Rewritten by machine on new technology
June 20, 2024 1:08 PM   Subscribe

 
It sounds like the ad wars will continue to accelerate, but this still fells kind of hand wavey about the bad things that are coming. More meat, please.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:21 PM on June 20


I kind of have mixed feelings about this because I started paying for YT a long time ago figuring that the value-for-money was definitely there, and I didn't want to watch 5 seconds of ads before everything. But because of that, the worsening conditions for non-paying users are kind of invisible to me and my costs aren't going up. Which is really kind of a metaphor for the world at large, eh?

In other news, Instagram has started forcing me to pause scrolling to watch ads, so every ad that does this I report for sexual impropriety. Looking forward to seeing how that pans out...
posted by klanawa at 1:21 PM on June 20 [21 favorites]


I wouldn't mind paying for an ad-free version of YouTube, but at $14/month, that is $10 too much.
posted by NoMich at 1:33 PM on June 20 [14 favorites]


I imagine in certain pockets of insta, that'll only give the ad more pull.
posted by in_lieu_of_fiction at 1:33 PM on June 20


I'm honestly astonished it wasn't done this way all along. Having the browser make separate requests to identifiable and easily filterable addresses in order to stream ad video would be like if old-fashioned over-the-air TVs had shown ads by briefly changing the channel.
posted by The Tensor at 1:34 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


I'm honestly surprised it took them this long. The only way to truly defeat adblockers is to stop serving ads from different servers than content. For video sites it also means to stream the video with the ads as part of the same stream (either pre-encoded or injected), and for text websites it also means to serve ads in on-the-fly named DIVs.
posted by tclark at 1:35 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Jamie Zawinski is finally throwing in the towl and asking someone else to take over maintaining youtubedown.
A comment from near the beginning of the source code:
"Before you read any further, you should know what you're getting into here. This is a path of madness that you walk. Below you will find two different custom-coded URL-loading network layers, one using a single socket with keep-alive and the other using a gang of pseudo-threads for a parallel assault on the target server, and yes, we need both; Perl code that parses and reconstructs minimized and intentionally obfuscated JavaScript code, and no I'm not joking; self-modifying code, still not joking; ciphers cosplaying as cryptography; three (or maybe four) different ways of parsing a list of available video formats out of HTML pages and out of several other terrible, undocumented, reverse-engineered endpoints; ever-flowing countermeasures to work around age gates; heuristics for deciding which of possibly hundreds of audio and video formats are the "best" ones; heuristics for translating terribly-written video titles into something more sensible to use as a file name; and some of the most vile and terrifying use of regular expressions you will ever see in all your days. And yes, it is also all in one source file because fuck you that's why. I committed these terrible acts of coding in anger and self defense and I have no regrets."
posted by indexy at 1:36 PM on June 20 [31 favorites]


I would rather chop off my own head than ever watch a fucking ad for any goddamn reason. Sincerely I hope any business that relies on advertising to survive be shut down and soon as possible, shit shouldn't even be legal.
posted by GoblinHoney at 1:36 PM on June 20 [24 favorites]


I would rather chop off my own head than ever watch a fucking ad for any goddamn reason. Sincerely I hope any business that relies on advertising to survive be shut down and soon as possible, shit shouldn't even be legal.

PBS and BBC only huh? Good luck running those massive data centers for free.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 1:40 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


"I would rather chop off my own head than ever watch a fucking ad for any goddamn reason."

How did you type this comment without a head? Surely, you've seen LOTS of ads up to this point.
posted by jonathanhughes at 1:42 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


To add, I have been absolutely militant when it comes to ad blocking wherever I can (but also spending money if 1/ there is a true ad-free pay tier, none of this Hulu 'pay for fewer ads' crap, and 2/ if I find that the value they provide for what it costs is a good proposition -- in other words, they aren't trying to upcharge me thousands of percent over what they'd make off of me in ads).

Between the hosts file, uMatrix, uBlock Origin for most sites, with the occasional extra effort with Tampermonkey or NoScript, I see practically no ads anywhere, and have basically stopped using sites where even those measures don't work.
posted by tclark at 1:44 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


In order to supplant cable television, they have become cable television.
posted by mhoye at 1:49 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


You want stuff for free, you watch ads. That's the deal. That's how (non-public) broadcast TV has worked forever. Ads provide revenue which funds the stuff you want to watch. The idea that "everything should just be free" is nonsensical and has been a real problem for the internet as a whole.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:55 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


You want stuff for free, you watch ads. That's the deal.

Until the deal becomes you pay and have to watch ads. Don't cry for the companies that gleefully break their own promises and disclaim any ethical obligation to a fair deal.

