What YouTube still imagines to make life difficult for adblockers

Google is suspected of implementing a new technical solution to counter ad blockers. In short, it would involve merging the announcement videos directly into the video stream, so that they can no longer be distinguished.

It’s a tweet that sounds like a warning. According to SponsorBlock’s observations, YouTube could make the work of ad blockers even more difficult. Experiments of a new kind have been noted recently, in order to make announcements “indistinguishable” from the rest of the video stream.

YouTube is currently experimenting with server-side ad injectionwrites the Internet user behind the utility, https://twitter.com/SponsorBlock/status/1800835402666054072 published on June 12, 2024 on X (formerly Twitter). This means that advertising is added directly into the video stream. This neutralizes [le fonctionnement de] SponsorBlock. » However, everything is not decided.

Source: Alexander Shatov

Indeed, this strategy could eventually backfire on YouTube. If the American platform inserts advertisements directly into the feed, this will have the effect of breaking the correct timestamp of the chapters and link insertions in the video. Clearly, the time markers will no longer be placed in the right places.

An example with a video lasting ten minutes exactly. If YouTube modifies the video stream on the server side to add a 20-second advertising insert at the beginning, the timestamp which was organized on ten-minute long content then finds itself shifted by 20 seconds each time. More so if other ads are shown later in the feed.

A tactic with a weak point

As noted by AndroidPolice, this problem with video chaptering was noted on Reddit in communities dedicated to YouTube and Firefox. However, Google will necessarily know the duration of the advertisements injected into the feed. And if the company slips out even one clue, the adblockers will likely seize it.

If Google drags a link related to the ad currently playing somewhere in the YouTube interface, that element will have a limited display time — it won’t last the entire video. From then on, ad blockers may have the opportunity to determine this duration and offer an option to skip the advertising passage.

SponsorBlock could find this data, we read in a frequently asked question. “ There is also a function to click on a timestamp in a comment which should know the duration of the advert, so this data should be able to be found somewhere, but it may be difficult. »

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