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How to Stop Grammarly Ads on YouTube

Grammarly Ads on YouTube really get my goat, and I wanted to figure out how to stop seeing them. After a bunch of searching for “how to stop grammarly ads on YouTube” yielded nothing, I sat down at my stand up desk and thought about it.

I figured it out. And there’s only one sure-fire way.

Why Do I Notice Grammarly Ads So Much on YouTube?

GrammarlyYouTubeAd

Tired of seeing this over and over and over and over again?

I probably wouldn’t have noticed them any other day, but yesterday I had a bit of a YouTube binge. Sometimes when I’m sad, I watch men fighting on YouTube – it’s like a mis-placed aggression being acted out on a canvas surface. It only really hurts myself.

Now there’s no reason to expect young men to donate their brain cells to sport without being paid. So YouTube has two modes – ad supported and a subscription model.

Grammarly wants to tout their product and pays for the privilege.

YouTube gets some money, the person providing the content gets some money.

(though I suspect it’s really content aggregators who provide montages of other people’s content who really get paid – “Top 10 apocalypses that ended worlds” probably doesn’t feed too much money back to the original four horsemen that started them and their patient videographers – I believe the fifth horseman is now called Social Media and gets the lion’s share of funding, but then again is probably doing more to cause depression and anxiety in the modern world. And as we know from dirty warfare, you don’t win by killing people cleanly, you weaken the opposition by wounding them severely and forcing them to care for the wounded. Ergo Social Media’s unwitting side-effects are probably doing more to hamstring civilization than smallpox)

So Grammarly is paying a bundle to get their product out there. On one hand you might see their grammar and spelling correction as helpful. On the other, you might see that sending every single thing you type to a third party (over and above Google et al.) might be a great opportunity to lose every single secret you ever wanted to keep and to give yet another platform the knowledge to advertise the heck out of your interactions.

The Only Way To Stop Grammarly Ads

The answer is pretty simple I’m afraid.

HowToStopGrammarlyAdsYouTube

It’s that simple. Click like there’s no tomorrow

You click on their ads as often as possible.

The company has a marketing department. It has a budget. It is measured on its ability to put ads on a network, get people to click on them, and then ultimately sign up for Grammarly – either the free version where you just give them every jot of your typed data, or the paid version where you pay about $30 per month for the same privilege.

So every time you see an ad, click on it. You’ll see a link from YouTube like this:

https://www.grammarly.com/?q=writing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=youtube&utm_phase=other&utm_content=testimonials1m&gclid=CjwKCAiAiarfBRASEiwAw1tYv4mH6pUJiqFuoqD6sMAxycawV000irVwhIr75w9ZDblaSunGmi2ZNRoC_gAQAvD_BwE

So What Happens When I Click on a Grammarly Ad on YouTube

If you break down the URL above, you’ll see standard tracking parts – things beginning with utm_ (utm_medium, utm_source etc.) allow the marketeers to say what generated the click to their site, and also present different data quite easily to the user.

You can build your own utm_ URLs ideal for google analytics at the Google campaign URL builder.  ( Random fact: UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Modules – Urchin being a company Google bought in 2005 to help them get Analytics up and running)

The useful part in this for us people frustrated by the sheer frequency of Grammarly advertisements is the utm_medium=cpc part. CPC stands for cost per click.

So every time we click on it, the campaign budget is used up. The more we click, the less money they have to pay for ads. The less conversions – people signing up from YouTube clicks they have – the less they’ll be inclined to flood YouTube with their visual canticles.

Everyone Needs To Contribute to Stop YouTube Grammarly Ads

I can’t do this all by myself. We need everyone to click the living bejesus out of those ads consistently for a week. Click the damn thing every time you see it. Get your friends to click it. Get your enemies to click it twice. Click it til the insipid campaign is all done. Spent and spent. Exhausted crashing on the walls of user indifference. Click it til it’s dead. If I can place a banner here for Grammarly I will.

Does Grammarly Work?

If you want to know more about Grammarly, you might give their product a whirl. I know I did a few years back and thought it was quite a useful way to learn more about grammar. I’ve written a little update, and will use lots of funny parameters in the link to that Grammarly update to show how they work (although in practice, you wouldn’t need to do that with links from your own site.)

