38 votes

YouTube Vanced: A privacy-friendly YouTube app for Android with ads and telemetry stripped out

108 comments

  1. [82]
    RNG
    (edited )
    Link
    Highlights: Developed by the XDA team Fully functional, with AMOLED dark theme Does NOT require root Option to download management app that keeps MicroG (privacy respecting Google services) and...

    Highlights:

    • Developed by the XDA team
    • Fully functional, with AMOLED dark theme
    • Does NOT require root
    • Option to download management app that keeps MicroG (privacy respecting Google services) and Vanced updated

    In light of the new rules regarding ads on specifically non-partner channels, YouTube Vanced will change your life, especially if you find yourself Chromecasting YouTube videos a lot.

    If you want to support your favorite creator, kicking them a couple of bucks on Patreon or buying merch will go orders of magnitude further than watching ads on their channel.


    EDIT: The source code for their management app, MicroG, and their edits are available on GitHub. The list of removed "features" to disable telemetry is staggering, worth a look through.

    18 votes
    1. [81]
      mat
      Link Parent
      What about if I want to support everyone? There are maybe 2-3 people I watch enough of to perhaps want to Patronise them, but there's a LOT of people I watch a few videos from who I'd like to get...
      • Exemplary

      What about if I want to support everyone? There are maybe 2-3 people I watch enough of to perhaps want to Patronise them, but there's a LOT of people I watch a few videos from who I'd like to get some kickbacks from ad revenue.

      Part of my income comes from Youtube. I don't have a Patreon nor do I create enough content to justify one. But those payments from Google make a difference to my life. I understand why people want to use apps like this because adverts are annoying - but equally those people are still taking money away from me. I work hard to make the videos I make, and I try to make them useful (or at least interesting) for people.

      If you watch lots of Youtube and you don't like ads, buy YouTube Premium, don't use workarounds which hurt small creators like me.

      20 votes
      1. [46]
        hungariantoast
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Thanks for providing your perspective, because it's one not often seen in conversations about ads and content creation. However, I do have a few comments to make. I suspect you're vastly...
        • Exemplary

        Thanks for providing your perspective, because it's one not often seen in conversations about ads and content creation. However, I do have a few comments to make.


        I suspect you're vastly overestimating the amount of content you need to produce in order to justify having a Patreon account, and even if you really, really don't want to have a Patreon account, there are plenty of other services you could use for donations. You have a ton of options here and should try to diversify how your videos earn money rather than just relying on ads, which would benefit both you and your viewers.


        Ads are not just annoying, they're also manipulative and time-wasting at a minimum, and destructive to society at worst. Online advertising has destroyed the concepts of digital freedom and privacy, given rise to surveillance capitalism, and provided the groundwork for the erosion of democracies all over the world.


        I disagree with the idea that people can take from you money that you don't already have, in the same way that piracy is not theft, but I do understand that in the end you might not be receiving money that you would have otherwise received.

        I don't want to have a discussion about piracy or lost revenue though. I just want to again encourage you to set up a Patreon account or some other donation link, because there are very real and valid reasons for blocking ads beyond just finding them annoying and I personally don't see how the Internet could ever meaningfully improve or reach its prophesized potential until we solve the dichotomy of providing online content for free without advertising, and simultaneously supporting the creators of such content.

        36 votes
        1. [45]
          mat
          Link Parent
          I want to talk about lost revenue. People like you are causing me to lose revenue. If that's a choice you've thought through and are happy to make then that is OK - we all steal some stuff here...
          • Exemplary

          I want to talk about lost revenue. People like you are causing me to lose revenue. If that's a choice you've thought through and are happy to make then that is OK - we all steal some stuff here and there. I pirate a certain amount of TV, personally. I feel bad about it but I simply can't afford to have all the streaming services. So I steal TV. But don't pretend like you're making some kind of grand moral stand in which you save society from destruction. You are not. They are just adverts.

          Yes, they're annoying. But you watching those ads is helping pay for my kid's christmas presents this year (Adsense payout happens tomorrow and I've had a good month on YT and a SHIT nine months elsewhere so I'm very broke). Which means if you view my content via a mechanism which you know circumvents that system, you are effectively stealing from me. You're also incurring running costs at Youtube which you're not paying for, which means the rest of us have to pay for you as well.

          If you don't like how youtube works, don't watch youtube - there's a clothing company in the UK whose business practises I disagree with. But I don't go through an elaborate process to steal their clothes, I simply shop elsewhere.

          As for other revenue systems - last year I posted four videos. I made about £500 from Youtube in that same year. It's not my main income but it's more than nothing. Youtube money pays for extra little luxuries in my life that I perhaps wouldn't have otherwise been able to have. Or, this year, things just a rung or two up from essentials. Because one of my other incomes is via the wedding industry and that's totally fucked.

          My content is very varied, there's no way anyone would support me via Patreon. How many people sit at the middle of the Venn diagram that is 3D Printing, jewellerymaking, super technical jewellery stuff (different to the process videos for laypeople), laptop reviews and woodworking? I make videos to be found by searches, or to be posted in specific locations for people to find. I'm not, nor do I want to be, the kind of channel you follow. Which means I don't get to have patrons because who would sign up for that?

          Plus I want to support other people. I don't have the money to give a few quid to every video I view (plus most people don't have ko-fi/patreon/etc) but I definitely want that dude who posted the video about how to fit locks to your windows to get a few fractions of a pence because that video was super useful. Repeat for hundreds or possibly thousands of other videos I watch in a year.

          Nobody has ever made a convincing case why targetted ads actually impact my privacy in any meaningful way. I am a few anonymous lines on a database of billions. I've heard about how it's going to ruin my privacy since gmail launched and nothing has come of it. It's really not that big a deal. People sometimes offer hypotheticals in which Google's user database isn't anonymised and is somehow made accessible to the outside world but (a) no, that's not happening and (b) why do I care that people know what I've looked at on youtube? If I'm doing something I want to keep private, I can do that easily enough.

          Enjoyed this content? Support me via Paypal here

          20 votes
          1. [33]
            whbboyd
            Link Parent
            I object strenuously to this characterization. What's happened is that you have requested I provide you revenue, and I have chosen¹ to decline, because I feel the medium of revenue you have chosen...
            • Exemplary

            People like you are causing me to lose revenue… we all steal some stuff here and there.

            I object strenuously to this characterization. What's happened is that you have requested I provide you revenue, and I have chosen¹ to decline, because I feel the medium of revenue you have chosen has grossly disproportionate negative externalities to me and to society in general. I am not stealing anything—I'm not even pirating it. I have simply configured my user agent not to request the advertisements you² have suggested I download.

            If you want to make payment for your content non-optional, you can of course do that—simply place it behind a paywall.

            Now, you could observe—almost certainly correctly—that if you did paywall your content, your revenue would decline precipitously. You have my sympathy for this dilemma, and I think it's terrible that the Web has evolved such that these are effectively the only revenue options for smaller content creators. However, I am certainly going to protect myself from advertising, and I see no reason to feel guilty about declining an optional payment made via ads.


            ¹ The entire process is heavily automated on both sides, of course.
            ² In this case, your proxy, Youtube.

            29 votes
            1. [30]
              mat
              Link Parent
              I think it's very hard to make a case that you're not pirating Youtube content. Very hard indeed. You're taking a deliberate and calculated action purely to avoid paying for something, I'm not...
              • Exemplary

              I think it's very hard to make a case that you're not pirating Youtube content. Very hard indeed. You're taking a deliberate and calculated action purely to avoid paying for something, I'm not sure what else you'd call that other that piracy. I'm not prepared to entertain the bizarre notion that piracy isn't theft for even a moment. And I say that as someone with decades of piracy under my belt. I've been stealing stuff off the internet since last century. It's stealing. But that's a relatively minor semantic point, I'd say.

              But the way Youtube works is that you 'pay' for content by seeing adverts. That's the deal being offered. The adverts are not a suggestion, as you put it, they're an integral part of the deal. I'm not 'requesting' anything from you any more than a restaurant 'requests' some money in return for a burger.

              I do get that you feel very strongly about why you choose to pirate Youtube content, and I do understand and appreciate your arguments even if I don't find them convincing. But you are taking people's work and not paying. You can rationalise that as protecting yourself if you like, and I do get why you'd say that, because yeah, adverts do suck.

              But it's an action not without consequences. Ad-blockers are one reason Youtube - and lots of the web - have got much more aggressive about placing ads. It's why content creators have annoying sponsorship breaks (no, Raid Shadow Legends I'm not downloading your crapware now or ever).

              The aggregate effect of hundreds of thousands of people loading content from Youtube's servers without paying their share is passed on to everyone else: the people who make the content and the people who don't run adblockers. Other people have to watch the ads you avoid. Because hosting petabytes of video and serving over a billion hours a day of streaming costs a lot of money. A huge amount. I mean sure, Youtube makes a megafuckload of money, and top youtubers are incredibly wealthy. But still. There is a real, financial cost here.

              And to be honest for creator revenues there's a load of other factors too, like content farms gaming the algorithm and a bunch of other stuff - but adblockers have an effect and it's not a good one. People who run adblockers are, in a tiny way, making the web worse for those of us who don't. Same way I am, in a tiny way, making TV worse by not watching the ad breaks because torrented TV is ad-free.

              And again, to be clear, if you're happy with all this that is OK. If you can look at the impact of your actions on everyone from Google to Pewdiepie to tiny little me and say "yup, I'm cool with doing that" then sure. Like I said, we all freeload (another word for 'steal') to some extent, it's about finding a balance where you're morally comfortable. The point I'm trying to make is that maybe you haven't considered the wider impact of your choices, and who you're hurting by doing this. If you just want to fuck a multi-billiondollar corporate behemoth, knock yourself out. I'm right there with you. But this particular choice doesn't just screw with Google.

              For what it's worth I completely agree that how things have gone with the creation of revenue on the web is non-ideal and I'd love it if things worked differently. But sadly they do not.

              12 votes
              1. [5]
                Emerald_Knight
                Link Parent
                First, I want to say that I understand where you're coming from with regards to your frustrations. I want to make it clear that I'm neither arguing against nor ignoring many of the points you've...

                First, I want to say that I understand where you're coming from with regards to your frustrations. I want to make it clear that I'm neither arguing against nor ignoring many of the points you've made. I just want to touch on one particular point of disagreement that I feel is important, using anecdotal experience to help at least bridge the misunderstanding by providing the perspective of another party.

                Ad-blockers are one reason Youtube - and lots of the web - have got much more aggressive about placing ads.

                This is honestly a symptom of a larger problem. Well over a decade ago, back when I was in high school, I was new to the internet and tech in general. I browsed the internet as most ordinary people did and still do now, without an ad blocker. And quite frankly, it was awful. It was unsafe. It was hazardous. I would browse reputable websites only to have a random ad suddenly hijack the webpage and redirect me to a malicious website that tried to force a download of some sketchy file while blocking any attempt to navigate back to the original website or even close the browser tab. I was forced to close the entire browser to escape malicious, executable code that I never consented to having execute on my machine. For me, installing an ad blocker became a necessity for personal internet security.

