back to article Use ad blockers? Mine some Monero to get access to news, says US site

US website Salon.com has decided that if people want to block its ads, they should pay in another way - by allowing the biz to use their computing power to mine for cryptocurrency. On visiting Salon’s site, users with an ad blocker are greeted with a message that asks them to either disable the kit or allow the site “to use …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    How about

    No?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: How about

      How about yes.

      Just not the cryptocurrency of choice for all the fraudsters out there. Anything but Monero.

      The choice is:

      1. Sacrifice CPU cycles to run some some nasty garbage which distracts from the article and feed marketing scumbags.

      2. Sacrifice CPU cycles to run something which does not distract from the article and (if it was a cryptocurrency other than Monero) does not feed people who will sell their parents to the highest bidder.

      I think the choice is obvious - provided that the cryptocurrency (or other form of CPU rental) is something whose use is mostly legit and aboveboard (at least as much as normal money).

      I would personally prefer 3 - a form of micropayment, but none of those stay afloat for long enough to be something websites are willing to integrate.

      1. macjules Silver badge

        Re: How about

        Personally, I would say that the choice is not to use Salon.com for information if there is a clear requirement that you must generate ad revenue for them one way or another.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: How about

          Personally, I would say that the choice is not to use Salon.com for information if there is a clear requirement that you must generate ad revenue for them one way or another.

          I'm not defending their decision to go down the crypto mining route but...

          They are providing content which has a financial cost to them to generate, host, etc.

          You are consuming it, so presumably it has some value to you

          It seems only fair that you reciprocate by giving them something in return. Their default position is to expect you to allow some advertising material to be displayed

          By installing an ad-blocker you're actively declined to allow that reciprocal "payment" to take place, so it seems fair enough for them to look for some other mechanism by which to recoup their costs.

          I'm setting myself up for a multitude of downvotes from freetards, but honestly - if a content provider doesn't get anything in return for their content, how can you expect them to be able to keep up doing what they're doing?

          1. Not also known as SC

            Re: How about

            "They are providing content which has a financial cost to them to generate, host, etc."

            But does the content have any value to the reader? If the content isn't good enough to persuade people to pay to view it, is it worth even publishing?

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: How about

            "I'm setting myself up for a multitude of downvotes from freetards, but honestly - if a content provider doesn't get anything in return for their content, how can you expect them to be able to keep up doing what they're doing?"

            There's a difference between a "freetard" (a word used by people who don't see the offensive link to the insulting term "retard") and people who are protecting their systems from 3rd party scripts which may be malicious. Salon, in their TOS, take no responsibility for their advertising being hijacked and potentially damaging my computer. If they choose to take responsibility for the data they serve to my computer then I may consider removing any blocking.

            If they want me to see adverts, all they have to do is accept adverts from advertisers as image files and serve them from their own domain. If a site blocks me for using a protective ad-blocker then I'll go somewhere else. Very few sites have value to me in that respect.

      2. boltar Silver badge

        Re: How about

        "I would personally prefer 3 - a form of micropayment, but none of those stay afloat for long enough to be something websites are willing to integrate."

        Pfft, to hell with that. Sounds like you've drunk the kool aid.

        3. Disable javascript.

        That way nothing can run yet the site seems to still work perfectly well.

      3. Snow Wombat
        Flame

        How about HELL NO!

        Or I just go the 3rd which is blacklist the site, and never go there again.

        I am not letting them run Crapware on my PC, that's just asking to get yourself infected with plague.

        Did they already raid the employee lounge courch for loose change?

        This sort of stuff should NOT be encouraged.

        On the bright side, I hope this means Salon is about to go bankrupt. Nothing of value will be lost

      4. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: How about

        "Just not the cryptocurrency of choice for all the fraudsters out there. Anything but Monero."

        Last time I checked, there were things called exchanges where you could easily convert crypto currency so the choice of starting point is fairly irrelevant..

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: No

      That's already one of the options.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: How about

      Or just block the ad block blocker.

      1. crjos

        Re: How about

        An adblock blocker?

        If an adblock blocker would block adblock ads and could block adblock ads, how many adblock ads would an adblock blocker block if an adblocker block could block adblock ads?

        1. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: How about

          42

          or thereabouts

        2. TheRealJesusChrist
          Linux

          Re: How about

          Nice tongue twister!

    4. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: How about

      Already been done to death numerous times.

      It would be cheaper to pay the site directly than pay the electricity company to waste electricity so a percentage of the bill goes to the site.

      More environmentally friendly as well.

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. boltar Silver badge

      Re: Excellent.

      "cryptocurrency innovation"

      Innovation? You've having a laugh. Blockchain was an innovation from a technical perspective, however the sudden explosion of cryptocurrencies is nothing more than financial speculators trying to make a killing on the inital mining then dumping the coins onto suckers before the price crashes. Apart from the complete moral bankrupcy of this, the enviromental cost is becoming unsustainable as all these GPUs use up gigawatts of power to calculate sums that nobody gives a damn about the answer to but might make these guys a bit of extra money. I can't help wondering how much more good all that computing power could be put towards, folding@home or something similar.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. MrAnonCoward43

          Re: Excellent.

          Well said.

        2. boltar Silver badge

          Re: Excellent.

          "Cryptocurrency would not have been needed if we just had an honest monetary / banking system. But we don't, and that's why it appeared."

          Right, because an algorithm is going to change human nature. Notice how the majority of bitcoins are now owned by a handful of people/groups?

          "activism in the form of cryptocurrencies "

          Yeah, activism, stick it to the man, smash the system, [insert more cliches here], whatever.

          How's the weather in your nirvana? Must be a rose coloured sun.

        3. strum Silver badge

          Re: Excellent.

