A year ago, sick of the constant stream of ads on YouTube I subscribed to YouTube Premium. At the time a deal made it a reasonable near $100 a month. YouTube started giving me a banner saying “ads are back in February” so I looked and now it would cost me nearly $130 for the year. While I enjoy YouTube, I do not enjoy it more than $100 a year.
Why It Matters
Everything seems to be turning into an annual subscription. If it is entertainment then it better provide lots of value. I am increasingly suspicious of subscriptions that are more than $100/year. Sometimes you can get the value from a subscription another way.
Vinegar Removes YouTube Ads
Vinegar is a Safari extension that replaces YouTube’s player with default HTML video player tags. Because YouTube uses its player to insert the ads, the impact of this is to remove ads from YouTube on the web for me. For $1.99 it’s a lot cheaper than a subscription to YouTube Premium. It also creates a better experience on YouTube because I can more easily access features like Picture in Picture.
The Ethics of Ad Blocking
If lots of people use ad blockers then the economics of advertising and the web might collapse. Publishers and creators deserve to get paid. However you also have a right to control how your computer and browser function, and online outfits are increasingly hostile to user privacy and experience. As the race to the bottom with popovers, excessive ads, and cookie banners continues I am feeling less bad about employing extensions to tame the excess.
- Hush blocks cookie and tracking nags.
- SponsorBlock focuses on ad removal, is free, and available for multiple platforms. (HT: Bill Hunt)
- Mozilla researched the impact of ad blocking web activity and found it increases user engagement.