                And even when ad blocker usage was low, advertising became more and more intrusive over time, making the internet an unusable mess because these businesses are constantly hungry for ever-larger streams of revenue. Their blatant antagonism toward users has forced the need for ad blockers just to avoid one errant misclick resulting in the need to close out of a browser tab just to escape some annoying deluge of anti-user, browser-jacking bullshit.

                Large, multi-million and even billion dollar corporations were running websites that allowed this to happen frequently. They don't vet their advertising sources. They don't ensure that every ad you see sticks to their guidelines. They don't ensure that the size of the ads is acceptable so that the end user, on a <5 Mbps or even <1.5 Mbps connection, can actually load a webpage. They don't ensure that ads are lightweight enough to load without eating up massive amounts of precious, limited mobile data. Ad blockers have always been and continue to be essential for end users to avoid getting royally fucked because these large corporations can't even be bothered to protect their users.

                This was an arms race started by the entire advertising industry itself. Ad blockers became the solution to the problem they created and continue to worsen. Large websites that depend on the advertising industry for revenue aren't being harmed by the ad blockers, they're being harmed by the advertising industry's destruction of user trust that forces ad blockers to be necessary in the first place.

                So while I very much understand your frustrations and agree with you in principle, I do have to disagree with your conclusion of who the blame falls to.

                Also, I want to clarify that if I sound frustrated at all in everything above, that's not directed toward you at all, but at the state of the advertising industry. I'm admittedly very salty about it :)

                20 votes
                1. [4]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  I did say "one" reason, and fwiw I almost entirely agree with you. Ad-blockers are just part of the problem. But I don't run an adblocker today and never have. The web is mostly perfectly fine for...

                  I did say "one" reason, and fwiw I almost entirely agree with you. Ad-blockers are just part of the problem.

                  But I don't run an adblocker today and never have. The web is mostly perfectly fine for me with ads on. It's much better since popups (mostly) died. They were awful. Perhaps we go to different sites. Perhaps we run different browsers. Perhaps both. I do find particularly American news media sites are not so great, but I don't visit them often. IMDB can be annoying with popovers. I consider it a cost of getting 'free' media.

                  That said, generally, the web is fine. It's much, much better than it used to be. Hyper-aggressive ads don't actually work very well, and to get better results you can either tone them down, or make them worse. Responsible, smart advertisers - who do exist, I've worked for some! - do the former. Not everyone is responsible. Or smart...

                  In the glorious luxury gay space communist future, we won't need advertising and all will be wonderful. Until then I suspect we're stuck with it, sadly. Mind you, it kept me in a job for over a decade so there was that.

                  5 votes
                  1. [3]
                    tindall
                    Link Parent
                    This is ahistorical in the extreme. Pop-ups "died" because Mozilla, then others, implemented a pop-up blocker!

                    It's much better since popups (mostly) died.

                    This is ahistorical in the extreme. Pop-ups "died" because Mozilla, then others, implemented a pop-up blocker!

                    22 votes
                    1. [2]
                      mat
                      Link Parent
                      I didn't intend to imply popups didn't die because of built in blockers. That's precisely what killed them, and good riddance. To be super duper clear, perhaps I should have said I've never...

                      I didn't intend to imply popups didn't die because of built in blockers. That's precisely what killed them, and good riddance.

                      To be super duper clear, perhaps I should have said I've never installed an adblocker. I have, and do still, use existing browser features.

                      7 votes
                      1. tindall
                        Link Parent
                        So are you, or were you then, pirating content from websites that wanted to show you advertisements in pop-ups which were blocked?

                        So are you, or were you then, pirating content from websites that wanted to show you advertisements in pop-ups which were blocked?

                        19 votes
              2. [24]
                Wulfsta
                Link Parent
                While Youtube is a platform where it's expected that most users will view ads to watch videos, one of the fundamental points to be made is that it's built on the web. The web is not a pushed based...

                While Youtube is a platform where it's expected that most users will view ads to watch videos, one of the fundamental points to be made is that it's built on the web. The web is not a pushed based media, and as such you are not "blocking" ads - you are refusing to request them.

                To add to this, advertisements are not traditionally a form of payment. Are you stealing if you do not look at a billboard near a park?

                19 votes
                1. [23]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  Oh come on. Really? Using an irrelevant technical difference between push and pull media delivery is really not any sort of argument. That's not how the web works in any meaningful sense above the...

                  Oh come on. Really? Using an irrelevant technical difference between push and pull media delivery is really not any sort of argument. That's not how the web works in any meaningful sense above the actual http protocol, and it's certainly not any justification for ripping off creators. I'll start rendering the ads directly into my videos if you like, you've requested that media stream..

                  Billboards are not the same thing because they aren't tied directly to the content you're consuming. I've already paid for the park with my taxes. The company who own the stand the billboard is on aren't giving me anything in return for me seeing it.

                  7 votes
                  1. [3]
                    Don_Camillo
                    Link Parent
                    are you stealing television if you mute your tele and go peeing when there is an ad on?

                    are you stealing television if you mute your tele and go peeing when there is an ad on?

                    30 votes
                    1. suspended
                      Link Parent
                      I'd like to applaud your comment for breaking this down into simple logic while also giving me a good laugh. Thank you.

                      I'd like to applaud your comment for breaking this down into simple logic while also giving me a good laugh. Thank you.

                      8 votes
                    2. crdpa
                      Link Parent
                      This is well put. There are a lot of street performers here in my city who does these tricks on traffic lights. I watch them, but I don't have any obligation to give them anything. The fact that...

                      This is well put.

                      There are a lot of street performers here in my city who does these tricks on traffic lights.

                      I watch them, but I don't have any obligation to give them anything. The fact that they are doing something doesn't mean they should earn money for it. They can try, but nobody has to pay for something they don't care about. It's distraction.

                      If your content is really valuable people will pay for it.

                      If they are not paying, it will make no difference if it vanishes or not.

                      3 votes
                  2. Wulfsta
                    Link Parent
                    It's not an irrelevant technical difference for anyone who has a data or bandwidth limit - reducing the amount of data requested is an entirely reasonable decision for the end user of the...

                    It's not an irrelevant technical difference for anyone who has a data or bandwidth limit - reducing the amount of data requested is an entirely reasonable decision for the end user of the protocol. It is very literally how the web works. Inserting an advertisement into a video would be what many creators already do with sponsors.

                    I believe there are state parks in the USA that offer spaces for advertising, and thus are partially funded by this revenue.

                    14 votes
                  3. [5]
                    Amarok
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    Oddly enough, that's the one single form of advertising I don't mind seeing - the sponsorships done by the content creator that are actually a part of the video. At least then I know that...

                    I'll start rendering the ads directly into my videos if you like, you've requested that media stream..

                    Oddly enough, that's the one single form of advertising I don't mind seeing - the sponsorships done by the content creator that are actually a part of the video. At least then I know that individual knows exactly who is sponsoring them and has a high enough opinion of that sponsor to endorse them. They are putting their own reputation on the line with that endorsement. I trust that more than a scattershot of poorly-matched often-repetitive commercials being doled out by algorithms.

                    Odds are near-certain that if I picked a channel for a topic, and a sponsor picked a channel for the same topic, that's because people interested in that topic are likely to be interested in that product. It also means the person running the channel has higher odds of being able to evaluate the pros/cons/trust of that sponsor, because their product is relevant in some way to the topic at hand, and we're all there to hear that person's relevant knowledge and get their take - including a take on businesses and products in that arena.

                    I have to also ask - doesn't a direct sponsorship beat youtube's payouts, and can't one have a sponsorship in one's channels without the platform itself taking a cut out of that? Wouldn't that lead to higher revenue gains, possibly much higher if that channel ever becomes popular? Couldn't one set one's own rates for sponsorships or plugs in one's own videos much higher than the platform would?

                    14 votes
                    1. [4]
                      mat
                      Link Parent
                      I don't think that's a given. Earlier I watched Adam Neely talk about how amazing whichever online learning tool he's sponsored by is then yes - he mentions specific courses that he's done and why...

                      has a high enough opinion of that sponsor to endorse them.

                      I don't think that's a given. Earlier I watched Adam Neely talk about how amazing whichever online learning tool he's sponsored by is then yes - he mentions specific courses that he's done and why they're good. But as often I not I see people whose opinions I mostly otherwise respect endorsing crappy mobile games or worse, "explaining" how VPNs work - they clearly don't know what they're selling and are only doing it for the money.

                      If you're a moderate to big youtuber it is a LOT of money as well. If I'm completely honest I'd probably do the same. I'd prefer to advertise something I believed was good but if the money was good enough.. Of course there is a line I wouldn't cross, but it's certainly not $Brand-VPN or $Shitty-Phone-Game.

                      In-video sponsorships annoy me a bit because I pay for Youtube premium in part so I don't have to see ads. But for full-time youtubers I do sympathise. I know they have to diversify their incomes. And again, it's a lot of money for a few minutes work. I can't find the quote right now but someone once accused Stephen Fry of 'selling out' because he did a voice-over for a TV ad. It was something fairly innocuous like biscuits or tea or something. His response was along the lines of "darling they offered me £36,000 for an afternoon's work. What kind of idiot do you take me for?"

                      8 votes
                      1. [3]
                        Amarok
                        Link Parent
                        I see that too, usually on younger amateur channels - I never take an endorsement as gospel, I just think it's better more often and relevant more often than the scattershot of shitty youtube...

                        But as often I not I see people whose opinions I mostly otherwise respect endorsing crappy mobile games or worse, "explaining" how VPNs work - they clearly don't know what they're selling and are only doing it for the money.

                        I see that too, usually on younger amateur channels - I never take an endorsement as gospel, I just think it's better more often and relevant more often than the scattershot of shitty youtube commercials that get longer and more numerous each passing day. Plus, the discounts given to channel subscribers as part of the sponsorship are good incentives to try products out. Couple percent off, free trial, sure. I can get behind that. VPNs ads are omnipresent, but thanks to that I know which VPNs run in memory only server-side and do their job, and which ones aren't built right. That's relevant to a lot of people (anyone with internet, really) and I'd plug VPNs on my channel as well if I were running one.

                        The guy who includes 30 minutes of garbage sponsors in a video is his own worst enemy, but he'll know that from the subscription/view numbers cratering and his comment section. Seems like the feedback is more immediate and personal. Harder to ignore. Better incentive to get the plugs right, make them fun/part of the channel.

                        If I was seeing a skippable advertisement (or even a short unskippable one) per half hour of content consumed I can live with that. If I'm getting (as now) two unskippable commercials aimed at people who have chimp brains per short video, plus multiple poorly timed interruptions (in the middle of music tracks?! even more insulting), plus now post-video commercials I'm just going to nope out and block it all.

