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Under review

Tracking widget traffic

Tom Jones 3 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 weeks ago 3

Our sites use some variation of a block that updates with trending article links - they may be autopopulated based on defined rules or editor selected or some combination of both. We're trying to track the traffic that jump from these links into our articles.

Currently, the only solution available is entering UTM code data in via the block settings. This appears to be part of TN settings to only offer it this way.

However, as UTM codes are only designed to work with referral traffic and not from the same domain/GA property as the destination, there's a known issue where it can essentially 'break' the current user session. 

What will happen is that when a user clicks on a same-domain/GA property UTM coded link their current session will end and a new session will begin on the new page. This creates a data accuracy issue that can't easily be fixed without abandoning the UTM tracking effort.

There are 2 other known solutions to track this traffic - hashtag anchor fragment usage or TN events.

Preferably would like to use TN events as long as it's clear which widget the action occurred on and where the user went. Would think this could be accomplished by labeling the Category as 'Widget Tracking' (or something else that makes it obvious), the Action as the name of the widget as it appears on the site, and Label is the Page Title for where the user jumped to. 

Alternatively, appending a url with #widgetname instead of UTM coding would be searchable in GA's All Pages report but requires making some GTM updates https://www.simoahava.com/gtm-tips/track-url-fragments-as-pageviews/ - this could be a messy process if it interferes with other GA manipulations. 

Either would have to be developed. 


Webinar | Video 101: Producing live events for local media

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

Webinar recording now available.

When local events happen—from public forums to sporting events to live music—your community looks to you for quality coverage. At our October customer webinar, Derek Gebler, vice president of broadcast and video, will show how easy it can be to produce live video coverage of local events, and distribute your video content to the world with TownNews.com’s integrated digital solutions.

Topics will include:

  • The benefits of producing live video during local events.

  • A pre-flight plan, including a gear checklist, equipment testing, and working with the venue.

  • Camera placement, sound recording, and off-site monitoring.

  • Using VideoLink to live stream to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and your own website.

  • Post-event editing, distribution, and analytics.

  • . . . and much more!

Ready to get started? Watch it today.


We are looking at integration options for audience tools like OptinMonster.

Jay Allred 2 weeks ago in BLOX CMS 0


Any experience, success stories, killer integrations with tools like these?

Expanding the class CSS to individual links on menus

W. Rags. 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 2 weeks ago 4

Allowing for a simple class='' option on each menu link.  Once that option is available, then it will be up to the end-user (us) to define the class within your system, and chose to use it on the link.  Updating would be as simple as changing the class name on the link in the editor.

You already do this for each 'block'.  It just needs extending to the links within the menu blocks.  Fairly simple feature, and one that wouldn't impact much on your system, but it would bring a lot of flexibility to the entire system, especially if you extended it to other items as well.  Each 'item' (html entity) then has a class='' field that contains a user managed variable that could be controlled in your editor.  I can imagine some very fancy work done, using this alone, and without you having to do anything extra after implementation.

Under review

Anyone else getting spam redirects on mobile devices?

Nick 8 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by W. Rags. 2 weeks ago 19

We've had several people call about spam redirects on our website in the past couple of weeks. And we've already had three in the past hour. I submitted a ticket to TownNews and they said it isn't coming from our website. They said it comes from insecure websites and apps.

I think it's coming from Outbrain. When I load a story page with Outbrain enabled the page doesn't load securely on my phone and I get redirects. I disabled Outbrain and the pages then load securely. I also stopped getting the spam redirects.

So I decided to turn Outbrain back on. The page stopped loading securely and I started getting the redirects. Turned it off again, no redirects.

If this isn't originating from our website why does disabling Outbrain stop the redirects? And if this isn't originating from our website why do we have a noticeable influx of complaints?


Twitter Timeline Ads Program

Kevin M. Cox 3 weeks ago in BLOX CMS 0

We got an invite to this new program, anyone else currently participating or have thoughts to share?



Ban commenting not user

Nic Stevens 3 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 weeks ago 2
I would love to be able to ban someone from commenting without locking them out of their web site account. We have a column called It's Your Call and routinely we have people that push the limits and we have to determine if they are a subscriber BEFORE we can ban them because if they are a subscriber and we ban them, they can no longer get onto the web site. It's quite horrid to handle because you have to remember who you warned and once you banned them, you have to decide if you give them part of their subscription price back. We are on Facebook commenting for most things but this piece because we like the engagement it brings to the web site. Just sometimes don't like the comments. It's becoming weekly we have to make this call anymore. I also feel this would go along way to keep more and more pages with TownNews commenting instead of moving to Facebook commenting.


