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Access problem with mobile interface

Jesus Sanchez 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 4 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 9 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 4 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 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Jesus Sanchez 5 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.

Under review

Are we giving too much information in our notifications?

Bob Rose 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 5 months ago 1

When we do alerts through the notifier on the NOW apps, we find that frequently there is not enough space in the headline, and the full summary frequently gives enough information that there is little incentive to click through.

What if ... instead, we eliminated the summary field in the alerts and allowed the headlines to wrap? That way users would see the full headline and we wouldn't have to rewrite them for the alerts.


How long does it takes for ads to start displaying

Jesus Sanchez 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 5 months ago 4

Hello. How long does it typically takes for a banner served through the Blox Marketplace to start appearing once it is set up? I have ads set to display today and found it can take quite a while -- a few hours in the case of a newsletter ad. Anyone to minimize the time it takes to get an up and running?


Make sure you're caching your browser after making changes like that, or else it will definitely take hours to show up.

Easiest way is to add "/?1234" at the end of the URL. So a slash, a question mark and then any random numbers or letters.


Alternate 'alert' email address for SMS-like notifications via email reach

CadillacNews IT 5 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

It would be nice to have an alternate email for some users, selectable by the user, for adding to email notifications/subscriptions in the email reach system.


  • User: Az.
  • Email address: AlexZander@example.org
  • Alternate email address: 1234567890@txt.provider.net

Regular email-reach advertising, notifications, lists, etc to the normal email address. Alert-campaign to alternate email.

Email reach Campaigns:

  •   Weather Alert : to alternate email
  •   Headlines-Daily: to normal email

We would have to define a custom email address field for the user/subscriber accounts or have an alternate email address added to the general user information block.

This gets around some of the costs of SMS (yes, a revenue stream for Townnews) for the smaller companies that cannot afford, or justify the costs of the current pricing scheme for the full-featured SMS alert system from Townnews.

We currently use a system similar to this, independent of Townnews, to send out local school closings as they are announced.  In February, based on the new SMS options for Townnews, we would have spent over $5,400 for these texts alone.  15 schools, over 1000 subscribers, closing for 18 days, notified the morning of, or evening before.  Then we have Weather alerts.  Over 1000 subscribers for the weather alerts as well, 2-3 times a day for a month, which would run us (averaged) over $1,700 for that month alone.  That is not counting the one time setup fee, or using the shortcode option.  So far in March, we have had quite a bit less in the way of these alerts.  We estimate in April the alerts will be done 1 or 2 for the entire month.  That is not counting the other 'less critical' alters we have available, such as school sports, local breaking news, etc.  For us, the new SMS system is not cost effective.  



I uploaded a Fillable PDF, when I download it, it appears to have lost all my fields?

Jeff Sebestyen 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated 5 months ago 3

Hi Jeff... You have "optimize PDF files" enabled in your editorial -> application settings -> asset settings -> Optimize new PDF files. Optimizing PDF files removes a lot of information in order to make them smaller and flatter.

If you turn this off, even temporarily, in order to upload your file, it should fix the issue.

I tested it, and when the "Optimize PDF" setting turned off, the PDF keeps the fillable information, and when a user downloads that form, it will allow them to fill it out.


You can then turn back on this setting if you want other PDF files to be optimized.


Webinar | Introducing BLOX Now, a better mobile app for local media

Cherry Wolf (Marketing specialist) 1 year ago in BLOX CMS • updated by leaf spa 5 months ago 3

Webinar recording now available.

Taking cues from social media, the BLOX Now mobile app eschews conventional news app design in favor of a single, continuously-scrolling stream of community news and events that keeps users engaged. At our June customer webinar, Susan Bell, BLOX Now senior product manager, and Christine Masters, director of product management, introduced the BLOX Now mobile app.

Topics included:

  • Increasing user engagement with a hybrid news and information app.

  • Feature highlights, including: in-stream video playback, push notifications, and convenient fly-out menus.

  • Monetizing your app with Google DFP integration.

  • Managing your app, website, and mobile site in one easy workflow.

  • . . . and much more.

Are you ready to get started . . . now? Webinar recording now available.

Under review

Timing element for block

Dave Von 5 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Kevin M. Cox 5 months ago 5

Has there been any thought given to having a time element for how long a block appears on a site?

For example, we have a block on our homepage (as I'm sure everyone does) that displays any stories with the "Breaking" flag attached. However, if we have such a story that we want to draw attention to as breaking news, we only want it to be considered "breaking" for a short period of time, maybe a few hours.

What would be really helpful is if we could have the "breaking news" block appear for a designated period of time instead of having to go back into BLOX or TCMS and removing the "Breaking" flag from the article asset to get the block to go away. It would just take away a little bit of the manual intervention that is currently necessary.




There are several different ways to do this:

- Tell your breaking news block to only show items that are less than 2 hours old. So whenever a article is two hours away from its start time, it will be removed from the block automatically. This is great when you are OK with all breaking news being promoted for the same period of time. If there is an edge case that needs to be online for longer, use can use a pinned asset with a schedule.

- Add an archived date to your breaking news article, and then create a rule on your breaking news block that doesn't show items that are archived. This is helpful when you want to have custom "expiration" times on a per-article basis.

- Use a pinned asset that has a scheduled time to unpin. You can use this in combination with the above two solutions.

- Create a new schedule which shows the breaking news block for a period of time. This is likely overly complicated since you'd have to go into the block editor to create a schedule. This is more likely to be useful for recurring events (like afternoon updates or Friday night prep sports) rather than breaking news. But, if there was a big specialized layout with multiple blocks for the breaking news initiative, a scheduled layout may be helpful.

With all that being said, we are looking into new ways to indicate "alerts" and things along those lines. For example, if you find a breaking news article from 2013, it will still say BREAKING next to it, or it may even say that in the headline. Those are things that are still in discussion.

Under review

Maps and Firebase - Billing accounts

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

Here's a funny thing that I just found out in regards to Firebase (Notifier) and Google Maps. Let me know if I'm doing something wrong...

Firebase Spark plan (free) requires no billing account to work.

Google Maps API (free) does require a billing account to work.

What happens to my Firebase project if I add or remove billing accounts for that project in the Google Cloud Console?

If a billing account is added to a project in the Google Cloud Console, the same project will automatically be upgraded to the Firebase Blaze plan if that project is currently on the Spark or Flame plan.
In contrast, if an existing active billing account is removed from a project in the Google Cloud Console, that project will be downgraded to the Firebase Spark plan.


Any ideas on how to get around this? Right now I had to remove our billing account, so while notifier works, our Maps are coming up blank. I don't want to have to make two separate accounts.


Feature Suggestion: Pageview tracking for individual articles

Dustin B. 6 months ago in BLOX CMS • updated by Robert Armstrong 5 months ago 2

Feature Suggestion: Maybe this exists already and I've just not been able to find it, but would it be possible to track analytics for each article asset, so we can see page views for each article, not just the most popular ones? Thank you!


Way to set default workflow for all users?

Robert Armstrong 5 months ago in BLOX CMS 0

I know you can set the default workflow on an individual basis, but is there a way (or is it planned if not) to have the option to set all users default workflow, or even set the default workflow upon user creation?