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

Though TownNews 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.


Feature Request: bring back adding _preroll ad to specific sections

Kim Mason BGDN 1 month ago in BLOX CMS 0

We are really pushing video on our site. We've had an advertiser for years that pays for a preroll ad on just our athlete of the week videos & advertising has been working on selling them the same thing in our news section. Unfortunately, sometime last year the ability to set sections for a _preroll ad was taken away (it worked still in June) and they must be run of site now. So it turns out that what advertising has been trying to sell to this customer the customer will instead get for free (plus video in all other sections).  Since they were exclusive to the AOTW videos, they now, for the same price, have exclusivity for all our video inventory, eliminating future monetization potential on something that we are currently focusing on.  Please restore functionality to this ad.  It should function as any other ad - ie all the settings in the ad asset should actually do something.


Idea's for banner ads...

Mike Stickler 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ian McPhee 1 month ago 1
Three idea's for banner ads I would love to see in order by personal preference...

Link an ad display to user logon or lack thereof... My site content sits behind a paywall and one of the biggest complaints I get is "Hey you posted a link to this article on facebook but the article sits behind a paywall!!!" I know I can bypass the paywall in the article's custom properties but I'd like a way to monetize that. For example if a non-subscriber opens an article then display the ad in the popover position. However never display the popover ads when a subscriber is logged in. (So there would be 3 states "logged in subscriber," "logged in non-subscriber," "not logged in" --- by default an ad would display under all three circumstances... by deselecting one or more options on the ad setup this would be controllable. 

Link Ads together... I would love the ability to link 2 or more separate ads together (related) so that when 1 displays they both do... For example a skyscraper, leaderboard, and background ad (page takeover)

Smarter exclusions ... say I have 2 skyscrapper ads and I'd like them to randomly switch between 2 ad positions... If I put both ads in both positions then it randomly selects which ad will run in each position ... Because the same ad can't run twice on a page sometimes I see both ads some times I will see one ad... I'd like the system to be smart enough to say "Hey this ad is already running elsewhere on the page I'm going to automatically select the other ad for this position."
Under review

Community Calendar

Keri Franzoni 1 month ago • updated by Ian McPhee 1 month ago 2

The default event time selection the the submission form is every one minute. Who starts or ends an event on the minute? Please changed the default list to every 30 minutes with the option to type in minutes.

Under review

Inline Content

Robert Dundon 1 month ago • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 1 month ago 1

Currently, Blox CMS has a way to include inline content with text and formatting or from related assets. That's great!

However, I was wondering in the future if it would be possible to add custom inline types? Thanks!


Webinar | Tourney fever is coming—score big with ultra-engaging college bracket contests

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 1 month ago • updated 1 month ago 0

Join us on January 17th @ 10:30 AM CST

Sports fans nationwide are turning their attention to college hoops, and pick’em contests are a fun and engaging way to turn local sports fans into loyal repeat visitors. At our January customer webinar, Gary Stibolt, sales representative, and Doug Green, product manager at TownNews, will show off our all-new basketball pick’em contests for GamesPerform.

Topics will include:

  • Creating bracket pick’em contests to satisfy your audience’s hunger for March college hoops.
  • Wowing advertisers with a variety of lucrative banner positions and contest sponsorship opportunities.
  • Managing your contests, creating leagues, and showcasing local basketball experts.
  • . . . and much more!

Bonus: Webinar registrants will be invited to join the TownNews Bracket Challenge and compete for prizes and bragging rights against other TownNews clients!

Ready to get started? Join us on January 17th at 10:30 AM CST.

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

Community Calendar & Marketplace Businesses venue submission on mobile is less than desireable

Keri Franzoni 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Phil Pracht (Product Manager) 1 month ago 3

You've made an update recently so this is better, but it's not there yet.

When using a mobile device to submit an event with the Marketplace Businesses module active the user experience to
"Find a location" lands on a screen that does not function well. If you are lucky the venue will display so you can choose it, but the box is not tall enough on an IOS iPhone 8. When you type in the search area, again it might display part of one venue from the search. The user is limited to the choice displayed and no way to navigate the remaining venues in the system or search. 


Nailed yet RE scrolling. I've issued a ticket to resolve this. We'll try to have a fix out soon! 

Under review

Create a 5-star review application for restaurants and businesses to attach to article assets

Steven Mazzacane 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 months ago 6

Poorly performing articles

Jason Schaefer 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ian McPhee 2 months ago 1
I know this request may sound strange.I would like a new report added to the editorial analytics. This would be reports that pull in the opposite of the “Most Popular” article. It would show our least popular (based on pageviews) articles/assets. Currently I am manually tracking this information for our editors/general manager using Google analytics.

