Salon asks ad-blocking visitors to mine cryptocurrency

Monero coin

Salon: Turn off ad blockers or mine cryptocurrencies for us

If all goes according to plan, those who visit Salon while running an ad-blocker will face a pop-up, allowing readers a choice - turn off their ad-blockers or choose to "suppress ads". While the concpet behind Coinhive is potentially beneficial for companies using it openly the software often makes the news as hackers use the program to mine cryptocurrency on computers of the unsuspecting. Moreover, many websites, including a popular Google Chrome plugin, was caught recently for using Coinhive to mine Monero on users computers without seeking any permission. After the onslaught of the ad-blocking software, most of the media companies including Salon are flexing their muscles and seeking ways to compensate for the ad revenues. If you want to read Salon without seeing ads, you can do so-as long as you let the website use your spare computing power to mine some coins.

It turns out that Salon is also using Coinhive, the same service as the hackers, which has grown so widespread that security company Malwarebytes reported previous year that it had become one of the main services its anti-malware software blocks. Salon has issued a clarification on this matter by saying that it will avoid that by actively adjusting the processing power being used by the crypto-miner.

For mobile users, Salon is coming out with an app for which you'll have to pay for content. Mooching off unused CPU is a novel approach-one that could either have huge financial benefits or do damage to Salon's reputation.

There's no word on exactly how much spare computing power will be sucked up.

Coin-mining software isn't an immediate threat to the security of a computer, but it does crank up the CPU, make your computer run hotter, add to your electricity bill, and slow down whatever else you're doing.

On Salon, readers aren't forced into cryptocurrency mining because of the site's opt-in system. There after we will ask you again to opt-in.

Salon is keen to stress that it will not install anything on the user's computer and the process, it says, will not give Salon access to personal information or files.

"Like most media sites, ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher", Salon's team wrote in a note addressing the new program.

Salon explained its decision to launch the programme: "We realise 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".

Salon now doesn't seem to offer a subscription option but says it will soon deliver "a fast, ad-free experience" in a new, paid app for mobile phones and tablets.

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