Tech by VICE

One Website Is Using Humor to Get Its Users to Turn Off Adblock

The Vengabus is coming.

by Rachel Pick
Oct 6 2015, 12:30pm

With Apple's most recent iOS now supporting adblockers, the debate over the ethics of adblocking has reached critical mass. Pretty much everyone finds ads annoying, but the fact is they drive critical revenue for many sites who offer valuable content. Many people in online media have disputed the ethics of enjoying what a site has to offer while preventing them from collecting any profit off of their advertising. (For a longread on the issue, check out Casey Johnston's piece at The Awl.)

Often, all it takes is a reminder to those reading The New York Times or Gawker or, say, Motherboard. Something to the effect of, "we need ads to survive, so please disable AdBlock on our page."

Reverse image search engine Image Raider has taken that a step further. If you visit their site with an ad blocker on, the music video for "Vengabus (We Like to Party!)" by The Vengaboys plays in the place where an ad would normally be, accompanied by this text:

Founder of Image Raider Alec Bertram says it started as an initially lighthearted prank, but he's received several emails from people who say they whitelisted his website (disabled their ad blocker for the domain) because they got a laugh. "I suspect there's an element of guilt there—people don't realise that they're harming businesses they genuinely like," Bertram said in an email. "Maybe a bit of humour in getting this point across is the solution."