything it'll hurt experiences of users and make them leave YouTube, or develop more aggressive tactics to advertisement blocking. One such blocking tactic that comes to mind, which might not be reliable, is to detect aggressive changes in video streams and skip the whole ad, or watch the connections and connection timings. Both consequently causing harm to both creators who do YouTube as a long-term job and YouTube themselves trying to rescue the platform 'til it eventually ends up on and gets forgotten in the Google graveyard.

Additionally, it raises an eyebrow to me as a person who values privacy and freedom, because YouTube is subtracting from user autonomy by taking away the control they had over their viewing experience. This lack of transparency and control can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction because the users are forced to consume content in a manner dictated purely by the platform, without any room for personalization or choice.

And that's not all! On top of all the things mentioned before, we have the one-size-fits-all idiocy going on here which is evident in many server-side ad injection approaches. It fails to account for different ways users, even the ones who do tolerate the copious amount of ads on YouTube, engage with content and ads on YouTube. Similarly, this will most likely also impact accessibility of the whole app and generally impact the overall user interaction, feel and "coziness".

Not to mention the potential legal phalanges of this - users might challenge the legality of forcing ads without an option to opt-out.

# Solutions

So far I've done nothing but to point out flaws in YouTube's creepy and desperate marketing strategy: how many ads can we force users to watch before they get angry? - so let's propose some solutions.

YouTube has a big problem with advertisement blocking, but instead of tackling the problem at hand, they choose to ignore it all and force even more advertisements onto people, which causes more sophisticated ad blocking technologies so the cycle spirals on. Why not just make the advertisement policy less aggressive? Google already is taking huge risks by doing server-side injection which will cause more resource usage on the server-side, a lot more anger and dissatisfaction from users, most likely backlash, etc etc etc. Instead of taking a risk that clearly will only result in a downfall, why not take an opportunity to redeem the ad policy and make it less aggressive and more tolerable for users.

And, of course, don't fucking force ads down people's throats. Why doesn't Google it an option, or just make it client-side as before.

Though, more realistically, Google will turn a blind-eye to all of this once again, ad blockers will advance, and the war between G*ogle and everyday people will continue.


That's my two cents. Thanks for reading :)