I don't think I've seen anyone here say that "everything should just be free."

The primary reason none of the major companies with the capability have ever rolled out a true micropayment system is because violating users' privacy and serving up malware and spyware will always make them more money.
posted by tclark at 2:05 PM on June 20 [27 favorites]


Soemetimes you watch stuff for pay, you still watch ads. Looking at you, Amazon.

These baked-in ads are absolutely the future for all Internet advertising and it is going to fucking suck. The only reason more websites don't do it now is the online ad auction market is so bonkers.
posted by Nelson at 2:05 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Look forward to ad blockers just sorting it out anyway. It’s not like ad skipping didn’t exist with TiVo and its competitors. It’s not that damn hard.
posted by creiszhanson at 2:09 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Given how much dynamic insertion happens at all layers of broadcast, I'm absolutely surprised it took this long to do this. There's enough spare computing power to re-encode on the fly so it should be a no-brainer. (And yes, annoying as shit)
posted by drewbage1847 at 2:10 PM on June 20


People absolutely want everything to be free, even if they don't explicitly say it. And I include myself in that: getting a load of high-quality content that costs real effort and money to make, and having it funded by the schmucks who don't know how to set up ublock/nextdns, has been pretty sweet and I'd like to string that situation out — but it's not exactly the moral high ground.
posted by Klipspringer at 2:13 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


I don't think I've seen anyone here say that "everything should just be free."

Sure, but that's the underlying ethos of adblockers, Napster et al. "Information wants to be free" etc. I mean, I get it - free is awesome! But also unsustainable, and ultimately not great, even if it feels good. Nobody wants to watch ads but everyone wants to watch high quality programming that costs a lot of money to make, and also not have to pay for it.

Until the deal becomes you pay and have to watch ads.

Yeah, that's super aggravating. But it means that whatever you're paying isn't actually enough to cover the costs.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:13 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


it means that whatever you're paying isn't actually enough to cover the costs
not actually enough to generate the desired amount of revenue, anyway.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 2:15 PM on June 20 [36 favorites]


As always: use yt-dl to pull down anything you like, like, yesterday. Be your own archivist.

A++++ post title btw
posted by phooky at 2:17 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


But it means that whatever you're paying isn't actually enough to cover the costs.

It really doesn't. Show me a company that charges you money AND STILL serves you ads, and I would put real $ on a bet that there is an email among VP or C-Suite folks outlining that the decision was made to incorporate ads to increase profit, not to prevent a loss.
posted by tclark at 2:17 PM on June 20 [10 favorites]


There's already extensions that detect and skip when a YouTuber has paused their content to deliver a brief bespoke ad read, so I can't imagine it will be hard to skip a Cheetos ad popping up in the middle of a Taylor Swift video or whatever it is YouTube ads are like these days, whether or not it comes from the same or different servers.
posted by straight at 2:24 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that even with server-side ad injection, there will be workarounds to skip or block ads.

In order for the YouTube player to be able to show a correct timestamp during playback, the client-side player code would need to be able to translate between timestamps in the delivered video stream and the "original" timestamps in the video. And there are a couple decades worth of hyperlinks floating around, both in YouTube comments and elsewhere, which use the &t=... URL parameter to jump to a specific timestamp in a video.

Unless YouTube is willing to make every single one of those links go to the wrong place, they will need to give users' browsers enough information to figure out which timestamp ranges correspond to ads, which is enough information to skip them.

At worst, tools like SponsorBlock would need to stop using times of ad breaks, and start using hashes of known ad content. That's a much harder problem, but not an unsolvable one.
posted by teraflop at 2:25 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


For those like me who fight tooth and nail to avoid ads, Sponsorblock is excellent. It is a browser extension that crowdsources the timing of baked-in ads, and it can automatically jump past them most of the time. For now it works great, but it's an arms race for sure.

For the record, I'm not a freeloader, I pay for YouTube Premium. I just really dislike ads.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 2:31 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


For the folks saying that ad blockers and Napster and such are all cut from the same “I want it all for free” cloth.

I spend a lot of money on content (two news papers, 4 streaming services, pay for YouTube, have a serious patreon habit, pbs, npr, three indy podcasts). I also use archive.is all the time. I also use a lot of ad blockers. I also torrent things a few times a year.

Ad tech is a nightmare. Happy to opt out with money or tech. The idea of blocking ads being immoral is goofy. Nothing immoral about. No company is owed a working business model. There are many ways to fund things.
posted by creiszhanson at 2:41 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


How did you type this comment without a head? Surely, you've seen LOTS of ads up to this point.

