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Category:GAB

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Contents

Features

This system is designed to manage static banners, flash banners, rotating image banners, text ads (i.e., Google Adsense), and even butter your freaking toast when you feel like it. Okay, not butter your toast, but the oracle STRONGLY suggests that you read this file (as boring as it looks) BEFORE you install it. This can be a very complex system and the oracle really hates seeing questions posted that would have been answered if you would have simply read this thing. Ohm.

Screenshots

There are no ACP screenshots. There is an old SWF video here that should give you an idea: http://www.thevbgeek.com/swf/gabsetup.htm

Issues

Yeah, yeah, not 100% phrased. Also, new installs of old versions required the following action (because for some odd reason, not doing so could cause an error): After a fresh installation, make sure you save your MASTER script (AdminCP -> GAB Manager -> Scripts -> MASTER -> Save). Nothing was obvious as to the cause of that problem, but if you happen to experience it, save your MASTER script and report the problem.

Installation

  • Copy the files included with this package into their corresponding folders on your server, overwriting existing files.
  • Import the product-gab.xml file via the ACP (AdminCP -> Plugins & Products -> Manage Products -> Add/Import Product).
  • Make sure to CHMOD the /geek/gab/images directory so that it has 777 permissions so that you are able to upload banners.
  • Give yourself access: ACP -> Usergroups -> Administrator Permissions -> Edit Permissions -> Can Administer GAB -> Yes.
  • Refresh your AdminCP (e.g., Ctrl+F5).

Upgrading

  • Same as installation - do not uninstall GAB.

Settings

GAB allows you to use a weighted system to dispay ads. The higher the frequency value, the more likely the ad is to appear during selection. For instance an ad with a Low (1) frequency will appear on average four times less than an ad with a Mega High frequency (4). You can add/change frequencies how you see fit by clicking Settings -> Frequency from the GAB Manager.

The Debug link can be used to display your current settings. It looks like a bunch of garbledygook but can be useful for support purposes. Please do not post the content unless requested.

The Options are where you specify the settings for GAB. Note that there is no ending slash on the 'Server path to banners folder' or 'URL path to banners folder' settings. Make sure you tick the checkboxes under 'Usergroups that view ads' if you want people to see your ads. You can use 'Usergroups that can turn off ads' for usergroups that can (duh) turn off ads.

  • Sever path to banners folder - The server path to the folder where the banners will be held (no ending slash).
  • URL path to banners folder - The HTTP link to the folder where the banners will be held (no ending slash).
  • URL for users to learn more about advertising - If you have a page that outlines your advertising policy, put the URL here. If there is a value here, the 'Learn more about advertising' link is displayed on the GAB ad wrapper.
  • URL for users to learn how to turn ads off - Same as above, but it directs users to a page where they can learn about disabling ads (i.e., an article on becoming a premium subscriber).
  • Redirect page - The page to capture redirects.
  • Cycle rate for rollovers - The number of milliseconds between rotating banner changes.
  • Additional templates to cache - A comma separated list of the templates that can be used with text ads.
  • Usergroups that view ads - The suckers that are 'eligible' to view ads.
  • Usergroups that can turn off ads - Those that are not forced to see ads.
    • Profile field to turn off ads - The Profile Field that signals whether or not ads are shown. If no profile field is selected, ads are not shown to the selected usergroups.
    • Value for field to be 'off' - If a Profile Field is selected, the value of the field that indicates that the user does not want to see ads! You may wish to add a new Profile Field for this purpose.

Banners

This is where you add banners to GAB. Most of the options should be self-explanatory but if you have questions, just post them. If your 'Banner type' is 'Image' or 'Flash' then fill in the 'Banner' section. If your 'Banner type' is 'HTML/Adsense' then fill in the 'Text Ad' section. If you are tracking clickthroughs, you must set a full and valid http:// link in the 'Destination URL' box. Note that 'Forums' and 'Scripts' are where you can set the forums and scripts for where the ad will appear. If you are just starting out, use 'All scripts' and 'All forums' until you get the hang of GAB.

