Browser extensions that block website advertisements are becoming very common these days and their use is expected to only grow in the next few years. Some websites that survive on advertising have turned to things like tip jars or even politely asking users to turn off their ad-blockers. Google’s YouTube, however, is taking a bit more of a direct approach: users with the AdBlock Plus extension installed are forced to watch video advertisements before the actual content video plays.
Some people might think this is no big deal, as video ads do appear sometimes before the regular video, even without AdBlock installed. However, those with the extension do not get the option to skip the video ad that appears after the first few seconds, and sometimes the advertisement can be as long as 2-3 minutes.
This certainly seems like Google is out to punish ad-blocking users, as the forced video ads seem to appear for all extensions, not just AdBlock Plus. For the time being, there are still limitations: it only works in the Chrome browser, and it doesn’t target every user every time they try to watch a video.
It’s probably only a matter of time before someone on the internet comes up with a workaround to bypass these video ads. But if that’s the case, and the use of ad-blockers does sharply increase in the near future, then we’re likely on the verge of a large cat-and-mouse game where websites update their advertisements to get around blockers, followed by blockers getting updated with new solutions.
UPDATE: Chromium developer Rob Wu reached out to Neowin and explained that the unskippable video ads are the unintentional result of fixing a previous security issue, and offered a temporary solution.
He confirmed that the issue will only be seen if the YouTube app is installed and that, at the moment, apart from disabling AdBlock or whitelisting YouTube, the only solution, as described above, is to uninstall the app. The problem is expected to be patched in the upcoming weeks or, at least, when Chrome 46 is released.