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


Salon explains what's going on in a new FAQ.

To end the explanation, Salon makes a pitch that the "possibilities for [cryptocurrency] are limitless" including secure online voting, predicting the impact of climate change and finding alien life.

Salon says that it will be making money by selling "a small percentage of [users'] spare processing power to contribute to the advancement of technological discovery, evolution and innovation". Clicking "more info" brings you to a Coinhive page.

Salon's "powered by Coinhive" pop-up.

We wrote about Coinhive in October 2017.

I enabled the mining on today in order to see how much computing power it used. With that high Chrome usage, the Mac Activity Monitor said I had about 24 percent of my CPU power still in idle. According to Coinhive's estimation, a website with a million visits of five minutes each would only earn about 0.27 of the cryptocurrency a month - around $66 per month at Monero's current value of $247.

Though there seems to be a lot of potential, mining cryptocurrencies by lending processing power is not that lucrative financially.

As such, avid fans of Salon who also hate online adverts could find the life of their computer's processor gets shortened and their electricity bill increases, unless Salon carefully manages how it puts its cryptocurrency miner to use. Others ask permission, which is now the case for Salon.

Recently, visitors to some government websites in countries including the USA and United Kingdom fell victim to a Coinhive scheme.

Cryptojacking continues to be a problem, as we've detailed in several additional articles, including one yesterday.

But the move is "a big ask from readers" and it's vital that those with less technical experience "know what they're getting into", the website says. These will be your choices from now on when you go to Salon's website.

Salon is keen to stress that it will not install anything on the user's computer and the process, it says, will not give Salon access to personal information or files.

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.

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.

In explaining why it has added this alternative, Salon explains the issue of ad-blocking software and the loss of revenue it has created.

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.