I've seen more than a lifetime's worth, hence the extreme frustration whenever confronted with the possibility of being tricked into seeing another one. Can't even walk anywhere without being advertised to anymore. They are inescapable and ad-blocking at home is one of the last refuges we have against corporate authority in every space of our lives. Even for those who willingly put up with ads on videos, this kind of video-injection makes for a worse experience as it inevitably messes up timestamps, the seek bar, audio description, and captions. Amazon and Max pull this crap and as a consequence it's better to not use the services I paid for an instead use an illegal streaming site for a working experience instead.

These companies want people to make content for free and we want to watch content, not ads. I also like to make things for free and so do plenty of other people. Making money to survive sucks, ooh don't go dreaming of having things without permission from The Market first. There are actually options other than "constant corporate psyops" subsidizing content. Youtube and many of the other major monopolized services shouldn't even be privately owned businesses as they are functionally utilities and funding options should be explored as such. We cut 3 missiles from the military budget and we can fund Video Upload and Short Message Service for a year. Even suffering under capitalism, there's no compelling reason why these services are left to billionaires and other such low people, or worse, abstract inhuman corporate entities, who obviously have every interest in the world to exploit any useful product or service they clawed away from the people originally trying to make something useful or worthwhile. Especially for services that are just better at critical mass and with more universal users for that specific thing, where even the goofy fantasy of capitalist competition wouldn't actually work given fractured userbase makes those types of services less universal -- why let the enemy control it knowing they will constantly use it against us.

There's also no good reason we let these companies employ psychologists to exploit and manipulate people when that's the only mental healthcare most of us will ever be able to afford. We literally let companies condition children from birth, we let it happen in schools, we let it happen in our homes, and of course we think nothing of it when we are adults since we also were raised on fucking commercials. I can recite ads and products from childhood with better clarity and recall than I can lessons from school from the same time.

People made art before commercials and capitalism, and the constant reinforcing of the idea that artists need to prove themselves to the Market to be able to produce art is ridiculous even before you acknowledge capitalism does not work, especially not as advertised.

People want to make videos and other people want to see videos. Nothing in that perfect loop of desires calls for Google or Elon Musk to get in there and make things worse. Why have these middlemen, profiting from our creations, arbitrarily doling out payments to artists and content creators at their own ever-shifting inscrutable whim? Also stop telling people they can fund things by paying for the services sold to them, these companies aren't looking to fund content, pay the creators, and make enough money to do that again tomorrow -- they want to reach arbitrarily high profit points set by an investor class of oligarchs who have zero interest in making a good product, content, service, or anything besides more too-much-money for themselves. When they meet that goal, then they simply increase that point until they need to start exploiting workers harder and providing worse to consumers for a higher cost.

I'm happy to pay for art I like, I already pay more yearly to individual creators or groups of creators than I do for mainstream streaming services, but I will never ever be happy to see an advertisement again. Ads are the antithesis of art and the apotheosis of capitalism's profane values. It is a testament to the human drive to create art and to entertain, delight, communicate, storytell, dance, laugh, and cry with each other that so much great art has been made despite the anchors of capitalism and advertising weighing it down while touting themselves as only heroes able and willing to profit off people making entertainment and art.

It's not cool looking down on "freeloaders" and making others pre-apologize or excuse themselves or feel compelled to mention the artists they more directly patronize financially. That high horse is wrapped in logos like a race car. You do not deserve things more than other people simply because you have more money than them or are comfortable spending more money than them. Money is not distributed fairly or sensibly. I made more money typing this comment on a break, than some people will in a month of hard labour. It would be disgusting and wrong to assert I deserve to watch someones art more than those people just because I make more money than them. I'm not better than them, I don't deserve more or better things because of it, just like I don't deserve to have the food more than them, possibly food they grew and cannot afford themselves. Money is a really terrible thing and if you don't have enough of it, you might be left to die, and even people who are not in that dire of a situation psychologically are reluctant to give up their terrible things out of fear of all sorts of threats money brings. There also isn't a compelling non-capitalist argument for why harmless art which can be freely replicated and distributed is arbitrarily restricted since that restriction largely facile and mostly an obstacle to punish the overworked without enough free time.
posted by GoblinHoney at 2:57 PM on June 20 [45 favorites]


Imagine ever seeing an ad on Youtube.

And before the whining about how much Youtube Premium costs starts, here's a link to the recently posted MeFi P&L document if you want to see how "I demand that all the content I consume is free" tends to work out.
posted by Back At It Again At Krispy Kreme at 2:58 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


> Unless YouTube is willing to make every single one of those links go to the wrong place, they will need to give users' browsers enough information to figure out which timestamp ranges correspond to ads, which is enough information to skip them.

