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If you’re using Hoop.la or UBB Forum, you have a lot of available space to run ads in your community. We don’t recommend running amok, since that will drive away your members; however, you might want to serve ads that contain relevant products and services.

 

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Here are three quick ideas for ad products you can include on your community site.

 

Contextual Ads from a Service

 

The big bad daddy of this is Google AdSense: http://www.google.com/adsense/...subid=na-en-ha-sk_MC.

 

It’s quick to sign up, and the requirements are minimal. Just be aware that they can decide to remove you from the program at any time, for any reason, and they may not even tell you why you were removed. Read their Terms of Service carefully.

 

Alternatives include Yahoo Publisher Network, Chitika, Adversal, or Clicksor.

 

For any of these services, all you need to do is copy the ad code they give you, and paste it within a designated ad widget, a custom widget, or the header/footer area of your site.

 

Sell Sponsored Links or Sponsor Slots

 

If you have a thriving niche community site going, you are like shiny gold to a potential sponsor. Create a “sponsor info” page on your site, and specify your terms. You’ll want to include dimensions for graphic ads, a timeframe for the ad to run, and any restrictions on the type of ads you want to run. 

 

You can also use the standard “links” widget to run sponsored links easily. Just be sure you are transparent about sponsored/paid content or links on your site. Your members’ trust is a finite resource.

 

Amazon Affiliate Ads

 

Another very simple way to earn revenue at the same time you provide a service to your members is to run Amazon affiliate ads (https://affiliate-program.amaz...in/landing/main.html). This code can also be placed in a custom widget, and it will analyze the content of the page to serve relevant products, or you can specify exactly which items you want to promote.

 

With all of these ideas, you will definitely want to let your members know up-front that they are advertising. 

 

Are you using any of these services? Did we miss any good ones that you'd recommend?

 

 

Photo Credit: faith goble via Compfight cc

 

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I'd love to hear your thoughts here in the comments or come connect with me on Google+ or Twitter.

 
 

Hoop.la, UBB Forum, and QuestionShark have always had an API available to support custom integrations, but we've recently just released a completely revamped version of the API with comprehensive, public documentation.

 

Hoop.la's API conforms to the commonly used REST architecture. REST enables developers to easily integrate with the API via basic HTTP requests. All REST API requests use a structured JSON response, which makes it very easy to parse and extract information from the response. Additionally, as is traditionally supported in a REST architecture, the response status code can be inspected to determine if a given request was successful or not.

 

The REST API supports all of the basic end-user functionality including Activity Stream, Blog, UBB Forum, Calendar, Clips, Chat Rooms/Events, QuestionShark, Groups, and Portfolios. There are also some basic administrative API commands available.

 

If you are interested in enabling the REST API on your plan or have suggestions for additional API features, please let us know on our support community.

 

Here are the links to the REST API documentation for each of our different products:

 

Hoop.la API

UBB Forum API

QuestionShark API

 

Note: The API is currently only available to Pro Enterprise customers. Some API requests are only available upon request, as marked in the API documentation.

 

Today, we rolled out an improved file uploader for Hoop.la, UBB Forum, and QuestionShark that removes a previous dependency on Flash.   Now, no matter how you upload files, you will not be required to have Flash installed.  

 

Because iPad users do not use our mobile interface (which had its own, non-Flash uploader already), they were not able to attach any files because the iPad does not support Flash.  That problem is now solved and iPad users can now attach/upload photos and videos from their devices.

 

Hoop.la sites have a brand new feature for chat rooms and events, a chat pause button. Your users can use this to pause the flow of new posts to the chat room or event window. This is especially useful for very active chats where things can sometimes fly by too quickly.

 

Note that hitting pause does not prevent others from posting. It simply pauses new posts from appearing on your own screen.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.50.59 PM

 

You can also of course, reverse things by "unpausing".

 

Also note that if you hit the pause button you can still post, but when you post we will unpause things (otherwise, you might wonder if you really posted or not).

 

We've also made one other improvement to the chat screen, unrelated to the new pause button. If you scroll up, we will lock the window in place for you until you scroll back down to the bottom. Previously, you would be taken down to the bottom whenever there was a new post. This will make for a less jarring experience.

 

 
 
 

We've rolled out a new feature for Hoop.la, UBB Forum, and QuestionShark: Announcements.

 

With this feature, admins on your can site can post a special announcement that will appear to your registered members until they acknowledge it.

 

 Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.45.33 PM

 

This can be a useful tool for getting the word out about something important, without having to send an email, which can be regarded as intrusive by some of your members.

 

Once the member clicks on the "Mark As Read" button, he will never see the message again.  Until acknowledged though, the announcement will appear once per new session for the member.

 

The system also keeps track of the number of members who have acknowledged the message.  You can see the percentage of total members, as well as active members in your Announcement control panel.  See example below.

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.37.46 PM

  

Note that you can only have one announcement at a time. So, to start a new announcement, you will need to first delete the existing message.

 

To create and manage your announcements, go to your Admin Control Panel and click on the new Announcements section.

 

This feature is fully supported in the mobile interface, as well.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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