YouTube Premium Versus AdBlocking

A day I dreaded, arrived.

Deep down, I knew it was only a matter of time.

My ad-blocker of choice stopped working on YouTube.

And worse, none of the alternatives I tried blocked YouTube’s new advertisement software.

Paying someone for a service or product shouldn’t come as a surprise. When I was a child, I recall having to give a man, in a funny looking van, some money for ice-cream.

Then there was the angry man driving the bus. He wouldn’t allow me on board without giving him money. Then, once I bought my first car, I had to give an older man money to allow me into the car park.

But enough examples of giving older men money.

Can you blame me for wanting to avoid in-your-face, loud, mostly American-style ads? (American-style means very loud).

Frustrated at the elongated process to avoid ads (see later), I decided to switch off the ad-blockers, let the videos play and resist the skip ad button to see what came up.

A Taste of YouTube Ads

Oh, dear.

YouTube force-fed me the following:

  • I don’t need a new phone – by Honey coupons. That’s one minute of my life gone.
  • eToro – a stock trading app – another minute of life I’ll never get back.
  • How to radiate confidence – a course from Udemy and another minute.
  • A YouTube Premium banner across the top of the screen.
  • The Northern School of Art – Wow, an England based ad but shown three times!
  • Cleveland Containers – Another banner across the bottom of the screen.
  • Team project planning – from – one awful dull minute that felt more like an hour.
  • Alphasync Gaming PCs banner.

All the adverts came at me in one short session.

God, give me strength.

Other less scrupulous writers could accuse YouTube of deliberately increasing their ads’ annoyance to encourage sign-ups to Premium.

But I’m not giving in. I still managed to avoid the ads with this self-perfected hack.

  • Go to the video you want to watch;
  • reload the page;
  • pause blocking;
  • reload the page;
  • quickly resume blocking;
  • reload the page;
  • click on the next video;
  • watch part of the video;
  • go back to the one you wanted;
  • pause blocking and start blocking again;
  • reload the page;

and you’re in.

I am confident many of us share an inner conflict: pay for something you want or keep trying it for free with annoying ads.

There was a time when YouTube had nothing more than grainy VHS uploads of copyrighted material – clips of old TV favourites, and DIY tips.

Ironically one of my favourite topics then and today is old adverts from my childhood.

Content creators have access to affordable technology, and their programming is more professional than ever.

Goodbye old VHS, hello 4K Ultra HD and scripted studio based tech reviews.

There are some very talented people on YouTube – but some oddballs too.

The Way Forward

So now I’m at the crossroads. Do I:

  1. Fiddle around for a few minutes before every video trying to avoid ads?
  2. Give in to Google’s strategy and hand the big G a victory?
  3. Abandon the platform and go and do something more worthwhile with the time saved?

If YouTube were the only subscription service, I probably wouldn’t hesitate. However, this is an excellent opportunity to review what I’m currently paying.

Here are my current subscriptions.

ServiceAnnual Cost
Adobe Lightroom£120
AdGuard blocker£32
Apple Music£120
Amazon Prime£95
Clean My Mac£50
Bear Notes App£10
Fastmail email£92
Siteground hosting£86
Microsoft 365£80
Nest Aware (Google)£100
Nord VPN£33
Paste Clipboard£10
Halide iOS£10
Timefully Meditation£5
Unread RSS£19
Total£1,160 / $1,625

Oh, I nearly forgot. Tuna fish loins for my cats; £150 via Amazon subscribe to save. I love and adore my cats, but I digress.

Thankfully, as I totalled the cost, I had a YouTube ASMR video blowing gently in my ear, to the point of making me feel adulterous.

There is only one way to settle this. I cannot judge YouTube Premium without trying it, and there is a one month free trial on offer.

Let’s see if ad-free YouTube, with YouTube Music and downloadable content, is worth £12 per month.

Meanwhile, Lew (Later) Hilsenteger defines the choice. I’ll assume he’s not being sponsored by Google.