There's nothing saying they wouldn't just apply it to newly-uploaded videos going forward, meaning that historical videos (and timestamp links) continue working correctly. I have a feeling that a significant enough portion of their views are on new stuff that it would probably be more trouble than it's worth to retrofit it over old videos, especially with the problems you mention.
posted by tubedogg at 2:58 PM on June 20


My main problems with ads on YouTube are 1) most of them come across as scammy - kind of like infomercials without the integrity, 2) completely mistargeted - they somehow think I'm in need of women's deodorant, 3) boring - at least make your ads amusing or entertaining, 4) annoying as f*** - Liberty Mutual is at the top of that list and it is guaranteed that I will never buy insurance from them, until I see that gotdang emu served up as an Xmas roast and that baby carriage tossed into the ocean.

F*** that emu.. Right in the cloaca or whatever unholy orifice that emus have.

Waiting for the skip button has become the game. If I can click the skip button as soon as it appears, I consider it a win - especially if I can do it before I hear the name of the business or service.

There is a special place in Hell for unskippable ads. It is guaranteed, if I have never bought from them, that I never will in the future, for any reason, not even to save a life. Not even kidding - if you need me to buy something from one of those unskippable ad people, go ahead and notify your next-of-kin, because I'm not going to do that, either.
posted by JustSayNoDawg at 3:06 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


As always: use yt-dl to pull down anything you like, like, yesterday

This's how I ran into/got bitten by this issue myself, actually. This change has caused a lot of trouble for Youtube-DL & everything depending on it (Discord music bots, for example).

What galls me though, I *have* Youtube Premium / Youtube Music. I'm already giving them the money for ad-free streams. So it'd be nice if I could use my premium access to listen to music in the spots I'm listening to music in.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:13 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


PBS and BBC only huh? Good luck running those massive data centers for free.

PBS has had corporate sponsorship bumps for ages, and at this point some are *quite* ad-like (e.g. Deep Look’s sponsorship by Opera)
posted by Going To Maine at 3:29 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


Capitalist Realism, by Mark Fisher


We could definitely have a tax funded, ad free social network. It would likely create net positive value.

We live in a society, we can choose to pay money for things that create indirect net gains.

It's like folks have never used a park or a library before...
posted by constraint at 3:45 PM on June 20 [10 favorites]


I wouldn’t be so bothered by YT ads if it weren’t so overwhelming. Starting a video? Here’s an ad! (Oh, it’s unskippable.) Here’s another ad! You’re a few minutes in? Here’s another ad! We’re not even going to bother finding a good place for it, we’re just going to jarringly interrupt the video. A few more minutes? Another ad! Watching it on a smart TV and you pause the video? Oh you better believe that’s more ads. Video’s over and you haven’t closed the window? MORE ADS! It’d be one thing if they kept the ads to a dull roar, but it’s gotten beyond ridiculous. (Side note: I got Peacock on Black Friday for $20 for the entire year. I will not be renewing even if I get the same rate. Why? Because they’re doing pause screen ads. Fuck that.)
posted by azpenguin at 3:50 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


You gotta admit, their tactics for getting around ad blockers are getting more sophisticated by the year.

All of that makes me, at the end of a long day, reach for a Chesterfield, America’s number one cigarette. With its smooth toasted tobacco flavor and improved filter, there’s no better way to unwind while looking as cool as fuck. Ask your tobacconist for it today by name, CHESTERFIELD!

And now, back to our thread.
posted by dr_dank at 3:51 PM on June 20 [13 favorites]


from the free rider’s perspective, there’s no such thing as a free rider “problem”
posted by DoctorFedora at 4:01 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


GoblinHoney you're right, and you should say it
posted by jy4m at 4:29 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Metafilter 2034: "So you want to not have ads running on your apartment walls for, like, free? Freerider?"
posted by german_bight at 4:50 PM on June 20 [9 favorites]


they somehow think I'm in need of women's deodorant

I don't have anywhere else to ask this, but: Does it seem to anyone else that companies are suddenly trying to make "whole body deodorant" a thing? I had never really seen this stuff around before, but suddenly I'm seeing multiple ads from multiple different brands about how I'm stinky and I need this product. I feel like I'm witnessing how corporations manufacture the need for new products in real time. It's so insidious.

