Salon offers crypto-mining option instead of ads

Salon: Turn off ad blockers or mine cryptocurrencies for us

As news organisations continue to seek and experiment with alternatives to ad revenue due to the popularity of ad-blocking software, media company Salon has come up with one way to do so - mining cryptocurrency.

If you visit Salon with an ad blocker enabled, you might see a pop-up that asks you to disable the ad blocker or "Block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power". The software mines Monero using a program called Coinhive, which has recently seen a decent amount of controversy after hackers started using the software to mine coins on unwitting users' computers through malware. Critics though have raised concerns about recent criminal activity associated with Monero and hacks that have involved Coinhive.

Ad-blockers have been hurting websites' ad revenue for years now, but they may have found a solution.

By roping in users' computers to mine Monero, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency now worth around $240 per coin on digital currency exchanges, the publication seeks to encourage users who want to avoid seeing ads to instead subsidise the site's work with their personal computers' spare processing power. Salon's own FAQ admits that the processing-hungry service is likely to fire up a computer's fans to dissipate extra heat, like a demanding video game. "In turn, Coinhive gives participating sites a tiny cut of the relatively small proceeds". There, Salon goes on to explain what exactly it is doing with this power people are giving them.

What do you think of Salon's plan?

As such, avid fans of Salon who also hate online adverts could find the life of their computer's processor gets shortened and their electricity bill increases, unless Salon carefully manages how it puts its cryptocurrency miner to use.

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Users being caught unaware shouldn't happen at Salon, which makes it clear that readers don't have to opt in to the mining and says that users' security isn't compromised.

Hotness is very literal in this case, by the way, because any time you visit Salon from now on, your CPU will be used to mine cryptocurrency on their behalf. "Nothing is ever installed on your computer and Salon never has access to your personal information or files".

The move comes as the online publishing model comes under increasing strain.

ONLINE MAGAZINE Salon is jumping onboard the cryptocurrency bandwagon by offering its readers the option to allow it to run a crypto miner in exchange for an ad-free experience.

"We realize that specific technological developments now mean that it is not merely the reader's eyeballs that have value to our site - it's also your computer's ability to make calculations, too", it states.

Like publishers, plenty of internet users are waking up to the raw deal of modern-day social media use and are looking for novel ways to make a little passive income or otherwise get paid for the content they push out to the world.

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