Newspapers, then magazines, websites, and now apps like Snapchat all use ads to monetize their content! It’s a simple idea – people like free content, so people produce free content through a medium like a website, and then monetize that traffic by selling space to advertisers.
On websites this was pretty straightforward for a while, until Google Chrome burst onto the scene with AdBlock.
Google Chrome got extremely popular for being very plain, fast, and user-friendly. So user-friendly, in fact, that they allowed plugins like AdBlock to stop ads from showing on websites, and personally, I’m a huge fan.
However, websites that were relying on revenue from these ads have taken a big hit lately. If you use an AdBlocker (there are several options now) you’ve probably seen messages from websites asking you to turn off your AdBlocker because they depend on that revenue to keep on creating more content for us to consume.
Instead of Ads, Mine Crypto
Last year The Pirate Bay and Showtime both got caught mining cryptocurrency on their viewers’ excess computing power. Oddly enough, it was The Pirate Bay that tried to be upfront about it, and Showtime was mining it without their viewers’ knowledge.
How Does This Work, Exactly?
Salon actually does a great job of explaining the total situation when you hit “learn more” next to their opt-in option. They compare the 10% of your brain myth (that we can only use 10% of our brain) to computers. Our computers rarely, if ever, use all 100% of their processing power at any given moment.
That means the extra processing power your computer has, will be used by Salon to mine the cryptocurrency “Monero” during your stay on their website.
Is That Profitable?
People don’t seem too sure whether this will actually be profitable to them, because although Monero is already worth as much as $270 at the time of this article, it takes a lot of processing power to mine a single coin.
That’s why this is considered a Beta – a test-run to see if this will be worth scaling up and doing forever. It is definitely an interesting way to try to get a return on consumers who aren’t paying for your content.