Websites to Harness Users' CPUs to Mine Cryptos as Ad Revenue Wears Thin

Since the adaptation of the iInternet, advertising has been one of the primary ways to monetize a website. However, visitors and users have gradually started to use ad-blockers to suppress unwanted ads – this trend has trickle down effects on the pockets of the website owners. In light of these challenges, Salon has come up with a new way to monetize its online content.

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Starting Sunday, Salon began offering its readers with a new option – either disable ad-blocker or let us use your computer to mine cryptocurrency while viewing the website.

Addressing the program, Salon’s teams wrote: “Like most media sites, ad-blockers cut deeply into our revenue and create a more one-sided relationship between reader and publisher.”

Users visiting Salon with activated ad-blockers will be asked to turn off the adds or simply “suppress ads.” By choosing the second option, the visitors will not see any ad pop-ups, instead, Salon will use the spare processing power of their computers to mine a very popular cryptocurrency – Monero – using the mining software Coinhive. The mining process will continue as long as the user is accessing Salon’s content.

According to Salon’s CEO Jordan Hoffner, the mining option is only one of the few ways by which the website is planning to monetize its views. He said: “We saw a business problem, we saw a potential way out—potential being the key word—and we took it.”

By the end of this year, the website is planning to launch a paid application for mobile platforms. Lately, Monero has attracted a lot of criticism as it became the currency of choice for illicit activities in cyberspace. The anonymous nature of the coin makes it very suitable for dark web use. Moreover, many websites, including a popular Google Chrome plugin, was caught recently for using Coinhive to mine Monero on users computers without seeking any permission.

However, Jordan Hoffner is very optimistic about the mining activity. He noted: “These things will straighten themselves out over time. I was there at the time of online video and online piracy. They straighten themselves out over time. That’s what history has suggested.”

Incremental gains?

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

For its part, Salon, with its 13.1 million unique visitors a month, cannot depend on this monetization process entirely, even if all of its users opt for the mining option. “We are earning something when we were earning nothing … we just want to right now collect coins and see what happens,” Hoffner added.

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