I love the BBC’s comment on Grammarly when it raised $110m in funding in 2017:

Its own website contains the sentence: “Enhance your sentences with Grammarly’s context-optimized word choice suggestions to instantly improve the readability of your document.”

Clearly split infinitives are safe from the software’s forensic gaze.

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Does Grammarly Work?

Grammarly is a free service which checks your spelling and grammar as you type via a Google Chrome plugin. There are other ways to use Grammarly – Word plugins and so forth – and also a paid version with a desktop app.

You people – yes you – seem to like the Chrome plugin – over 10 million of you downloaded it, and it’s got a lot of stars for the reviews. Silicon Valley likes the notion too – $110 million was put forward by eager venture capitalists in 2017 to help the company grow.

grammarly-for-chrome

So Do I Use Grammarly?

I did. For a bit.

GrammarlyExampleI learnt grammar four decades ago. I’d like to say I’ve forgotten more about grammar than you’ve ever known, but that’s so blatantly untrue – I can’t even remember learning any grammar in the first place. I have pretty shoddy grammar most of the time, but don’t realise it. The odd time I do a writing course, people very gently tell me about “dangling modifiers”.

My brain thrives on the ambiguity of most English sentences. When I say thrive, I really mean, gets easily and frequently confused by.

So in theory, having a writing assistant and editor constantly helping might seem like a good thing. I could be clear of word and meaning. My sentences could be very highly graded by readers and google alike. ( google the great false god to which we worship, hoping to get more reads, likes, shares, subscribes or whatever to gain some external validation for our meaningless lives).

paperclipAnd I liked it for a bit. Who doesn’t love red pen on your exercise jotter – at least it means someone is reading your heartfelt missives right? (Oh that’s right, no snowflakes like red pens. Even less people like red pens than like cheery paperclips  – thanks uncyclopedia for the  reminder image of word processors of nightmares gone by.)

Do I Use Grammarly Now?

That would be a no.

Why Did I Like Grammarly?

  • I felt my writing was being read and critiqued
  • It seemed I was learning some grammar rules, even though it was at a glacial pace. Very hard to steer glaciers from the downhill.
  • I liked arguing with it when I thought my sentence was better (though perhaps less technically correct)
  • I passed it along to my former boss and former assistant, as I arrogantly thought their written communication was much worse than mine – it felt like I’d discovered a silver bullet for poor writing.

Why Don’t I Use Grammarly?

  • I’m sick of plugins. They each have a lifespan of a few weeks before I boot them out of the pram.
  • I don’t like sending everything I type to someone if it’s not going to be public.
  • It’s like when I use a satnav – it takes me 10 times as long to learn a route to somewhere if I’m using the satnav (GPS for you American people) to navigate. (Yes grammarly would have whooped my ass for the last sentence and my full stops are all wrong).
  • I’m sick of freemium upsells and have no intention of spending $30 monthly on anything that doesn’t at least give me a foot massage.
  • Gmail already reads most of what I write – it also suggests what I might type to people and does that thing that really annoys my family when I do it – finish the sentence. At some point, my half-bot gmail will be conversing with someone else’s half-bot gmail while I play video games in a bath of nutrients in a waking dream, but I’m not sure if I want to dilute my half with Grammarly.

Would I Use Grammarly Again?

Possibly. I might install it for a while during the great book writing push. (Yes, I’m aware that every person has a book inside them, and that’s perhaps where it should stay.) For now though, I’ll just keep splitting my infinitives, making my antecedents vague and occasionally see what grammar and punctuation errors the masses are making and steer clear of them as much as my human brain can manage.

Should You Use Grammarly?

It only takes 90 seconds to sign up, but that doesn’t make it okay. I’d give it a whirl so that at least you can have an opinion at last year’s dinner party when it was still interesting to talk about it.

Why Am I Writing About Grammarly in 2018?

About 90% of the ads I see on YouTube are for Grammarly, so I thought I’d check in to see what it’s about.

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Death of the Cellph Own

MahrishiPeacePalace

The timing couldn’t have been better – a weekend meditation retreat at the Maharishi Peace Palace coinciding with sending off my smart phone for a battery replacement. I would be digitally untethered. Except for the Kindle that I inherited from my mother – the charmingly named “Next of Kindle”. I had promised to read a screenplay for a friend which makes me sound terribly important, whereas in fact I believe I am just a soft target for enthusiastic feedback. Send me yours if you don’t believe me.

