If you (a) ever go on YouTube and (b) don’t fork over $12 a month for YouTube Premium, you’re going to spend a not-insignificant amount of time watching ads.
Ads are YouTube’s monetization bread and butter. Pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads are served on millions upon millions of videos every day—including, as of November 2020, videos that aren’t uploaded by creators in the YouTube Partner Program.
Ads are how YouTube pays creators—and itself.
So it’s probably not surprising that the latest third-party program to receive legal attention from YouTube’s parent Google is Vanced, an Android app that—among other things—let users skip ads on YouTube videos without paying for Premium.
The app was created in 2017, and is a modified version of the actual YouTube app that jailbreaks paid features like background play and brings back old features like the dislike button. Vanced was free to use, and had recently rebranded from its original name, YouTube Vanced.
That’s because of Google, Vanced developers told The Verge. They said Vance recently received a cease-and-desist letter from Google that ordered it to stop developing and distributing the app.
“We were asked to remove all references to ‘YouTube,’ change the logo, and remove all links related to YouTube products,” an administrator on Vanced’s development team, who was kept anonymous, told The Verge.
The Vanced team announced on Twitter that the app has been “discontinued,” and that download links will begin to disappear over the next few days. Interestingly, they noted that already-downloaded copies of Vanced will continue to work as usual; it’s just that new users won’t be able to download Vanced and no more updates to the app will be released.
“We know this is not something you wanted to hear, but it’s something we had to do,” the team tweeted. “We want to thank you all for the support over the years.”
Vanced is not the first casualty of YouTube and Google’s crackdown on third-party operators. In August and September 2021, YouTube sent cease-and-desist letters to two popular music bots that streamed music from YouTube to Discord server channels. Both shuttered, and days later, YouTube and Discord announced they’d partnered to create new features.
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