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.

Though TownNews.com representatives often participate in discussions, this is not a customer service site. For immediate help, call 800-293-9576 or submit a support request via our online ticketing system.

Webinar | Announcing the new and improved BLOX Business Directory

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 months ago 1

New features and exciting improvements make it even easier for your site to be a one-stop source for business info in your community. At our November customer webinar, Phil Pracht, product manager for BLOX Business Directory, will show you how to:

  • Easily create enhanced business profiles with the simplified Storefront setup in BLOX CMS.
  • Leverage your business directory to power Local Niche Guides for new advertising possibilities.
  • Save time and money with new automated enhancements for simplified directory updates.
  • Take advantage of TownNews.com’s new partnership with Guarantee Digital for complete fulfillment packages.
  • . . . and much more!

Ready to see the new and improved BLOX Business Directory?


Can the sticky ad be displayed on all pages?

Nick 3 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

I've tested the new sticky ad on an asset and it works great. But we'd like the position on ALL pages. Is this in the works? And can they be stackable?

Under review

Moving the "Save" and "Cancel" buttons in the asset creation window

Nick 2 years ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 19
We've had several times when reporters are writing stories and they accidentally move the mouse a half an inch too far and click "Cancel" when they meant to click "Save." I know in this tech savvy world they should know to save, but at the same time auto-save exists in other programs and so they're used to the system saving for them. I think an easy fix(I changed it in the in-browser CSS code in about 15 seconds) to this would be to move the "Save" button and the "Cancel" button a few inches apart.

That's the easy way. I think another thing that would help this issue would be to add a "Are you sure you want to cancel?" prompt if the "Cancel" is clicked and the asset hasn't been saved in a while.

I know TownNews is proud of its in-browser asset creation, but I think the majority of the reporters here have been burned too many times and just write in a word processor, then copy and paste it in TCMS.

Feature request: "Wikipedia" style revision history

Robert 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 2

1) Wikipedia-style revisions would allow users to see the actual changes made between two versions of the same asset. Text would be highlighted that was deleted, added or changed, with an area for specific notes (if needed) for why the changes happened. User information could be seen when hovering over the changes to see who actually did the edit.

2) It's difficult to see currently what the actual changes or revisions have been made to an asset.

3) This feature would be used all the time by every staff member. Allows us to keep track of every change and why the change was made. Would especially be useful on long-form articles where what was changed or changes that need to be highlighted were missed.

4) All users would benefit from this feature. Our head editors and copyrighters would benefit most from it.

You can clearly see the previous asset text on the left, and the right is the current (or latest selected) with the changes that were made to the asset. It could be even further clarified by highlighting with different colours.

Red = delete

Green = added

Orange = changes (ie: spelling)

Currently, if a staff member who did the edits is not around, we have to open up several of the previous revisons and compare them. By having the changes in one window and side-by-side, it's easier to see past changes and plan for future ones.


Short Link Make in Town News

tengstrom 3 months ago • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 2

On WordPress, it offers users the means to grab a short link for the purposes of social media cleanliness, right there in WordPress. With Town News, we have to go to bitly or some other outside provider to get a short link. Why not add a short-link maker within the system, as it doesn't seem to require much programming to do? It could say "Get short link."


Registered users / subscription - hitting paywall even though all settings show user should be allowed through

Jay Allred 4 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 months ago 5

I have a reader who - despite being a registered user and having been logged in on her phone, continues to hit our paywall, even though there is no reason she should be doing so. 

We have tried to duplicate the issue on multiple devices and cannot do so. 

I know that the paywall operates using cookies.Can anyone think of what might be happening in this isolated case? Phone is an iPhone6. 


I assume that when she hits the paywall, she can log in and see content. But, each time she comes back, she has to log in again?

If so:

- It is unlikely to be a "remember me" issue since your site has "force enabled for all user" for the "remember me" setting.

- It is very likely she is in private browsing mode. In this situation the browser doesn't store cookies so it will not remember you between settings. (We see this complaint especially from iPhone users.)



If she can't log in at all, then:

- There is probably something wrong with her account or her subscription purchase. Our Customer Support staff can help troubleshoot the issue.

Let me know if this helps! =)



Subscription Coupon Code

Kevin M. Cox 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 3 months ago 13
We would like to request the option of having a "Coupon Code" function available for new subscriptions on the website.

We envision being able to link specific codes to specific subscription services (e.g. a code would allow a discount on a 7 day print subscription but not on a weekend only).

To be fully functional, the code should include options to select either: $ off, % off or length of free trial.

This would be a huge tool for our circulation/promotions department and we imagine would be a welcome addition for other newspapers as well.

--> Why we're asking:

To give a little more background I thought it might be helpful to give a specific use case. While we see tons of potential for this feature, there is a specific promotion we're trying to develop in the next month and are having trouble seeing a way to do it with the current system.

We're planning on a new subscription marketing push for our newspaper. We'd like to offer potential subscribers a free trial subscription (either print and/or online) to the paper.

In order to make things as easy as possible we'd like them to be able to sign-up online (create a new BLOX user account) and instantly begin their online trial (get behind the paywall) without having to enter a credit card. At the end of their trial period of course we'll offer to make them a subscriber and collect their payment information.

A "coupon code" function seems like the best way to make this happen but of course we are open to suggestions if we can already pull off something similar with existing tools. For example: Is there a way to link directly to a hidden subscription service?

Please let me know what y'all think.


Ability to customize email receipts for marketing.