          >if we just had an honest monetary / banking system

          You couldn't afford an honest monetary / banking system - even if you knew whaqt such a thing looked like.

          There's a great deal wrong with money, as it is, but it isn't going away, and you can always choose to try and live without it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Browsing an independent school's home page Norton blocked a mining attempt. Sent them an email - but they never replied. The page is now apparently clean - so presumably they were not intentionally mining.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      them and several thousand others.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      "presumably they were not intentionally mining"

      No, just a clueless person happily adding in random shiny-shiny to their pages. How many social media buttons were festooned on the site?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or the web admin realised someone had noticed and thought, "Shit, someone noticed! Best remove that, and delete all the evidence sharpish".

    3. JLV Silver badge

      Of course, Norton could add some mining of its own and no one would be the wiser - it already excels at slowing down your computer.

  4. hplasm Silver badge
    Meh

    So-

    Bye bye, Salon.

    1. Florida1920 Silver badge

      Re: So-

      Bye bye, Salon.

      Never read them. Just looked at their home page, which doesn't display the warning. Didn't see anything worth the effort to read. "Dripless umbrella?" "Right-wing media trolling Parkland shooting survivors?" Wow, I'd suffer to read those articles. Bye, bye, Salon.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So-

        "Bye bye, Salon"

        Can't imagine they'd be sad to see you go. If you were blocking their adverts you were actually costing them money. Here in the real world content, servers and bandwidth costs real money, so it always amazes me that so many people thoughtlessly begrudge them the few pennies they are able to earn from a visit.

        1. Gio Ciampa

          Re: So-

          Yes, bandwidth etc do cost money...

          ...but are you putting in the effort to host the adverts yourself...?

          ... or are you just plugging a script into a page somewhere, and letting A.N.Other host the adverts for you (and whatever other junk that happens to come with them)?

          If the former - then fine, I'll unblock your site... if the latter, then forget it!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So-

            Yes, bandwidth etc do cost money...

            ...but are you putting in the effort to host the adverts yourself...?

            ... or are you just plugging a script into a page somewhere, and letting A.N.Other host the adverts for you (and whatever other junk that happens to come with them)?

            If the former - then fine, I'll unblock your site... if the latter, then forget it!

            Putting it another way...

            ...are you generating content yourself...?

            ... or are you just going to a website somewhere, and letting A.N.Other generate the content for you?

            If it's the latter, then shouldn't you be compensating A.N. Other in some way for their efforts and financial overheads required to bring you that content?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: AC

              You think they generated that content and did not scrape it and regurgitate it?

        2. MrDamage

          Re: So-

          > "so it always amazes me that so many people thoughtlessly begrudge them the few pennies they are able to earn from a visit."

          It always amazes me that marketing shills such as yourself refuse to accept the fact that advertising formats currently available are a huge security risk to a person's computer, privacy, and identity. You will harp on and on about the costs to the publisher, without acknowledging the costs to the consumer should they allow the snooping adverts, or worse, assorted Trojans and virii on their systems, because advertisers refuse to sanitise the products they wish to shove down our throats.

          Host it yourself, advertise in the way of images and not in scripts, and stop with popups, pop-unders, autoplay audio/video, and the every annoying floating ads, and then we'll consider switching off ad blockers.

          1. FF22

            Re: So-

            A clueless one has spoken again. Hosting ad servicing - or any web service for that matter - on their own is about the worst thing a publisher can do. Why? Because they won't have dedicated and properly educated staff for doing that - and that will leave them (and through them their readers) more prone to attacks by hackers, than if they'd just have let a far larger company, specializing in that stuff, do that for them.

            The argument that every site should host their ads, because that would be somehow safer or better by any means is as stupid, as arguing that everybody should raise their own cattle or grow their own food, make their own equipment and tools, sew their own cloths, etc. It just makes no sense, not only in the economic sense, but also in regards of security. Because a single person or a few persons doing everything can't possibly reach the level sophistication at anything (including security) that a group of highly specialized experts can reach.

            So, no, ads should be NOT be served locally, by every and each website, but by large ad networks - both because of economic, and also because of security reasons. Obviously nothing is and can be 100% secure, but a large company specializing in a niche field (like ad serving) can secure their servers magnitudes better and make them work more effective, than can Average Blogger Joe or even a medium-size media company could.

            But then again, we all know, all this "ads are a security risk" is just a stupid excuse, made up by weak minded sociopaths, in an attempt to justify robbing honest working bloggers/journalists/publishers or their well-deserved income, so they (ie. the blockers) can deluded themselves in being control of and over something in their pitiful lives, otherwise hopelessly controlled by people a lot smarter than them.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: So-@FF22

              There is plenty of evidence to show that a small number of big ad-slingers are a risk to a large number of individual users - the reports can be found on this here website. The risk to me is too great, with little or no risk for either the hosting website or the purveyor of adverts - until that changes, no ads on my devices. I have no reason to trust you (I am inferring from your comment that you have something to do with the advertising "industry").

            2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

              Re: So-

              "But then again, we all know, all this "ads are a security risk" is just a stupid excuse, made up by weak minded sociopaths, in an attempt to justify robbing honest working bloggers/journalists/publishers or their well-deserved income, so they (ie. the blockers) can deluded themselves in being control of and over something in their pitiful lives, otherwise hopelessly controlled by people a lot smarter than them."

              You are flailing.

              When I see good journalism, written by folks who have actually bothered to do some proper research, then I am quite willing to pay a fair price.

              The current debate is about how we pay, and what amount. Many of us use adblockers because we find the means of payment and/or the amount unacceptable.

              Most of us here have had to adapt their careers to cope with advances in technology and the changes they have brought .

              Now it's your turn. Deal with it.