At the last moment before departure, I decided to scrape most of my memoir together into a pdf, convert it to a mobi file and send it to my Kindle in case the retreat allowed some time for introspection, beyond the navel gazing and transcending. The memoir, I reasoned, would remind me of what my youth had been like, when I last documented it in 2014 or thereabouts. It also made me a published author in some way – having a book I’d written (really a set of Evernote documents pasted together in haste) available (to me) on the Kindle. Tick that off the bucket list again.

With my dumb phone in hand (a trusty Nokia I had bought for £10 when I last decided to give my smart phone and more hopefully my scalenes a break from too much chin-jutting social media) I looked at my iPhone. The ever unreliable, ever-uncharged 6s model – the subject of lawsuits the world over. Turning it off actually filled me with more dread than anticipated. No more WhatsApp messages for work or my family. No more tracking every excruciating detail of each run in the CouchTo5k program. No more email. No more incessantly checking the weather instead of poking my head out the door.

iphonerecharged

Getting a new battery and feeling like a new man / phone – image courtesy of iFixIt

For the first time in about 4 years, I put on my email autoresponder – Ron has left the building. I told a few business partners that I would be AFK. I gave Mrs. Malibu the phone number of the meditation centre and told my kids not to expect photos, facetime, videos or any of that. For me, this was all much, much bigger than I thought it would be.

So much so, that after I carefully put the SIM card from smart to dumb phone, I was actually shaking. Putting the iPhone 6s into the protective package and then the post was harrowing. And as I walked with my bags packed towards the train to the meditation palace, I actually wondered if I was dying. Going to a place I couldn’t contact my loved ones. What had I left behind? Was my legacy just some property and some memories? Good job I’d written that book about my life and published it – don’t want to die with that inside me. (Though I don’t want anyone to read it either – it’s too sordid in places for my family to see it.)

There’s nothing like a  4 hour 42 minute train journey that ends up taking over 8 hours to reinforce the feeling of dying. I arrived at the centre and was shown my room. Everything was white. Large. Exactly how heaven is depicted in western movies (from the West, not Clint Eastwood) though it might be depicted that way in eastern movies too – I just haven’t seen them. White walls, light carpet, white bed sheets, white hair on the graceful lady at reception. Not just blonde hair. White hair.

I read the schedule and learnt that in an effort to reduce plastic bottles, I could swap out my stoppered glass water bottle in the foyer, and that I wasn’t to drink the tap water. I drank deeply from the bottle and lay on my bed, weary from the journey. As I bust out my Kindle and read my autobiography, I was losing my battle with consciousness. Three thoughts went through my mind:

  1. What’s in the water – I’ve been drugged – I’m slipping away
  2. Is this my life flashing before my eyes in the Information Age? A set of words on a Kindle being the last thing I’ll ever see
  3. I’m dying. I’m not ready to die.

Over the following days, I drank much more water, and my metabolic rate dropped significantly. Through yoga and meditation and instruction I became more peaceful. I slept an awful lot. Most often when a DVD of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi himself was played. I slept sitting up. I slept face down on my bed. I slept in class. It was like being at university only without the kebabs or alcohol, and come to think of it, everyone was a fair bit older, and for the most part I didn’t skip the lectures, preferring to sleep through them instead.

At dinner I would sit next to a senior gentleman with a long white beard who gave very thoughtful answers to any questions. My god!

My graceful instructor for the weekend asked politely if I thought I’d be coming back. By this time it was day two, and I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t dying at any appreciably faster rate than normal, and quite possibly the opposite. I think the gentleman with the white beard had too much interest in steam trains of the Isle of Man to be any kind of deity, and I’d spotted a few cracks in the building that helped me think this wasn’t child christian’s heaven.

At the time I wasn’t sure I’d go back, but now I’m away from it, I definitely plan to do another retreat. It’s like a holiday that you come back from feeling better rather than nursing a sore liver.

And I still haven’t unpacked the box I received in the mail which I imagine contains a rejuvenated iPhone 6s.

iRon Malibu was depleted, but rumours of his demise were greatly exaggerated. Long live iRon Malibu.

 

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