                        Ain't nobody got time for that, certainly not me. I'm not above having a server here download all my content, forcibly and automatically strip it of advertising blocks, and then watching the edited copy. I've done that for TV in the past, tools exist and are good at it. I haven't checked but I'll wager they exist for streaming platforms by now. If they don't yet, they will. No ABFs to key on, but there are other ways.

                        This is why ads get static. They occupy an eternally increasing section of attention. They always get out of control, it's just a question of time. Seems like 99% of them are false claims, exaggerations, or where-did-the-soda-go levels of stupid. I'm sure every single person reading this knew a decade ago when youtube was bought by google that we'd be here, right now, with this ad bloat problem. I certainly did. I respect the few outlets and publications that manage to resist this slow creep and keep their ads reasonable. I have a whitelist of sites that I want to support for this reason. If the ads aren't obnoxious and breaking into the text, I don't mind a whitelist.

                        If I'm getting entire shows shoved at me (40+ minutes) in one of these 'advertising slots' (which has happened many, many times) I'm not just going to block it, I'm going to preach to the world for everyone to know how to block that crap, plus laugh about it and generally be an asshole, because now I'm being mocked by the platform. My goal is now defunding that platform, chasing them them out of business to make way for a non-idiot competitor to do a better job, and having a marshmallow roast over their burning corpse when that day comes.

                        That's not nice or charitable, but when you're assaulting me with that much stupid and wasting that much of my time, I feel like scorn and ridicule is more deserved. The good news is that people like me are pretty rare edge cases that can be ignored, the bad news is making ads impossible for me to avoid is likely to chase all the normies away in the process by making the site worse. I'm not a target advertisers can reasonably expect to reach.

                        Or, you know... just pitch me relevant stuff that's reviewed well on my channels and then I'll be singing the product/sponsor's praises instead. It really seems to sidestep the entire mess, be better for consumers and creators, and would probably lead to a better platform. Not that I really expect things to go this way on a broad scale. Perhaps with youtube's successor, when that day comes.

                        One thing that I feel would really help is an option 'no more ads in this product category' - find me something else. The repetition is really grating - how preternaturally stupid are tech companies if they can't track which ads you've seen and which you haven't when they are the ones serving them to you? Seems like that might be an important bit of information. Frankly, youtube is ripping off advertisers if they pay for views and show me the same ad 30 times. That's one view at best, someone's being lied to if they think they actually reach 30 people with 30 views. Seems like unique views would be more fair.

                        6 votes
                        1. [2]
                          mat
                          Link Parent
                          It's possible that you get shitty irrelevant ads because you're avoiding targetting. When I used to see ads on YT it was at least for stuff I was vaguely interested in. Mostly. The targetting is...

                          scattershot of shitty youtube commercials

                          pitch me relevant stuff

                          It's possible that you get shitty irrelevant ads because you're avoiding targetting. When I used to see ads on YT it was at least for stuff I was vaguely interested in. Mostly. The targetting is fairly good but the people using it aren't always too clueful.

                          'no more ads in this product category'

                          You can do that. You can block categories from being advertised to you in your google account preferences. I do it for booze because I really don't need to see that sort of ad. And I haven't, for a long time. Of course if you don't have a google account and are avoiding all tracking... well, you see the problem? ;-)

                          how preternaturally stupid are tech companies if they can't track which ads you've seen and which you haven't when they are the ones serving them to you

                          So this is a bit interesting. It's not the tech serving the ads at fault in this case. They know full well what you've seen and when and how you reacted to it. This is the ad buyers - same reason that even with tracking you still get irrelevant ads from time to time. Google don't care much if ad buyers choose to show you the same old shit over and over. They're sort of a bit against it and they advise you to avoid doing that in the Adsense/YT control panels - because it's not really ideal for them to devalue advertising that way - but equally they're still getting paid so they don't make too much fuss.

                          Facebook ads, for example. Utter shite. It's almost like they simply don't have 13ish years of my opinions, things I've clicked on, the general sense of my network of friends and so on, plus all the tracking they got before I bothered to container them. But it's not Facebook who are placing the ads. It's the idiots who go into ad manager and don't filter me out in their targetting. Facebook's social graph stuff is pretty high quality. It's not Google good, but it's still good. Facebook's advertising customers - the people who go and buy the ad slots and set up the targets - well, not always so hot. You can give someone the best tool in the world but they don't know how to use it..

                          I'm not a target advertisers can reasonably expect to reach.

                          Oh, you're a whole category. As far as they're concerned everyone is reachable, everyone is convincable, everyone is a target. No exceptions. The ad industry has been doing this a long time, they have vast, vast datasets (dating from long before the internet, the internet was just icing on an already huge cake) and the people at the top of the game are very, very good at what they do.

                          I'm not saying that's a good thing but they know who you are and they know how to reach you and they know how push the buttons you have that they've determined are worth pressing. I find it's best to try not to worry about it too much.

                          Am I remembering right you're an Aussie? Ever watched The Gruen Transfer? I think it later became just Gruen, but that show has some interesting insight into the industry, and it was pretty entertaining too.

                          6 votes
                          1. Amarok
                            Link Parent
                            Nah, I'm a Yankee, southern/western New York. I haven't heard of that show but as I'm running rather low on fresh new content I'm happy to check it out. I did watch and enjoy Mad Men but it didn't...

                            Nah, I'm a Yankee, southern/western New York. I haven't heard of that show but as I'm running rather low on fresh new content I'm happy to check it out. I did watch and enjoy Mad Men but it didn't do much for my distaste for the industry.

                            It's a great point that the people using the tools aren't making the best use out of what they've been given.

                  4. [13]
                    tindall
                    Link Parent
                    It is not an irrelevant technical difference. I can do whatever the hell I want to the bits YouTube sends to me, including throw some of them away, so long as I'm not violating copyright law by...

                    It is not an irrelevant technical difference. I can do whatever the hell I want to the bits YouTube sends to me, including throw some of them away, so long as I'm not violating copyright law by copying them somewhere that someone else could see them.

                    I'll start rendering the ads directly into my videos if you like, you've requested that media stream.

                    Please! You'll make more money. But don't argue that fast-forwarding through such an ad is "piracy"...

                    4 votes
                    1. [12]
                      mat
                      Link Parent
                      Can you do what you want with that bitstream? Are you 100% legally sure about that? You did agree to a ToS when you loaded the site, and if you're using their API you agreed to a different ToS...

                      Can you do what you want with that bitstream? Are you 100% legally sure about that? You did agree to a ToS when you loaded the site, and if you're using their API you agreed to a different ToS when you generated your API key. Because you might not be. Just because you have some data on your computer doesn't mean you automatically have the right to do anything you want with it.

                      Please! You'll make more money. But don't argue that fast-forwarding through such an ad is "piracy"...

                      The difference in that case I get paid whether you watch the inline ad or not. I'm paid in advance. With the pre-roll ads you avoid on youtube, I don't get paid if the ad isn't served. That's why blocking those ads is avoiding paying for my content, which makes it piracy.

                      But as I said, I pirate stuff. Personally, I'd prefer it if you didn't pirate this stuff, because that's some money I'm not making. Ask my sister, she'll say she'd rather you didn't pirate TV, because that's how she gets paid. My friend Adam would rather you didn't pirate movies, because that's how he gets paid. Claire would like it if you didn't pirate music because that's how she makes money. Etc. etc. It works out. Enough people don't steal stuff that everyone gets paid. Very few people pirate everything, and those that do are not enough to matter.

                      Piracy is theft, everyone does it to some extent, just be - and I'm aware how stupidly ironic this sounds - honest about what you're doing, don't try to weasel out of it with "if it's not explicitly banned it's OK" or "it's not piracy and even if it was piracy isn't stealing" and other gymnastics. Own your choices. If it was really about Youtube's business practices you'd just not go there. Same way I never load Daily Mail urls. Even with an adblocker (that I don't run, but if I did) I wouldn't want to give them the pageviews. But you want the content without making the exchange of value - eyeballs for content. You're a YouTube pirate. It's not that big a deal. Would I rather you weren't? Of course. But do I think less of you - or anyone else - for being so? Absolutely not. Will I stop trying to convince people not to do it? No. Well, yes. This thread is very tiring and I've had a very long day. So specifically, yes, I will stop. But in a broader sense no.

                      4 votes
                      1. [7]
                        tindall
                        Link Parent
                        No I didn't. But I agreed to one when I made my YouTube account, and I read that ToS. It doesn't prohibit ad blockers. As I mentioned before, the relevant section only prohibits automated...

                        You did agree to a ToS when you loaded the site

                        No I didn't. But I agreed to one when I made my YouTube account, and I read that ToS. It doesn't prohibit ad blockers. As I mentioned before, the relevant section only prohibits automated scraping.

                        With the pre-roll ads you avoid on youtube, I don't get paid if the ad isn't served. That's why blocking those ads is avoiding paying for my content, which makes it piracy.

                        Maybe morally, but it's not a violation of the DMCA, and it's not a violation of the ToS, so... what is it a violation of? I don't watch your channel, but if I did, I wouldn't be entering into a contractual relationship with you by doing so.

                        On the other hand, I think people having baked in ads is fine. They generally make more money, and I skip them so I don't even have to hear an ad. Everybody wins.

                        Please don't call me dishonest. I'm not violating the law and I'm not violating any contract. If I were, I'd own up to it, but I'm not, no matter how annoying it is to you that YouTube doesn't protect you from me and my big bad ad-blocker.

                        10 votes
                        1. [6]
                          mat
                          (edited )
                          Link Parent
                          Be more convincing about why you're not being dishonest then. Was it you I said that the "if it's not explicitly disallowed then it's OK" line is not any sort of argument? Because it's not. A very...

                          Please don't call me dishonest. I'm not violating the law and I'm not violating any contract.

                          Be more convincing about why you're not being dishonest then. Was it you I said that the "if it's not explicitly disallowed then it's OK" line is not any sort of argument? Because it's not. A very large part of society operates on unwritten agreements. That doesn't mean those agreements don't exist. Try jumping a queue sometime and saying to all the people you've just stolen time from that there's no law or contract which says you can't do it.

                          As I said, IANAL but the Youtube terms seem quite clear to me:

                          "You may access and use the Service as made available to you, as long as you comply with this Agreement" (by using this site you agree to this ToS. Also youtube is what it is, you don't get to change how it works just because you want to)

                          "You are not allowed to circumvent, disable, fraudulently engage, or otherwise interfere with the Service (or attempt to do any of these things)" (use the service as provided, including all the software - you can't just grab the video stream)

                          There are situations where you can do stuff to the YouTube service, such as via their API - but that has it's own terms. Do you honestly think that one of the biggest companies in the world hasn't paid a terrifyingly good legal team an eye-watering amount of money to make absolutely sure you can't, legally, fuck with their revenue stream? Technically yes, you can get around watching ads - but you are breaking the terms of the deal you agreed to.

