26 votes

YouTube can now place ads on all videos even if creators don’t want them

29 comments

  1. [15]
    stu2b50
    Link
    To be honest, I think this is fine. It feels bad because it's a reduction in "goodness" for free users, but the trade between "free usage of my platform and bandwidth" and "I run ads on your...

    To be honest, I think this is fine. It feels bad because it's a reduction in "goodness" for free users, but the trade between "free usage of my platform and bandwidth" and "I run ads on your content" is a classic one on the internet. If you write an article on Medium, it has ads. If you write an essay on /r/askhistorians, there are ads. And so forth.

    And Youtube is one of the most extreme examples, because video hosting is one of the most expensive things you can do on the internet. When you take a look back, it's really crazy that someone can upload an 8k video and have it be delivered to everyone and anyone for free. That's hundreds of dollars a year of value in just bandwidth. For free.

    And is it fair to monetize that? Tbh, probably.

    23 votes
    1. nacho
      Link Parent
      I wholeheartedly agree. There's this expectation going around that entertainment is free (and may other digital things and services too). That we have a right to free this, that and the other. But...

      I wholeheartedly agree.

      There's this expectation going around that entertainment is free (and may other digital things and services too). That we have a right to free this, that and the other.

      But the companies that provide these services have been part of creating that generation of people who have this expectation: It's the news agencies that've propagated the idea that news online is free. It's Youtube that's made people think that video hosting online is obviously free.

      When the companies are the ones that "giveth" they're also free to take away. If we want to institutionalize these cheap/free services, we'll have to go the library-way of actually doing so with public funding.

      10 votes
    2. [13]
      UniquelyGeneric
      Link Parent
      I don’t blame them for running a business. To be honest, I’m surprised they held out for so long given the massive scale they have to operate on. That being said, it does sadden me that there’s...

      I don’t blame them for running a business. To be honest, I’m surprised they held out for so long given the massive scale they have to operate on.

      That being said, it does sadden me that there’s really no ad-free alternative. Money can corrupt (we’re all on Tildes, after all), and I wonder how this might change the dynamic of YouTube content. Previously, YT would demonetize content that its advertisers deemed unsavory. The content creator still got to maintain presence on the platform, though. With YT going all in on advertising (surely to maintain revenue growth) their incentive structure may change as well. Once you establish a few quarters of record growth, you will want to maintain that growth, and rather than demonetize content creators, they may find it more cost effective to deplatform instead of serving high bandwidth video content that has no revenue associated with it.

      YT doesn’t need to focus on user growth (i.e. user concerns/demands) anymore, so they will instead likely focus on profit growth. I could just be overly paranoid, but creating a structure that can enable censorship based on corporate influence seems to rub me the wrong way. This is all conjecture, though, so perhaps I’m just a jaded cynic.

      6 votes
      1. [12]
        nacho
        Link Parent
        There are plenty of ad-free alternatives. They cost money to use since you as a viewer are no longer the customer. Either you pay for uploading (and users viewing your content) or you pay to view...

        That being said, it does sadden me that there’s really no ad-free alternative.

        There are plenty of ad-free alternatives. They cost money to use since you as a viewer are no longer the customer.

        Either you pay for uploading (and users viewing your content) or you pay to view content that uploaders can share for free.

        My workplace pays for this sort of service from several different providers, for example.

        5 votes
        1. [11]
          UniquelyGeneric
          Link Parent
          Do you happen to have a few names I could look up? My bigger fear isn’t exactly that there’s no alternatives at all, but rather that none of them seem viable due to the network effects that...

          There are plenty of ad-free alternatives

          Do you happen to have a few names I could look up?

          My bigger fear isn’t exactly that there’s no alternatives at all, but rather that none of them seem viable due to the network effects that YouTube has. While Twitch approaches the scale of YT, it’s still not even close, and I don’t think live streams belong in the same category as post-processed content.

          YT will seemingly remain the largest video distributor and an information source for many, so changes to their business operations warrants some level of scrutiny imho.

