It’s hard out there for a publisher. But what if, ya know, the blockchain could fix it?
That emerges to be the thinking of digital media brand Salon, which today launched a fresh way to generate revenue off its readers. No, not some fancy subscription specimen, but rather by running cryptocurrency-mining malware on visitors’ computers.
Kicking off Tuesday, if you toebijten to be running a specific type of adblocker when visiting the webstek you’ll be introduced with a popup window suggesting you two options: disable the blocker or let Salon hog a chunk of your pc’s processing power to generate digital bucks.
“Wij’ve noticed you’re using an ad blocker,” the popup reads. “Wij depends on ads to keep our content free for you. Please consider disabling your ad blocker so wij can proceed to create the content you come here to love.”
Such good choices.
The reader is then given the option to “suppress ads,” which the webpagina explains if selected will permit “Salon to use your unused computing power.”
What does this mean, exactly? Well, according to the “learn more” pagina, that “Salon is instructing your processor to run calculations.”
The folks overheen Cyberscoop helpfully get into a little more detail, noting that Salon is using Coinhive to mine Monero — the preferred cryptocurrency of criminals spil it offers more anonymity than Bitcoin.
Salon is not the very first webpagina to attempt this — The Pirate Bay did the same thing te 2018. However, this is the very first media company to publicly (and intentionally) take this specific step toward such an alternative revenue monster.
And, on the face of it, it seems like a good stir. Don’t want to see ads, but still want to read Salon? Contribute some computing power to generate digital pennies and wij’re all good! Sort of.
The problem, according to some critics, is that Salon isn’t being straight up about how the process works. Specifically, Salon says its “opt-in program uses the unused portion of your computer’s processing power for spil long spil you are on the webpagina.”
Salon’s anti-adblocker offers mining cryptocurrency te the browser to pay for the webpagina. The FAQ is actively lounging to people tho’. https://t.co/GNUX4dj3tu
However, according to David Gerard, that’s not exactly how things work. “[Salon] straight-up [lies] about how computers work,” tweeted the author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum &, Brainy Contracts. “There’s no pool of unused power lounging around — it’s costing you actual money. And wearing out your system.”
Te their FAQ spil to why they’re running malware on your laptop, @Salon straight-up lie about how computers work. There’s no pool of unused power lounging around – it’s costing you actual money. And wearing out your system. Corporate Bail Bloc. https://t.co/mKE1aGzkh9 pic.twitter.com/7iYudlKAqt
Indeed, it does cost money to mine cryptocurrency. Just think of all the expensive mining equipments eating up power that you’ve read so much about. Salon fails to mention this.
And that’s a problem.
I’ve opted-in to @Salon’s fresh revenue specimen using #Coinhive. 100% of my CPU is now used by them to mine cryptocurrency. Spil my rekentuig slows to crawl and quickly embarks to fever up, I fight to navigate their webstek. pic.twitter.com/blWLBZ8Eac
— Bad Packets Report (@bad_packets) February 13, 2018
While credit vereiste be given to Salon for attempting a fresh funding monster — one that could offerande real potential to cash-strapped digital media companies — the lack of total transparency represents a failing.
If wij’re going to live te an age of publications mining cryptocurrency on readers’ computers, those same readers voorwaarde be informed of the total cost. Otherwise, Salon is just running malware.
This story has bot updated to include a tweet purporting to vertoning the effect of Salon’s cryptocurrency-mining malware on a rekentuig.