YouTube’s Crackdown Spurs Record Uninstalls of Ad Blockers
It expanded a test that threatens to cut off users who don't turn off their ad blocker
In early October, the people who make ad blocking tools convened in Amsterdam for their industry’s annual conference. One session was a welcome pitch from Google product leaders about tweaks made to address fears that a security update to the company’s Chrome browser could hamper ad zapping. Google, which draws nearly 80 percent of its revenue from ads, even cosponsored the event, at an airy venue along the water.
All the while, another team at Google quietly prepared to unleash the most sweeping crackdown on ad blockers since Facebook took them on in 2016. As the world’s ad blocker builders returned home from their conference, Google’s YouTube unexpectedly broadened a small test begun in May that uses pop-up dialogs to demand that viewers disable their ad blockers—or lose the ability to watch videos on the world’s most popular video-sharing website.
Google was "very proud to present at the ad blocking conference," said Krzysztof Modras, director of product and engineering at ad block and privacy tools developer Ghostery. "And the next day, this ad blocker war started."
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