URL Bug Allows You to Skip YouTube Ads and Paywalls by Adding an Extra Period

Some people have all sorts of problems avoiding ads and paywalls on the Internet, whether it’s installing ad blockers or trying complicated workarounds. It turns out that in many cases, overcoming these “hurdles” is often as simple as adding a dot to a website’s domain.

In other words, assuming you’re not a YouTube Premium subscriber, “youtube.com/reallycoolvideo” will show ads, but “youtube.com./reallycoolvideo’ won’t. It’s so simple.

The bug is mostly limited to desktop browsers, but on mobile you can use the “Request desktop site” option to get the trick working.

Redditor u/unicorn4sale noted the bug on the Reddit’sr/webdev subreddit. According to u/unicorn4sale:

“This is a commonly forgotten edge case, websites forget to normalize the hostname, content is still served, but there is no hostname match on the browser, so no cookies and broken CORS – and many larger sites use a different domain to serve ads/media with a whitelist that doesn’t contain the extra dot”

In other words, it’s a simple oversight – and it’s far from just YouTube. A quick test showed it was effective at bypassing paywalls for The New York Times, Wired, The Washington Post, Atlantic, and many others.

Of course, now that the bug is out in the open, it’s only a matter of time before this little loophole is closed. Enjoy it while it lasts – or, you know, pay.

Via central Android

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