A new view option for our uploaded publications.

randy 3 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 weeks ago 1

We need the ability for optimal, simple navigation of our archived pdf publication by being able to

1: view either one or both pages full-screen without cutting the pages off. They need to fit the screen, and

2: then the ability to zoom in or out as one pleases.

3: This ability exists within an Adobe pdf, of which our publications can be downloaded, but some of our readers are not interested in downloading instructions or aren't fluent at downloading files so we need them to be able to easily read the publication online as if they were in an Adobe pdf, so that it takes as little thought as possible.

4: Also, to retain the option to view in the current format. The current format which doesn't allow zooming is still a good format, it just lacks the option to zoom in or out, or to view the spreads on screen.

5: The default format should be the one we are requesting, the "Adobe Reader pdf" format with spread viewing and zooming capability.


Allow users to register while creating a new subscription

Rob Weir 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Rich Griffin | Product Manager (Product Manager) 3 weeks ago 8

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? 


Feature Request: Magazine style e-Editions

Kevin M. Cox 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Armstrong 3 weeks ago 1

We'd like to submit a request for magazine style "flip book" e-Editions, similar to Issuu with double-truck views:


Right now we are having to host these off-site to have this magazine view that readers like.

1) What problem(s) does this idea solve? Why do you need this idea implemented? Provide as many problems or use cases as possible.

It allows for magazines and other special sections that aren't newspapers to be hosted in the native BLOX e-Edition.

2) How often would you use this feature?

At least monthly.

3) How many people in your organization would use this feature?

Everyone, including all readers.


Option for a native PDF reader?

Robert Armstrong 3 weeks ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 weeks ago 2

How PDF documents are displayed is a bit underwhelming.

Are there any plans to have a PDF reader added to BLOX so that we can display a PDF in the browser, rather than making the user download it just to view?

Adding in something native in like https://pdfobject.com/ would be simple, but I would love something more robust like https://issuu.com/ or https://www.scribd.com


Templates and GIT

Alex Golovin 5 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by David Dierker 4 weeks ago 3

It would be great to use GIT version control system to be able to get updates from TownNews base skins to be able to keep our modified (or branded) skins up to date. This would be easier to maintain up to date and helpful with trouble-shooting as tools such as diff could be used to see what has been changed.

Pulling updates, merging and pushing to git repositories or remote points, that would be then used by blox as source for the templates/skins would be amazing!


Infinity Scroll Limintation

Kevin M. Cox 1 month ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 weeks ago 1

After a lot of back and forth with support we finally figured out why Infinity Scroll was not working on our main section pages:

"Blocks with infinity scroll enabled won't work with a dynamic setting (section tags set to 'Matches current URL or descendant'). There will need to be a hook set (setting a section, keyword, flag, etc.)."

This limitation does not appear to be documented anywhere at the present time.

This means Infinity Scroll will not work at all on the default Town News blocks that get assigned to every top level URL and all sub-sections (through inheritance) in the system. I assume most customers are using these across most areas of their sites.

Having to work around this will greatly increase the number of blocks needed for a site if they want to use Infinity Scroll on every section front. It could easily scale into the hundreds of blocks needed for a site. Then every time a style change is desired, such as showing the comment count in the summary block, it'll require editing each of those hundreds of blocks instead of the standard dynamic one.

Every single sub-section URL will need it's own block created instead of being able to inherit the blocks from the parent URL.

With this limitation Infinity Scroll is basically dead in the water for large scale deployment.

I really hope Town News is working to fix this but I wanted to post it here for wider awareness because before the answer came back the template developers I was told that there were other sites having the same trouble I was.


Auto-save feature overwriting assets

Robert Armstrong 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 weeks ago 3

One of my colleagues brought this to my attention. I have played around with it, and it seems like a proper bug with the auto-save feature.

User 1: Makes edits to asset, window closes without proper save/close (due to needing to leave/shutdown, crash or whatever.) User 1 doesn't return to asset.

User 2: Makes further edits to asset, even publishes.

User 1: Returns to asset manager. Auto-save restore dialogue pops up. User 1 restores asset. Asset now reverts back to User 1 edits, overwriting everything User 2 did. Text and edits revert, flags and other settings are also reverted, such as the do not publish flag being set again. Even if User 1 selects "cancel," the asset is overwritten.

Has anyone else encountered this? What do you do to get around it? I don't see an option to turn off auto-save (for a short-term fix.) Maybe there should be a warning that there is a newer version available? Options could be:

There is a new version available!

  • Discard
  • Restore (Overwrite)
  • Restore (New Asset)