I mean. This is on the videos where they're not trying to sell me Manscaping equipment. I think they're confused that I'm into video games but also cooking videos with women in them.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 4:52 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


Thing is, showing me an ad is pointless because I don’t shop based on ads. Let’s just agree that ads waste my time and the advertiser’s money because I will never make a purchase decision based on an ad. If I want to buy a thing, I will go to thing.com and thingreviews.net and make a decision that way. Ads don’t work on me. So I don’t want to see them.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:01 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


The niche content creators that have managed to build successful YouTube businesses are seeing their revenue drop because in the last few months companies using AI have come in and started spamming all those subjects. I'm not sure which is more evil, the low quality crap bots, the guys who steal your script and make a new video with an AI voice narrating it and redo the graphics -- replacing the time honored tradition of just stealing and reposting your videos with just enough cropping and speed changes to throw off the automated copyright tool, or the reaction video -- now with AI influencer and AI script -- replacing the actual human doing the same bullshit.

If YouTube doesn't fix these problems there won't be any content for them to run ads over.
posted by interogative mood at 5:09 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]




YouTube did not exist until I was 38. I went 38 years without having it and without wanting it, and I'll do it again if need be. People who try to force me to watch ads are overestimating my need for their service and underestimating how much I dislike ads.

But more to the point--do people buy stuff they see in ads? Don't you just cringe and feel embarrassed for all mankind that such a thing as advertising in its present form has come to be, and wait for it to go away? On preview, what seanmpuckett said.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 5:22 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Does it seem to anyone else that companies are suddenly trying to make "whole body deodorant" a thing?

Yes, yes, yes it does; so much coy "down there" and "everywhere".

Also: Old Spice has either decided that I am the one and only customer they're targetting, or they have an apparently-bottomless advertising budget because dang: their YouTube ads are incessant.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:35 PM on June 20


The last time I was treated to a pre-roll ad on YT, it simply wouldn’t stop. Like, it went on for way over a minute…and then another ad started running! The only way I discovered to finally get to the actual content was to reload the page.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:43 PM on June 20 [3 favorites]


I used a free ad blocker with Safari for the last 3-4 years and saw nearly zero ads on YT in that time frame. Granted, I do not watch a huge amount of YT, but still... I'm a regular viewer. Very recently (using the same ad blockers) I see an ad run before a video once in a while, sometimes two. Maybe I need to find a new ad blocker?

I am far from being a big tech-head but the ad blockers worked remarkably well as I have never paid for a YT subscription.
posted by SoberHighland at 5:45 PM on June 20


Y’know, thinking about it this might be a really good use case for machine learning? There’d need to be a delay, but there’s a host of linguistic, tonal, and presentational cues in most advertising, perfect for an expert system to flag and redact in realtime.
posted by Ryvar at 6:00 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


They tried to ban VCRs and defund PBS. They tried to keep Xerox machines out of libraries. They said going to the bathroom during the commercial break was stealing. They let you pay to remove the ads and then added the ads back in.

They're just lying and trying to hold back the progress of society. Use an ad blocker. You weren't going to buy that stupid shit anyway even if the claims in the ada weren't a pack of lies to begin with. Life is short.

Napster didn't steal from artists; record labels and later streaming services did. Ebook piracy didn't close down your local bookstore; Amazon did. Disney made billions from public domain stories (and flat out stole Lion King) and then robbed the public domain. Hollywood was built specifically to escape that elephant-torturing bastard Thomas Edison.

What are you doing defending these ghouls? If you want amazing culture and art, you need to block ads and take power away from them.
posted by AlSweigart at 6:10 PM on June 20 [50 favorites]


I thought that seamlessly-inserted product placement (often on-the-fly) was going to be the future of ads, and not the familiar "30-second segments" that no one can seem to give up.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:25 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


Y’know, thinking about it this might be a really good use case for machine learning? There’d need to be a delay, but there’s a host of linguistic, tonal, and presentational cues in most advertising, perfect for an expert system to flag and redact in realtime.
This was my first thought too. It seems (to a tech dunderhead) that very similar technology to insert ads into a video stream on the fly could be used to detect the inserted ad and redact it, also on the fly. There may be an actual useful thing AI can do, after all. I guess the next iteration of on-the-fly inserted ads, though, will be using AI to insert ads using synthetic versions of the surrounding content to the point that all the cues that would trigger the detection of ads would disappear.

I guess a company like Youtube may not truly care about that, though. Their stats will still show the ad was shown to x people and that's really all they need to sell the ads.

