Skip sponsor messages in YouTube videos with SponsorBlock

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 3, 2020
Firefox, Firefox add-ons, Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

SponsorBlock is an open source browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox (and compatible browsers) that skips sponsored messages on YouTube automatically.

YouTube publishers have several monetization options at their disposal. Most may display advertisement provided by Google on their channels and that is without doubt the most common method. Others include benefiting from YouTube Premium (does not seem to work that well for most), Super Chat to monetize live chats on YouTube, sponsored videos, and sponsored messages during regular videos.

Sponsored messages are usually played after a short intro to advertise a product, e.g. hardware or services. These messages play even when ad-blockers are used in the browser of choice. The relatively new SponsorBlock extension provides a solution as it will auto-skip sponsored messages on YouTube.

It is a crowd-sourced extension which means that users may submit new videos with sponsored parts to a central database. One user submits the info and everyone else benefits from the information.

Sponsored parts of videos that are in the extension's database will be skipped automatically once the extension is installed. You will notice a "sponsors skipped" popup when that happens and may interact with it, e.g. to unskip and play the part or disable the popup for good.

skip sponsor messages youtube

The project's GitHub page lists a little bit less than 50k submitted sponsors from over 8000 contributors. The extension comes with reporting functionality to add a new entry to the database. All it takes for that is to click on the extension icon and hit the "sponsorship starts now" button when the sponsored content begins to play. When it ends, hit the end button to complete the process and submit the data.

Users may vote on a sponsor time which is used to verify data that is submitted by users.

SponsorBlock keeps track of skips and displays statistics in the interface about the time saved while using the extension.

sponsorblock save time

An option to whitelist channels is provided as well to always keep the sponsored parts of videos of particular channels playing. Just like whitelisting in ad-blockers, it helps channels with their monetization efforts.

Closing Words

SponsorBlock's effectiveness depends on its database and user contributions. I checked out the extension back when it was first released but decided against a review at that time because of a lack of entries in its database.

It seems likely that the extension will grow in the coming years as more and more YouTube publishers start to use sponsored messages in their videos.

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  1. TelV said on November 22, 2020 at 1:05 pm

    Most of the stuff I watch on youtube I stream using vlc. One of the things I’ve noticed just lately is that subtitles for foreign language films now have to be enabled by clicking the CC button. But that button doesn’t appear on the stream to vlc.

    I’m not sure if that’s a user enabled option or whether yt is behind the change, but it’s become almost impossible now to use vlc in this way due to that restriction.

  2. Kubrick said on January 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm

    Seeing as youtube is a google run service would google not have power to circumvent adblockers,?
    They are making changes to their browser in regard to adblocking so in the future youtube may become affected too.

    1. billee said on March 6, 2020 at 10:09 pm


      Good point. I’m sure YouTube could block ad-blockers if they chose to, as other sites do.

      A few years ago, some YouTube videos would not always play if you were running an ad-blocker aimed at YouTube. It gave an error code, but there was no clear explanation to what that error was.

      In the end, I think YouTube was testing the idea of an anti ad-blocker, without saying so, being stealth about it for a study.

      For now, for whatever reason, they allow such ad-blocker extensions to work on YouTube.

      Also, they could ban such extensions from their store and Chrome, but users may just move to other solutions.

      For example, in my testing with the new Edge Browser, on the MS Store I found Super Adblocker for Youtube, which does indeed block all ads on YouTube, even those in videos.

      As we know, Chrome and their store banned YouTube downloader extensions, but devs/users found ways around that, such as moving to FF and Opera, and/or or using other software on the host system.

      In the end, I think Google and YouTube want to fight what hurts them, but they likewise don’t want to lose users.

  3. Shadowed said on January 6, 2020 at 9:02 am

    I’m using extension since I saw it in this article and it works great. I doubted that sponsor segments will be reported soon enough but they are. I barely had chance to report couple myself :)

    In general, I don’t mind sponsor messages in videos and when I see new sponsor, I watch it. However, there are few sponsors that are all over the Youtube and they become very annoying so I skip them anyway. This extension allows skipping without annoyance :)

    On the other side, it will also skip “first time” sponsors which I don’t like but, well, they did it themselves by bombarding us with same messages over and over again.

    1. Ajay said on January 7, 2020 at 3:23 am

      You can disable auto skip in the options.

