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.

Option to show number of times an article is viewed

Linda 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kim Mason BGDN 2 months ago 4

Dear Town News, currently we have the option of showing how many comments an article receives, would it be possible to show how many times an article has been viewed? We have the block that shows most popular, might be a nice option to show how many people read a story. Many thanks


A Plan for Using Newer Bootstrap and/or more Flexibility with Grid, etc.?

Robert Dundon 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

Moving to Bootstrap in Flex has been great! 

However, as layout options are increasing, and with new versions of Bootstrap, is there a plan to keep things up-to-date?

It's definitely not urgent now, but wanted to see if there was a plan in order to prevent things getting as stale as "Zen" got by the time Flex rolled around.


piano.io or similar

Kevin M. Cox 2 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Maureen Reinert 2 months ago 1

We've got piano.io pitching our publisher:

a SaaS platform helping media companies convert anonymous web and APP visitors into registered subscribers, combat ad blockers, as well as customize newsletters and user site experience according to their content affinities. Some of our clients include: Chicago Sun-Times, Hearst, Bloomberg, Gatehouse Media, The Economist, and Business Insider.

Anybody using this or something similar with Town News? 


Hi Greg! I would submit a ticket to our CRM job system. As Robert said, you can get a few of them with exports, or we may be able to look at a job or something else, depending on your needs.


Feature Request: Do not show (or mark) redirected URLs in List of URLs in Design -> Blocks

Robert Dundon 2 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

It gets a little confusing at times 😀


Facebook comment plugin

Dave Von 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Jack Donaldson 3 months ago 13

In the event that anybody else runs into this problem, we identified an issue a few weeks ago where the Facebook comment plugin on our website, GazetteXtra, developed a bug that prevents users of iOS mobile devices from posting comments.

I filed a ticket with Facebook development and was told they have no plans to fix this bug. There is at least one other Town News site, stltoday.com, who identified the same issue as us.

We're going to look at other options for commenting on articles.



Feature Request: Require active subscription to post comments

Kevin M. Cox 2 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ian McPhee 3 months ago 11

We're seeing a large increase in comment spam lately so I'd like to formally make the feature request for something that I know I talked to support about in the past. We require email confirmation when new accounts are created but obviously the spammers have automated their way around that.

I'd like an option to require an active subscription to post comments on the site. This offers numerous benefits to all Town News customers:

• Provides another perk or subscriber benefit to paying readers.

• Potential to increase Day Pass sales for those who aren't subscribers but really want to share their opinion or comment.

• Reduces comment spam to virtually zero.

I could see it being useful to allow this setting to be toggled per URL/section so that for example you could allow anyone to comment on obituaries but not news stories.

1. All of the items listed above.

2. Every day.

3. Every reader.

Please let me know if anyone has thoughts or questions!




Preventing Spam / SEO Abuse User Accounts?

Ian McPhee 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 months ago 3

Hey ya'll,

Yesterday, I noticed that a person named xxxx Hairdryer made a User account. Their email address was "xxxx@yeah.net" and their bio, while hilarious: 

"What is going to be open today is a hair dryer, a hair dryer that all the girls love, a hair dryer that initiates innovative revolution, a hair dryer of four hundred pounds, and that’s right – it’s the xxxxx Supersonic hair dryer."

("xxxx" instead of the company name, as to not SEO them here too)

...confirmed to me that this was another account made to boost some SEO off of our User system. Usually these accounts have something listed in the "Home page" field, which as I understand it, is essentially like us having a link to their site from our site (a coveted opportunity, if I'm not mistaken). I think you can see the ones that are doing well for themselves if you parameter your Analytics to /user pages. Sometimes these are easy to spot at a glance when looking at your Users, as many are pretty foreign sounding names, or email accounts like @robot-mail.com but sometimes are names like Dallas Moore, and you don't realize until you open their bio and see whatever bogus link / info they've got. Calendar spammers typically leave their bios blank and instead, try to submit events for medical conferences in Dubai or Spain with a link in the website field.

