YouTube Reportedly Cracking Down on Those Using VPN to Get Cheaper Premium Subscription

YouTube Reportedly Cracking Down on Those Using VPN to Get Cheaper Premium Subscription


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YouTube is now cracking down on users who use virtual private networks (VPNs) to get a cheaper premium subscription, according to claims by users on social media. Over the last few months, the video-streaming service has been heavily focusing on tackling the issue of third-party ad blockers which violate its terms of service. However, it now seems to have diverted its attention to another one of its revenue streams – YouTube Premium subscriptions.

Crackdown on VPN users

In a post titled “Automatic YouTube Premium Cancellation?” on the YouTube subreddit, user @Alopez1024 shared a screenshot showing an alleged email from the video-streaming service regarding the cancellation of the premium subscription. The email informed the user of them losing the benefits of YouTube Premium, while also guiding them through the process of getting it back.

In the comments, several users highlighted that this may be happening to those using a VPN to get a cheaper subscription. Notably, YouTube Premium, like many other subscription services, isn’t priced the same everywhere. For instance, it starts at $13.99 (roughly Rs. 1,170) per month in the US for the Individual plan. On the other hand, the same plan costs Rs. 129 per month in India, which is almost 10 percent of the US price.

Due to this disparity, some users may have navigated to the YouTube website via VPN in regions where its premium subscription is cheaper, to get it. This is the very issue that YouTube is said to be tackling with its latest move.

YouTube’s response

In a conversation with TechCrunch, a YouTube spokesperson said, “To provide the most accurate plans and offers available, we have systems in place to determine the country of our users. In instances where the signup country does not match where the user is accessing YouTube, we’re asking members to update their billing information to their current country of residence.”

Streaming services as of late have been witnessing periodic price hikes. The price of Spotify Premium recently saw an increase for the second time in 12 months. YouTube Premium’s subscription prices were also hiked in July 2023 to $13.99 per month, up from $11.99 (roughly Rs. 1,000).

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