                          But even if you hadn't agreed to that ToS, there is a reasonable social expectation that you'll pay your fair share and support the people whose content you're benefiting from. That's one reason people bother creating stuff at all. You said you'd done that on Youtube, so you'll know how much hard work it can be. Sure, some people do stuff just for fun or fame or whatever - but there's plenty of us who do it for fun and money.

                          2 votes
                          1. [5]
                            tindall
                            Link Parent
                            I hope you'll consider that we are just both reasonable people who disagree about what those ToS mean. This has never been tested in court and I'm 99% sure it never will be, but if it is, we'll...

                            I hope you'll consider that we are just both reasonable people who disagree about what those ToS mean. This has never been tested in court and I'm 99% sure it never will be, but if it is, we'll know who's right. Until then, I submit this:

                            The individual, adless video streams are "made available" by YouTube; no "circumvention" is necessary to access them, any more than it would be "circumvention" to write a program that hears an ad come on and mutes my TV. It is certainly not "fraud" to chose not to display something on my computer screen, nor is it "interference". I am not "disabling" the service, either (which would require doing something that makes YouTube unavailable to other people).

                            So no, I am not being dishonest. I'm acting on a good faith interpretation of this ToS. But you know what? I won't watch your channel, ads on or off, if it makes you that unhappy.

                            5 votes
                            1. [4]
                              mat
                              Link Parent
                              That's an interesting interpretation. I don't have a great deal of legal experience although I have written a few ToS in my time - and then had some robust discussion with my lawyer about just...

                              That's an interesting interpretation. I don't have a great deal of legal experience although I have written a few ToS in my time - and then had some robust discussion with my lawyer about just what I'd missed or inadvertently allowed people to do. But I can't see a route to arrive at the conclusions you have without somewhat misunderstanding what's being said in the ToS. Bear in mind the doc I linked is just the short "plain english" version, you perhaps ought to go and read the full document which will fully define everything in absolutely bulletproof languge, which I'd find if I wasn't on my way out the door. I agree this particular instance likely won't be tested in court but bear in mind it doesn't necessarily need to be, because these documents are made up of bits and pieces which individually have been tested in court. Good lawyers cost a shitload of money for a reason.

                              But if you really, honestly believe that Youtube are perfectly happy with you ripping off their content I don't think there's any benefit to further discussion here. I suspect that really you do understand they don't want you doing that, right? And it would be very strange to imagine they hadn't completely covered their arses on the legal front, because while you can make an argument that they are evil, they're certainly not stupid.

                              1 vote
                              1. [3]
                                tindall
                                Link Parent
                                In no universe would I ever give one iota of thought towards what would make YouTube or Google happy, and I think that might be our fundamental disconnect.

                                if you really, honestly believe that Youtube are perfectly happy with you ripping off their content

                                In no universe would I ever give one iota of thought towards what would make YouTube or Google happy, and I think that might be our fundamental disconnect.

                                10 votes
                                1. [2]
                                  mat
                                  Link Parent
                                  I feel like there might be some sort of communication issue here. I apologise if I haven't been very clear. I tend to only get to tildes late at night and I'm often very tired. I'm not wondering,...

                                  I feel like there might be some sort of communication issue here. I apologise if I haven't been very clear. I tend to only get to tildes late at night and I'm often very tired.

                                  I'm not wondering, or even interested, if you are doing things to please Google. That would be ridiculous to ask anyone, let alone you! I mean come on, I do read your comments, I'm not a complete idiot... :)

                                  What i was getting at was do you think that Google's business plan includes letting you bypass their revenue generation system? Are they happy about your actions? The answer, btw, is no, they don't like you circumventing their service. That's why the terms, which you agreed to, require you to not do that. That's why you're a youtube pirate.

                                  Do you genuinely believe you're not? Or is it that you just don't like being called a pirate? Regardless of how you feel about google's business practices or the morals (or lack thereof) in advertising or anything like that, you must understand they don't want you doing this? You can not care about what they want, that's fine and I don't either, frankly - I only care about what I get out of it. But the idea that you think this is all genuinely OK with Google is extremely difficult for me to grasp. What am I missing?

                                  1. tindall
                                    Link Parent
                                    I'm absolutely happy to be called a pirate, I pirate lots of things (abandonware games, Nintendo ROMs, proprietary CAD software I can't hope to afford). This is not such a thing. It really seems,...

                                    Do you genuinely believe you're not? Or is it that you just don't like being called a pirate?

                                    I'm absolutely happy to be called a pirate, I pirate lots of things (abandonware games, Nintendo ROMs, proprietary CAD software I can't hope to afford). This is not such a thing.

                                    I feel like there might be some sort of communication issue here. I apologise if I haven't been very clear.

                                    It really seems, from my side of this conversation, like you aren't willing to accept that people can disagree about the meaning - not the intent, mind you, but the legal meaning - of wording without one of them being dishonest, which I don't think is a productive place to come from when discussing things like this.

                                    do you think that Google's business plan includes letting you bypass their revenue generation system?

                                    I think they would rather have the relatively small fraction of people who will go to the trouble of blocking ads on Youtube still participate in the service rather than alienate people and jeopardize even part of their network effect, yes. For example: I use Diode.Zone and some other alternative services as well as YouTube; were Google to, say, implement Widevine DRM on YouTube videos, I would stop watching YouTube altogether. I think there are several subcultures, probably well represented within the YouTube staff, which have a lot of members that feel the same way.

                                    Frankly, I don't think we cost them enough money for them to even spend the engineering effort to implement that kind of thing, and that's not the mention the business risk of several whole communities of creators and audiences migrating to other services because their more hardcore, thought-leader members don't want to watch DRM'd videos.

                                    Yes, it's a small risk, but as I said we are also a small group of people and thus a small amount of lost revenue as is. So I'm actually not totally convinced that this is some loophole in the ToS - I think they might just not care.

                                    2 votes
                      2. [4]
                        andre
                        Link Parent
                        To echo Don_Camillo above, if I go take a piss whenever an ad comes on, am I now stealing from the advertiser? Not only did the advertiser lose money on a false impression, YouTube lost extra...

                        I don't get paid if the ad isn't served. That's why blocking those ads is avoiding paying for my content, which makes it piracy.

                        To echo Don_Camillo above, if I go take a piss whenever an ad comes on, am I now stealing from the advertiser? Not only did the advertiser lose money on a false impression, YouTube lost extra money in bandwidth costs while serving the unwatched ad. Perhaps we should require computers to track our eyeballs during advertisements a la the "Fifteen Million Merits" Black Mirror episode to guarantee those advertisers are getting their money's worth.

                        I've read all of your comments in this post, and I feel for you, I really do, but I'm still going to do everything in my power to prevent the above mentioned dystopian nightmare. If that means YouTube fails, so be it.

                        7 votes
                        1. [3]
                          mat
                          Link Parent
                          Youtube isn't going to fail, and I'm not actually bothered if they do. But I am definitely making slightly less money because of ad blockers. And as I said elsewhere, I am OK with that. I just...

                          Youtube isn't going to fail, and I'm not actually bothered if they do. But I am definitely making slightly less money because of ad blockers. And as I said elsewhere, I am OK with that. I just want to make sure you're making that decision with full knowledge of who you're harming.

                          3 votes
                          1. [2]
                            andre
                            Link Parent
                            So you're upset that people are turning on ad blockers, which causes a reduction in your personal revenue, but you wouldn't be bothered if YT completely failed, removing the entirety of your...

                            So you're upset that people are turning on ad blockers, which causes a reduction in your personal revenue, but you wouldn't be bothered if YT completely failed, removing the entirety of your revenue?

                            If YouTube failed as a result of ad blockers, presumably all other platforms whose revenue came from ads would also fail. What would you do then? And why not do whatever that is now?

                            6 votes
                            1. mat
                              Link Parent
                              Yes, you've got it exactly right. If YT failed then something else would exist which does what they do, there's clearly a huge market for that kind of service. I don't care about Youtube per se, I...

                              Yes, you've got it exactly right. If YT failed then something else would exist which does what they do, there's clearly a huge market for that kind of service. I don't care about Youtube per se, I care about my bank balance.

                              Nothing else currently exists which does what Youtube does, otherwise I'd use that. Obviously other video sharing platforms exist, but they don't have the reach of youtube. So they're not worth it right now.

                              These hypotheticals are rather pointless though, because Youtube is massively profitable despite the people ripping them off via apps like Vanced. They're just slightly worse experiences for users who choose not to block ads or pay for subscriptions.

            2. [2]
              Wes
              Link Parent
              This seems like a minor technicality. Is the specific implementation of how the browser and server exchange information really all that important to the argument? Providers could just as well use...

              I have simply configured my user agent not to request the advertisements you² have suggested I download.

              This seems like a minor technicality. Is the specific implementation of how the browser and server exchange information really all that important to the argument? Providers could just as well use Server Push, or bake the ad into the video file itself. At that point it would no longer be a download suggestion.

              I think it's better to put the technicalities aside and ask the real question: should content creators have the right to require an ad be viewed before their content is made available? Why or why not?

              While I'm personally glad adblocking is so easy today, I'd have no objection to a content creator putting a stronger requirement on ad viewing. It's clear that the majority prefer ads over paying even small fees, and this is likely the only way many content creators can effectively monetize.

              I don't necessarily agree with mat's position either that blocking ads equates to piracy, but I appreciate that he's argued the point directly.

              6 votes
              1. tindall
                Link Parent
                Yes. The specific parallel that mat is suggesting - that this is similar to finding a Steam exploit that allows you to play games you haven't paid for - is actually very different. In a model...

                This seems like a minor technicality. Is the specific implementation of how the browser and server exchange information really all that important to the argument?

                Yes. The specific parallel that mat is suggesting - that this is similar to finding a Steam exploit that allows you to play games you haven't paid for - is actually very different. In a model where YouTube only sends me the video once I've watched an ad, I would have to do something nefarious to YouTube's computers - illegal hacking - in order to watch a video without watching an ad. As it is, or with Server Push, or if an ad was baked into the video stream, YouTube sends me a bunch of bits, some of which represent a video I want to watch in an un-DRM'd format, and I decide what to do with them.

                Unless you want to argue that fast-forwarding through a sponsor spot or muting my audio and looking away during an ad is a violation of the DMCA, I don't think it makes much sense to say that simply not playing the video stream corresponding to an ad is piracy, either.

                6 votes
          2. [11]
            RNG
            Link Parent
            In a post-Cambridge Analytica, post-Snowden, post-Billionth data breach, post-2016 Election, post-"anonymized data is de-enonymized", post-PATRIOT ACT world, there are absolutely legitimate...

