Google admits it was serving ads on the ‘ad-free’ YouTube Red

google, youtube, ads
Credit: Reddit / bamdastard

Earlier this week, we reported that Google was purportedly serving ads on its premium YouTube Red service, which promises an ad-free watching experience across the board.

The internet giant has now admitted it was indeed running ads on Red – which should be fully ad-free – blaming the erroneous occurrence on a technical issue.

The initial ad complaint came from a small group of peeved Red subscribers that took to Reddit to raise their concerns. In fact, one user shared a response from a YouTube representative that suggested the ads in question were part of another format – print ads – which was supposedly allowed on the premium service.

Here is the original reply:

Thanks for contacting YouTube. I can definitely understand your concern, since YouTube Red membership promises an ads-free experience across YouTube. I’ll clarify this for you.

With YouTube Red, you shouldn’t be seeing iBanner ad, image ad, pre-roll ad, ad that shows before their video starts (often 30 seconds or skippable after 5 seconds). This includes ads before and during a video, as well as banner ads, search ads, and video overlay ads. You may still see branding or promotions embedded in creators’ content that isn’t controlled by YouTube. Ad-free videos are supported across all devices and platforms where you can sign in with your YouTube account – including on compatible smart TVs/gaming consoles and the YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids mobile apps, if they’re available in your location.

From the screenshot, looks like the ad format (print ad) is not supported by the YouTube Red.

But as it turns out – and as Google explicitly sums it up in its membership details – this information was not entirely legitimate, but rather a miscommunication on the company’s part. Indeed, no ads should appear on YouTube Red.

A supervisor with the YouTube and Google Play Music support team has since contacted the Reddit user (Mark Liederbach), who originally shared the company’s response, to clarify that the customer support representative that responded to his complaint had provided him with “incorrect information.”

Liederbach, who has already updated the Reddit community about Google’s clarification, was kind enough to provide TNW with proof of the email’s authenticity. Here is what the supervisor said:

This is [name redacted] a supervisor with the YouTube and Google Play Music support team. It has come to my attention that a member of our team provided you with some incorrect information about the YouTube Red ads-free feature that I’d like to correct. YouTube Red members should not see any ads and the screenshot you provided shows an ad that absolutely should be blocked with the service. I sincerely apologize for the previous miscommunication.

The good news is that our engineers believe they’ve identified the underlying issue that can cause ads to show like the one you saw, and hope to have it fixed very soon. If you continue to see ads – or have any trouble with your YouTube Red membership – please don’t hesitate to let us know and we’ll look into it immediately.

In addition to his exchange with Google, Liederbach also shared a couple of screenshots of the ads he noticed on YouTube Red:

In case you see any ads on YouTube Red, you can let their support team know here – they’ll look into the issue immediately.

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