            3. MrDamage

              Re: So-

              > "But then again, we all know, all this "ads are a security risk" is just a stupid excuse, made up by weak minded sociopaths, in an attempt to justify robbing honest working bloggers/journalists/publishers or their well-deserved income, so they (ie. the blockers) can deluded themselves in being control of and over something in their pitiful lives, otherwise hopelessly controlled by people a lot smarter than them."

              You're either naive, stupid, or just plain belligerent to try that argument, on this site, when it has run stories, time and again, detailing how ad-slinger services have been compromised to shove malware down the throats of unsuspecting Web surfers.

              The comment forums on the stories have offered up numerous ways in which these problems can be fixed, but instead people like you insist that the model is perfect, despite evidence to the contrary. You make me Trump seem like a reasonable, rational person in comparison.

  5. frank ly Silver badge

    An opportunity?

    Is it still early enough to make a good profit out of mining Monero? (I realise that the website owners won't be spending the electricity but they will have admin costs.) I was wondering about it from a personal cost viewpoint.

    I remember reading that the cost of doing the work to mine Bitcoins will soon be prohibitive, because of the way the blockchain encryption calculations 'grow'?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: An opportunity?

      You can make a lot by forking off your own. In fact my new coin, Omi-Coin will fork at every coin generated. Thus generating an exponentially growing coin pool of altcoins for people to invest in. I'm going to sell the plans to program the psudiocode to compile on Ebay at £50 a pop...

  6. Baldrickk Silver badge

    I actually don't mind this - much... but...

    This would be terrible on mobile though, the last thing I want is a site hammering my battery - this applies to laptops etc too.

    On the desktop? Well, I do have some computing power to spare if I am just browsing the web.

    If a site isn't charging for access to content, they do need to pay the bills somehow. Trying out these sort of strategies can only be a good thing - we find out if they are accepted and work, or are not and don't.

    My preferred strategy would be to have an ad system that only has certified clean ads on sites like these.

    If a site can promise that they will only have some banner ads, no autoplaying videos, no third party scripts (potentially malicious) from the ad slinger etc, then I would be happy to white-list their site - there are sites that I do indeed to that with already.

    If a site has offensive, or badly behaved ads then that adblocker is staying enabled.

    The ad industry only has themselves to blame for adblockers existing. People don't go around tearing ads off of bus-stop billboards etc because they are there, and you can ignore them. They are not a significant detriment to the people they are being shown to. Popups, autoplaying videos etc are.

    1. tony72

      Re: I actually don't mind this - much... but...

      If a site can promise that they will only have some banner ads, no autoplaying videos, no third party scripts (potentially malicious) from the ad slinger etc, then I would be happy to white-list their site - there are sites that I do indeed to that with already.

      In theory, that's about what you're supposed to get with Adblock Plus with "Allow Acceptable Ads" enabled. I use that setting, unfortunately it doesn't seem to give any stats on that, so I have no idea how many sites actually carry "acceptable ads", or what the ratio of acceptable to non-acceptable ads is (pretty bloody low, I expect).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I actually don't mind this - much... but...

        I don't care what they say, I don't want them running arbitrary software on my machines for any reason whatsoever. The end does not justify the means.

        Notthing to stop them getting hijacked into running DDoS of choice on thousands of desktops, for example.

        my view is there fore no, no, and NO.

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Electricity.

      Alt*coin is exactly: electricity cost ---> futures market paper slips.

      So while they are using your PC/phone etc. It's literally "printing money" at this point via converting power. They would be better set buying up a dam/gas reserve. ;)

  7. ZootCadillac

    I went to the Salon by mistake once. Once.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Trollface

      After that you chose to read it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I also went there once.

        It was because I (stupidly) clicked on a 'TinyURL' link.

        As a result, and of these shortened links that get sent my way OR used on Web Pages are totally ignored.

        Just clicking on one could see you break the law and endup inside a Jail if one happened to take you to a Child Pron site. You have no way of knowing where it will take you. So I just refuse to click on them from now on.

        As for sites like this and ones that don't like Ad-blockers... I usually just close it down and go somewhere else. The sites I use regularly are whitelisted but even some of those are getting almost unusable due to the increase of ads in recent months.

        1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: I also went there once.

          You can check shortened urls before visiting them. There are various websites that allow you to do this like unshorten.it, checkshorturl.com, getlinkfinfo.com, and I'm sure there are more. Alternately some of the shorteners have built in tools. If you have a tinyurl.com/[whatever] link change it to preview.tinyurl.com/[whatever] to get the full address. Likewise with Bitly you can simply add a + to the end of the string to get site details like this bitly.com/2onEO9w+ and adding .info to a goo.gl link will get you a similar result, for instance goo.gl/l6MS.info.

  8. King Jack
    Trollface

    Just Visiting

    Just went there to check it out. I got no warnings about adblocking and I'm not showing any extra CPU usage. I'm free the roam and read the site. Could it be that NoScript and UMatrix works too well?

    1. Peter 26

      Re: Just Visiting

      I'm just running ublock origin and am not getting any notifications about this. 31 Ads blocked though.

      1. horse of a different color

        Re: Just Visiting

        31 Ads!?! And publishers wonder why people use adblockers...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Just Visiting

      I tried the site with and without my adblocker on. However, my HOSTS file killed whatever ads they were showing. It also kills the miners.... Still got to look at the site without any warnings or popups. Maybe it's a random popup?

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. alain williams Silver badge

    The only reason that the ads get blocked ...

    it because they are not displaying them as in-line content generated by their web site; they have put ad-monger's javascript in their web site that would put so called 'tailored' adverts on their web page.

    It is this javascript driven shmuck that I object to; partly because of the attempted tracking, partly because it eats bandwidth/slows the browser and partly as it is often garish, auto-plays noise/sound.

    Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines and you will find that most of it gets displayed. Yes: you might earn less per page impression, but something is better than the nothing that you will get if I go elsewhere.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: The only reason that the ads get blocked ...

      Back in the days when these things were printed on dead trees, everyone got the same ad, and it would be in some way relevant to the general content of the publication. That brought in more money than the supposedly individually targeted ads we get today.

      My supposedly targeted ads have gone from dating site ads for boyfriends, not interested, girls are much better, to pregnancy testing kits, to nursery school places.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: The only reason that the ads get blocked ...

        not interested, girls are much better, to pregnancy testing kits, to nursery school places

        The cycle will roll back to the beginning - all of those are "seasonal goods".

      2. FF22

        Re: The only reason that the ads get blocked ...

        "That brought in more money than the supposedly individually targeted ads we get today."

        That was because the ratio of demand and offer were different back then. Starting a publication required a lot of capital and up front investment, so there were only a few publications - and they all had limited spaces (pages) for the ads. However, nowadays anyone can start their publication (website, blog, facebook page, youtube channel) etc for practically free, and they can generate and add any number of pages, videos, etc. - which means that there's an almost unlimited increase in offers (for ad spaces), which in turns lowers prices dramatically.

        So, it's not like targeted ads wouldn't work better, than untargeted ones - because they obviously do work a lot better. It's just that the rate they increase efficiency is just nowhere close to be able to compensate for the enormous drop in the prices of ads, that happened for reasons unrelated to them.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

      Yeah, great plan! You just tell the advertiser you've served loads of ads and they'll believe you and give you tons of cash! Don't know why no-one's thought of this before....

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

        You just tell the advertiser you've served loads of ads and they'll believe you and give you tons of cash! Don't know why no-one's thought of this before....

        Oh I do understand that it is harder. But it could be done ... independent audits & a bit of trust (which is sadly lacking in today's commerce).

        The biggest problem is going to be deciding which ads to show on which page. In some ways it should be simpler: what is the page topic? Put something related. But ad flingers seem to want something much more dynamic & up to the minute. But fixed ads worked in print, so maybe a retro-ad movement might be a solution.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

          "The biggest problem is going to be deciding which ads to show on which page."

          You need think of it the other way round.

          I want to sell X. Which websites are most likely to have people who want to buy X.

          If I wanted to sell copies of Lotus Notes, I probably wouldn't advertise on Mumsnet, but maybe there's some BDSM site somewhere were people like to inflict themselves with that sort of thing.

          Likewise, if I wanted to sell nursery school places, I wouldn't advertise them on El-Reg, but evidently someone out there thinks that's a good idea.

          1. ArrZarr Silver badge
            Meh

            Re: Evidently someone out there thinks that's a good idea.

            Both site interest and user interest targeting exist.

            There are campaigns set up that will only show you an ad a certain number of times before giving up on you as a bad lot and showing the ads to other people who haven't ignored them previously

            There are campaigns set up to splurge the ads as far as the distribution network can to generate awareness.

            Deciding which ads to show on which page is actually a question that the ad distributors change to "which ads will make me the most money" which is based upon how much the Ad Maker will pay and how likely the user is reckoned to click.

            On the main topic of the article, as long as the code used to mine on my machine is trustable, then I'm fine with it. But deciding what is and isn't trustable is on a similar level of difficulty to guaranteeing ads aren't malware. Meh.

            1. katrinab Silver badge

              Re: Evidently someone out there thinks that's a good idea.

              "Deciding which ads to show on which page is actually a question that the ad distributors change to "which ads will make me the most money"

              So how much money do match.com make from trying to sell boyfriends on lesbian websites?

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Evidently someone out there thinks that's a good idea.

              "On the main topic of the article, as long as the code used to mine on my machine is trustable, then I'm fine with it."

              Does that include when you desperately need the laptop for something important and the battery is down to 20% and there's no nearby power outlets?

          2. ma1010 Silver badge
            Coffee/keyboard

            Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

            @katrinab

            If I wanted to sell copies of Lotus Notes, I probably wouldn't advertise on Mumsnet, but maybe there's some BDSM site somewhere were people like to inflict themselves with that sort of thing.

            See Icon ======================================>

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

            "Likewise, if I wanted to sell nursery school places, I wouldn't advertise them on El-Reg, but evidently someone out there thinks that's a good idea."

            Exactly. Targeting the ads where the audience is does seem more sensible than stalking individuals all over the 'net and bombarding them with the same ads. That doesn't convert a "maybe" into a customer, it pisses them off.

          4. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

            'If I wanted to sell copies of Lotus Notes, I probably wouldn't advertise on Mumsnet, but maybe there's some BDSM site somewhere were people like to inflict themselves with that sort of thing.'

            I checked on a BDSM site - even they're not perverted enough to inflict that on themselves (although there is a guy with that nickname).

            As to match.com, last time I looked it did cater for same sex dating, but bi dating was broken. Obviously not all queer women visiting a lesbian site are exclusively interested in women.

            Then again, Facebook was inviting me to 'date a cowgirl' a couple of years ago. Bit tricky in the UK..

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: Go back to discrete ads served off your own machines

        That's why we have the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

  11. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Can I use a RaspberryPi Zero on their site?

    Or something slower perhaps...

    1. Flakk Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Can I use a RaspberryPi Zero on their site?

      Somebody wrote a partial TCP/IP stack that runs on a Commodore 64 outfitted with a memory expansion. You could try that.

  12. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    You missed a few more appealing options at the end, so i've included them below.

    1- Block the pop up banner they use with Ublock and continue browsing for free.

    2- Find a decent website to browse for news instead.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      WTF?