            In a post-Cambridge Analytica, post-Snowden, post-Billionth data breach, post-2016 Election, post-"anonymized data is de-enonymized", post-PATRIOT ACT world, there are absolutely legitimate criticisms on how much personal data businesses horde about regular citizens.

            I think there is an irreconcilable tension here. There's a dialectical relationship between user privacy and YouTube creators' material interests (at least those geared towards AdSense revenue.)

            Aside from focusing on receiving your funding elsewhere (Patreon, merch, donations), I don't think either side can come to an agreement on this issue.

            Hopefully we can at least agree users have a legitimate interest in disabiling deeply personal tracking software running on their own devices, even if that hurts revenue for some creators.

            35 votes
            1. suspended
              Link Parent
              I jumped on this bandwagon years ago and I'm not getting off.

              ...users have a legitimate interest in disabling deeply personal tracking software running on their own devices, even if that hurts revenue for some creators.

              I jumped on this bandwagon years ago and I'm not getting off.

              28 votes
            2. [9]
              mat
              Link Parent
              I'm not sure there is a tension between ad targetting and ad watching because they're not quite the same thing. You can avoid tracking if you want. plenty of browser plugins and options and stuff...
              • Exemplary

              I'm not sure there is a tension between ad targetting and ad watching because they're not quite the same thing. You can avoid tracking if you want. plenty of browser plugins and options and stuff - I have Firefox's anti-tracking on full strength. I run Facebook in a container. I have a couple of other plugins doing stuff. You can load youtube not logged in, you can auto-clear cookies or use private mode and all that stuff to avoid tracking and targetting. It won't be 100% effective but such is the nature of the ongoing game of user tracking whack-a-mole.

              But none of that actually stops you viewing the adverts. That's the only bit I care about, as someone who gets paid by you viewing adverts. Would I prefer if it you clicked on them? Sure! But then I'd also prefer it if people just sent me money in the post, and that's just as unlikely. Google want to build a profile of you so they can show you stuff you might click on, but they're perfectly happy to show you random adverts as well.

              It's possible to do both things - remain anonymous(ish) and still see ads - but you don't often see that presented as an option. How would you feel if this app offered all the tracking blocking but still the ads? So you can support people without compromising your preferences for privacy?

              I do agree that some people want to not be tracked, and that people don't want to see ads. I don't agree those two are the same thing, and I don't think you can justify the latter with arguments for the former. Personally I don't find avoiding paying the agreed price (seeing an advert) for watching small creator's content an acceptable moral choice. It's less of a thing for bigger creators who have the option of other revenue streams but there's a very long tail of people who don't. I completely accept other people feel differently about this. But that won't stop me sometimes trying to convince those people that they're wrong.

              10 votes
              1. [7]
                RNG
                Link Parent
                In the vast majority of cases, blocking ads/telemetry is a process of blacklisting advertising domains. I don't know how or even if one could allow ads while also properly protecting the privacy...

                I do agree that some people want to not be tracked, and that people don't want to see ads. I don't agree those two are the same thing, and I don't think you can justify the latter with arguments for the former.

                In the vast majority of cases, blocking ads/telemetry is a process of blacklisting advertising domains. I don't know how or even if one could allow ads while also properly protecting the privacy of the individual.

                A lot of the creators I donate to are simply too small to earn anything through YouTube ads. If you are sizable enough to earn a non-negligible amount of revenue through YT ads, you are almost certainly large enough to run a Patreon.

                If I were to watch your videos on my browser, I'd have uBlock Origin (which uses a blacklist for ad domains) on which again would block ads as well as most associated telemetry.

                12 votes
                1. [6]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  Oh, I'd think it would be entirely do-able. It's a little more complex than just blackholing domains but it's far from unfeasible. For what it's worth, a few tens of thousands of views makes it...

                  Oh, I'd think it would be entirely do-able. It's a little more complex than just blackholing domains but it's far from unfeasible.

                  For what it's worth, a few tens of thousands of views makes it worth turning on monetisation. Youtube is far from my main revenue stream, but it's a payout every few months, more if I have a video do well. I make the videos because I need every bit of income I can get. I explained in another comment why Patreon wouldn't work for me, and it really wouldn't. I wouldn't support my Patreon, and I AM me.

                  Also what you consider a negligible amount of money might not be to me. Especially with how some of my other revenue streams have tanked this year. I've done ONE set of wedding rings this year. ONE. I'll put some numbers on it if you want - the £90 payout I'm getting from Youtube tomorrow is not negligible, it's how I'm buying christmas presents this year.

                  5 votes
                  1. [2]
                    RNG
                    (edited )
                    Link Parent
                    I think this is a tragic situation. I think I alluded to there being an irreconcilable contradiction between the material interests of content creators relying on AdSense and the privacy of users....

                    I think this is a tragic situation.

                    I think I alluded to there being an irreconcilable contradiction between the material interests of content creators relying on AdSense and the privacy of users.

                    Your revenue stream is predicated on a system that is one of the greatest threats to personal privacy in existence, and it isn't hyperbolic to say a threat to democracy, as discussed earlier. The concerns personally, sociologically, and politically cannot be overstated.

                    This is one of those issues where there is a hard line in the sand that can't be muddied or grayed with enough nuance. One is either on one side or the other, and only time and changing conditions will tell what the outcome of this dialectic will be.

                    I wish you well.

                    12 votes
                    1. mat
                      Link Parent
                      Nah, that's a well muddy line. There's so much nuance you're dismissing. There's almost nothing in this world which is black and white, certainly not anything as complex and varied as an entire...

                      Nah, that's a well muddy line. There's so much nuance you're dismissing. There's almost nothing in this world which is black and white, certainly not anything as complex and varied as an entire industry! I like advertising because it means we have an internet. I like it because it makes me money. I dislike it because even at it's best it's annoying, it can be extremely manipulative and at worst it's even a tool for actual evil. But tools are tools. It's who uses them and how that matters.

                      It's possible to have a responsible advertising industry. I like to think the work I did when I worked in the field was responsible and compassionate while still being profitable. It's possible even to build databases of user preferences without destroying democracy or even compromising privacy - people never seem to believe that preference data is anonymised, but it usually is. Just because it's also possible to use those things for really very bad purposes doesn't mean it's inevitable.

                      6 votes
                  2. [3]
                    tindall
                    Link Parent
                    I will say, as someone who was previously a paid YouTube creator, YouTube themselves has done a lot more to hurt that career than anyone with an adblocker, by essentially kicking me out of the YPP...

                    I will say, as someone who was previously a paid YouTube creator, YouTube themselves has done a lot more to hurt that career than anyone with an adblocker, by essentially kicking me out of the YPP because I didn't have enough subscribers. Much of my traffic was driven by searches and external links.

                    I understand where you're coming from, but it's a very similar situation to artists and music piracy. Sure, maybe it's bad that someone can torrent an album instead of paying a label $10 of which the artist sees $1, but... Google could simply decide to give you a much larger payout, and they aren't doing so. You've got bigger fish to fry than people using ublock origin.

                    9 votes
                    1. [2]
                      mat
                      Link Parent
                      I may well do, but those fish are not what this discussion is about. This is an app which blocks adverts, and by extension, deprives me of revenue. The existence of other problems, which may be...

                      You've got bigger fish to fry than people using ublock origin.

                      I may well do, but those fish are not what this discussion is about. This is an app which blocks adverts, and by extension, deprives me of revenue.

                      The existence of other problems, which may be larger and/or more significant, doesn't negate the existence of this specific problem.

                      8 votes
                      1. tindall
                        Link Parent
                        But it does make your insistence on this particular problem seem kind of lacking in class consciousness.

                        But it does make your insistence on this particular problem seem kind of lacking in class consciousness.

                        13 votes
              2. mundane_and_naive
                (edited )
                Link Parent
                The distinction between forced advertising and targeted advertising is something I haven't thought about before and now that I think about it, I believe this point should be brought up more often....

                The distinction between forced advertising and targeted advertising is something I haven't thought about before and now that I think about it, I believe this point should be brought up more often. Because while the current way advertising is implemented combines both features into one system, there's nothing fundamental about one agenda that necessitate the other. Conventional advertisements on TV or magazines are already forced and untargeted, whereas Google don't really need you to watch an ads in order to track your every moves online.

                There's a false dichotomy here that we need to recognize, otherwise platforms like Google and Facebook will use the excuse of supporting small creators in order to justify their surveillance, whereas our demands for privacy and protection against manipulation will loose potential supports from people whose livelihoods are needlessly affected.

                This reminds me of the fact that as a respond to the current pandemic, people were able to create contact tracing techniques that do not collect user data, which at first glance seems counterintuitive. I am aware that this is a completely unrelated issue than what we're discussing (ads watching, ads targeting, data collection), I just want to point out that issues that at first seems like two sides of the same coin might not actually be so.

                It may be that there are legitimate needs for adblockers (such as for dealing with the truly malicious and intrusive ones), or that the current system is set up in such a way that in order to protect your privacy, it's unavoidable to use a tool that also prevent ads from showing, but maybe it's also possible to find solutions for these issues separately in such a way that they don't negate each other (enforcing more ethical online advertising practices, stronger user data collection and protection laws, etc.)

                9 votes
      2. [31]
        RNG
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I think this is certainly a dilemma, and I sympathize with your position. Let me make a case for my perspective on why it's permissible to block ads on YouTube: Allowing ads to support creators is...

        I think this is certainly a dilemma, and I sympathize with your position. Let me make a case for my perspective on why it's permissible to block ads on YouTube:

        Allowing ads to support creators is an exchange. The viewer provides intimate information to Google (that is aggregated to build an intimate picture of you that's used against you in increasingly targeted ways across the web,) and in exchange, the creator might get a tiny kickback when you view their video. This framing can be expanded to the blocking of ads across the web, and the associated harms to blogs, sites, and businesses.

        If allowing ads didn't require the viewer to sacrifice any personal data, where the cost is simply a few seconds of their time, I'd be far more sympathetic to the harms ad blockers impose on creators.

        As it stands, in my view, the harms to viewers that are mitigated by ad blocking outweigh the harm done to small creators, a harm that can still be mitigated via other means of financial support.

        23 votes
        1. [5]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          What are your thoughts on their suggestion to use YouTube premium rather than selectively use Patreon?

          What are your thoughts on their suggestion to use YouTube premium rather than selectively use Patreon?

          8 votes
          1. JackA
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            I don't like the idea of rewarding a company for making their ads so anti-user that my only option is to pay them to stop showing them to me. That only encourages them to make the problem worse...

            I don't like the idea of rewarding a company for making their ads so anti-user that my only option is to pay them to stop showing them to me. That only encourages them to make the problem worse for free users, sucking more money without respect for their data or experience while pushing them to buy a subscription. I'm not going to pay a ransom to make their service enjoyable.

            20 votes
          2. RNG
            Link Parent
            I may look into it, however I'm not sure what the value added would be. I contribute to a few dozen creators/streamers/podcasters and a few open source projects each month. Part of the reason I...

