Forcibly bypassing adblockers seems more harmful than just using one to begin with.


People have their reasons for using adblock. Mainly I’m trying to avoid viruses, as well as actually be able to use websites which feel like they need to prevent me from using them in the name of telling me some kind of burger exists. I do have the adblock off in cases where the site isn’t being utterly obnoxious with ads, which unfortunately seems like a shrinking list. Either people are getting very desperate to make a few cents per click or something in the ad regulation is falling apart and allowing hijacking ads at times, which one would think would be a major TOS violation since that’s a great avenue for malware. Like in the war between DRM and crackers, it’s always a series of escalating events where the crack team has to figure out a new way of getting around the tech that was developed to get around whatever the crackers were doing before.

Even though I would have other reasons for using adblock on YouTube, the way they seem to implement it may be a decent idea at its root, essentially allow people to skip after a few seconds, as much as I’d love to just skip immediately, but of course it’s slipping. Something about consecutive ads and breaks lasting more than 30 seconds and so on, and not even allowing skipping of ads at times, which if paired with some really long ads is going to make people look at alternatives to get to that video.

Then you have Twitch, which has been making increasingly sketchy decisions as of late, not to mention their bizarre attempt at celebrating Hispanic culture by doing all of the stereotypes at once. As far as ads, though, they’ve been trying to inject ads randomly into streams. Not just the ones that show up when entering a stream, but just randomly during when anything is going on, a pretty big mistake when it comes to live content. Sure, real-life sports have ad breaks on TV, but the thing about those is they time them to be during when nothing happens, or if something does happen, they have a way to catch the viewer up to what just happened. Twitch lacks that, and that’s the problem. They really seem to want to embrace the eSports thing to the point where they have a link to find eSports on the top bar. Wow, and it was so hard to find eSports before since it wasn’t like those were always on the top few streams anyway.

The problem with this is that they’re violating trust by bypassing adblock whenever they figure out how. Sure, one could argue that using adblock harms revenue, but the main thing here is that Twitch has many ways of making money that work and seem to pull in a lot more revenue on average. Their reasoning behind forcing ads to show up to begin with is because apparently a lot of partners aren’t running a bunch of ads. They probably have good reason to not do so. Maybe it makes sense to run some ads during when they’ll be away for a period of time, and make sure those have cleared out before resuming, and for those that manage their own ads smartly, that’s fine. Maybe even the pre-roll ones would be fine, as long as they’re kept very short, but there’s a technical problem here.

Whenever Twitch runs ads, they can be at any resolution. This can mess up certain video players not scripted to handle resolution switches in the middle of a stream, which at times includes their own. More importantly, if someone’s unable to watch a stream at 1080p, but the ads that load before the stream does are at that resolution or higher, I swear they might even try to be in 4K sometimes, that’s going to really mess up the slow connection and maybe even prevent the stream from loading at all. If someone’s patient enough to sit through a lagged out ad for the stream to load, but the stream breaks, and they try to reload it and get another ad, that’s a way to lose users. I’d say this is most prevalent to anyone trying to watch on a phone through the app, where adblock probably can’t apply without some hacking or at least messing with very specific settings, but there are still plenty of people out there with low-bandwidth connections in general.

This of course leads to their incredibly flaky relationship with transcoding, which is the process where a high-resolution stream can be recoded to a lower resolution as needed. Partners seem to have general access to transcoding, but affiliates really have it as a coin toss. An early growing community where a portion can’t actually watch half of the streams because they had to move all their supposed transcoding bandwidth to watch people play on the same map for an hour for several hours isn’t a good idea. I’m still not really sure why there needs to be a distinction between partner and affiliate because it seems like the affiliate level just gets the short end of the stick when it comes to things that partners have. Maybe they just want to have an elite class of the people possibly drawing in revenue set aside, like whatever YouTube probably does as well. That way they could just ban affiliates whenever they feel like and not make headlines about banning partners specifically. It seems like they also have about the same level of protection as YouTube moneymakers.

I could go on about the issues with Twitch, including their recent UI change that wastes a lot of space and puts auto-playing streams in the background while trying to even catch up on the VODs of a channel, so that can be an excessive bandwidth sink if not bypassed as well. Long story short, because they don’t have a way to properly handle live content catch-up for sporadic ads out of control of a caster, and they have an obsession with bypassing adblock constantly instead of being more helpful to their userbase, I’d rather not support that sort of sketchy behavior. But I would like to support casters directly, and ads seem incredibly indirect.

As for that previously mentioned idea of setting up my own stream server to bypass anything any corporation might be doing by using a stream page of my own, it’s going to take time and experimentation and figuring out how to not get it hacked so easily, plus I would like to figure out serverside transcoding and a proper chat system. Sure, there’s other existing stream hosts out there, but I’m unsure about most so far and that’s going to need further investigation. Plus, if I follow my tech-based “rule of two” where two attempts at a thing eventually falling apart mean the third should be home-grown, that’s another concern. I didn’t even use Mixer to cast, though I briefly had an account as a backup strategy until they sold out to Facebook and died. So the next thing I use as a backup better be able to stand up to things.

Also, IFTTT, that thing I use to post RSS feeds and such on my mostly defunct Twitter, is deciding to crack down and demand money from everyone making more than a few of their own connections, so that may be soon to go if they go too far, but if the whole service falls apart and I don’t find a way to parrot RSS entries to a dumb social site, I guess it’s just a loss on that front. I really wish more platforms had a field to post a personal website URL instead of it only being connections to… “things”. Some do, and some others have URL parsing in general fields, but never enough.