Welcome to TownNews.com's customer community! Connect with other TownNews.com customers and with us to suggest features, share best practices and ask questions.

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Is there a way to get rid of the mobile anchor from Outbrain?

Nick 4 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

We've had Outbrain for a while now but I just noticed there's an anchor that takes up most of the screen. I don't have a problem with native ads but I don't want something that intrusive.

Under review

Feature request: Default presentation styles for users

Beth OMalley 5 months ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 3

If we could set a user's default presentation style (just like we can set that their assets always get them listed as the author) for article assets, that would be very helpful. 

Under review

Is there a way to have a word limit on free calendar submissions, but offer more words for paid submissions using the Upsell Manager?

Pat Checketts 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 3

Is there a way to have a word limit on free calendar submissions, but offer more words for paid submissions using the Upsell Manager?

In our small/medium market community, we're using the online calendar feature and we allow even businesses to post events at their stores or locations.  Events which are submitted online are also included in our print edition, but we limit certain free submissions to just 15 words.  Currently, I can't find a way to put a word limit on calendar submissions.  And if there is a way to do this, is there also way to make a rule which prompts users to purchase an enhanced listing if they exceed the word limit in the description?  Could the photo in the calendar submission also be set up as an option only available to enhanced listings?

We currently have enhanced calendar listings with a few options (one week, one month, etc.).  Since we implemented these features a few months ago, we've only had one business pay for an actual enhanced listing and it was at an introductory rate to test out the new feature.

Our calendar page is at www.sewardindependent.com/calendar

Pat Checketts

Advertising Manager

Seward County Independent

Seward, NE


Hi Pat - 

Upsell Manager cannot restrict the number of words or photos for an event.  

The self-service tool is designed to automatically apply properties (keywords, sections, priorities) to an event for purposes of prime placement throughout your site or print edition - homepage, newsletters, entertainment page, search results, etc. 

The value of the upsell is the promotion of a user's event your site rather than the number of words or photos a user is able to apply. 


When we upload images to BLOX, it seems to be stripping the metadata out. If I pull an image of the site, I cannot tell where it was created. Can we keep that in?

Paul Crawford 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 3

When we upload images to BLOX, it seems to be stripping the metadata out.  If I pull an image of the site, I cannot tell where it was created.  Can we keep that in please?


Metadata is only preserved in the hi-res version of the photo data if that is being stored in BLOX. All other images are stripped and have optimizations applied against them at this point.


Allow users to register while creating a new subscription

Rob Weir 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 2

Hi there -- our newsroom has been frustrated for awhile with the logic in the subscription module that requires users to register for the newspaper's website before buying a subscription. It's creating a bit of friction when e.g. we want to give out a complimentary subscription to an advertiser or other user, and is also a difficult workflow for some of our users if they don't get a confirmation email for registration. 

I understand the logic of registration being different from subscription status; and I also understand the internal logic of someone needing a registration before they buy a subscription. However, I'm wondering if the subscription page could be streamlined, either to allow people to register while buying a subscription or to create a user registration record as part of a new subscription (that is, prompt for a username when purchasing a subscription). 

Thoughts on that? 


Blocks don't display assets beyond 150

Nick 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 months ago 3

I set up a page for just Hurricane Irma assets since we got some significant damage. We have much more than 150 assets but when I try to set up the query size I can get it to display assets until 150. Beyond 150 the system changes the query size back to the first asset being 101. For instance... I change the "First item" to 151 to pull the next 50 assets but when I save the block it defaults back to 101.

I want to have a page for our comprehensive Irma coverage that people can look back through for months to come but the block settings aren't letting me. Is there a way to get around this?


I would create a URL for that topic, and then design a section around it. You can have groups of photos by date or by topic (before, during, after the storm, or by location, etc.).

Also, depending on the scenario, you could also keyword tag all of the assets, and then link to a search of those assets. That way, it is automatically paged and can go on forever.

I hope Kevin doesn't mind me pointing to this... but during Hurricane Harvey, galvnews.com had the same issue, and I helped them start this page: http://www.galvnews.com/harvey/ You could add to it by having more galleries, or lists of stories, ads, info boxes, etc.


inline video ads

Graham R. Archer 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 3

Anyone know of a way to activate inline video ads — say, a player that pops up as a reader scrolls past the 8th paragraph, plays a 15-second ad, then collapses?

I'm very interested in the products Teads InRead, though I've seen countless copycats. Here's a video of exactly what I'm looking for: 

Anyone know how to make that work in Blox and target ads at it?


Hi Graham!

It is very easy to implement this kind of technology into BLOX CMS. We've had several partners do this sort of thing.

I would ask for the implementation documentation from the vendor you want to use, and then provide it to our Customer Support team. Usually this will just require a small JavaScript tag added to the head and / or somewhere in the story. Using custom optional points and in-story Utility Regions, this can usually be done with no (or very little) custom coding.


