YouTube Premium versus Ad Blocking

An upset girl surrounded by televisions.
Based on an original photo by Levi Stute on Unsplash

A day I dreaded had arrived.

I knew it was a matter of time.

My ad-blocker of choice stopped working on YouTube.

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

Paying someone for a service or product should be normal. For example, when I was a child I recall having to give a man, in a funny looking van, some money for ice-cream.

On another occasion there was the angry man driving the bus. He insisted I give him money to allow me to board. Many years ago after I bought my first car, I had to give older men money to allow me into car parks.

But that's enough examples of giving older men money.

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

Frustrated at the elongated process to avoid ads (see later), I decided to switch off the ad-blocker, 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 like an hour.
  • Alphasync Gaming PCs banner.

The adverts came at me in one short session.

God give me strength.

Some people might accuse YouTube of increasing their ads’ annoyance factor on purpose to encourage sign-ups to Premium.

But I refuse to give in. I managed to avoid the ads with a self-perfected hack.

  • Go to the video you want to watch;
  • reload the page;
  • pause blocking;
  • reload the page;
  • resume blocking;
  • reload the page;
  • click on the next video;
  • watch part of the video;
  • return to the one you wanted;
  • pause blocking and restart blocking; 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 but grainy VHS uploads with copyrighted material – clips of old TV favourites, and DIY tips.

It is ironic that one of my favourite YouTube topics today is old adverts from my childhood.

But across the spectrum content creators have access to affordable technology, and their programming looks as professional as broadcast TV.

Goodbye old VHS, hello 4K Ultra HD and scripted studio based tech reviews. There are thousands of talented people on YouTube – and some oddballs.

The Way Forward

Today 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 worthwhile with my life?

If YouTube were the only subscription service I would pay for premium.

However it's not.

I have plenty of subscriptions which are under constant review:

Service Annual Cost
Bitwarden £10
Adobe Lightroom £120
AdGuard £32
Spotify £120
Amazon Prime £95
Britbox £60
Clean My Mac £50
Bear Notes £10
Fastmail £92
Grammarly £108
iCloud £10
Microsoft 365 £80
Nest Aware £100
Mullvad VPN £48
Paste Clipboard £10
Ghost £100
TOTAL £1045

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.

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

There is 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.

Some Time Later

A breakfast themed clock set on a bright yellow wall.
Morning Time

AdGuard got its systems updated and are blocking ads again on YouTube.

I'm sorry YouTube, but that's the way it is.

Unless users want the music service, premium is not value for money. If I had to choose to watch with ads or not watch at all, you can be confident it's the latter.

Since I drafted the list of subscriptions I've cancelled Spotify, Grammarly, and Bear.

Another £238 a year saved, but my grammar might suffer.

Alan Marsden

Alan Marsden

Enjoying shutter therapy through different genres. Writing on the experience. ⛰️ landscape ⏳ long exposure 🚦 street ❓and the random