If you’ve watched YouTube in the past few years, you’ve probably seen a lot of YouTubers shilling VPNs as part of sponsorship deals. They read the talking points that the VPN has given them as part of the ad, which always, and prominently, includes bypassing geo-blocking and getting lower foreign prices as primary features.
The problem is that bypassing geo-blocking is almost always a violation of the terms of service of most sites and service that do geo-blocking and is usually grounds for suspension of your account.
There’s a reason that sites and services block content based on your location, and it isn’t always about tyranny like the Great Firewall of China. Sites like Hulu and Netflix have deals with studios for what they can offer to what regions, and they may not be licensed to provide somethings to some locations for various reasons. Moreover, they also have deals with advertisers—or more aptly, could not work out a deal with an advertisers—and thus cannot provide certain content or service to certain regions.
When you bypass geo-blocking, you are essentially both “stealing” content that cannot be provided to you for whatever reason, and also putting the site/service in jeopardy of being sued, so they usually punish it by suspending your account.
Some sites detect if you’re using a VPN and block you until you stop using it (like an anti-adblock, but for VPNs).
The prices of products and services are tuned to different locations (or regions) according to various factors such as cost-of-living and the value of local currency. This is the main reason that DVD regions existed, so that movies could be sold for lower prices in areas where people were poorer. Likewise, things like Netflix and Steam games have higher or lower prices depending on what country you are in.
It’s always a violation of the terms for someone to pretend to be in a location where the prices are cheaper and is again stealing; it’s essentially like price-switching, swapping the price-tag of something in a store for one that’s cheaper (back in the days before UPCs).
Some sites even take specific steps to prevent people from changing their location without proof such as providing documentation like a photo of a bill addressed to you, or in the case of Steam, making a purchase with a credit-card that is tied to the location you purport to be in.
VPNs lie and/or are incompetent
Ostensibly, YouTubers don’t know or realize these problems or that they’re setting their viewers up to lose their accounts. (Though I doubt many of them would turn down the sponsorship or refuse to tout those problematic aspects of the services even if they did. ¬_¬)
However, I can’t fathom that VPNs do not know this since they make a point of highlighting it as a one of the two main features of their service, so the only conclusion is that they do not care. They only want to convince/trick people into buying the service and if you lose your account, then so what? the VPN got theirs. 🤷 😒
If the service is either so inept as to not know that bypassing geo-blocking will get you suspended, or they do know but don’t care about customers, then how safe can they be and how much can you trust them to provide the service they say and not keep logs and so on? 🤨