YouTube: We will cancel Premium subscriptions bought via foreign VPN

Stop pretending you're in a country where YouTube Premium subscriptions cost ·2 and pay the full ·13, Google is warning customers using VPNs to pretend they're in poorer countries. — Photo: Fabian Sommer/dpa

BERLIN: Starting a YouTube Premium subscription can be far cheaper if you do it from a foreign country, sometimes even costing just a fraction of the price.

In wealthier Western countries like Germany and the US, Google charges €13 or US$14 (RM17.90 in Malaysia) a month for a subscription, while in countries like Ghana, Turkey, Pakistan and Ukraine, Premium can cost less than €2 (RM10) a month.

For this reason, before booking a subscription many people have been switching on a VPN to pretend the computer they're using is in a country where the fees are cheaper.

But YouTube owner Google appears to have caught on to this trick and is now warning subscribers that it will not be tolerated.

"We believe that you did not enter your actual country of residence when you signed up," Google is telling users in emails circulated on social media and by tech industry media.

Users are then asked to sign up for a Premium subscription again within a certain period of time, otherwise they will lose the benefits of ad-free use.

Google confirmed the updated policy to news website TechCrunch, saying: "We have systems in place to determine the country of our users."

However Google does not yet appear to be threatening to block accounts accused of falsifying their country of residence, meaning that little risk remains to YouTube subscribers still attempting to find cheaper subscriptions abroad.

In addition to the measures against diversions subscriptions, YouTube is cracking down on ad blockers on the platform, which have long been able to skip the increasingly large number of ads before, during and between videos.

The company is reportedly integrating ads directly into video streams on the server side in order to reduce the effectiveness of ad blockers and secure advertising revenue. – dpa

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