Three strikes and you’re out


YouTube is a widely used platform offering a multitude of content on demand. While there’s a Premium tier for people who don’t want to deal with ads, others generally rely on ad blockers. We heard about an experiment last month wherein YouTube was sending popups to users on the free tier, notifying them that ad blockers are not allowed on the platform. Some users are now seeing a revised version of this dialog box, with similar phrasing but the mention of a new three-strikes policy.

First spotted by Reddit user Reddit_n_Me (via Winfuture), the popup now includes three numbered white boxes, followed by the message that the video player would be blocked after three instances.

The same words from last month’s popup are back, including a button to try YouTube Premium or allow ads. There’s also an additional sentence in the first bullet point asking users to turn off the ad blocker or risk having the video player blocked.

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YouTube Free Video Player Block Pop-Up

This is a pretty aggressive approach from the Google-owned video streaming platform to curb ad blockers, though not completely unexpected. One individual points out in the Reddit thread that uBlock Origin doesn’t appear to be blocked yet. But it’s likely this restriction is only being tested with a limited number of users right now, so we can’t be certain about the scope of its impact.

Before the reliance on ad blockers, people turned to YouTube Vanced to enjoy a Premium-like experience for free. However, the service was shuttered in March last year due to legal pressure from Google. With ad blockers now seemingly on the way out, it looks like free users may only be left with the option of sitting through ads — including potentially unskippable 30-second slots if you’re on a connected TV — or shell out for a Premium subscription which goes for $12/month or $120/year in the US.

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