The Great Youtube Ad Boycott of 2017

Aractus 05, April, 2017

Well by now you should know exactly what I think about internet advertising. Youtube represents everything wrong with the internet. And I must admit that I spend way too much of my time on it.

UBlock Origin is now the recommended/featured ad blocker in FireFox. When you click on Get Add-Ons (about:addons in the address bar), it is one of only seven extensions featured and the only adblocker. Install it today! Use the Youtube Ad Boycott to spread awareness. Third party internet ads are a security vulnerability, and one that affects the most popular websites. In 2014 for example, Youtube was serving malware through their ads. If you blocked their ads you were safe from this threat, even if your antivirus program was not installed or not working.

What is the Youtube Ad Boycott?

In a nutshell, the ad boycott refers to the mass withdrawal of advertising on the Youtube platform by major advertisers. It’s not really a boycott, and it’s a bit silly of people to use that term. It began with the UK government withdrawing advertising from Youtube, and that action has trigged many other large companies both corporate and otherwise to follow. Australian companies (note some are subsidiaries of international companies) that have withdrawn ads completely during this period include: The Federal Government itself, Bunnings, Foxtel, Caltex, Telstra, Ford, Hyundai, Holden, Kia, Toyota, and many others.

What is the problem?

Well there isn’t really one. This can be seen in some ways as a large “market correction”. Advertisers have realised that many of their ads appear on trashy, junk videos and aren’t happy – or worse still, on videos that support violence and terror. The reason why there’s a shitstorm about all this is because many Youtubers produce content for a living, and they’ve just realised that their market and platform is more volatile than they realised. Welcome to the real fucking world you knuckleheads! How do you think print media in particular Newspapers have felt for the past 15-20 years as the internet has slowly eroded their ad profitability?

When Youtube was launched it was intended as a platform for people to express themselves, not as a way for people to make a living. Now I’m not saying that making a living through the platform is wrong: but I am saying that third-party internet ads are fundamentally bad. Advertisers claim the internet would suck without ads. Well wake the fuck up, there are plenty of websites – my blog included, Wikipedia to name another – that don’t run any ads… if you ask me the internet would be better without them. Or will less sophisticated first-party advertising.

Do people have a right to complain?

People have a right to complain. However it’s no one’s god-given right to profit from creating internet content. And it’s certainly not their right to expect third party platforms like Youtube to have their interests at heart. We saw a similar thing 5 or so years ago when certain popular youtubers like Hank Green claimed that AdBlock was destroying their revenue and that it wasn’t fair, blah blah blah. Hank even claimed that they don’t run pre-roll ads on their channels because they know how outright intrusive they are, for proof view his video:

I’ve got news for you, Hank. If I disable uBlock Origin and the MVPS hosts file and view your popular youtube channels they do play pre-roll ads you lying sack of shit. Seriously dude, maybe this was true at the time you made that video in 2012 – I don’t have a Time Travel Capsule so I can’t go back and be absolutely certain – but how do you get off claiming that you recognise those ads are intrusive and shouldn’t be played, and then change your mind and put them on anyway? Does that really show that you care about your users?

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