            I may look into it, however I'm not sure what the value added would be. I contribute to a few dozen creators/streamers/podcasters and a few open source projects each month.

            Part of the reason I contribute is to ensure these free resources are available to everyone. I wouldn't contribute to a project, monetarily or otherwise, that doesn't prioritize providing a free product no strings attached (ads, DRM, paywalls, etc.)

            If those things listed are how a project funds itself, I don't often find myself personally invested in the outcome of that project.

            7 votes
          3. [2]
            Amarok
            Link Parent
            I think Premium is yet another scam. I even have a prophecy for you - Premium subscribers will be show ads within a couple of years. Remember back when cable television had no advertisements...

            I think Premium is yet another scam. I even have a prophecy for you - Premium subscribers will be show ads within a couple of years.

            Remember back when cable television had no advertisements because you paid for it with a subscription? Considering how well that worked out in the long run I'm pretty skeptical about Premium, or even Netflix saying no ads ever. That claim is a universal lie.

            That said, as Premium right now has no ads, if I felt like I had some money to waste on frivolous entertainment I'd get it. It's a viable solution - for a little while longer. I'd also cancel it the nanosecond an ad showed up.

            3 votes
            1. Whom
              Link Parent
              The only reason I think you're wrong with this prediction is that I don't think Premium is that massively popular and people aren't married to it in the way they were to cable. Its biggest purpose...

              The only reason I think you're wrong with this prediction is that I don't think Premium is that massively popular and people aren't married to it in the way they were to cable.

              Its biggest purpose is paying to circumvent bullshit and if that fell through idk what the purpose would be. It's not like those originals went anywhere.

              You're almost certainly right about Netflix, though.

              4 votes
        2. [25]
          mat
          Link Parent
          Used against me? That seems a bit strong. It's my understanding - and bear in mind I used to work in the industry and still have friends who do - that information is only used to show me adverts...

          The viewer provides intimate information to Google (that is aggregated to build an intimate picture of you that's used against you in increasingly targeted ways across the web,)

          Used against me? That seems a bit strong. It's my understanding - and bear in mind I used to work in the industry and still have friends who do - that information is only used to show me adverts which I might be slightly more likely to click on. That's literally all Google care about. Eyes on ads and clicks. They don't even care about that, really. It's been an open secret in the industry for years that targetted ads are barely better than not.

          As I said elsewhere, I haven't heard any convincing arguments or seen any evidence that adverts are particularly harmful nor that the information google (and the rest) have about me amounts to any meaningful invasion of my privacy. I don't tell them anything I care about keeping private.

          If you're happy avoiding giving me money for my hard work that is OK. I mean it. We all steal some stuff, I'm not trying to take any sort of moral high ground here. But I do think it's important people know exactly who they're hurting by using workarounds like this app. It's not just Google. It's barely even really google at all.

          5 votes
          1. [11]
            Venko
            Link Parent
            As a fellow Brit I think we've seen some very strong examples of the harmful effects of targeted advertising recently such as the outcome of the referendum on membership of the EU.

            As a fellow Brit I think we've seen some very strong examples of the harmful effects of targeted advertising recently such as the outcome of the referendum on membership of the EU.

            19 votes
            1. tempestoftruth
              Link Parent
              To add to what you've mentioned, this article presents another example of how targeted advertising practices and the data they collect can be used in ways that have serious consequences. Data...

              To add to what you've mentioned, this article presents another example of how targeted advertising practices and the data they collect can be used in ways that have serious consequences. Data mined from Black Americans was used by the Trump campaign in an attempt to suppress their turnout in 2016.

              10 votes
            2. [7]
              mat
              Link Parent
              Targeted active psyops maybe not quite the same thing as someone trying to sell boxer shorts (why are all my FB ads always for boxers?) but OK, fair point. I would say the really bad part of that...

              Targeted active psyops maybe not quite the same thing as someone trying to sell boxer shorts (why are all my FB ads always for boxers?) but OK, fair point.

              I would say the really bad part of that was the content of the ads more than the delivery but yes. Targetting certainly saved them money and exposure, which allowed them to get more done.

              6 votes
              1. [5]
                tindall
                Link Parent
                ... but in order not to see the former, I have to also block the latter.

                Targeted active psyops maybe not quite the same thing as someone trying to sell boxer shorts

                ... but in order not to see the former, I have to also block the latter.

                12 votes
                1. [4]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  Fair point. Although you could improve your information literacy (although I'm sure you personally are perfectly good at that already, I meant in general) so the psyops doesn't work on you. That's...

                  Fair point. Although you could improve your information literacy (although I'm sure you personally are perfectly good at that already, I meant in general) so the psyops doesn't work on you. That's the safer option anyway, because otherwise you'll need to turn off the web completely.

                  4 votes
                  1. tindall
                    Link Parent
                    What about the case of malvertising, as others have brought up? There have been several recent cases of ads delivering the initial vector for ransomware that went on to take down a whole...

                    What about the case of malvertising, as others have brought up? There have been several recent cases of ads delivering the initial vector for ransomware that went on to take down a whole organization. Personally, I'd never release a client's computer without at least offering to install uBlock Origin. It feels negligent.

                    9 votes
                  2. [2]
                    precise
                    Link Parent
                    If a platform like YouTube is hosting active psyops campaigns through their advertising platform, then why would I allow ads and help Google profit off of such active measures?

                    If a platform like YouTube is hosting active psyops campaigns through their advertising platform, then why would I allow ads and help Google profit off of such active measures?

                    3 votes
                    1. mat
                      Link Parent
                      That's certainly one response to the situation and it's a perfectly valid one. Other potential responses include working to get such stuff made illegal, or at least banned by the particular...

                      That's certainly one response to the situation and it's a perfectly valid one. Other potential responses include working to get such stuff made illegal, or at least banned by the particular service in question. Raising general levels of information literacy would also help a great deal. None of those things are incompatible with blocking the ads, of course. Although the way I see it, if I can't see the bad ads it makes it much harder for me to help other people defend against them.

                      2 votes
              2. Venko
                Link Parent
                Yeah, and the majority of the ads out there are for products, but the small amount that are really manipulative political adverts make me really, really uneasy. I don't think there's a simple...

                Yeah, and the majority of the ads out there are for products, but the small amount that are really manipulative political adverts make me really, really uneasy. I don't think there's a simple solution here.

                In theory regulation could work well but in practice these manipulative adverts are now used by all mainstream political parties in the UK (Labour, Tories) and the USA (Democrats, Republicans). So why would they have any motivation to regulate targeted advertisements?

                Also even if individuals block these adverts or ignore them (very difficult if they're designed to slowly manipulate your polticial views over many years) they still get seen by enough people to swing referendums and elections.

                4 votes
            3. [2]
              Sand
              Link Parent
              How? Did you get specifically targeted political ads or something? Just curious.

              How? Did you get specifically targeted political ads or something? Just curious.

              2 votes
              1. Venko
                Link Parent
                Yeah, it was the first real time that manipulative targeted adverts had a huge impact on democracy. It was a testing grounds for Cambridge Analytica before they went on to win the presidential...

                Yeah, it was the first real time that manipulative targeted adverts had a huge impact on democracy. It was a testing grounds for Cambridge Analytica before they went on to win the presidential election for Trump.

                11 votes
          2. [2]
            RNG
            Link Parent
            I don't think a single comment on Tildes can convince someone of the social, political, and personal harms of targeted advertising, if they are sufficiently familiar with the subject and are still...

            I don't think a single comment on Tildes can convince someone of the social, political, and personal harms of targeted advertising, if they are sufficiently familiar with the subject and are still unconvinced.

            If you're happy avoiding giving me money for my hard work that is OK. I mean it. We all steal some stuff

            This framing of ad blocking as stealing is frankly disingenuous. I sympathize with the fact that you have a vested interest in YouTube advertising, however the criticisms and concerns of its harms are valid.

            These are better summed up by u/hungariantoast here.

            18 votes
            1. mat
              Link Parent
              Many years ago, I ran a slightly successful photo-sharing site (25k+ users, couple of million page loads a month). That cost me a LOT in hosting, and it was just me at first, running it from my...
              • Exemplary

              This framing of ad blocking as stealing is frankly disingenuous. I sympathize with the fact that you have a vested interest in YouTube advertising, however the criticisms and concerns of its harms are valid.

              Many years ago, I ran a slightly successful photo-sharing site (25k+ users, couple of million page loads a month). That cost me a LOT in hosting, and it was just me at first, running it from my bedroom in my spare time. Disk space and bandwidth and compute resources aren't free. So I put ads on the site. I didn't want to, but the users understood and people were OK with it. Every time someone loaded the site or put up a photo, that costs me money. A tiny amount of money, but it adds up. Luckily every time someone loaded the site they also made me a tiny amount of money, by seeing an advert. It balanced out, and I rarely had to dip into my own personal funds to keep the site online.

              With that in mind, how else would you characterise taking a deliberate action to avoid paying for something which is being offered to you not for free, but in exchange for payment - if not theft? You're not paying in cash, you're paying with your eyeballs on an ad, but it's still a transaction.

              You can criticise the existence and implementation of online advertising if you want, and I might agree with more of those criticisms that you maybe expect - but I think you have to be honest about why it exists, and what the impact of avoiding it is. Like it or not, a great deal of the web only exists because of people seeing adverts.

              12 votes
          3. [11]
            JackA
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            You can't not be taking the moral high ground while also accusing everyone of theft for using an adblocker (even apparently those that donate to creators they really enjoy). I think it's really...

            If you're happy avoiding giving me money for my hard work that is OK. I mean it. We all steal some stuff, I'm not trying to take any sort of moral high ground here.

            You can't not be taking the moral high ground while also accusing everyone of theft for using an adblocker (even apparently those that donate to creators they really enjoy).

            I think it's really disingenuous and slightly condescending that all over this thread your comments are stating that everyone blocking ads is "stealing" content as if that's already a foregone conclusion and not what is being debated.

            You've uploaded videos to a website that hosts them for free and the host offers to give you some of the proceeds they get from ad revenue in exchange for keeping people to the site. If you are hell-bent on making sure that everyone watching your videos is contributing towards you monetarily then put them behind a paywall.

            16 votes
            1. [10]
              mat
              Link Parent
              You're misrepresenting how Youtube works here. YouTube doesn't deliver video to you for free. You have to watch an advert or pay for a subscription. You pay with money, or you pay with your eyes...

              You're misrepresenting how Youtube works here. YouTube doesn't deliver video to you for free. You have to watch an advert or pay for a subscription. You pay with money, or you pay with your eyes on an advert. Just a quick aside: internally, Google consider ad watchers as 'customers' - they're not 'the product' as is sometimes said.

              But that's the deal Youtube offers to you, the user. Pay the price, get the stuff. If you choose to circumvent the payment system so you can get the content without paying, I'm not sure what other word you want to use for that other than theft?