          3 votes
          1. NaraVara
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            The thing is you can't just have a version of YouTube without the ads. YouTube is designed around the ads. The whole UI and ecosystem for creators is based on making eyeballs see advertisements....

            My bigger fear isn’t exactly that there’s no alternatives at all, but rather that none of them seem viable due to the network effects that YouTube has. While Twitch approaches the scale of YT, it’s still not even close, and I don’t think live streams belong in the same category as post-processed content.

            The thing is you can't just have a version of YouTube without the ads. YouTube is designed around the ads. The whole UI and ecosystem for creators is based on making eyeballs see advertisements. An ad-free video hosting service would necessarily work differently.

            There would be no reason for them to develop algorithmic curation or feeds because they have no incentive to maximize the amount of time you spend on the site. If anything, it's the opposite. They want you paying them and to not have to serve up the bandwidth. It would work more like you following individual creators and getting pings, as with an RSS feed, to follow what those creators are doing. Nebula and Curiosity Stream are subscription based and sort of work that way.

            The problem, though, is they have to micro-target towards viewers to get people to pay. Finding people willing to pay generally requires you to provide higher production values and also target people who would be highly motivated to view the content, which will tend towards the more hardcore, ardent fans. That creates a fractured system. It doesn't just work like YouTube where you can find stuff about everything and also total amateurs can just drop a 5 minute video of their cat doing something funny that goes viral.

            I actually wonder if the best way to go would be to go back to a blog-centric distribution model where the creators pay the hosting fees instead of needing to have potential viewers subscribe before they can see your stuff. At that point the creator has to own the customer relationship and figure out the best way to monetize their efforts whether it's based on patreon, sponsorships, or whatever. The service itself becomes a dumb utility, just charging some kind of flat fee or per-viewer price for the actual work of hosting and indexing all the video. The creators would decide how to serve that content up either on their own webpages, share via newsletter/tweet/RSS feed/whatever, or have it indexed into an aggregator page that works like the current YouTube homepage.

            4 votes
          2. [7]
            moocow1452
            Link Parent
            Of the alternatives I found, Odysee is probably the most well developed YouTube alternative in that it's based off of the Lbry protocol and uses decentralized crypto whatzits to stay afloat, but...

            Of the alternatives I found, Odysee is probably the most well developed YouTube alternative in that it's based off of the Lbry protocol and uses decentralized crypto whatzits to stay afloat, but has a bad case of the Voat problem since it's maximum free speech and consists of a lot of people who got kicked off YouTube. Nebula is more similar to a Netflix where you have a per month/year subscription and gain access to vetted creators, and while you can apply for it, it's not guaranteed. They you have the experimental Peertube, bitchute and what have you, and if worse comes to worse, there's always Dailymotion.

            3 votes
            1. [6]
              KapteinB
              Link Parent
              I've subscribed to Nebula for a while now, and I quite like it, though I miss a related video feature to help me discover new channels I might like. Also, I hope they some day make apps for smart...

              I've subscribed to Nebula for a while now, and I quite like it, though I miss a related video feature to help me discover new channels I might like. Also, I hope they some day make apps for smart TVs and video game consoles.

              If anyone here has recommendations for Nebula channels to check out, I'd love to hear them. :-)

              1 vote
              1. [3]
                Adys
                Link Parent
                Tom Scott's, Wendover's are the ones I subscribed to nebula for. But I almost never watch it due to the lack of an app for the Shield.

                Tom Scott's, Wendover's are the ones I subscribed to nebula for.

                But I almost never watch it due to the lack of an app for the Shield.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  KapteinB
                  Link Parent
                  What is Tom Scott's channel called? There's one named Tom Scott Presents: Money, but it was last updated 8 months ago.

                  What is Tom Scott's channel called? There's one named Tom Scott Presents: Money, but it was last updated 8 months ago.

                  1 vote
                  1. Adys
                    Link Parent
                    Yeah that one. It was a one off, but I do recommend the watch, it was fun.

                    Yeah that one. It was a one off, but I do recommend the watch, it was fun.

