Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Online Salon Website Gives Users Option For Ads or Mining

Online Salon Website Gives Users Option For Ads or Mining

It asks readers to either disable the ad blocker or else "block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power".

On Salon, readers aren't forced into cryptocurrency mining because of the site's opt-in system. 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.

Salon doesn't specify exactly how much of a computer's CPU power it will consume.

"In the future, your spare computing power may go to solving the kinds of complex math problems that form the integrity of blockchains, but it can also be used for humanitarian and scientific projects such as helping research how proteins fold, to aid in biological discovery or helping pay for misdemeanor prisoners' bail, or to see if we can better predict the impact of climate change", Salon claims.

For our beta program, we'll start by applying your processing power to help support the evolution and growth of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
Salon doesn't say it will be using Monero anywhere on its website. Mooching off unused CPU is a novel approach-one that could either have huge financial benefits or do damage to Salon's reputation. It's no secret that digital media companies are hurting, and crowdsourcing the process that generates some virtual currencies is certainly an innovative solution, though definitely an experimental one.

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The bottom line is, at least this gives you the option.

It's not clear what the limit on Salon's CPU usage is and Salon did not respond to questions. That is to say, if I return to salon.com during the same session, my computer will continue mining Monero. Ars Technica's Jon Brodkin enabled mining on Salon to see what would happen.

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.

"We noticed you're using an ad blocker".

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

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"Back in the 1990s, as now, Salon offered the common relationship of serving ads to its users in exchange for keeping most of our content free".

Salon, one of the oldest online-only media companies in the USA, has seen its revenue drop as many of its readers turn on ad blockers.

We realize that specific technological developments [adblock and cryptocurrency mining] 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 CEO Jordan Hoffner told Fortune that the new plan has several users already and the mining option is just one aspect of the company's monetisation strategies; another of which is a paid tablet and mobile app to come later in 2018.

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