      Oh right, they should just give you their stuff for free so you can moan about how shit it is.

      1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        They've done it for the last 15 years. People are now used to it so It's not entirely our fault.

        1- It's hard to get money from people when you've been giving away your product for free for a generation.

        2- Your product needs to be worth what you're charging or people will go elsewhere.

        3- Blocking Ads is just as much a security decision these days.

        So the old news media need to produce a decent product and somehow manage to get people to whitelist them or pay them. Hijacking their machines isn't a long term solution. I'd argue it's not a short term solution with the many implications and fluctuating prices of what they're mining. The Telegraph gives you a bunch of full high quality articles and a quarter of some others for free. To get the rest requires subscriptions. This model is decent and currently works.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          3- Blocking Ads is just as much a security decision these days.

          There's the big one. How many times have we read that some major news org is slinging malware in it's ads that they have no control over? I'm old school in that I can ignore ads no matter how shiny or noisy. It's the security holes these things open up that makes me nervous.

          1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

            Wrong end of the stick?

            I only block your adds because I don't trust your code on my machine.

            Their answer? "Run this code on your machine!"

            I only block adds that stop me seeing the content of the website.

            Their answer? "We block content if you don't!"

            My leisure time is not without cost to me, I would charge you to interrupt me!

            Their answer? "We wish to make cash off your free time!"

            They may as well use one giant fly to swat a smaller fly for all it's worth...

      2. Not also known as SC

        Giving stuff a way for free is always a bad idea if you want to make money (no sarcasm intended). I understand (although this might just be an urban legend) that one of the free competitors (OpenOffice?) to Microsoft Office was discontinued because not enough people wanted to use it because as a 'free' product compared to Microsoft Office at £££/$$$, so the free suite couldn't be any good.

        Same happens with web content - give it away for free and it becomes worth precisely that - nothing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Not also known as SC

          1. Open Office was not discontinued, it is still there at https://www.openoffice.org/

          2. Open Office was badly affected because of Oracle's heavy handed attitude towards free and open source software.

          3. I used OpenOffice and subsequently moved to Libre Office and I can tell it has an excellent quality versus cost ratio. I also heard the some governments and organizations are using it and seem to be happy but don't take my word on it.

  13. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    While I'd probably be happy to pay for news sites (the price is still to be negotiated) I'm not at all sure I'm happy to have something that has a billion users increasing the amount of power they use.

    Without wishing to start a green war, it does strike me that reducing power usage as a general thing has no obvious downsides and a lot of upsides. Can't see increased usage from coin mining being a *good* thing in and of itself.

    Anyone got the numbers on cost of electricity - domestic mains rates are around 12p/kWh I think - vs the value of fake money actually coined?

    1. MrAnonCoward43

      I think the numbers, although ridiculously high and wasteful, it's still much less than the energy wasted from devices in standby - can't find the exact link mentioning that but here's one about that standby waste:

      https://www.thestar.com/business/personal_finance/2014/07/02/your_electronic_devices_are_energy_hogs_energy_agency.html

      Without the actual article I was looking for there were a few about Bitcoin mining consuming more than Ireland does in a year: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/27/bitcoin-mining-consumes-electricity-ireland

      I would guess 80% energy usage of Canada is a tad biggerr than Ireland's use.

      Perhaps the standby issue needs as much attention - both are wasting far too much of the world's energy.

      1. nijam

        > ...less than the energy wasted from devices in standby

        Hmmm. I suspect the devices mentioned in your link are rather out of date .... and probably were before that article was written. My own measurements suggest that the widely publicised figures about standby consumption are (deliberately, and in some cases substantially) exaggerated.

        Whether or not standby consumption is waste at all is a separate issue from how much standby consumption there is, of course.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Perhaps the standby issue needs as much attention - both are wasting far too much of the world's energy."

        UK government ran a campaign a few years ago telling people to turn everything off when not in use because all those standby devices used up a whole extra power station or some such big scary number. At the same time there was a programme adding street lighting to motorways.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Running the Website yourself

      I do just that. It is hosted on an Intel NUC that sits on a shelf in my office behind my UPS.

      It effeectivelly costs me £0.00 in leccy to run over a year as I have a PV system on the roof. As that generates around 4MWh of power the costs to run one of those small systems (runs CentOS with a Mist desktop) is close to zero.

      What does cost mulah is the domain name and getting it redirected to your home IP which may actually cost you ££££ with your ISP as still in this day and age some don't like you hosting stuff from your home as they think you are running a business.

      As my site isn't slurped up by Google I get very little traffic (which is what I want) unless one of my visitors has their system hacked and all of their browsing history slurped.

      After all how many people are really interested in Victorian 'boddice ripper' stories... (don't answer that)

      1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Running the Website yourself

        I have a PV system on the roof. As that generates around 4MWh of power

        A megawatt-hour (MWh) is a unit of *energy*, not power. (4MWh is the equivalent of 4MW for one hour, or 4KW for 1000 hours, or even 4W for a million hours etc.)

        So how much power (measured in W, kW, or MW) are you pulling off your roof?

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Given that rooftop installations typically generate 5-10KW, I think he made a typo.

          I his installation is indeed generating 4MW, his roof must cover a few hectares, in which case : Hi Bill G, nice of you to be posting here !

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Running the Website yourself

          Sorry for the confusion.

          I generate about 4MW of power in a year. 2016 was 4.3, 2017 was 3.8.

          Consider myself slapped on the wrist.

        3. Primus Secundus Tertius Silver badge

          Re: Running the Website yourself

          There are just over 8,000 hours per year. So 4MWh per year is about 500 Watts of power.

          Raw sunlight is up to 1 KW per square metre. Some 10% of that becomes electricity. Therefore about 5 square metres of roof is covered in solar cells.

