Taylor Hatmaker (@tayhatmaker)”> 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.
If you say yes to the latter deal, Salon will then invite you to install Coinhive, a software plugin that mines the cryptocurrency known as Monero. Salon explains its program, which it calls a beta, like so: “ Like most media sites, ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher.
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. Indeed, your computer itself can help support our ability to pay our editors and journalists.” The offering is a clever if controversial way to recoup lost ad revenue.
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. Still, running software like this, which is often inserted onto unsuspecting machines via malware, is a big ask from readers and it’s important that less technical readers know what they’re getting into.
Salon sets this up as an opt-in process which is good, though it only mentions Coinhive’s name in the small opt-in box (“powered by Coinhive”) and not in its full FAQ page. Coinhive gets a bad rap because it can be used for illicit purposes, though the software is widely regarded as legitimate, as is the coin that it mines. Read more from techcrunch.com…
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