  • Title - Enter what you want to call the banner. This value appears in mouseovers on the ad when applicable.
  • Category - Select the category for the banner.
  • Banner type - Select the type of banner. The template that is used is based on this type.
  • Destination URL - Clicking on the banner takes you to this link. There are limitations with Flash and HTML banners - read below.
  • Upload new banner - Allows you to upload directly from the AdminCP.
  • Or URL for banner - Allows you to specify the URL of the banner.
  • Width/Height - The size of the banner (these can be left blank).
  • HTML - If ad is an HTML/text ad (i.e. Google Adsense) then put your content here.
  • Template for html/text ad - The template to use for the HTML text ad.
  • Scripts - The scripts in which this ad can appear. Leave the option set to All scripts unless you wish to specify the scripts.
  • Forums - The forums in which this ad can appear. Leave the option set to All scripts unless you want to specify the forums.
  • Active - If not active, the ad won't appear.
  • Track Impressions - If ticked, then banners will be tracked whenever they are pulled to be shown.
  • Track Clickthroughs - If ticked, then banners will be tracked whenever they get clicked. There are limitations with Flash and HTML banners - read below.
  • Frequency - The average frequency of ad appearance.
  • Start/End Date - The start and end dates for the ad (leave blank for indefinite).
  • Maximum Impressions/Clickthroughs - The amount of impressions or clicks until the ad expires (enter 0 for indefinite).
  • Userid - The owner of the banner. You can leave it blank for none.

Flash and HTML Banners

Non-clickable Flash banners are a consequence of Flash itself. Surrounding a Flash banner with an A HREF tag will not make it clickable. Flash banners are not clickable unless you build the banner using clickTAG. The GAB_item_flash template accounts for clickTAG. Visit http://www.adobe.com/resources/richmedia/tracking/designers_guide/ for information on how to build clickTAG into Flash banners.

Further, the GAB_item_flash template accounts for WMODE, setting it to transparent, but DHTML layers, such as the vB navbar drop down menus, may lose focus, with the Flash banner grabbing the focus instead. Visit http://www.communitymx.com/content/article.cfm?cid=E5141 to read more about it. If you run into focus issues, you might try making use of z-index, but the oracle suggests that you save your energy and place Flash banners in a location that is away from DHTML layers.

Please note that the oracle will not deal with Flash support questions. There are simply too many versions of vBulletin, JavaScript, Flash, skins/styles, etcetera, and there may be no solution other than to workaround the issue.

With regard to HTML banners, the GAB_item_html template (selectable under 'Template for html/text ad') contains JavaScript so that the HTML banner can be tracked. This means that any links you add to the HTML banner, will generally click to the 'Destination URL' instead of the links you set. If you want to display Google Adsense, you should not use the GAB_item_html template, as it is likely to go against Google policy!

Google Adsense people, do the following:

  • Select GAB_item_solo as the 'Template for html/text ad' for the banner.

For any other non-Adsense HTML banner, if you want clickable links that take you to some place other than the 'Destination URL' then you should also select GAB_item_solo instead of GAB_item_html, but doing so means no click tracking through GAB, unless you link to the gab_redirect.php file yourself in your ad. The following is an example of the latter:


Here is some HTML ad content with a <a href="BELOW-LINK-GOES-HERE">link</a>.

http://www.YOUR-DOMAIN.com/YOUR-FORUM-DIR/gab_redirect.php?id=YOUR-BANNER-ID


As with Flash support questions, the oracle will not deal with HTML support questions, as the oracle has just spewed all she can with regard to the issues related to Flash and HTML banners.

Categories

This is where you set the categories for your banners. All banners need to have a category. If you have any 'Categoryless Ads' then give them a home (i.e., category) so GAB is happy. Categories are a way to... erm, group banners of similar types. For instance, you can put all horizontal image banners in one category and all vertical image banners in another category. That way you can set GAB up to pull from a specific category when creating billboards (see below for billboards).

  • Title - What you want to call the category (duh).
  • Order - The order in which the cateogry appears in the display window (really just a convenience tool).

Billboards

This is probably one of the most confusing parts to GAB but don't fret. You'll get the hang of it. So what is a billboard? You see them on the sides of the road, advertising something or other, cluttering up the scenery. In GAB a billboard is a way for you to specify what types of ads are shown on that sign on the side of the road.

  • Title - The name of the billboard.
  • Wrapper - If set to no, then the ad(s) appear without the GAB border.
  • Method - Allows you to specify whether to show every 'Type of ad' in the billboard or to randomly select one to show.
  • Ad #Number
    • Type of ad - Choice of Image, Flash, or HTML/Adsense. This specifies what type of template to use and type of ad to pull.
    • Number of ads to pull - If you wish to have a rotating ad, set 'Type of ad' to Image and specify the number of images each rotating script should use.
    • Weight for this type of ad - For each type of ad, set a weighting to indicate the how frequently an ad from that specific type of ad should appear.
    • Categories - Pull the 'Type of ad' from all categories or from specific categories. If you are just starting out, use 'All categories' until you get the hang of GAB.
    • Delete ad - Obvious.