                    2 votes
              2. [2]
                Gecko
                Link Parent
                One thing I miss on Nebula is the comment section. While YouTube comments are not on the same level as Tildes comments, they do sometimes provide interesting insights, so I'd love to see them...

                One thing I miss on Nebula is the comment section. While YouTube comments are not on the same level as Reddit Tildes comments, they do sometimes provide interesting insights, so I'd love to see them added to Nebula.

                1 vote
                1. KapteinB
                  Link Parent
                  There are services that add a comment section to any site on the Web. Dissenter is maybe the best known, but I don't think they offer browser extensions, just their own web browser (a fork of...

                  There are services that add a comment section to any site on the Web. Dissenter is maybe the best known, but I don't think they offer browser extensions, just their own web browser (a fork of Brave I believe) (and also I'm not sure if they're the most insightful crowd). A quick web search also found me a service called Hypothesis, which has at least a Chrome extension.

          3. suspended
            Link Parent
            There may be other examples following my comment here from yesterday.

            There may be other examples following my comment here from yesterday.

            2 votes
          4. Pistos
            Link Parent
            There's Vimeo. They have paid plans, and a free plan which has caps of some sort (upload, I think). Their free plan is good enough for anyone that uploads a video not more often than once a week.

            There's Vimeo.

            We’ll never put ads before, during, after, or on on top your videos.

            They have paid plans, and a free plan which has caps of some sort (upload, I think). Their free plan is good enough for anyone that uploads a video not more often than once a week.

            2 votes
  2. UniquelyGeneric
    Link
    I can't help but feel like this is a sign of the ossification of Web 2.0 properties. YouTube now feels confident in its market position that it can turn on the ad machine indiscriminately. After...

    I can't help but feel like this is a sign of the ossification of Web 2.0 properties. YouTube now feels confident in its market position that it can turn on the ad machine indiscriminately. After having spent years attracting users through a free service (subsidized by Google/Alphabet's deep pockets), it now has them locked into the service with few viable alternatives. You can see a similar pattern with Instagram.

    My fear is that those hurt the most by this will be the smaller content creators who now have an attention barrier they need to overcome for growth. Before, they could build up a subscriber base without inserting off-putting ads, and eventually they could monetize once they have a strong enough base of loyal subscribers. Now, they will fight to retain viewers who may flock to the already established YT celebrities that have a more attractive view count. Adding insult to injury, the ads that are shown won't even have a rev-share for the small streamers. This is especially frustrating for streamers that have been monetizing through Patreon rather than ads, as the article describes.

    10 votes
  3. MetArtScroll
    Link
    Actually, it is even worse, see this earlier topic here. Not only do the new ToS allow YouTube to insert ads, but they also allow YouTube to erect a paywall.

    Actually, it is even worse, see this earlier topic here. Not only do the new ToS allow YouTube to insert ads, but they also allow YouTube to erect a paywall.

    9 votes
  4. [2]
    vord
    Link
    Semi-related... anybody else seeing ads crop up even though you're paying for Youtube premium? This is how you drive me back to not paying and blocking ads even more religiously. I'm old enough...

    Semi-related... anybody else seeing ads crop up even though you're paying for Youtube premium?

    This is how you drive me back to not paying and blocking ads even more religiously.

    I'm old enough now with enough disposable income I'm happy to pay for content to avoid ads. But you introduce ads to what I'm paying for, I stop paying.

    6 votes
    1. ali
      Link Parent
      The only time I see ads now is when I’m casting and my girlfriend adds a video to the queue. It’s pretty annoying to see that... especially because it is before every video she plays.

      The only time I see ads now is when I’m casting and my girlfriend adds a video to the queue. It’s pretty annoying to see that... especially because it is before every video she plays.

      1 vote
  5. [7]
    Amarok
    Link
    You can send all the ads you like down the pipe, youtube. None of them will ever reach my screen, so sorry. Filtering the ad garbage out has never been that difficult.

    You can send all the ads you like down the pipe, youtube. None of them will ever reach my screen, so sorry. Filtering the ad garbage out has never been that difficult.

