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Mobile App that plays nice with TownNews metering

cpittman 3 years ago in BLOX CMS updated 3 years ago 5

My paper recently went through the FLEX redesign process and is now moving closer to creating a mobile application. We use the TownNews metering platform with a five story limit per 30 days. Unfortunately, I've been unable to find a company that can create a mobile app that will play nice with the metering. Basically, I'd want subscriptions created on the app to translate to our website and vice versa. It would essentially mean having a shared customer database between the two platforms. Does anyone have a setup similar to the one I desire? I would greatly appreciate any information on the matter.

I'm curious about this too, we'll be headed down this path shortly.


You don't need a shared user database between the two, you just need the app to authenticate with TownNews and get back the user's services. From there, you could track views in the app and implement the paywall. Your app developers would have to write the paywall, tracking app views and enforcing the limit when a user hits it.


Views and metering are tracked locally in the browser AFAIK, the server isn't storing your manifest of visited articles, sending it back and forth and enforcing it. The app would be the same way if you did metering on the app. They could get 5 views / 30 days on the app and on the desktop, separate but both enforcing that 5 view limit.

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We've just gone live with an app from Whiz Technologies in the past week. So far we're very pleased. We have a paywall on our website but opted to leave the paywall down on the app to drive traffic there. Eventually the goal is to have a meter like our website. Whiz also developed TownNews' Live e-Editions app so BLOX and Whiz work well together as you have to log in to publications that require a subscription to view e-Editions.


I was very reluctant to have a mobile app until recently because 90% of the news apps out there were just garbage. They crashed often, weren't intuitively laid out, etc. But I think apps have really matured in the past few years. We looked at Whiz and DoApp and ultimately felt Whiz was the direction to go.


If you have any other questions let me know.

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We started out with DoApps in 2011 then switched to Whiz in 2015. Definitely an improvement.

Two downsides: They can't do metering (and I have never heard if that is on their roadmap), and they can only do a primary sort, but not a secondary sort (so, you can sort by "priority," but not "priority, then last modified date"). The latter might be a Blox limitation instead of a Whiz limitation.


Anyhow, Whiz is very responsive and easy to work with.


I'm curious if you do find a metered solution. Good luck!

Stories on the Whiz app not sorting by priority is a big downside. But as far as I know that's a BLOX problem. There is no way to sort an RSS feed by start time AND priority. You can sort by start time, which is what we do, and see the newest stories up top. Or you can sort by priority and get all of the highest priorities from who-knows-when up top.


I didn't realize they didn't have metering but I wasn't involved in all of the development of our app.

All the responses have been helpful and much appreciated.


I was actually recommended to Whiz Technologies by TownNews. I spoke with them at the end of last week and was impressed by what they showed.


However, they told me that the metering and customer authentication could be done no problem. This goes against what I'm seeing here. I'll inquire with them further...