              I'm honestly not making a moral judgement. I can see how you might read my comments are such but I promise I'm not. I'm sure you're all decent, compassionate people and nothing I've seen in however long I've been here has contradicted that assumption. But I steal stuff. You steal stuff. We all steal stuff sometimes. Dodge a paywall here, download a torrent there. It's fine. I'm just saying in this instance it hurts me, personally. So I'm mildly pissed off about it, as I'm sure you would be if you found someone promoting an app which impacted your pay cheque.

              I'm curious though, how would you feel if this was an app which bypassed Steam protection so you could play games for free? Or something which let you download ebooks for nothing? I'm not saying those things are equivalent to this, but where do you draw the line?

              6 votes
              1. [3]
                JackA
                Link Parent
                I have made no agreement to "pay" for the content in the first place, it's hosted for free on the open web. You can dive into whether that is sustainable but frankly that is not my problem as a...

                I have made no agreement to "pay" for the content in the first place, it's hosted for free on the open web. You can dive into whether that is sustainable but frankly that is not my problem as a consumer, there are ways they could absolutely force viewing ads but the realize that direct of an approach would not be good for their business because we are not there to view ads. If Youtube can't make money with an ad model they can put up a paywall and block all content behind it. At that point I'll consider whether it's worth the money or if I should look for an alternative.

                In the meantime, my attention is not for sale. I will view whatever I please of the content voluntarily uploaded for viewing and being provided to users for free. Youtube sends a blob of data and my browser renders it, I am free to edit that data before I view it however I see fit. After that data has been sent to me there is no difference between hiding an ad with a plugin, clicking an x to dismiss it, covering it with a sticky note on my monitor, or simply not looking at it.

                So I'm mildly pissed off about it, as I'm sure you would be if you found someone promoting an app which impacted your pay cheque.

                You uploaded your videos voluntarily under the conditions above, if my pay depended on conditions like those I would do like almost every prominent youtuber does and look for ways to create a more stable income through merchandise, patreon, sponsor spots, communities outside of Yotuube, etc.

                I'm curious though, how would you feel if this was an app which bypassed Steam protection so you could play games for free? Or something which let you download ebooks for nothing? I'm not saying those things are equivalent to this, but where do you draw the line?

                The difference is I did make an agreement there, I pay steam a flat price and I get the games to give my attention to as I see fit. Those games are intentionally locked off from your access until you pay the price, they don't offer them up for you to play for free and then forcibly take their payment (my attention, according to how you view Youtube) while I'm playing.

                The line is pretty clear, if I can access the content for free and with consent from the provider I will. Youtube has never stopped someone using an adblocker from accessing their content nor is it even against their TOS, they have a provision stating "YouTube may prevent access if it believes, in its exclusive direction, that the provision of the Service for you is no longer commercially viable." but until they excercise that and cut off my service because I use an adblocker I will continue doing so. They know if they cut out people who use ad blockers they would be creating a competitor for themselves, and until they feel comfortable doing that they figure it's still worth their time serving videos to me despite my lack of ad views. That is a consensual relationship, and it is a relationship every creator is aware of when they upload videos.

                14 votes
                1. [2]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  I feel like you're trying very hard to avoid admitting you do actually understand the deal Youtube is offering you. It's not explicitly stated, you didn't click 'agree' on a ToS. But just like how...
                  • Exemplary

                  I feel like you're trying very hard to avoid admitting you do actually understand the deal Youtube is offering you. It's not explicitly stated, you didn't click 'agree' on a ToS. But just like how there aren't signs in shops say "pay for the stuff before leaving" - it's still perfectly clear to most people with experience of living in a society that people don't give you stuff for free. Youtube are not hosting videos for you to watch for nothing. They started like that but it hasn't been how they work for a very, very long time.

                  The deal is you watch an ad, or you pay for a subscription. You can jump through as many hoops as you like to justify dodging that deal, you can even dig out ToS details to "prove" that Youtube are fine with you running an adblocker (they're obviously not, because they keep changing how ads are served to get around them) - but the fact remains you're dodging the deal. The deal which involves me, and money I get for work I've done.

                  Saying "nobody is actively stopping me doing this so it must be acceptable" is not just an unconvincing, but also highly anti-social argument. There are such things as unspoken agreements, and it's disingenuous to pretend there isn't. For example, it's not explicitly illegal for me to jump a queue, hoard toilet paper, or buy up all the PS5s I can to resell them at huge profit. Doesn't make me less of a dick for doing those things (and just to be clear, I'm not trying to imply you're a dick for using an adblocker, I really don't think that)

                  Oh, and by all means put a post it on your screen or look away or whatever. I don't care. I just want the ad to register as displayed so I get paid. I don't need you to look at it.

                  8 votes
                  1. Thra11
                    Link Parent
                    So you're effectively stealing? Some company has paid good money for an advert for their product. You've happily pocketed a percentage of that money, but you don't care whether the company...

                    Oh, and by all means put a post it on your screen or look away or whatever. I don't care. I just want the ad to register as displayed so I get paid. I don't need you to look at it.

                    So you're effectively stealing? Some company has paid good money for an advert for their product. You've happily pocketed a percentage of that money, but you don't care whether the company actually gets a genuine shot at reaching their audience and selling their product?

                    14 votes
              2. [3]
                tindall
                Link Parent
                Yes, it does. They give me a video stream; what I do with it is my business. I can choose to use the software they ship with it, which also plays other video streams before playing the one I...

                You're misrepresenting how Youtube works here. YouTube doesn't deliver video to you for free.

                Yes, it does. They give me a video stream; what I do with it is my business. I can choose to use the software they ship with it, which also plays other video streams before playing the one I actually want to see, but YouTube has no right to make me do or not do something on my own computer. Unlike, for example:

                an app which bypassed Steam protection so you could play games for free? Or something which let you download ebooks for nothing

                which would require reaching into someone else's computer (Steam's, or Amazon's) and making it do something its owner didn't want it to do (send me content I didn't pay for). That's a crime - criminal hacking.

                12 votes
                1. [2]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  I suspect Youtube's lawyers, and their ToS which you did agree to by using the site, might feel differently about that. But IANAL.

                  Yes, it does. They give me a video stream; what I do with it is my business. I can choose to use the software they ship with it, which also plays other video streams before playing the one I actually want to see, but YouTube has no right to make me do or not do something on my own computer.

                  I suspect Youtube's lawyers, and their ToS which you did agree to by using the site, might feel differently about that. But IANAL.

                  4 votes
                  1. tindall
                    Link Parent
                    The relevant section would be "Who May Use the Service? - Permissions and Restrictions", which does not stipulate that I'm required to use the software YouTube ships to watch YouTube videos, as...

                    The relevant section would be "Who May Use the Service? - Permissions and Restrictions", which does not stipulate that I'm required to use the software YouTube ships to watch YouTube videos, as long as I'm not doing so in an automated fashion.

                    12 votes
              3. [3]
                precise
                Link Parent
                I believe you are misrepresenting what people mean when they say this. Sure, in the advertising world, the targets of the ads are the customers. You could also argue that the businesses that use...

                Just a quick aside: internally, Google consider ad watchers as 'customers' - they're not 'the product' as is sometimes said.

                I believe you are misrepresenting what people mean when they say this. Sure, in the advertising world, the targets of the ads are the customers. You could also argue that the businesses that use advertising platforms like Google are also customers according to Google.

                In surveillance capitalism, our information and inherently our identity is collected to be monetized by advertisers. Our data, we, are now the product.

                P.S. I want to thank you for carrying along this steady, productive conversation. This is probably the most enjoyable internet conversation I've read through and participated with in a while. Despite having a personal stake in this topic, seemingly being outnumbered and having an outsider opinion compared to the general opinions on Tildes, you've kept the debate calm and productive. That's not easy to do!

                4 votes
                1. [2]
                  mat
                  Link Parent
                  I don't need to argue that because that's exactly what they think already :) Google (and Facebook do this too) talk about their ad brokerage business having two customers - the ad buyers, and the...

                  You could also argue that the businesses that use advertising platforms like Google are also customers according to Google.

                  I don't need to argue that because that's exactly what they think already :) Google (and Facebook do this too) talk about their ad brokerage business having two customers - the ad buyers, and the ad watchers. Both customers, buyers and watchers, engage in a transaction. Buyers spend money to get views, watchers spend their time/attention to support the content they're watching. Google mediates both transactions.

                  In surveillance capitalism, our information and inherently our identity is collected to be monetized by advertisers. Our data, we, are now the product.

                  Eeeeh, sort of. But also not. Access to your eyes is what's being sold. The data is 100% not being sold. The exclusivity of that dataset is the entire reason that Google/FB/etc have any value as advertising brokers. FB didn't realise this at first, they did used to allow (limited) graph access via their dev api, sometimes more in return for money - but they clued up a while ago. It's not the advertisers who are monetising that information, it's the ad brokers. Which is a thing that's been going on since before the internet was a thing. "Sales leads" have been a valuable commodity for a long time.

                  As an advertiser using one of the big brokerage services (I've used FB and Google personally, but others exist) I have exactly zero access to any data about you. I create a profile for my ads to be targetted with and that's it. I get to say "show this to men aged 37-41.5 who live in the south of Luxembourg and have expressed interests in kite surfing, pottery and the band Black Flag" and that's it.

                  I never get to find out who those people are. I get to find out how many people saw my ad, clicked on it, shared it (yup, people do that, weirdos) etc. But nothing about who they are. The database doesn't even know who you are, it just knows that a particular query returns a set of anonymous IDs which fit the filter provided. In theory, sure, if you have access to all Google's databases, you can find the person associated with a profile (or vice-versa). But that's not information which is available to advertisers.

                  Personally, I consider my identity to be considerably more complex (and, I hope, slightly more interesting) than just the stuff I choose to do in public on the internet - via searches, page visits or whatever. I really don't care all that much about someone collecting a subset of that information to show me adverts which might be slightly more relevant than otherwise - if I have to see ads, and personally I feel like I do have to - I'd rather they were for things I might give a crap about or even occasionally click on (gasp!). I do understand why people might feel differently on this topic and I'm not trying to convince anyone they're wrong about feeling that way. But I am trying to suggest things might not be as bad as they currently think, and I definitely want people to be aware of the impact on smaller people - like me - that blocking ads can have.

                  So just as a bit of an aside, it's fascinating to me how bootlickery I sound on tildes. I'm really not so much. I'm just as much of an anti-corporate hippy as most of my friends. More so than most, even. Lots of the commenters here remind of me when I was younger, before I spent 15+ years working in marketing, advertising, the web and other related industries and gained a slightly different perspective. Not saying better, just different. It's always good to re-examine one's positions occasionally.