If you add or edit a billboard, every 'Type of ad' shown within each billboard should be unique, and the weights should sum to 100. Remember that GAB billboards specify the type of ads to show. You could create one billboard for only Image and Flash, and another billboard for only Image and HTML/Adsense, etcetera. If you have 50 images, you still only specify 'Type of ad' as Image one time. Use the weights for display frequency.

Scripts

This is probably the other most confusing part to GAB but again don't fret. You will get the hang of it. So what is a script? In GAB it is a PHP file. Nearly every vB PHP file has an associated script name (e.g., showthread or forumdisplay). The script name is found inside the PHP file. For example in the vB forumdisplay.php file is the following line of code near the top of the file:


define('THIS_SCRIPT', 'forumdisplay');


The script name is taken from that line of code, and for this example, forumdisplay is the script name. Note that THIS_SCRIPT is not the script name.

GAB uses the script name to allow you to customize on which pages ads should appear. This allows you to set what type of ads (recall the billboards) get shown on a page by page level. For each webpage where you want an ad, you MUST have an entry in the scripts section!

You will notice a special script entry called MASTER. The MASTER script allows all other script entries to simply 'inherit' the settings from the MASTER script. This saves you buttloads of time, in that you do not need to edit the settings for each individual script. If you are just starting out, make sure 'Use Default' is ticked for every script. Once you get the hang of GAB, you can experiment.

  • ID - The actual script name (case sensitive) as defined in the PHP file.
  • Use Default - If ticked, then this script will use whatever settings are chosen for the MASTER script.
  • Delete - Obvious.
  • Ad Blocks
    • $GAB_ads[0] - Select a billboard. Recall that each billboard contains the type of ads to use. When you select a billboard here, the actual ad content from the chosen billboard will be placed into the $GAB_ads[0] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[1] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[1] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[2] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[2] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[3] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[3] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[4] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[4] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[5] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[5] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[6] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[6] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[7] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[7] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[8] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[8] variable.
    • $GAB_ads[9] - Same as above, except for the the $GAB_ads[9] variable.

Manage

Deactivate expired ads, compress the stats table, and show the debug garbledygook. A cron job is automatically set for you, so you do not need to run anything here, unless you like to click things.

Moderate

Any time you edit or add a banner, and set the 'Active' option to 'Awaiting Moderation' the ad will be listed here. So what's the point of that? It is a way for you to easily list out any ads that might need more work before going live.

Stats

Obvious.

Displaying Ads

So how do you get ads to show? You will need to edit your templates to specify where the ads should appear. Depending on your settings, ads will appear where you stick the $GAB_ads[NUMBER] variables, where NUMBER is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. Make sure that NUMBER is actually a number (e.g., $GAB_ads[0]).

For example, let's assume that under GAB Manager -> Scripts, you have 'Use Default' checked for all scripts. Further, let's assume that under GAB Manager -> Scripts -> MASTER, you have $GAB_ads[0] set to one billboard and $GAB_ads[1] set to a different billboard, where each billboard has at least one 'Type of ad' listed, and there are banners of that type.

You could then place $GAB_ads[0] in your vB navbar template and $GAB_ads[1] in your vB footer template to display ads. Note that if you want ads across all your skins/styles, the $GAB_ads[NUMBER] variables need to appear in all your skins/styles!

Troubleshooting

Check the following items:

  • You have assigned at least one billboard to the $GAB_ads[NUMBER] variables in the Scripts section, where NUMBER is 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9.
  • You have at least one 'Type of ad' listed under the Billboard section, for the billboard you selected in the Scripts section.
  • You have entered a 'Weight for this type of ad' under the Billboard section, for the billboard you selected in the Scripts section.
  • You have added at least one banner in the Banners section, where 'Banner type' matches with 'Type of ad' for the billboard you selected in the Scripts section.
  • You have marked that banner as active, and you do not have any categoryless ads.
  • The category for the banner matches with the category for the 'Type of ad' under the Billboard section, for the billboard you selected in the Scripts section.
  • Your usergroup is ticked under the 'Usergroups that view ads' in the Settings section.
  • You are not inadvertently blocking ads for your usergroup under the 'Usergroups that can turn off ads' in the Settings section.
  • You have added the correct $GAB_ads[NUMBER] variable (case sensitive) to a vB template, where NUMBER is an actual number.
  • You are viewing the correct webpage for the ad, using a skin/style containing the template edit for the $GAB_ads[NUMBER] variable.

Pages in category "GAB"

There is one page in this category.

M


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