  4. Dave said on January 4, 2020 at 6:52 pm

    So, this one person, group, company, (Don’t forget who owns Github now) or whatever wants everyone to tell them what youtube vidoes they watch and what advertisments annoy them the most.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Rex said on January 5, 2020 at 11:36 am

      What are you smoking? Do you think every project on Github is owned by Microsoft, or every email on Gmail is secretly controlled by Google – and that’s before the fact that this is an open source project which means the code is open for vetting by anyone to spot anything suspicious?

      wHaT cOuLd pOSsiBLy gO wRoNg – if you’re so paranoid, disconnect your devices from the internet, that way you will be 100% safe from everything on it.

  5. Jeff said on January 3, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Clever! But I hope whoever watches the video submits the timestamps to block for sponsor adverts.

  6. Anonee said on January 3, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    I too enjoy ReviewTechUSA!

  7. EMH_Mark_I said on January 3, 2020 at 9:04 pm

    These are the sort of advertisements I would typically endorse. They’re often short and since it’s in-video, it doesn’t bring in privacy invasive tracking scripts onto your browser from big data marketing firms.

    What I wouldn’t mind blocking for a few YouTube channels is the incessant and obnoxious attempts to peddle their merchandise stores. The sponsored segments I find okay.

    It would make watching Linus Tech Tips content a fare deal easier if I didn’t have to hear about their thermos and t-shirt store every 60 seconds.

    1. Kirk said on January 6, 2020 at 4:50 am

      I’ve been using sponsorblock for months on firefox. I searched for something to help me block the (squarespace, brilliant, audible, etc.) ads that those companies have content produces include in their videos and it works for the channels I watch. I’ve already heard of those companies and their services, if I need them, I’ll consider using them. But if I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it enough times. Sponsorblock prevents me from having to waste time hearing a youtube creator gassing on about them.

    2. notanon said on January 5, 2020 at 11:46 pm

      @EMH_Mark_I, why would you watch Linus Tech Tips?

      They are Intel & Nvidia shills, who take every opportunity to bash AMD.

      And NO, just because they were forced to admit that Ryzen >>>>> Intel’s bug filled CPUs, doesn’t give them a pass for years of shilling.

      You must read Anandtech too right (another awful Intel/Nvidia shilling site)?

      Linus & his fat sidekick will always suck.

    3. Sol Shine said on January 4, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      I agree with all the points you made.

  8. Daniel said on January 3, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    Switched from Adguard to uBlock Origin – no more of such ads.

    1. Ajay (SponsorBlock Developer) said on January 3, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      This skips the endorsements said by the creator in the middle of the video. This can’t be blocked by a traditional ad blocker as you need to know the timestamps when they happen.

      1. Tarmin said on January 4, 2020 at 1:27 pm

        No, it properly blocks it. Also uBlock Origin is not a tradional ad blocker, it’s a powerful content blocker FYI, mr. Ajay.

      2. Betty said on January 3, 2020 at 10:32 pm

        Never seen one of these before. Must be only for popular videos?

      3. Tom Hawack said on January 4, 2020 at 11:54 am

        @Betty, neither have I, which is why I assumed it was thanks to uBO’s rule I mentioned above.

        As often examples lack. I wanted to find videos including sponsor messages to test them with and without the ‘Sponsorblock’ extension (Firefox here) installed, and found out that ‘Sponsorblock’ states :

        “The database is public and available at “”. The source code is freely available. So, even if something happens to me, your submissions are not lost.”

        This database is continuously updated by users’ feedback, which is the very purpose of the extension. Meanwhile, I downloaded this database.db to find example videos:

        I opened Sponsorblock’s database.db with ‘Sqlite Browser Online’ at “” (requires javascript.options.wasm set to true for those who set it to false).

        I found a multitude of YouTube video IDs : great, that’s what I was looking for!
        I tested 5 of them among a multitude, times are in seconds of course :

        videoID : FfgT6zx4k3Q -> “”
        startTime : 446.510147
        endTime : 513.392324

        videoID : uqKGREZs6-w -> “”
        startTime : 475.521682
        endTime : 532.208738

        videoID : UjtOGPJ0URM -> “”
        startTime : 497.143096
        endTime : 569.153296

        videoID : ulCdoCfw-bY -> “”
        startTime : 487.501983
        endTime : 547.48747

        videoID : 9P6rdqiybaw -> “”
        startTime : 488.521509
        endTime : 542.110347

        Indeed the sponsor messages appear, though perceived (by me anyway) less intrusive given they smartly blend into the video.