Flex Feature Request: Restore Staff indicator on comments from Zen

Kevin M. Cox 11 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 4 months ago 7

Ticket # 617487 is already open on this request from our Zen to Flex transition, but posting here in addition per normal feature request protocol.

In Zen, when a staff/admin user leaves a comment on an article, it is indicated as such with a little flag as seen here.

Apparently this functionality wasn't carried over to the Flex templates and we would like to see it brought back. Right now there is nothing other than name recognition to help identify that one of our staff members is participating in a discussion with readers.

Having this identifier goes a long way to establishing that a response could be considered official or is coming from something with authority at the newspapers.

What do y'all think?


Hi Kevin!

This should be very easy to add. Just to make sure - is "Staff" the right verbiage? Maybe, "admin"? It would have to be the same always, though.


Content expiration in a block

Graham R. Archer 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 4 months ago 3

Hey all, trying to find a way to have a block show a story for 7 days, then have that content disappear from that block (but not expire off the site, for instance). It should always be looking back a rolling 7 days. Is this possible?


Just add a query rule Start date/time set to no earlier than "7 days ago."

Under review

Trying to add dfp ad unit to top of main container

Matt 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 4 months ago 7

I have created two dfp (simple) blox for a desktop and mobile pencil pushdown. I tested both of these yesterday in the global-container-top-fullscreen region, but I really want them at the top of the page. I took them out of that region, and it shows that they've been added to the top of main container in the utility regions pullout bar. I have saved the layout, however even the placeholder for the blox is not showing up when I preview the site. I also have the Google Publisher Toolbar extension installed, and the ad unit overlay is not showing up there in the live site either. Do I have to enable this utility region somehow before the changes take effect?

Under review

Feature Request: API interface for Calendar system

W. Rags. 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 4 months ago 1

What I would like to see is an API (like user, subscription, assets, etc) for the Calendar system.

It would allow 3rd partysoftware the ability to directly interface the calendar system from Townnews without having to resort to FTP'd files

We currently have an in-house calendar that we use for print.  Currently we have to manually export each of the calendar items from the townnews hosted management system, and enter it into our system by hand.  Using an exported .CSV file will work, but we would then have to create an import system for it. 

  • The API would allow any 3rd party program a way to interface directly, in nearly real time, with your calendar system.
  • For us, this would allow us to Add/Remove/Edit entries on-the-fly without having to wait for a batched upload and download to take place.  It would give a much finer control to managing the entries in the calendar without having to 'translate' them into files for processing.  Also much less change of any errors creeping into the individual entries.
  • For a large company such as The New York Times, it would mean faster processing, less chances of failure, and more real-time processing instead of batches.
  • For  Townnews it would mean a lot less proccesing power would be needed at any given time to process the batch.  Spreading this load out over a longer time would reduce any bottlenecks in the work flow that might be created with a large 'batch' being processed.

​Automated Calendaring

Mary Shepard 2 years ago • updated by Pat Checketts 4 months ago 3

Local organizations have contacted us about integrating their calendars with ours. They have been able to accomplish this with other local news sites. This would allow them to post the event to their calendar and it automatically appears in ours. Since most modern calendaring software supports the iCal format (as does Town News), would it be possible to integrate approved calendars? I understand we can currently import iCal, however making this more automated would be beneficial for both us internally and our community contacts.


Hi Mary, 

We can accept an iCal feed from other sites and feed that into your Calendar. The site hosting the events would need to provide you that feed. Please contact our support team for setup.




Webinar | What’s new in BLOX CMS!

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 months ago 2

Join us on September 7th @ 10:30 AM CDT

At our September customer webinar, Christine Masters, director of product management at TownNews.com, will highlight the exciting new features in the latest major release of BLOX CMS.

Cover art

We’ll show you how to:

  • Create eye-catching article intros with our all-new Cover Art feature.

  • Bounce back when your browser crashes while editing with our new auto-save functionality.

  • Boost user engagement with the new, mobile-friendly Vertical Gallery presentation mode.

  • Use automatic ad placement to lift revenue from article pages.

  • Keep your site’s tags up-to-date with Google Tag Manager integration.

  • . . . And lots more!

Ready to take advantage of the latest and greatest improvements to BLOX CMS?

Join us on September 7th at 10:30 AM CDT to learn more.

Want to take in the webinar on your own time? Register now and we’ll send you a link to the webinar recording once it’s ready.

Under review

Closings Application

Jason Schaefer 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Maureen Reinert 5 months ago 27
Since business/schools/daycares/etc closings is a issue that all newspapers/media have to deal with it would be nice to have a built in way to have approved businesses input/update closings/delayed starts within BLOX.
Under review

Question: Any way to change content displayed in one block based on what's in a second block?

Aidian 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 5 months ago 2

So we've got one block in which we want to display a story which will be randomly selected from a list of stories.

We've got a second block where we want to display the remaining stories from that list -- but not the one selected to display in the first block.

Does that make sense?  And how to do it?