          An ordinary house then, not a Gates mansion.

  14. Craigie

    hmmm...

    I'd rather this than have to see shit 'ads' which I block anyway, and support the site I'm looking at.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ads

    How are sites getting revenue from ads these days?

    Is it what's shown or is it still what is clicked on?

    If it's clicked on, then I see no difference whether I use ad blocker or not. Won't be clicking on the ad.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      Re: Ads

      "How are sites getting revenue from ads these days? Is it what's shown or is it still what is clicked on?"

      Its usually both, publishers can earn a few dollars per 1000 impressions of an ad without any clicks but will earn more revenue if the ads get click upon.

      So by blocking the ads completely, even if you would have never clicked on them you are stopping the site from earning anything from your visit to their site. I can see more sites blocking you from access and requiring you to turn off adblockers to enter if revenues from ads continue to drop.

      I know people will say "any site that won't let be view with my adblocker switched on i will not visit", but will they really be bothered by you not using their site and not gaining them any revenue?

      1. Skwosh

        Re: Ads

        "... publishers can earn a few dollars per 1000 impressions of an ad without any clicks ..."

        Excellent – some actual numbers.

        So, if I use an ad-blocker then I'm depriving a publisher of the order of a few tenths of a pence/cent per page view (if I don't click through).

        OK (clears throat): Dear internet, my idea by me is that I would very much please like an option on the ad-blocker thingies where it will have a box that will say something like 'click here to make a payment of the hugely crippling sum of 0.231 pence to the nice publisher' so that if I click 'yes' then I get to see the page without all the yucky/dangerous ads/tracking, and the publisher gets 0.231p from me and doesn't go out of business and make the world all sad. Thanks.

        1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

          Re: Ads

          click here to make a payment of the hugely crippling sum of 0.231 pence

          1. That is per page.

          2. Every service which tried to offer this functionality so far has failed. One of the main reasons is that doing this as a service and integrating it into a website is significantly harder than doing ads. Google has made it deceptively easy so micropayments will remain non-starter unless that money flow seizes altogether.

          1. Skwosh

            Re: Ads

            @Voland's_right_hand

            1. Yes, indeed that is per page. However, if it is so trivial an amount that it doesn't matter if we deprive the publisher of it then perhaps it is also such a trivial amount that we wouldn't really mind paying it - or - if it is not a trivial amount, and so we would mind paying it, then perhaps it is then not right for us to deprive the publisher of it. I guess this is actually (the order of) how much the internet would cost if we didn't fund it with ads. How low would it have to be per page before you think it *would* be reasonable? 0.01p, 0.001p?

            2. Impractical pipe dream I agree. Perhaps, rather than the sites doing it themselves, what we need is some sort of infrastructure in place that tracks all the sites we visit and tots up all the page views on all those sites, along with all those sites having some means of receiving payment from a centralised entity based on the number of page views they get, and also perhaps something built into the browser that is ad aware and knows who we are, and some sort of 'account' that most of us would have with that central entity and... oh wait... Big Internet (e.g. Google) have all this already, but the whole advert based way of doing things is so hugely profitable for Big Internet because they can keep most of what they get from the advertisers and give scraps to the publishers/creators (hence Big Internet making billions every year). Google, say, could pivot to being non evil and use their existing infrastructure to provide a service like this where we pay content providers directly (with Google taking a modest cut) but they would of course then be *vastly* less profitable. I'd agree with you that it's hopeless were it not for the rise of ad-blockers. Ad blocking seems to me to be the first time a realistic incentive for something like this to happen has come along (that perhaps Big Internet can't thwart), and it is creating a degree of nervousness among publishers who might be inclined to grasp at anything offering a way out (both of ad-block and their perilous Big Internet dependence). The fundamental problem for the ad slingers is that there is no such thing as an 'acceptable' ad; an ad is either so 'acceptable' that you can comfortably *completely* ignore it (in which case it is *useless* as an ad, and in the long term advertisers simply will not pay for such ads), or it is sufficiently impeding to your enjoyment of the content that it will actually attract your attention to some degree, if only briefly, in which case 99.99% of the time it will be at best mildly irritating rather than helpful or informative. All other things being equal, pages without ads are better than pages with ads, no matter how 'acceptable' those ads are. The question is, is there any price level at which people will pay not to have ads? If you'd told me even five years ago how many people are now paying a $10/£10 sub per month for music I'd never have believed you (not that I'm proposing a sub model here).

            Rant ends.

      2. Patrician

        Re: Ads

        "...I know people will say "any site that won't let be view with my adblocker switched on i will not visit", but will they really be bothered by you not using their site and not gaining them any revenue?...."

        They will become "bothered" if the "you" becomes a significant number.

  16. ratfox Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Incidentally, I've regularly been getting ads on the Reg about Blockchain being the future of the apartment rental industry. Huh?

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      So, instead of paying your landlord, you buy some rent vouchers from an exchange, send them to the landlord, who sells them back to the exchange?

      I presume there is some sort of "smart contract", which does something.

  17. MrAnonCoward43

    I guess there's absolutely nothing stopping websites from selling ad space on their websites directly and managing them internally, missing out on the ad networks and all the privacy invasive cross tracking and jars full of cookies tracking all number of things that people are increasingly fed up with. Not to mention the slow downs and resource hogging with the current script after script after script.

    Granted it won't be as powerful as far as targetting is concerned but there's no reason it can't easily monitor click throughs against impressions and whereever the links go off to can easily check their performance also.

    Seems a better solution to me, back to basics and missing out any number of middle men in the ad networks. Granted a lot of potential job losses there but who will be sad about the death of some of those marketing companies..

