What Is Going On With Youtube Ads?

Posted on Tue 31 October 2023 in Misc

I've recently found myself watching a lot of Youtube videos on my flip phone because I have no audio on my new desktop (thanks, Linux). This means getting hit with ads designed to be seen by people with no viewer history, since my phone doesn't have enough RAM for cookies. I've found that Youtube ads can be split into 3 main groups:

  • Shilling. There's a bunch of long ads designed to sell you dropshipping courses and other get-rich-quick schemes. There's nothing really interesting to say about them, but they're everywhere.

  • Outright scams. Now that audio deepfakes are a thing, I sometimes get ads that use AI generated clips of Elon Musk saying that he developed a program that trades crypto for easy profit. These scams scare me. I'm savvy enough to know that any voice I hear online can be faked, but a lot of people don't.

  • LOLWTF? These are the interesting ones. There's a singer in my city that makes these songs about being happy that I find really cultish, and he put out a massive ad campaign to have them played to just about every single person in my city. That means I'm constantly getting these full songs I hate from some random dude. I've also gotten a few blindness denial ads, which is the main reason I decided to make this blog post. It's so weird, it's this mineral that's supposed to fix your vision by treating some sort of neurological problem. This ad is extremely insistent that bad eyesight is because your brain can't process information, not because your eyes actually suck. It also negs you into buying the mineral by saying that your family will start to think that you can't take care of yourself if your eyesight gets worse. Really awful, bizarre stuff.

Youtube is trying to stop adblockers to make more money, but the flipside of this is that they let anybody take out whatever kind of ad they want. If they really want to make us watch ads, there needs to be a filter to keep out the trash ads, which seems to be most of them at this point.