                  Also, thanks. It helps that I feel like I do understand where people are coming from. This isn't one of those situations where I simply can't grasp why someone would think a certain thing - which tends to happen if I'm talking to, say, Conservatives (large C = members of the UK political party). I don't really even disagree that much with a lot of what people are saying here. But I disagree enough to bother replying a bit... :)

                  6 votes
                  1. Amarok
                    Link Parent
                    Honestly I appreciate your perspective and you taking more of a devil's advocate position than you normally would. It's not often I get to enjoy a conversation about this particular topic (which...

                    Honestly I appreciate your perspective and you taking more of a devil's advocate position than you normally would. It's not often I get to enjoy a conversation about this particular topic (which is dead horse territory for me) that has relevant and well presented insight into the advertising industry itself.

                    2 votes
      3. [3]
        rish
        Link Parent
        Does the premium subscription help the creators?

        Does the premium subscription help the creators?

        2 votes
        1. Nodja
          Link Parent
          Yes. When anyone with youtube premium watches a video, the video is flagged as "watched by youtube premium member" and goes into a pool. At the end of the month, 55% of the money of all youtube...

          Yes.

          When anyone with youtube premium watches a video, the video is flagged as "watched by youtube premium member" and goes into a pool. At the end of the month, 55% of the money of all youtube premium subscriptions is split among all content creators with videos on that pool, the split is made by total watch time (not video length). Note that it's not total watch time by youtube premium members, it's watch time by everyone that watched it, being a youtube premium member just flags videos for inclusion. I assume this is done this way so that the millions of videos on youtube with 1-5 views don't dilute the pool (90% of videos don't reach 1000 views).

          A youtube creator that I follow on twitch said once that half his youtube income is from premium. He makes long form game critiques.

          6 votes
        2. mat
          Link Parent
          Yes, more so that ad views. Premium viewers are worth more.

          Yes, more so that ad views. Premium viewers are worth more.

          4 votes
  2. [13]
    Pistos
    Link
    I tried to dig several clicks deep. I couldn't find any evidence that this is FLOSS or even open source. (For whatever that's worth to whoever is reading.)

    I tried to dig several clicks deep. I couldn't find any evidence that this is FLOSS or even open source. (For whatever that's worth to whoever is reading.)

    8 votes
    1. [10]
      admicos
      Link Parent
      It's not. It's a modification of the original YouTube application, which is also proprietary. NewPipe is a FLOSS alternative that does essentially the same stuff (except Google Account support)

      I couldn't find any evidence that this is FLOSS or even open source.

      It's not. It's a modification of the original YouTube application, which is also proprietary.

      NewPipe is a FLOSS alternative that does essentially the same stuff (except Google Account support)

      22 votes
      1. PendingKetchup
        Link Parent
        Have they figured out a way to have you the APK on your device for you yet, rather than distributing a modified APK that leaves the whole project one DMCA away from certain doom?

        Have they figured out a way to have you the APK on your device for you yet, rather than distributing a modified APK that leaves the whole project one DMCA away from certain doom?

        3 votes
      2. [7]
        ohyran
        Link Parent
        Newpipe is brilliant ALTHOUGH currently its been a bit hit and miss lately due to changes to youtube-dl (IIRC) although since thats sorted it seems like it will be up and running soon. There's a...

        Newpipe is brilliant ALTHOUGH currently its been a bit hit and miss lately due to changes to youtube-dl (IIRC) although since thats sorted it seems like it will be up and running soon.

        There's a desktop version too available on Flathub if you're in Linux

        (My favourite is being able to follow channels without having a Google account AND adfree etc etc)

        2 votes
        1. [6]
          admicos
          Link Parent
          Nope, NewPipe uses their own code to deal with YouTube: https://github.com/TeamNewPipe/NewPipeExtractor I don't think NewPipe has a desktop version, though I recall one or two desktop programs...

          [...] its been a bit hit and miss lately due to changes to youtube-dl (IIRC)

          Nope, NewPipe uses their own code to deal with YouTube: https://github.com/TeamNewPipe/NewPipeExtractor

          There's a desktop version too available on Flathub if you're in Linux

          I don't think NewPipe has a desktop version, though I recall one or two desktop programs that do the same thing (just can't remember their names)

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Keegan
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            There is FreeTube for desktop which afaik uses the NewPipe Extractor. It is not part of the NewPipe team’s development though, it’s made independently.

            There is FreeTube for desktop which afaik uses the NewPipe Extractor. It is not part of the NewPipe team’s development though, it’s made independently.

            1. Whom
              Link Parent
              It has its own extractor, but I think it's at least partially based on the work on NewPipe.

              It has its own extractor, but I think it's at least partially based on the work on NewPipe.

              FreeTube now features a brand new API that is built into the application. This local API features many projects owned by others combined with many custom elements created specifically for FreeTube by myself and others within our community. FreeTube will now be able to run independently on it's own without any reliance on an Invidious server.

              2 votes
          2. [3]
            ohyran
            (edited )
            Link Parent
            Oh then the hit and misses is something else. Sad I hoped it was that that caused the crashes since they cropped up at the same time. A shame then the issues are theirs instead, bummer Sidenote:...

            Nope, NewPipe

            Oh then the hit and misses is something else. Sad I hoped it was that that caused the crashes since they cropped up at the same time. A shame then the issues are theirs instead, bummer

            Sidenote: did you plan on sounding like you do (if so: why?) or is it just clumsy writing?

            I don't think NewPipe has a desktop version, though I recall one or two desktop programs that do the same thing (just can't remember their names)

            I already have it installed on my desktop so I don't need any other?

            EDIT: it was freetube which is just based on NewPipe

            1. admicos
              Link Parent
              It was ~3 AM back when I wrote that comment so I might not have been thinking as straight. Sorry if I sounded aggressive (also clumsy writing is probably a part of it) /noise

              Sidenote: did you plan on sounding like you do (if so: why?) or is it just clumsy writing?

              It was ~3 AM back when I wrote that comment so I might not have been thinking as straight. Sorry if I sounded aggressive (also clumsy writing is probably a part of it)

              /noise

              1 vote
            2. Nodja
              Link Parent
              IIRC Youtube changed some internals and no longer serves the old version of pages, you could get the old version of youtube with disable_polymer=true url param. This affected mostly channel pages...

              Oh then the hit and misses is something else. Sad I hoped it was that that caused the crashes since they cropped up at the same time. A shame then the issues are theirs instead, bummer

              IIRC Youtube changed some internals and no longer serves the old version of pages, you could get the old version of youtube with disable_polymer=true url param. This affected mostly channel pages and playlists.

      3. petrichor
        Link Parent
        NewPipe is fantastic, if a bit ugly IMO - they subscribe hard to the Material Design 1.0 look. But their feature list is comprehensive, including seamless background playing, rich download...

        NewPipe is fantastic, if a bit ugly IMO - they subscribe hard to the Material Design 1.0 look. But their feature list is comprehensive, including seamless background playing, rich download options, a resizable pop-up player, and an AMOLED theme option off the top of my head.

    2. RNG
      Link Parent
      All of XDA's YT Vanced work, including their backend, is available on there GitHub page

      All of XDA's YT Vanced work, including their backend, is available on there GitHub page

      9 votes
    3. p4t44
      Link Parent
      The manager app, MicroG and the modifications are open source.

      The manager app, MicroG and the modifications are open source.

      1 vote
  3. [4]
    ConalFisher
    Link
    I see Vanced posted a ton on the web (I've used it myself for years), but I always have to wonder, surely it's gotta be breaking youtube TOS or something? I'd have thought an app like this would...

    I see Vanced posted a ton on the web (I've used it myself for years), but I always have to wonder, surely it's gotta be breaking youtube TOS or something? I'd have thought an app like this would have to go relatively under the radar, else face a C&D or two.

    8 votes
    1. [2]
      Thra11
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Pure speculation, but: Youtube doesn't directly make money from showing ads to users, it makes money from selling advertisers the opportunity to show their adverts on youtube's platform. Allowing...

      Pure speculation, but:

      1. Youtube doesn't directly make money from showing ads to users, it makes money from selling advertisers the opportunity to show their adverts on youtube's platform.
      2. Allowing people to watch videos without a Youtube account and not aggressively stamping out third-party Youtube clients and adblockers helps to maintain Youtube's quasi-monopoly on mainstream video hosting.
      3. From the point of view of Youtube attracting advertisers, dominating the video hosting market is probably more important than showing ads to 100% of users.
      11 votes
      1. Amarok
        Link Parent
        #3 is the entire reason Google bought Youtube in the first place - with that $2 billion dollar Viacom lawsuit looming. I'd say they were committed to maintaining that monopoly before they even had...

        #3 is the entire reason Google bought Youtube in the first place - with that $2 billion dollar Viacom lawsuit looming. I'd say they were committed to maintaining that monopoly before they even had one.

        2 votes
    2. tindall
      Link Parent
      Making the app might have been, but using it almost certainly is not; the TOS as of today only stipulate against using automation to access the service, and say nothing else about particular user...

      Making the app might have been, but using it almost certainly is not; the TOS as of today only stipulate against using automation to access the service, and say nothing else about particular user agents. IANAL, but the language is pretty clear.

  4. tindall
    Link
    Currently downloading, looks pretty neat!

    Currently downloading, looks pretty neat!

    3 votes
  5. [8]
    elcuello
    Link
    Cool! Is there any indication of something similar coming for iOS?

    Cool! Is there any indication of something similar coming for iOS?

    1. RNG
      Link Parent
      I don't believe so. The XDA folks typically work only on Android projects, and primarily distribute their software outside of official app stores.

      I don't believe so. The XDA folks typically work only on Android projects, and primarily distribute their software outside of official app stores.

      3 votes
    2. Whom
      Link Parent
      Nah, things like this (and specifically NewPipe) are what I miss the most after coming over to iOS. I don't really watch videos on my phone much anymore as a result. There are options like these...

      Nah, things like this (and specifically NewPipe) are what I miss the most after coming over to iOS. I don't really watch videos on my phone much anymore as a result.

      There are options like these tweaks that you can sideload, but nothing easily accessible for most iOS users, and afaik none of these let you set up subscriptions without an account, so it's really limiting if you're trying to find a way to do it without signing up with google.

      2 votes
    3. [3]
      moocow1452
      Link Parent
      Best bet would be something like https://invidio.us/

      Best bet would be something like https://invidio.us/

      1. [2]
        elcuello
        Link Parent
        Seems like it's not up anymore, but thanks.

        Seems like it's not up anymore, but thanks.

        1. tindall
          Link Parent
          If you look at the page there's a list of other sites running the same software that do the same thing.

          If you look at the page there's a list of other sites running the same software that do the same thing.

          2 votes
    4. tindall
      Link Parent
      Probably not, given the level of control Apple has over what you're allowed to run on your device.

      Probably not, given the level of control Apple has over what you're allowed to run on your device.

    5. suspended
      Link Parent
      I installed AdGuard and use YouTube (not signed in) with Safari.

      I installed AdGuard and use YouTube (not signed in) with Safari.