YouTube testing untrackable ads to bypass ad blockers: server-side ad injection

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Key notes

  • YouTube is testing embedding ads directly in videos (server-side ad injection) to bypass ad blockers.
  • This could limit the effectiveness of ad blockers like uBlock Origin and SponsorBlock.
  • Ad blocker developers might find ways to detect and skip these embedded ads.

Google is locked in a battle with ad blockers, especially on YouTube. Ad revenue is crucial for Google, and viewers using ad blockers limit their income.

In the past, Google has tried various tactics to curb ad blockers, but with limited success. Now, they’re testing a new strategy: server-side ad injection. This means ads would be embedded directly within videos, making them invisible to traditional ad blockers.

This new approach poses a huge challenge for ad blockers like uBlock Origin and SponsorBlock, the tools used to skip sponsored segments within videos.

SponsorBlock’s developer acknowledges the potential roadblock but remains optimistic. They believe there might be ways to detect these server-side ads by analyzing UI elements like clickable links that appear during ad segments.

Ad blocker developers may also need to implement new techniques to identify and skip these embedded ads. This could involve improvements in ad detection algos and using metadata analysis to recognize patterns that indicate ad placements.

While this new tactic might make ad blockers’ lives more difficult, it’s unlikely to be the end of them. Ad blocker developers are known for their adaptability, and new methods to counter server-side ad injection are likely on its way.

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