In the age of altcoins, at least one news site is taking a novel approach to making ends meet. Salon announced today that it would give readers a choice between turning off ad-blocking software or "allowing Salon to use your unused computing power" in order to access their content. Yesterday, Salon readers noticed an unfamiliar message offering them the opportunity to block ads in exchange for letting the site "use your unused computing power". If you opt for the latter deal, Salon will invite you to install a software plugin - Coinhive - that allows the media publication to mine Monero cryptocurrency. Coinhive has previously been used by hackers looking to harvest unsuspecting users' computational power for remote mining, and Monero carries a reputation as a preferred "privacy coin" for potential criminal activity. "The value of an online ad is far less than a print ad; the maxim, "print dollars become digital dimes become mobile pennies" articulates the approximate 100:10:1 ratio of print to digital to mobile ad revenues", Salon notes.
"Like most media companies, Salon pays its bills through advertising and we profoundly appreciate our advertising partners and sponsors", the FAQ reads in part. If a more taxing process is initiated, the site will, in turn, reduce the amount it is using. In a tweet, he says that Salon is lying about having unused power.
In the blog post, Salon says: "Like most media sites, ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher". But Salon said they will adjust how much processing power is being used by their crypto-miner.
For its part, Salon, with its 13.1 million unique visitors a month, can not depend on this monetization process entirely, even if all of its users opt for the mining option. To their credit, Salon asks permission.
As it stands, Coinhive's name is only mentioned in the small tick-box that readers use to consent to the mining method, adds Tech Crunch.More news: Players should coach in the National Basketball Association
What do you think of Salon's plan?
Salon said the process only takes place when readers are on Salon.com, and the website will not gain access to readers' personal information or files. 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.
One called Steemit actually launched its own platform to pair with its coin, and users there built up a healthy, cryptocurrency-centric social network, upvoting one another and earning actual money in the process.
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.