I'm another that never buys anything based on ads (as far as I'm aware). If I need/want something, I go out and look for it, do some comparison shopping etc and then buy it. I'm actually more inclined to not buy a product that I feel has bombarded me with ads.
posted by dg at 6:37 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


My take away is that I love Nebula and I would like all my favorite youtubers to join them
posted by vibratory manner of working at 7:02 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


(I think my only note on the ad wars is that I believe that if a video creator doesn’t monetize their videos, there are no ads. This isn’t a one way street, and the people making content do have some agency here themselves.)
posted by Going To Maine at 8:25 PM on June 20


The gas pumps at my gas station suddenly stopped playing ads at me. I wonder what caused that change.
posted by ctmf at 8:36 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


I think it's kind of funny to be worried about how advertisements might be a security risk for your computer when they are by design a security risk for your brain. Advertisers are trying to change your desires and your values, change who you are into someone whose behavior increases their profits.

You are not obliged to let them do that to you. You have the right to chose the media that helps to shape your soul. You do not have to helplessly consume whatever some advertiser wants to put in front of you.
posted by straight at 8:47 PM on June 20 [8 favorites]


You want stuff for free, you watch ads. That's the deal.

Part of this deal and unspoken social contract was that advertising networks shouldn't serve actual malware and viruses, they shouldn't abuse cookies to infest your browser with totally unrelated cross site tracking bugs, advertisers should be vetted so they're not using it to spread totally unhinged misinformation and propaganda and...

...oh wait advertisers have been manipulating public opinion and psychologically abusing people making them feel bad for smelling like a human being or not having a nicer car or peddling harmful pretty much since the dawn of marketing and advertising.

Huh, weird. Get fucked, advertisers.


Also, weird side note: So far I've been escaping most of YTs attempts at thwarting uBlock origin on a Linux OS, and part of me has a sneaky suspicion that YT is flagging very old Google accounts and certain "power user" system or browser fingerprints to serve ads to those people last, like slowly bringing a proverbial frog to a boil.

My theory is that they know we'll be the ones to resist the most and be the most likely to join crowd-sourced adblocking attemps like timestamp logging or other indicators,, or even lead an exodus away from the platform.

If they are doing that it's fiendishly smart and I hate it.
posted by loquacious at 9:24 PM on June 20 [11 favorites]


You want stuff for free, you watch ads. That's the deal. That's how (non-public) broadcast TV has worked forever

Let s make it public then. Libraries are public. Oil and food production are public. Roads are public. Make cultural production public.
posted by eustatic at 9:32 PM on June 20 [6 favorites]


Google has an LLM. It follows that they are committed to fully automated luxury communism. It's absurd to suggest that there's some obligation to watch thier ads in order to help them pay for whatever.
posted by surlyben at 9:56 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


>I believe that if a video creator doesn’t monetize their videos, there are no ads.

YouTube started putting ads on non-monetized videos as of 2020 - ads can now appear on videos from channels not in the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

I've earned about $5,000 from YouTube Ads. I post videos for my immediate circle of friends in the same way I might post photos or random thoughts on Facebook with no expectation of financial return.

But I have to say the fact that money was coming in made me feel better about spending more money creating content (I probably spent about $300) and also spending the time to create content - sometimes waking up at 6am before heading to work at my actual job.

So... I guess this is the invisible hand of the market. I would have still posted videos, but probably not as many, if there hadn't been ads. And since YouTube is going to post ads on my most popular videos anyway even if I don't monetize them, then I might as well monetize them myself...
posted by xdvesper at 10:59 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


part of me has a sneaky suspicion that YT is flagging very old Google accounts and certain "power user" system or browser fingerprints to serve ads to those people last, like slowly bringing a proverbial frog to a boil.

Or, a few Googlers also don't like ads and are also Linux enjoyers.
posted by pwnguin at 12:03 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I routinely do clip tralk and chears from live tracks like this, but doing redownloads wastes bandwidth doin redownloads.

yt-dlp -x --audio-format=mp3 --postprocessor-args "-ss 00:01:02.00 -to 00:04:45.00" http://youtube.com/..

Instead I should be doing yt-dlp --download-sections "*30:15-1:40:25" but doing so also requires identifying the timing correctly first.

If youtube pads tracks randomly in future, then I'll need some seperate processing phase like:

ffmpeg -ss 00:07 -to 04:26 -i "input.mp3" -acodec copy "output.mp3"

Anyone know if anything yt-dlp front end supports interactive clipping?
posted by jeffburdges at 12:13 AM on June 21


I'm fairly impenetrable to advertisements, so mostly I just press mute whenever they appears, or ignore them if silent, but..

You should never emply websites' own report or block features against advertisements, klanawa. At one point, I blocked every advertiser whom advertised to me twitter, for maybe a month or even a few weeks, but there were always advertisers whom I avoided blocking, so the advertisement quality on twitter quickly and dramatically improved, making it much harder for me to mentally ignore the advertisements.

