Blocking ads on YouTube is like trying to sneak into the movies

Acer Chromebook Spin 714 in tent mode showing YouTube
(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Google has made some controversial decisions surrounding YouTube recently. I don't mean things like weeding out disinformation or blocking videos and removing channels for the silliest of reasons; I'm talking about ads.

We all hate them. It's ironic that I'm saying this on a website full of ads, but I hate them, too. Regardless, they exist for a reason — they help pay the bills. Android Central or any of your other favorite websites aren't really free because ad revenue is a real way to make money. Nobody knows this better than Google.

Money is why you have ads on YouTube and why half of all content creators want to tell you about Raid: Shadow Legends or MANSCAPED as a sort of inline advertisement. It's also why broadcast television has commercials and why Samsung tells you about its newest products on your phone notification bar. Ads are a mega-million-dollar industry.

Samsung ads

(Image credit: Future)

They are also the price of admission for "free" YouTube videos. Here's a shocker — nothing in life is free, and you are expected to pay for everything one way or another. Google gives you two options when it comes to YouTube: pay a monthly fee and never see an ad, or sit through a few seconds of an ad before you get to watch your "free" video on your desktop, or just force the ad in the app on your fancy new phone.

Trying to block those ads means Google isn't getting any money and that makes Google angry. While Google can afford not to make a few pennies from you because you block ads, it can't afford to miss out on all the money when millions of people block ads. 

This is the whole reason Google is messing with web browsers when they visit YouTube with an ad blocker. Google isn't shy about it, either, and a spokesperson for the company told us, "Users who have ad blockers installed may experience suboptimal viewing, regardless of the browser they are using." The company also stated that the use of ad blockers violates YouTube's Terms of Service.

(Image credit: Google)

Basically, using an ad blocker is like sneaking into a movie theater. However, instead of kicking you out and having the sheriff's office issue a trespass notice (don't ask how I know this, please), Google makes you wait five seconds before it starts your "free" video.

I hate ads so much that I begrudgingly pay for YouTube Premium, but I understand why so many people are pissed at Google about it all. I have the solution, but nobody is going to like it: stop watching YouTube.

I can hear you thinking I'm an idiot and listing a million reasons why I'm wrong in your mind, but I'm not wrong, and at least in this case, I'm not an idiot for thinking this way. It is the only solution if you hate ads, hate waiting five seconds because you're blocking ads, and don't want to pay Google every month. It's the only thing you can do about it.

YouTube Premium Galaxy Z Fold 3.

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

I watch a lot of YouTube and don't have any issues finding the content I want, but I also see what people mean when they say YouTube has gone downhill. There is too much spam and nonsense in your discovery feeds — Google thinks you want to watch things you have no interest in so it shoves it in your face. Google is too quick to punish a creator because someone else complained. Robots are customer service for everyone except the few people who make the most money for Google. It's all true in my experience.

But Google can do anything it wants with YouTube since it owns the service. Making you wait five seconds because you block ads isn't anti-competitive; it's just shitty treatment from a company that only sees you as a way to make money. 

The way to "fight back" is to use another platform. If enough people did this, Google would see actual reasons (read: $$$) to make changes. Google is confident that people will not do this in significant numbers to have an adverse effect, so it boldly treats us this way. In this case, Google is probably correct, and the only people who will really abandon the platform are the people blocking ads, so Google loses no money.

This sucks and really displays the power a big tech corporation has compared to its users. It's not like Google is handing you a trespass notice, though; you're free to stay and watch as long as you're willing to put up with Google's display of power. The movie theater wouldn't be as lenient.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.