Online news and opinion outlet Salon has introduced a new policy to help it recover revenue losses resulting from the growing use of adblocking software. The company now gives readers a choice when they arrive at the site: they can disable their ad blockers, or they can agree to allow Salon to use their computers’ unused processing power to mine digital currency.
In a FAQ on Salon’s website, the company describes its advertising revenue model, which is similar to most other non-subscription online media outlets. Readers receive access to free content, and Salon displays ads from its advertising customers. According to Salon, that exchange of content for ad views has deteriorated in recent years, as ad-blockers have enabled those readers to avoid the ads.
To help counter that loss of revenue, Salon will now give each reader the option to either watch ads or grant the company permission to utilize the customer’s unused computer processing power to mine the Monero digital currency. The new program is now active in beta, and is described in detail on Salon’s site:
“An option for you to support Salon is by allowing Salon to use your unused processing power in the background while you are browsing Salon’s free content. This happens only when you are browsing Salon.com. Nothing is ever installed on your computer and Salon never has access to your personal information or files. You may have heard the myth that we only use 10% of our brain. Likewise, your computer rarely uses the full extent of its processing power, particularly if you are doing passive things online like reading an article or watching a video on our site.”
The company’s FAQ also promises readers that Salon will reduce the amount of processing power that it uses whenever its systems determine that the reader is using his or her computer in a way that requires more resources. It even serves notice to those readers about potential electricity use:
“This process will use more of your computer power and electricity than if you were browsing the site without an ad blocker.”