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Imgur launches an ad-free subscription service, powered by micropayments

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Imgur is launching a subscription service that offers an ad-free browsing experience and new community features, like profile flair and the ability to mute tags across the site. The subscription service, called Emerald, quietly launched on the web in May, and today, it’s being more publicly announced as it comes to Imgur’s Android app. The service will eventually launch on iOS, too.

Emerald costs $5 per month, but it’s not offered through Imgur itself. Instead, Imgur has partnered with a company called Coil, which is the latest group trying to make micropayments work across the web. Coil has the same general structure as other micropayments services — you pay a monthly sum, and then Coil pays that money out to the various companies and creators whose work you’ve been reading and watching. A number of companies have tried this in the past and struggled to catch on.

What makes Coil different is the fact that it’s based on an open protocol. Coil is built on a technology called Interledger — “It’s not a blockchain,” said Coil CEO Stefan Thomas — that anyone can tap into to send and receive small payments. So even though Emerald is launching in partnership with Coil, you could theoretically sign up through a Coil competitor (if there were one, which there’s not) and get access to the very same service. The hope is that, by making sure no one company is the middle of all those payments, the system will be a lot more likely to grow and have bigger names join in.

Signing up for a Coil subscription will unlock benefits on a number of different services. On Imgur, you get access to Emerald, which will let you post images in comments, use member-only avatars, and block tags for images you don’t want to see across the site. “Some people want to say, ‘I don’t like kittens,'” said Imgur co-founder and community VP Sarah Schaaf. “And those people are crazy, but they could mute kittens.”

But the subscription will also give you access to features elsewhere. Coil has signed up a collective of satire sites — including Reductress and The Hard Times — that offer exclusive content and ad-free browsing to members. The subscription will also let you watch paywalled videos on Cinnamon, a retro-styled YouTube competitor. And it’ll pay out to Twitch streamers with a bot that sends the site’s virtual currency as you watch.

That means Imgur won’t get all of a $5 subscription each month, unless the only Coil-supporting service a member uses is Imgur. (Coil isn’t currently taking a cut.) For both companies, the goal is to grow the network so that the overall pool of payments is larger, earning them more money but also building out an alternative to advertising that can be used to support creators across the web.

“The internet has become a breeding ground for negativity, and the prevailing business models reward such bad behavior,” said Imgur CEO Alan Schaaf. That includes mining and selling personal data and sensational headlines that drive clicks, Schaaf said. “The more users sign up for Coil, the less other sites have to sign up for these traps.”

Coil is launching its service slowly. The goal is to build out the network — something Coil is doing in part by making investments in companies it would like to sign up; Coil invested $20 million in Imgur last year. The company has also been reaching out to individual creators and developers.

“There’s sort of, at this point, almost an innate enthusiasm that comes from learning that there’s actually an alternative or another way to generate revenue on the internet,” said Tiffany Fox, Coil’s chief marketing officer. “I don’t think that there’s a lot of love for advertising these days.”

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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