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "I guess there's absolutely nothing stopping websites from selling ad space on their websites directly and managing them internally,"

      Yes! Every Website needs their own Herb Tarlek

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    way to make yourself even more irrelevent

    There would have to be something of real value for it to be worth anything.

    Any site that does that, I presume is now just telling me to F**K OFF and I do, and I never come back, so all the money you spend to get me to visit is now flushed down the drain, dont start crying when your site stats go down the toilet, it's what you asked for.

  19. msknight Silver badge

    Easy...

    Virtual machine running Linux. Restrict the processor. Job done.

    All joking aside, I can't blame them for trying this, but there are just too many news agencies out there, all giving the same news. As a test, I picked up a regular copy of the Guardian, and a Sunday copy of the same rag. I already knew at least half of the major stories that were in there. It's not worth the cash.

    The BBC are a joke as well. Any news article that I actually want to comment on, has comments disabled. Talk about audience disengagement.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Easy...

      The Guardian has an interesting way of showing when their articles are particularly stupid; they disable comments on them.

      1. Fred Dibnah

        Re: Easy...

        So does the Telegraph. They don't allow comments at all.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Easy...

          Pretty much every Telegraph article has a comments section. Have you not seen their site?

          1. Korev Silver badge

            Re: Easy...

            They did stop commenting for a while and then started again. Many of the commenters from the old system seemed to make "Britain First" seem reasonable. I guess that the Telegraph got fed up of having to delete so many of the comments.

            1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: Easy...

              I usually enjoy their comments. They fit nicely between the nutjob commentators of the Guardian and Daily Mail. I consider that to be the sweet spot of unbiased opinions between extreme left and right.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      Re: Easy...

      "there are just too many news agencies out there, all giving the same news. As a test, I picked up a regular copy of the Guardian, and a Sunday copy of the same rag. I already knew at least half of the major stories that were in there. It's not worth the cash."

      Back in the first half of the eighties, the Sunday Times would contain the full week's news, which was excellent for those of us too busy to keep up on a daily basis.

      During the eighties and nineties I would regularly buy a couple of the Times, Telegraph and Guardian on any given day. I considered it worth the price because each paper would present its own angle on a given story. I.e. I felt I was getting added value for forking out more money.

      Wind on to about 2010-12, and their internet sites went full 24 hour coverage.

      Prior to that I used to look forward to seeing the next day's edition with some fresh news and points of view. That pleasure has disappeared now.

  20. pavel.petrman

    Unused computational power

    ... should really say "How about we use some unused battery life and, if equipped with a fan, some unused silence of you computer?" With the first controlled fans and first battery-equipped computers even the SETI programme became a slight nuisance. To publicly and without a hint of sarcasm say something like "We'll use the unused computational power of your computer" in 2018 takes a bloody cheek or even bloodier ignorance. Usually it's hard to say which it is.

  21. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

    Yeah...

    It's funny to see all these stories about this, seeing as the script they use is so incompetently written that it only works against really outdated adblockers.

  22. emullinsabq
    Facepalm

    it's the content, stupid

    Hard to believe mining via JS is even 1/10 as good as native code. Mining may be a viable way to make money, but you would be better off firing your staff and buying dedicated mining equipment. At least then, the energy you use will be maximized wrt mining.

    I know the "news" companies have had it good with advertising revenue until around 2017, but it's becoming clear what they make is worth far less than they have been getting for it. Whatever you try to pay for you garbage content isn't going to succeed until you address the content itself. IF you do succeed at that, THEN the method you use to pay for that content isn't so important-- it will all work.

  23. Mookster
    Devil

    Teh Independent

    Anyone had problems with The Sindy? 3 open tabs kill my PC - it would be an outrage if they weren't mining.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    It's a new day, yes it is :)

    With apologies to the WWE for borrowing the catch phrase of one of their tag teams :)

    I think we're seeing the end of advertising serving services or a.s.s. in short :P (yes, I did that on purpose). People finally start to realize how massively this can be abused and thus they move away from all this nonsense. It was fun riding the wave for the site owners but now they have to adapt.

    From my perspective this is merely the next step in the digital evolution.

    And the best part is that it's the ad services which shot themselves in the foot over this. They became greedy, starting working with shadey stuff which allowed others to hack and infect it and in the end the viewers had to pay the price. No more.

    The fun part? This can still work. I know of people running Opera with both the embedded ad blocker turned on as well as the option to allow minimal advertising. So some (non intrusive) stuff slips through and people are ok with this because "it helps pay for the browser". Keyword: non intrusive.

    If you install an adblock blocker then you obviously don't even know the meaning of non-intrusiveness. Your loss, time to move on.

  25. Jamesit

    "But ultimately, the only choice people have is to not read, set the ads free or let them mine Monero."

    I don't get the nag screen with uBlock Origin and NoScript.

    How about having a "tip jar" that people can put a couple of bucks in using PayPal or a similar service?

  26. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Want me to visit your site?

    Send a cheque in the post for £/$0.50p/c

    The convenience goes both ways. If you wish to charge me for your time, I will also be fine charging you for my time.

    1. FF22

      Re: Want me to visit your site?

      Nobody wants you to visit their site, you dummy. They want to make money off you (so they can cover their expenses and get their paycheck at the end of the week/month, like you do). You visiting the site is not their goal and not what they ultimately want, but only a means to an end. So, if they can't make money off your visit, because you're blocking their ads/miners/etc, then they DO NOT want you to visit their sites. Get it?

      Not that it wouldn't be dumb to say that it's THEY who would owe you, when in fact it's YOU who is using their services and consuming their content - so, it's you who should pay up. Just saying...

  27. Mycho Silver badge

    At least...

