Under review

Domain Subscription Services

Kevin M. Cox 9 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by mcgregora 3 years ago 12
We have been talking about ways to leverage the Domain based Subscription Services in BLOX. Currently we are using one to allow staff at any of our sister papers to easily create accounts and get behind our paywall.

An example of one of the ideas we’re considering is a partnership with a community college or school district. Our thinking is we could possibly have them pay $X,000 per year and allow all of their employees and students (with an email account on their domain) free access to our website. A perk of employment or enrollment at that institution.

As several recent studies have revealed, millennials are adverse to paying for news, but maybe we can convert them into readers if they can get it for free. It could be a win-win for both us and the institution. They could easily incorporate the newspaper into their teaching if they know all students can access it for free.

One of the stumbling blocks we’re considering is how to disable these free accounts once someone is no longer a student or employee.

What we’d love to see is an option to “re-confirm” accounts created under these Domain services at set periods of time. e.g. Have BLOX send out address confirmation emails every year and then disable (or remove from the service) any accounts that no longer have valid/active email accounts.

I’d love to hear what others think. As it stands this seems to be the real limiting factor in putting these Domain Subscription Services into use.

Any chance of getting this into the planned phase? 

This is a great idea. We are looking to partner with businesses in our community to offer perks as one idea to entice subscribers. It would be great to let the community know that while they are enrolled in school they will have free access through the school's subscription!


Christine, Rich, Where are you?

Ticket number 712942... from three years ago.

This is an issue... and should be an easy fix.

if you are implementing the "Domain" service simplly have a button that  "invalidates" all subscriptions using that service and sends a new email to everyone one the list ...

If you wanted to make our lives even easier you could automatically remove any accounts that bounce back as non-existent. 

We (at your suggestion) implement domain access for NIE, some corporate accounts, and for access for employees. Now management want's to move to other methods (which means jumping through hoops getting accounts setup which means it wont be done) because ex-employees and ex-students are still listed. 

Hi Mike,

I'm the new Director of Audience at Town News. I had similar questions in my previous role as Digital Subscriptions Director at Lee. 

Short term - we have a few options for immediate help. Our customer service reps can walk you through exporting active users to send a list of accounts to the school/organization to check their status. Another option is using a CSV Service if you'd like to allow access to a specific group of people/accounts. 

Long term - I like your idea of applying some sort of date range to the accounts. This would take some doing, so I'd like to do some research and create a new ticket. Any other information or background you'd like to share?

Thank you for bringing this to our attention!


Bridget, welcome on board... 

Yes we could do a csv and do the work to maintain it
Yes we could go through and delete all the existing user accounts and just tell people to make new ones 

I am well versed with importing and exporting users.

None of those are really the point. The point is the "Domain" access was really sold as a convenient time saver and it really isn't in it's current form because it backloads the work to cleaning up the list instead of frontloading it to the setup.

If we could initiate a revalidation process (you know when you setup a user account and it is not active until you verify receipt of an email) - Or automate it so it has to be done once a year either based on a setting in the service (everyone revalidates at the same time) or based on an anniversary in the user profile. 

Thanks for looking at the issue Bridget, this one has been requested for a long time.

Personally, I just want to see some sort of automated method to periodically confirm that email addresses are still valid and active.


Hi Folks,

With the school year just starting, has their been any headway on the domain access?



Domain access works, it just requires you clean it up every once in a while. So if you grant access to a schools domain then users with that email extension will get access. So it does work. 

The problem is once the user validates their email address the first time nothing ever checks to make sure it's still valid. So the clean up process essentially is to periodically delete all the user accounts for the domain and make them create new ones.  (you could get a list and go through it deleting anyone not currently on the list, but at that point you're better off just using the CSV.) The downside of  this is you can't reuse deleted screen names and it cause confusion among the users.

The cleanest solution would be simple:
Select a user / group of users and click "Reset to Pending" - It would send out the same/similar activation letter you get when you create your account and if they click the link they have access again. Even cleaner would be setting in the service that would do this to accounts automatically according to a schedule.

Example... Say I give domain access to OHS.MyTown.edu. I can go to users and search for OHS.MyTown.edu, select everyone, and choose reset to pending. - Everyone who is on the list who still has a valid email address at that domain receives an email that says.
Thank you for being part of the OHS team. As part of the team you get free access to our community newspaper. In order to continue access you will need to revalidate your email address. Please click here to do so....

Or better yet... the Domain service is set to revalidate every 12 months and does it automatically.

Exactly Mike. Both of those two options you presented would work perfectly. The time-based one would make it even easier on our staff.

Thanks Mike and Kevin, I misunderstood the domain issue.  Would make it very easy to set it on a timer to verify at the start of each school year or semester.

Just jumping in on the conversation because we would like to be able to deploy a domain subscription for schools/NIE's as well but don't want to have to deal with purging the user list or perhaps severing the user's link to the subscription service - if that is even possible.

Part of the solution may already be built into the subscription system. Step 1 would be to create the ability to easily set an expiration date for a domain service - Perhaps by being able to batch edit the transaction list like you can with assets OR create a custom configuration for expiration/duration when setting up the Domain service OR creating a function like trial duration but without requiring it to auto renew, etc.

Then you would just need to edit the template that automatically sends an email to subscribers that are about to expire. Looking at the default email templates on our site it would need to include something along the lines of:

Dear [%user.screenName%],


Your subscription to [% site.domainName %] is expiring on [% subscription.expireTime | datetime('M j, Y') %].

If you wish to maintain your access, please visit [% resubscribe_url %]

Thus a custom email would be sent to people on the DOMAIN SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE with a link to a url where we could have some form of renewal portal mechanism. If they don't get the email they don't get the link to renew. I would definitely need help properly coding the if - then to produce the proper email. And not sure if there exists an appropriate renewal portal for this type of application.