Advertisement are malicious of course, so yes ethically we should all be using good ad blockers. If we micropayed everything online then we'd still have advertisement becasue enshitification. If anything, micropayments would kill "ad free premium" services because who'd risk their paying risk users realizing they could demand services without advertisements.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:39 AM on June 21


Does it seem to anyone else that companies are suddenly trying to make "whole body deodorant" a thing?

I noticed this on a trip back to the US in January - it's on regular television. I've also seen youtubers suggest using it 'down there' too and I was weirded out.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 12:57 AM on June 21


I do not give a damn if Google loses money.
posted by The Manwich Horror at 3:53 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


But it means that whatever you're paying isn't actually enough to cover the costs.

No, it means that whatever you're paying doesn't maximize profit.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:22 AM on June 21 [6 favorites]


If YT only put up a 15-second ad before a video, I'd shrug, ignore it and figure it as the cost of the service. But ad after ad after ad when I'm trying to listen to a techno DJ's set? Fuuuuck no. uBlock Origin and Firefox it is, and always will be, and if YT ever permanently breaks it, then I'll find another source.

And as others have pointed out, the ads themselves aren't just the usual boring "buy this car!" crap, but actively weird and toxic and usually right-wing as hell. So, double fuck them.

I think a presidential candidate whose only policy platform was "Americans have the right to be free from advertising" would win about 350 electoral votes.
posted by outgrown_hobnail at 5:43 AM on June 21 [4 favorites]


Currently I'm letting our Netflix subscription lapse because they cancelled the Basic plan we've been on forever for like $12 Canadian a month (letting us only use it on one screen at a time at a lower quality), offering us only a plan that will cost double what we currently pay if we want no ads, or a $9 or something plan with ads. How about you go fuck yourself, Netflix?

it means that whatever you're paying isn't actually enough to cover the costs

It's impossible to ever generate enough value for the shareholders, so this shall forever be true.
posted by urbanlenny at 7:14 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


I'm about the least pirate-y person you'll meet, and of course I think artists and companies should be paid for their work or products. But GoblinHoney is 100% correct and I'd favorite that comment 100 times if I could. No one voted for the current state of the internet, with their dollars or otherwise. The whole "free but we take your privacy and data and lock you in with monopolies" model is antidemocratic. Honestly I'd flush the entire modern corporate web including Facebook, YouTube, X, Instagram, Tiktok, and Google with all their products if I could. Sure, I use some of those things, but the value I get from them is not worth what they've done to society. Remember: Advertising (beyond just awareness of options) is antithetical to free market theory. As soon as companies are influencing you overtly or covertly, you are no longer picking the best product for your needs for the best price; you may think you are, and with great effort you may mostly resist, but as a society we're buying what corporations want to buy. Worse products, more often. Often with worthless features and advertising built into the products themselves. My various exercise clothes have fucking Nike and Adidas and shit plastered all over them. I didn't ask for that. My appliances and car have computers that, when they break, cost more than the purchase to fix. I didn't ask for that. FFS, I just want a dishwater with a toggle between heavy and light duty that mechanically initiates a bunch of soap and water to move around inside a metal tub and then heats up for a while.

Anyhoo.
posted by caviar2d2 at 7:29 AM on June 21 [5 favorites]


I like the idea of allowing ads that help support websites. I've tried.

Flash adverts broke many websites, because they assumed many times more resources than the website. At the time, the only solution was to install an ad-blocker.

Adblock Plus allowed "non-intrusive" adverts in a paid scheme. "Non-intrusive" meant breaking the back button, as well as geolocating my computer to display a blatant lie. Made to look like an intrasite article recommendation on a reputable news site, IIRC.

The majority who don't block ads, are at significantly higher risk of malware as a result. According to the NSA, and other security professionals.

The online ad market is 39% Google, 18% Facebook.[Statista] I can defeat third-party tracking cookies from adverts by using Firefox, or buying all premium devices with an Apple logo (haha, no).

Currently I cannot reliably protect against third-party cookies from ubiquitous Google/Youtube + Facebook embedded interactive content. "Cookie Autodelete" currently requires disabling Firefox's built-in "Total Cookie Protection", and the description for the addon specifically says that defeating cookies in advance is better than deleting them afterwards. It sounds patchable, except that no-one's picked up that torch for over a year now. "Firefox Containers" don't work on mobile. PrivacyBadger made a placeholder for Youtube embeds, and then relegated it to an experimental option.

Technically, I'm not using anything called an adblocker at the moment. I get ads on Youtube.

