Anyone who uses the internet to read stories and watch videos more than they should knows about ad blockers. But they might not know this crazy trick: If you add an extra “dot” immediately after the “.com” but before the slash, you can avoid ads on YouTube and other videos and even bypass free article reading limits on many sites.
As first discovered by Redditor unicorn4sale, the trick has been proven to work on YouTube and several news sites that offer a limited number of free articles before throwing up a paywall. It does not work for sites that are completely subscription-supported, such as the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times, however. It also works on smartphones if you request the desktop version.
So instead of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AQTRcn1mIvM, you’d type https://www.youtube.com./watch?v=AQTRcn1mIvM. We’ve tested in on numerous sites with our ad blocker turned off, and lo and behold, it works.
According to unicorn4sale, the way the trick works is “websites forget to normalize the hostname, the content is still served, but there’s no hostname match on the browser so no cookies and broken CORS – and lots of bigger sites use a different domain to serve ads/media with a whitelist that doesn’t contain the extra dot.” Presumably, this would have to be resolved on a site-by-site basis, so we don’t know how long this trick will stick around.
Of course, it’s always better to pay for content, but if you’re sick of suffering through ads or reading the first three lines of a story before clicking away, give this trick a try.
This story, “Bizarre internet ‘dot’ glitch lets you watch ad-free YouTube vids and bypass paywalls” was originally published by
Michael Simon covers all things mobile for PCWorld and Macworld. You can usually find him with his nose buried in a screen. The best way to yell at him is on Twitter.
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