Ads are the unfortunate reality of the free and open internet — websites have bills to pay, and users have been more tolerant of ads than paid subscriptions. News website Salon has been nagging visitors about ad blockers for a while, but now it’s giving some people an alternative. Simply opt into the new “Suppress Ads” feature and browse ad-free. The catch: your device’s CPU will be harnessed to mine cryptocurrency.
We’ve seen websites running crypto mining plugins like Coinhive before, but it’s usually done in a profoundly shady way. You just show up at a website and your CPU usage skyrockets as the site tries to crunch as many numbers as possible on your hardware before you close the tab. People have also built ads and even WordPress plugins that can mine cryptocurrency.
In contrast, Salon isn’t hiding the presence of its mining operation. When the site detects you’re using an ad blocker, it offers the option of either turning it off or opting into Suppress Ads; or at least it will eventually. The feature is still just a beta that won’t show up for everyone. There’s a whole FAQ that covers the new Suppress Ads option, and it adequately explains what you as a user can expect. However, Salon makes the mining operation sound much nobler than it really is.
According to the FAQ, Salon will leverage your “unused processing power” only when you’re browsing its site. Close the tab, and mining stops. You won’t see any ads when opted into this feature, but the opt-in only lasts 24 hours. At that point, you need to confirm again. It’s a completely reasonable way for a website to mine crypto.
Many users will probably see this as a reasonable tradeoff. You use a little more electricity while browsing Salon, but there are no ads, and you can support the creation of content. However, Salon needs to be honest with users — this is not a noble pursuit to cure cancer or find aliens. It’s about money.
Global Sales of Smartphones Have Fallen for the First Time Ever
Smartphone sales dropped in Q4 2017 for the first time in nearly 14 years. Is this a momentary blip or a sign that the market has hit saturation?
Tesla to Hit 200,000 Sales This Year, Could Limit Model 3 Tax Credits
The more Model 3s delivered this year, the more people get the full $7,500 tax credit. Will it be 50,000 Model 3 buyers,100,000, 150,000, or more?
2018 Nissan Armada Review: Big, Thirsty, and Sales Are Through the Roof
Even by large SUV standards, the Nissan Armada casts a giant footprint. A 2017 redesign that carries over virtually unchanged for 2018 more than doubled the big guy’s sales. If you’re doing a lot of carpooling, towing a boat, or taking long trips — kids in travel sports, for instance — it’s not a bad…
Google May Buy Lytro in a Fire Sale to Boost Its VR Plans
Light field pioneer Lytro is reportedly in talks to be acquired by Google for pennies on the dollar. Google will get a lot of talent and a bevy of patents to add to its VR content creation and computational imaging efforts.