    4 votes
    1. [6]
      andre
      Link Parent
      I used to think this too, but Twitch is fighting hard to show me ads. uBlock Origin doesn't work, PiHole doesn't work, and they're actively monitoring other solutions and breaking them every day...

      I used to think this too, but Twitch is fighting hard to show me ads. uBlock Origin doesn't work, PiHole doesn't work, and they're actively monitoring other solutions and breaking them every day or two.

      I had three Twitch subscriptions active, which means I was contributing $7.50/month directly to Twitch. And while those subscriptions prevented ads on those channels, it does nothing for unsubscribed ones.

      I cancelled all three subscriptions, and have mostly just stopped watching because the ads are incredibly annoying. I wouldn't be surprised if YouTube and the rest of the web follows suit. Sure, ad blockers can get more and more sophisticated (old VCRs used to be able to skip ads by monitoring sound levels), but it's an annoying battle.

      12 votes
      1. [5]
        Good_Apollo
        Link Parent
        Huh? I’ve yet to have ublock fail me. Do you do a lot of whitelisting?

        Huh? I’ve yet to have ublock fail me. Do you do a lot of whitelisting?

        2 votes
        1. petrichor
          Link Parent
          I recently noticed ads on Twitch with uBlock Origin too, and I scarcely ever visit the site. It seems like that's an actively tracked issue.

          I recently noticed ads on Twitch with uBlock Origin too, and I scarcely ever visit the site. It seems like that's an actively tracked issue.

          4 votes
        2. [3]
          andre
          Link Parent
          I don't have any whitelisting on Twitch. Like @petrichor mentioned, there's an active GitHub issue, and tons of people with similar complaints on /r/twitch. I've no clue why it's still working for...

          I don't have any whitelisting on Twitch. Like @petrichor mentioned, there's an active GitHub issue, and tons of people with similar complaints on /r/twitch. I've no clue why it's still working for you, but you're lucky!

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Deimos
            Link Parent
            Just as confirmation of that, the current #2 post on /r/Twitch is "New way to block twitch ads, as of 11/19/2020". A lot of the top posts from this week seem to be related to ads as well.

            Just as confirmation of that, the current #2 post on /r/Twitch is "New way to block twitch ads, as of 11/19/2020". A lot of the top posts from this week seem to be related to ads as well.

            4 votes
            1. andre
              Link Parent
              I can confirm that this is working for me. I expect it to break in another couple of days though if current trends continue :\

              I can confirm that this is working for me. I expect it to break in another couple of days though if current trends continue :\

              2 votes
  6. [3]
    elcuello
    Link
    I'm actually close to paying for YT red because the ads on my YT app on apple tv is driving me fucking mental. I think the price is a bit steep but I hate my son being exposed to their bullshit...

    I'm actually close to paying for YT red because the ads on my YT app on apple tv is driving me fucking mental. I think the price is a bit steep but I hate my son being exposed to their bullshit when watching Minecraft videos. Oh how I wish there was an alternative or at least an add block for apple tv. Another thing is I don't want to be logged in and that goes out the window with a subscription.

    3 votes
    1. moocow1452
      Link Parent
      What I do is go in with a Music family plan, and then split it up so you're all chipping in $3 a month and get the fringe benefit of free YouTube Premium. You could add a Son Google account and...

      What I do is go in with a Music family plan, and then split it up so you're all chipping in $3 a month and get the fringe benefit of free YouTube Premium. You could add a Son Google account and have him watch all his Minecraft videos through there, or monkey around with the YouTube Kids app.

      3 votes
    2. ali
      Link Parent
      I bit the bullet and went for this. Currently I am in the student plan. The single person plan is quite steep and the family plan is actually crazy compared to Netflix, but if it’s shared I guess...

      I bit the bullet and went for this. Currently I am in the student plan. The single person plan is quite steep and the family plan is actually crazy compared to Netflix, but if it’s shared I guess it’s fine. It’s getting to the point where I am splitting like 100 bucks a month with my family between Netflix, Spotify, iCloud, Disney plus

      3 votes