Wednesday, 14 February 2018 09:00

Salon turns to cryptocurrency mining to make up for lost ad revenue

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American news and opinion website Salon is resorting to using its readers' PCs to mine cryptocurrency in order to make up for the loss of revenue due to ad blockers.

A pop-up (screenshot below) appears when one accesses the homepage of Salon using a browser that has an ad blocker installed. It asks readers to either disable the ad blocker or else "block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power".

A "learn more" link follows and when one clicks on this, it takes one to a FAQ that explains why it has chosen this option.

salon

"Like most media companies, Salon pays its bills through advertising and we profoundly appreciate our advertising partners and sponsors," the FAQ reads in part.

"As our readers are surely aware, journalism has changed precipitously in the internet era. Newspaper ad revenue fell from US$60 billion in 1999 to US$20 billion in 2010."

Later it says that, "We intend to use a small percentage of your spare processing power to contribute to the advancement of technological discovery, evolution and innovation", and "we’ll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker".

The site says it will mine for the monero cryptocurrency which is valued at about US$233 at the moment.

The site says: "If you opt-in, your computer will only be donating its spare processing power for the duration that you are browsing Salon.com. When you close Salon.com in your browser, the process stops.

"We will remember your opt-in preference for up to 24 hours. There after we will ask you again to opt-in. If you clear your cookies, you may be asked to opt-in again.

"Turn off your ad blocker if after you opt-in but decide you no longer want to donate your processing power when viewing Salon and are within the 24 hours of having opted in last."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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