Making it in media is hard, and finding ways to make money is hard. Ads are a large part of monetizing websites. Unfortunately, ad blockers exist, making that even more difficult. Salon found a way to keep the customers happy by taking ads away as long as they're willing to mine some cryptocurrency for them.
Salon is now asking those customers who don't want to see ads to use their computing power to mine cryptocurrency for them.
Starting Tuesday, people who are using ad blockers will see a message on Salon. The popup will give people two options — to disable the ad blocker or to let Salon use the computer's processing power to mine Monero.
"We noticed you're using an ad blocker. We depend on ads to keep our content free for you," says Salon's popup. "Please consider disabling your ad blocker so we can continue to create the content you come here to enjoy."
Salon's option to get rid of ads is called "Suppress Ads." In its own words, Salon explains what the mining will entail.
"Block ads by allowing Salon to use your unused computing power," says Salon. This is followed by a "learn more" link. There, Salon goes on to explain what exactly it is doing with this power people are giving them.
Salon goes on to explain the mining process by saying it's borrowing the power to solve complex calculations. It makes the comparison that it is like borrowing someone's calculator to solve a mathematical equation. One of the good things is that the website only uses computing power while the person is on the website.
Problems With Salon's Mining
Everyone is familiar with Bitcoin. It's the top cryptocurrency and the most well-known. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies. Salon's cryptocurrency of choice is Monero, according to Cyberscoop. It will be using the computer power it gets from removing ads for users by mining Monero. Monero is currently popular among criminals because it offers more anonymity than Bitcoin. Salon doesn't say it will be using Monero anywhere on its website.
Another problem with Salon's mining operation is the use of the Coinhive software. Coinhive is considered malware because it's used by hackers to use people's computers for mining without their permission. Some websites that use Coinhive software don't disclose that they're using it.
Salon is also being called out by David Gerard, author of the cryptocurrency book Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts. In a tweet, he says that Salon is lying about having unused power.
In their FAQ as to why they're running malware on your computer, @Salon straight-up lie about how computers work. There's no pool of unused power lying around - it's costing you actual money. And wearing out your system. Corporate Bail Bloc. https://t.co/mKE1aGzkh9 pic.twitter.com/7iYudlKAqt — David Gerard (@davidgerard) February 13, 2018
This would cause a problem. Salon will make money, but this permission that people give to mine cryptocurrency will end up costing them in their electricity bill.