The reason I'm worried about these (they are easy / entertaining enough to ban manually, but that's not ideal ) is that they are auto-opting into my Email Reach as well, effectively messing up my Open / Bounce rates. My intern is "bot-hunting" this stuff right now, but I could see there being more problems in the future.

I'm wondering how these accounts are getting past the email verification step? Also, kind of related - it sucks that the email verification goes to so many folks' spam folder. I probably tell three people to check it a week.

What does everyone else do to combat this stuff?


Access problem with mobile interface

Jesus Sanchez 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 3 months ago 2

Hello. I set up group access rules that gives users the ability to only create and modify editorial assets within a certain section. Upon testing this, I discovered that the access restrictions do not apply if the user switches to the mobile interface. That means the user could modify as well delete any article no matter what section. Is there a way to make the group access rules apply to the mobile interface? I love the mobile interface -- very clean and easy to use -- and was going to recommend it to my writers. But I'm not so sure I want to give them across the board access.

Under review

Blox Commenting system

Thomas Martinez 7 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 3 months ago 6

I know this has been asked in a similar post a couple of years ago, but ....

We just switched to Blox commenting from Facebook. A lot of commenters immediately complained they didn't have the ability to edit their own comments. Most other major commenting platforms have the ability for users to edit their own comments.

Do you all think this would a useful change for TownNews to make?




article interaction and scrolling

Rick Simpson 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 3 months ago 1

article interaction and scrolling


There's been some discussion at Collegian about the impact of article length with user behavior. A question of how far do they go.

When we were on the Blox ad server I could get some idea about user behavior on articles by looking at ad stats by position. I recently ran a sponsorship ad through Google Ad Manager for a couple of days which gave me some additional information. At least for the bottom of article utility section.

My first thought was to add some pixel image tracking at the top, middle and bottom article utility sections, but we don't see stats on images in Google analytics.

So now I'm thinking of creating a new ad size in GAM of 300x1 and create sponsorship ads for the top, middle and bottom.

I would then be able to get at least 'the average' ratio of top to middle to bottom of article views.

Is this the wrong thinking on obtaining these metrics? Is there a better approach?

Robert Armstrong 3 months ago
I wrote up a possible solution... then found that Google Tag Manager has this feature.

Scroll Depth - https://support.google.com/tagmanager/answer/7679218?hl=en

Looks like you can set it to fire at whatever percentage(s) you want and send it to analytics.

Internationalization in Blox CMS

Robert Dundon 3 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

I noticed the post / news release of Telemundo Atlanta using Blox. (Here is the site)

Is there any resource on using different language(s), etc. in Blox? I could not find anything and always assumed it was English-only.

Under review

Maps: I want more than one location

Erica Smith 4 years ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Ben McCarty 3 months ago 5

Maps created in article assets (Other > Location) are limited to one location. That's not enough. I want the ability to add at least three map locations. It's a feature that will be used frequently (Crime stories! Economic development stories! Events!), but Town News tells me it's not available in Flex templates. #sadtrombone So I'm asking for your help in making it available. "Like" for more map locations!


Alt text for images and ads

ShorthornAdam 3 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Jesus Sanchez 3 months ago 9

We got a question from a potential advertiser who works with visually impaired individuals asking if the ad she purchased would readable with a screen reader.  I didn't see a way to include alt text in the settings in the ad rotator for a regular image ad so I figured I'd better put in a feature request.  I could probably do it by creating an HTML ad and putting a simple img src + alt in there, but that is kind of clunky; a simple field would be great.

All new and existing software and workflows are being examined for 508/504 compliance so we will need this functionality.


Correct... images for content blocks are automatically "alt"ed.

Ads have an alt text that just says, "Advertisement" or something along those lines. We would have to create a new field for the alt text for BLOX Ad Manager assets, so that would require a bit of additional development. I would recommend looking at Google Ad Manager instead, which does have an alt text feature for image ads.

Any block type that is specifically image-related, such as Utility: Image or Utility: Site Logo (as Ian noted), has an alt text field for that image.