Mary Shepard 3 years ago • updated by Marshall Hopkins 3 months ago 7
Email receipts receive on average a 70.90% open rate compared to the 17.19% average of regular email marketing.
It's important to remember that a customers trust is at it's highest right after they complete a transaction with a company.
Email receipts are the easiest way into an inbox, yet they’re the most underutilized form of email marketing, especially when working with Town News.

Having the ability to further communicate with our already engaged customers opens up opportunities to cross sell, upsell, offer discount codes on future transactions, promote social media accounts, set up a feedback loop to better understand the process/customer experience and offer logical next steps to customers who have completed a transaction, submitted content or posted a review.

Today's companies want to reach and engage more customers with every contact and e-receipts are an easy way to do so.

Under review

Reporter profiles on print and web

jjessee 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 months ago 5

In some of our sites, the bylines and taglines for authors differ between the print version and the web version. For example, the print byline in TCMS might by "BY JON DOE / Community News" but the desired byline for the web could be "By Jon Doe of the Community News staff."

Taglines are frequently even more different. A print tagline might be "Contact Jon Doe at jdoe@communitynews.com" while the web tagline might be "Jon Doe may be reached at jdoe@communitynews.com or 800-293-9576. Follow him @jondoe."

Those are simplistic examples. Some of our actual cases are even more different. Our desire would be to have the author field -- which would be the same in both TCMS and BLOX be the key for allowing these to automatically be different in the two channels, even though TCMS would carry the print version over to BLOX.

The idea would be that when an asset arrived in BLOX, the author field (if populated) would automatically place information from the "content" portion of the BLOX user profile into the byline and tagline fields, replacing what came over from TCMS.

This would occur on every bylined, staff-written story in our largest newspaper every day. The time saved would be measured in man hours every day. There's no reason that this work should have to be done manually.


Quick cropping tool for 4:3 and 16:9 for FLEX

Nick 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Marshall Hopkins 3 months ago 16

With FLEX's reliance on 4:3 and 16:9 cropping it would seem that many photos will end up cropping off the subject in order to adhere to the ratio. And most sites surely have some blocks that pull an asset in 16:9 and others that pull the same asset in 4:3. I propose a quick-crop tool that allows users to select crops for both ratios without the user having to work out the math or upload a previously cropped photo.

I'm thinking something like the image below that would allow users to select the ratio in a dropdown box and blocks would pull the appropriate ratio.

Would anyone else with FLEX use that?


Feature request: Search by geolocation tag

Erica Smith 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Marshall Hopkins 3 months ago 5

We use geolocation tags with assets to identify and display content by city. Without a search query by geolocation tag, I'm limited to what I can display to one page — I can't send users farther into our archives for more content about and related to the geolocation he or she is interested in. So, similar to asset type, keyword tag or offset queries, I'm looking for a geolocation tag query.

If anyone else is looking for the same feature, a vote helps get it done or at least added to a to-do list.


Hi Erica!

We do have a few search options related to geo tags. We have a block query rule in the Block Editor, so you can build blocks based on geo tags.

Since you mentioned offset parameters though, I suspect you mean search parameters in the front-end search. The good news is, we have this too! The parameter is simply "g."

For example:


Will search for the geo tag united_states/iowa

Note that geo tags are hierarchical, and you need to include the whole hierarchy in the search. So in my example above, I have a tag called united_states, and then INSIDE that, another tag called iowa. So, in order to search for iowa geo tags, I also have to include the path for united_states.

Under review

ad blocker detection under design > page customizations > advertising

Jay Allred 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 months ago 3

Can anybody fill me in on how the ad blocker detection / messaging works in BLOX. 

There's a toggle under "advertising", but I'm not sure it even works or what the message says.

Can we control the text in the message or the frequency? How does it work?


Webinar | What’s new in BLOX Total CMS

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 3 months ago in BLOX Total CMS • updated 3 months ago 1

At our October BLOX Total CMS webinar, Jon Winters, product architect for BLOX Total CMS, will show off the system’s latest enhancements, including:

  • New Article Designer makes it easier to tell stylish mobile-friendly stories with drag-and-drop formatting and alignment.
  • Expanded batch upload capabilities simplify adding related assets and creating collections.
  • Improved syndication tool enables importing of CNN “wire” feeds and GeoRSS tags.
  • Enhanced AP support adds keyword visibility, and improved handling of underscores and headlines.
  • Updated Page Tracker restores support for automated purging of assets and assignments.
  • . . . and much more!

Using the same calendar on multiple sites

Andrea 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by diane 3 months ago 4


This year, we bought two southern West Virginia newspapers. I would like to add a Blox calendar to the sites. (For our main site, we use CitySpark, so I am not familiar at all with the Blox calendar.) 

The two new papers have their own Blox websites. Because they are only 30 minutes apart from each other, I would like to create just one calendar for both sites, as they will have many events in common. 

Has anyone using one calendar on multiple sites, or is it not possible? 



Adding "Editor's Picks" in Google News

Robert 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 months ago 0

We're trying to impliment the "Editor's Picks" feature of Google News. When I submit the rss feed, it is giving the error "Feed Errors: We could not crawl your feed; the URL may be blocked by robots.txt"

The URL we're using is: https://www.westerngazette.ca/search/?f=rss&sd=desc&l=25&t=article&nsa=eedition&fl=featured&altf=google_newsstand

... which I think is the correct way for Google News. Anything glaringly wrong with what I'm doing?

Google News "Editor's Picks" Documentation: https://support.google.com/news/publisher/answer/1407682

Edit: Googlebot-News is allowed in my robots.txt settings.