We use the information to be able to judge how our audience will react to a similar story in the future or in the extreme case we know not to write another story about that subject if it doesn’t get may views.

Some of our reporters/editors have already used this information to turn down a few stories because the last article we ran about that subject barely even had 20 pageviews but an article that we thought was a fluff piece (two paragraphs from AP) was viewed thousands of times.

I have read article of larger metropolitan papers that do a similar analytics.
It would also be nice if we had a view stats option directly on the article/assets. Similar to what is on the classifieds to quickly view their analytics.Attached is an example:

Under review

Integrate Facebook events with BLOX Calendar events

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

Allow the Calendar in BLOX to associate an event with a Facebook event. Then, you can use the FB API to pull photos to the BLOX page!


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

Nick 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ojass Narawane 2 months ago 18

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?


Facebook Instant Articles

Paul MacNeill 3 years ago • updated by Patsy J. Moore 2 months ago 5

Following up on Rob Weir's question, but with a Facebook focus. A Wordpress plug in was just announced making it easy for all publishers to access instant articles. Does TownNews have a plan to quickly match this?


Yes! We have already built the integration in fact. We haven't yet announced it because we'd like to have a customer go live with it to make sure it works properly and there are no issues. If anyone has a Facebook account that is approved for this, let me know, since it is still technically in beta on the Facebook side. =)




Breadcrumbs above articles

Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patsy J. Moore 2 months ago 8

Is it possible to have the "breadcrumbs" that are at the top of section pages by default continue to be displayed above articles? This would allow easy back-tracking into the section.

I thought I could do it with Utility Regions but it won't allow me to place the standard "Section | Utility: Page heading | Dynamic" block there.

Is anyone else doing something similar?


What is the url for a specific asset in our Blox (Flex) CMS?

Ashley 3 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patsy J. Moore 2 months ago 5

Hello, I'm new to TownNews and Blox so forgive the simple question, but how can I get/find a direct url to an individual asset thats hosted in our Blox (Flex) CMS? For example, if I batch import a bunch of pdfs and then search for them in the CMS, I'd like to be able to add a text link to one of them in another CMS for those viewers but I am unclear what the url is for that specific asset. Thanks for your help!


Hi there!

I think the easiest way is to go to the asset, then click on "live view" (under the "preview") button. It will open the live page and you can get the URL from there.

As soon as the asset is saved and publishable, you can get the URL from the live view link. Even before it shows up on the front page or on other pages. So, this is actually a good way to get a URL in order to send it to an email or other places quickly, because it is immediately available.

However, this is how you would link to the PDF page. We would highly caution against linking directly to any binary element, whether it is a photo or a PDF or a video, because sometimes those storage URLs change and will cause broken links. It is pretty rare, but the URL of the files themselves (not the asset URL, but the binary file) may change.


Improvements to Blox commenting system

Michael Becker 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Patsy J. Moore 2 months ago 1

I would be very interested to hear from other users about improvements they'd like to see to Blox-native commenting. Here are my suggestions so far.

(And to head off the inevitable: I am not switching to Disqus or FB just to get features. This is about improving the Blox system.)

  • The ability to moderate comments from the article page, rather than having to go into the Blox back-end.
  • "Trusted" commenters or some other sort of ranking system. Trusted commenters would be able to post links without review and their comments would be filtered nearer to the top of a comment list with a "Best Comments" sort order.
  • A "Best Comments" sort order, which would be decided by the upvote/downvote system.
  • See above: An upvote/downvote system for comments.
  • Ability to have clickable links
  • See above: Ability to hold comments for moderation if they contain links
  • Ability for users to edit their own posts.
  • Ability for users to upload images.
  • Ability for newsrooms to specify a period after which comments on an article close automatically.
  • Ability to show comments already posted AFTER commenting has been disabled, rather than having them all disappear.
  • Pipe dream: Real time comments.
  • Others?
Under review

We are attempting to use the new promo designer block. When a reader abandons his/her unfinished AdOwl order, I would like to offer the reader a button to call us. Tech support says it isn't possible. Can that be right? Ideas?

Peggy at the Leader 3 months ago • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 months ago 3

We are attempting to use the new promo designer block. When a reader abandons his/her unfinished AdOwl order, I would like to offer the reader a button to call us. With an active click-to-call button. Tech support says it isn't possible. Can that be right? Ideas?