        I installed ‘Sponsorblock’ for Firefox, opened those videos, and none triggered a Sponsorblock reaction. Undoubtedly I have a Firefox environment which includes one or several incompatibilities with ‘Sponsorblock’ and I’d have to find the culprit should I wish to keep ‘Sponsorblock’.

        At least now we have example videos to test and make our own judgement accordingly.

  9. Tom Hawack said on January 3, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I never encounter ads on YouTube, in-video ads included, which is what ‘sponsor messages’ refers to I guess. I know that I no longer encountered whatever in-video ads the moment I added to ‘uBlock Origin’ / My rules:

    ” * xmlhttprequest block ” (without the quotes)

    I know, knowing myself, that I just couldn’t view a video with it being polluted by a whatever in-video ad/sponsorship : I’d just close the page, immediately, because I’m saturated by advertisement.

    1. SponsorBlock Contributor said on August 26, 2020 at 8:48 pm

      There are two different kinds of ads: the YouTube-provide ones, which you can block with the network rules like the one you posted, and the ones that are part of video stream. This extension blocks (or rather skips) the second type.

      It’s skipping the portions of the videos that are considered “sponsored segments”. Like the annoying “this video is sponsored by Squarespace/Skillshare/!” and “Use link in the description to get free trial today”, etc.

    2. Anonymous said on January 3, 2020 at 4:57 pm

      Sponsor messages refer to the endorsement sections inside the video, not added by YouTube. These are part of the video, so they cannot be skipped with uBlock Origin.

      1. Tom Hawack said on January 3, 2020 at 8:21 pm

        @Anonymous, OK! Therefor my uBlock above mentioned rule handles in-video ads but sponsor messages are different and, considering your explanation, cannot be handled by an ad-blocker, be it uBlockO.

        I’ve never encountered any of these sponsor messages, for sure, and so it appears it wasn’t due to a whatever rule but rather because I’m not a true YouTube aficionado. What I know is that, encountering such a message I’d close the video immediately…. or try this ‘SponsorBlock’ application. We’ll see, but good to know that a dedicated app is available.

      2. Shadowed said on January 6, 2020 at 8:53 am

        Try this video
        1:00 to 1:10 and 12:42 to 13:36 are sponsor messages.

    3. Paul(us) said on January 3, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      Yes nice rule Tom Hawack, But when in Google Chrome (Right now by me) Ublock is not working anymore this means that in the foreseeable future this also will go up for, Vivaldi and outer clones like Edge, (Later also) Waterfox, (And hopefully even later) Firefox, etc. So then your rule will not go up anymore. Then this add-on is maybe a good alternative?

      1. Ajay (SponsorBlock Developer) said on January 3, 2020 at 6:50 pm

        This skips the endorsements said by the creator in the middle of the video. This can’t be blocked by a traditional ad blocker as you need to know the timestamps when they happen.

      2. Betty said on January 3, 2020 at 10:37 pm

        Weird. I checked the video in the screenshot and I don’t get any endorsements. I never seen one before. I use uBlock.

      3. John said on January 3, 2020 at 6:46 pm

        Doesn’t it work? I’ve just updated to 79 and it works perfectly, although my main browser is Firefox.

      4. Tom Hawack said on January 3, 2020 at 6:21 pm

        @Paul(us), you make me wanna cry :=) but unfortunately cry for valid reasons given your description of some of today’s browsers and *maybe* all browsers in a foreseeable future …

        uBlock Origin is no longer what it when running on Chrome indeed; you evoke other browsers as likely to follow, but why do you add “(And hopefully even later) Firefox”? Why hopefully?! (unless I miss an English semantic here).

        Of course if Google’s breaks to adblockers became a standard for all browsers then external medicine should be considered (and is already). Meanwhile, carpe diem here, enjoying present times on a browser which doesn’t (yet) follow anti-adblockers censorship.

        Regarding little me I can tell you that if advertisement was to blow the Web without any counter-action available I’d start considering using Internet only for administration tasks. I’ve already quasi abandoned TV because of ad flood, here in France I view when I do public TV (France Televisions) and a German-French TV network named ARTE, both with reasonable advertisement, as it was, as it should remain. Otherwise, I exit, always have and always will. Scorpios kill themselves when they realize there’s no exit in the face of a danger. I’d satisfy myself with a jump over the wall, that of a mad ad-driven society.

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