Adding a single character to a URL can let you bypass some websites’ metered paywalls and watch YouTube videos without having to endure those annoying ads.
The simple hack — typing a “dot” immediately after the “.com” in a site’s URL — doesn’t work on every single website out there. But it does give you an advertisement-free pass to many of them.
It appears to work without fail on YouTube. And it seems pretty effective at eliminating those “you’ve read all your free articles for the month” warnings that some websites serve up in a bid to push subscriptions.
How to avoid YouTube ads
A Reddit user who goes by unicorn4sale apparently discovered the weird hack. Here’s how unicorn4sale describes it:
fyi: You can bypass youtube ads by adding a dot after the domain
On desktop browsers.
To follow up: I had initially assumed that it didn’t work on mobile because the browsers normalized the URL, however this isn’t the case. The redirection happens on the server side. So, if you want this to work on mobile browsers, use the “Request Desktop Site” feature.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuB8VUICGqc // will occasionally show ads
https://www.youtube.com./watch?v=DuB8VUICGqc // will not show ads
Watch YouTube without ads on smartphones, too
On iPhones, you can do the same thing by requesting the desktop version of the site by pressing the aA button at the far left of mobile Safari’s address bar. (That same trick works for listening to YouTube music in the background, BTW.)
As PCWorld points out, the extra “dot” desktop workaround “does not work for sites that are completely subscription-supported” — big-time moneymakers like The Wall Street Journal and that crowd.
A never-ending battle against ads (and blockers)
Workarounds like this come and go, as websites adapt to the latest developments. Ad-fueled websites and services constantly play a cat-and-mouse game with ad blockers and similar technologies.
Who knows how long this one will persist. But for now, it’s an easy way to bypass those YouTube ads without paying $12 a month for YouTube Premium. And to get your eyes on some news articles you don’t feel like paying for.