    Erfworld made a game of it. You mine gems and if you're lucky ... stuff. The site is about a fictional world where gems are important so it worked. Kinda.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Death Of Facts Approacheth

    All that will remains will be Fake News amplified by subjectivity, hastening the End Of Days. We will witness first hand the Anthropocene, it's consequences, as we calculate how poor we have made ourselves by counting leaves on trees and watching as they crumble to dust in our hands... all the while the ineptly educated masses bray about big butted sociopathic anomalies.

    [my other Bible has a big pair of tits on it]

  29. FF22

    Amazing stupidity on part of the blockers

    It just always amazes me how all these stupid ad blockers think that they can somehow "outsmart" the system and reap/rape it, for their own benefit. Like, you know, how they think they'll somehow "win" or gain something when they successfully block ads; when they put cryptominers into VMs with limited resources; or somehow bypass any new mechanisms and ways publishers might come up with and employ to generate some revenue.

    Here's a news flash for all your morons: you can't outsmart the system. And that not only because you're too stupid to outsmart it in the first place, but also because you can't change the fact, that from nothing comes nothing. Whenever you somehow successfully thwart (usually by some solution developed by people far smart than you, and only taking advantage and using you, as their pawns) the publishers' attempt to generate revenue to sustain their publications (ie. to pay for their serves, their bills, their employees, etc), you're not actually winning anything, and you're not actually making anything better - not even for yourself.

    Rather, what you do is force the publishers' hands to find new ways to make somehow money off you (because you know, servers just won't magically sell for free, paychecks won't write and pay themselves, etc. just because you are blocking ads, cryptominers, etc). Which in turns will not only give you now something new you will - not really have to, but want to - combat the same way you did with the previous thing (and thus arrive at the very same point you started off, to begin with), but because development, deployment and operation of more elaborate schemes to generate income will generally cost more, they will now have to make even more money off you, which in another turn will mean, that it will get even more costly and cumbersome for you to somehow try to thwart that new way of money generation. If you will be able to do that, at all.

    So, with all that pointless and futile blocking, all you can achieve is even more problems for yourself in the medium and long term, even more wasted resources, without actually getting anywhere. And if somehow you could really stop any and all means the publishers might come up with for generating revenue to cover their costs, then the only thing you could ultimately achieve is, that you drive any and all honest publications out of business. So, you will have nowhere to go for the content and services you're otherwise obviously very much not only enjoying, but also depending on, on a daily basis.

    How stupid you have to be to not be able to realize that? Obviously, very, very stupid.

    An don't even get me started about how a lot of other major problems these days, like the proliferation of fake news, state-sponsored manipulation, etc. are all related to and the direct results of ad blocking, that's depriving independent and honest working journalists and other people of their well-earned and legal income, and only letting shady, state-sponsored publications to proliferate and spread propaganda!

    PS: I'm keenly awaiting your downvotes, which I know will come in large numbers, as most of you simply can't face these facts - which, however, won't make them any less of a fact.

    1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: Amazing stupidity on part of the blockers

      I don't agree with you. Advertising is not an immutable fact of life - it is (by and large) an invention of the industrial age. There are other solutions being suggested here - micropayment being one - but you think that advertising is the only revenue stream that will work, even though the evidence is showing that it doesn't (hence this article).

      When everything was on paper, I generally paid for it if the price was worth it to me, and, by and large, I ignored the adverts. Yes, some magazines had more pages of ads than actual content, but it didn't matter - I could choose whether to look at them without penalty. I also lived through the pre-ad blocker Internet, where untargeted ads got more and more intrusive, and the beginning of "targeted" ads that were anything but, and still hugely intrusive. I began to block ads initially because they counter-productively demanded my attention, and now because, as I said in my earlier reply to you, because the risk to me of accepting them is greater than the risk to the ad-slingers whose security gets breached. That doesn't mean that I don't want to pay for content, but that I can't do so in a way that suits my assessment of risk.

      I also think you are wrong in thinking that content creators don't care about the total number of views - it is that figure that says to a potential advertiser that there is X chance of someone responding to an ad. Lost views make a site less attractive - undermining your whole argument.

    2. Wensleydale Cheese Silver badge

      @FF22 Re: Amazing stupidity on part of the blockers

      "depriving independent and honest working journalists and other people of their well-earned and legal income"

      With the number of folks here who have faced outsourcing, downsizing, early retirement and offshoring, you are on extremely dicey ground when you suggest that journalists and publishers are an elite layer who should be immune from that.

      Adapt to survive.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Salon

    Cut

  31. sloshnmosh

    I guess mining is better than dropping a shell

    I did a quick Google search yesterday using the base 64 string for PHP shellcode backdoors hidden in image EXIF and one of the first websites to pop up happened to be hosted nearby.

    I contacted the webmaster by phone using WHOIS and another well known family tree site and the owner turned out to be a 70 year old man.

    (Really nice guy.)

    The image of a MOPAR muscle car in his sites gallery had been dropping shells on visitors since November of 2009.

    He shut the site down (which was not my intention) stating he didn't have time to maintain it and that he was getting much more traffic on his "Wordpress" site.

  32. Peter Stone

    Can someone explain...

    Just how this is idea is generally supposed to work? I know that it's javascript, but from what I know of mining, (only bitcoin), my understanding is that it takes time to mine. So, if I visit a website that does mining, but only for 15 minutes, how can anything useful be done? Unless when you leave a site the info regarding where the script got to is uploaded back to the originating server, to be downloaded to another computer.

    Or have I got this wrong?

  33. TheRealJesusChrist

    The Salon

    One article was also a Katy Perry reference (I held a gun and I liked it/I kissed a girl [and I liked it]). My IMMEDIATE reaction was to GTFO. Seriously. (What with the recent Florida shootings and whatnot...)

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