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YouTube Testing Server-Side Ad Injection to Combat Ad Blockers

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YouTube’s efforts to combat ad-blocking tools are intensifying with the implementation of server-side ad injection.

The developer of SponsorBlock, a crowdsourced extension designed to skip sponsored segments, revealed today that “YouTube is currently experimenting with server-side ad injection.”

Essentially, this means that ads will now be embedded directly into the video stream rather than being delivered separately to web or mobile clients. This new method makes it much harder for ad blockers to intercept and remove ads, as the ad content will be indistinguishable from the video itself.

For SponsorBlock, this change results in β€œall timestamps being offset by the ad times.”

To address this, the developer has configured the server to detect submissions from browsers affected by this change and reject them to prevent the database from being populated with inaccurate data.

Server-side ad injection presents a significant challenge for ad blockers in general, which YouTube has been attempting to overcome through various strategies over the past year. After targeting browser extensions, Google focused on third-party clients that are widely used on mobile devices. As usual, YouTube encourages users to subscribe to YouTube Premium for an ad-free experience.

Currently, this feature is still in the testing phase, with some users already experiencing it. However, it has not been widely implemented yet. While YouTube is unlikely to disclose the specifics of these changes, it would be intriguing to understand the technical adjustments made to its ad-serving infrastructure.

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    YouTube Testing Server-Side Ad Injection to Combat Ad Blockers