Working out how to help websites sell ads, that I never click on, has dropped down my list of priorities.
posted by sourcejedi at 7:43 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


"You should see the stats on our antivirus detections after we deployed adblocking. It’s the ads. I’ve done this at two companies." - SwiftOnSecurity

"Don't know what Swift's was, but it was something ridiculous like a 90% drop in endpoint detections when we rolled it out.

That was when Flash was a thing and drive-by exploit kits were everywhere; I wouldn't expect results *that* dramatic today, but, yeah, do it. Huge ROI." - Name_Too_Long
posted by sourcejedi at 7:55 AM on June 21 [2 favorites]


Bring back static banner ads and make the site owner sign off on each ad like the old days. That way we get zero targeted ads.
posted by caviar2d2 at 8:59 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


This shit gets me so mad. You don't owe them shit. They provide nothing of value to society, they are rentseekers acting as middlemen between the actual creators and their audience. All they ever did was try to invade your consciousness, make you feel inadequate, assault your senses in the most egregious way, and harvest your data to sell to more advertisers. Fuck this shit. They are little more than landlords at this stage. What are they adding to the experience? The YouTube front end? The algorithm? Don't make me laugh. It's 20 years since they did anything good, and in those days the ad experience wasn't anything like as aggressive. The sooner they croak and new more equitable platforms like Nebula take over, the better. I've lost count of how many times creators have had to censor themselves with regards to suicide and drugs and other TOS-breaking topics in the name of monetisation. Not to mention all the harmful misinformation they're more than happy to proliferate.

So if you don't mind I'm going to continue to block ads with extreme prejudice and pay creators directly when I can. Which isn't often since I'm on subsistence wages, but I was never going to pay for Premium and will never buy whatever horseshit is being advertised anyway. I wish I could block ads in meatspace too, but sadly not.

Sometimes you have to draw a line in the sand and say "no further". Stop paying them, it only encourages them. Download ublock origin and sponsorblock. You don't have to feel guilty. The sooner we kill the ad-driven economy the sooner we can move on to something better.

I'd give GoblinHoney and AlSweigart a thousand favourites each if I could. /Rant
posted by Acey at 1:24 PM on June 21 [3 favorites]


I think a presidential candidate whose only policy platform was "Americans have the right to be free from advertising" would win about 350 electoral votes.

Could be tough. Said candidate would need to advertise that party platform somewhere, like through media, which makes tens of billions in ad buys from presidential campaigns:
The figure is expected to rise by about 30% from 2020 to $12.32 billion this year, the report said. Ad spend on traditional media, most of which is TV, will rise 7.9% and account for 71.9% of all spend
The press would probably decide that aspect's of the candidates platform would not be in the public interest and refrain from letting them voice it to the public.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:44 PM on June 21


Anyway, I pay to skip ads on YouTube. The day that I get shown ads while paying for that privilege, I'll definitely walk. YouTube is entertaining and useful, but not indispensable.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 3:46 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


In 2006 Google bought YouTube for $1.65 billion
In 2009 YouTube was losing $470 million per year due to the high running costs
In 2014 YouTube was “roughly break-even” (4 years later than predicted)
In 2019 YouTube annual advertising revenue was 15.1 Billion
In 2023 YouTube annual advertising revenue was 31.5 Billion

So by rough calculation, if Google lost around $4 Billion during the first 8 years, call it $6 billion including acquisition costs and interest, it can now make all that money back in just over 5 months.
I think they might be doing OK.
posted by Lanark at 3:56 PM on June 21


Liberty Mutual is at the top of that list and it is guaranteed that I will never buy insurance from them, until I see that gotdang emu served up as an Xmas roast and that baby carriage tossed into the ocean.

Whereas I, who have never seen a Liberty Mutual ad, am content to have them insure my car because I choose them by looking around for the most competitive rate available to me (and kept them because of their above-average customer service).

Isn't that better than advertising, Liberty Mutual?
posted by straight at 4:10 PM on June 21


I was happy that poorly targeted You Tube, Sky World Cup rugby adverts were a sign of weakness and that the evil Murdoch/News Corporation was in fact in decline.
posted by Narrative_Historian at 2:40 AM on June 22


I wish I could block ads in meatspace too, but sadly not.

I don't notice ads so much in the 'real' world, due to a near-total city-wide ban on roadside billboards, making it even more startling when I venture beyond the city limits and my eyes are assaulted by the volume and size of advertising signs everywhere. It's almost the same as when I have to use a device that doesn't have all the ads and other shit being blocked. I don't know how people stay sane with all that shit blaring in their face all the time. *Looks around outside* Oh, never mind - they don't :-(
posted by dg at 7:57 PM on June 23 [1 favorite]


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