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The New Sleazy Digital Income 2017-10-04


Early on (digitally speaking) the Internet was pretty non-corporate. Web pages looked pretty hilarious with animated images and glowing horizontal rules, but the people using the Internet were generally not buying much. The Internet was really more a way to express one's self rather than push products.

Obviously, along the way, corporate whores found out that they could sell at people using this blinking box thingy... and a whole new world of scum was born. Big fat blinking banner ads, the race to the top of the search engine results list, and even subtle ads that kind of seemed like native advertising. Now it pretty much seems like that IS the Internet. Like it is just a place for people to shovel their disposable income as fast as they can generate it. That's why people started adblocking. There are different ways to block ads, but the idea is generally that people do not want to be bothered by ads anymore.

But a lot of content creators (as well as content fakers) say that ads pay for their web site. That without ad income, they'd simply not be able to afford a web site at all. Somehow, that sounds like a load of shit to me. The vast bulk of web sites are not incredibly expensive to maintain. Some might have an initial cost to setup, but the ongoing costs are not huge. People just say that they need the income because they LIKE the income. So what are they doing now that their ads are being blocked by a lot of people? Well, they're doing this to your computer:

bitcoinmining Thanks, really... thanks.

They're using your computer to mine for shitcoins. In case you were unaware, what is going on in that screenshot is my PC being burdened with mining bitcoins when I opened a particular web site. They setup a script that runs in your browser while you are looking at their web site, which will generate income for them by doing some heavy math. The two things that bother me most about this are:

  1. They didn't ask, or even mention that they would be using my PC and
  2. There is no way to control how hard it hits my PC

The screenshot you see above came from my PC when I opened the site of one of my DNS providers. There was no announcement, no notification, no nothing. Just a spike in my processor use. I emailed them to ask if they were planning to keep the script in place and was told that:

The Mining Script runs in the background and normally visitors will not even know that it is running.

But in fact, poor system perfomance was exactly how I found out they were forcing the script(s) on users. I noticed that my system was behaving quite poorly, and even just switching between tasks was taking seconds. I opened my task manager and saw the spike was being caused by Firefox. I started closing tabs until the spike dropped off, and it was Geoscaling. While I would agree that the bitcoin mining script runs in the background (some might say hidden), there's no way I would say I didn't notice it running. Since I am a bit of a hardcase about digital bullshittery, I spent the rest of yesterday setting up a pair of DNS servers so I could host my own DNS. I also added a few bitcoin script providers to my ad_hosts file so that other sites can't force my browser to peg my CPU without asking.

As Jeff Foxworthy might say if he were a computer goof...

If you force your web visitors to silently run scripts that will peg their CPU and generate income for you...

You might be a douchebag.

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