IAB unveils a new Ad Unit Portfolio


On October 25, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)—responsible for setting online ad guidelines and best practices—held a webinar to review an ambitious overhaul of its Ad Standards Portfolio.

So why the overhaul?

The new portfolio of ad units aims to address concerning trends, including an increase in the adoption of ad blockers and content delivery platforms like Google AMP and Apple News that limit ad integrations. The IAB has asserted that, as publishers focused on margins and increased automation, their audiences have increasingly encountered invasive interstitials, purposefully-hidden opt-outs, auto-play videos, and recurring-ad fatigue. Sites have grown heavy with extended load times often caused primarily by third-party ad servers and content discovery platforms like Outbrain and Taboola.

“We messed up,” wrote Scott Cunningham, Senior Vice President of Tech and Ad Ops at IAB. “As technologists tasked with delivering content and services to users, we lost track of the user experience.”

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John Eckman

I recently published an article on CIO Review discussing the benefits and challenges of implementing a headless publishing workflow to better facilitate cross-channel and cross-platform content distribution.

Traditionally, content management systems handled both the management of content (the “backend”) and the presentation of content to audiences (the “front end”). By going headless, content creators decouple site backends from front ends, enabling many different content presentation applications – websites, mobile apps, social or syndication channels, etc – to  consume content managed in a single backend.

Given the benefits laid out in my article, we’re increasingly encouraging 10up clients to consider “going headless” for their next site builds.

10up client projects win 2016 Webby Awards

The 2016 Webby Award winners were announced on Tuesday. Of the four nominated 10up client projects, 10up is proud to announce one winner of the professionally selected Webby Award, and three winners of the People’s Voice Webby, selected by open voting.

AMC.com won both the Webby and People’s Voice awards for Website: Television.Webby_winner_AMC_c

BBCAmerica.com won a People’s Voice Webby for Website: Best Homepage/Welcome Page.Webby_winner_BBC_c

The MotorTrend.com Redesign won a People’s Voice Webby in Websites: Car Site & Car Culture.Webby_winner_motortrend_c

Congratulations to our selected clients!

Adam Silverstein

WordPress 4.5.1 shipped yesterday, an incremental maintenance release. Co-led by me—with commits from our Director of Platform Experience Helen Hou-Sandí—this release fixes 12 bugs found in the last release of WordPress, chief among them a Twenty Eleven theme singular class issue, visual editor incompatibility in certain versions of Chrome, and a media upload issue with the Imagick extension. For more information see the Codex release notes or consult the list of version controlled changes.

WordPress powers 1-in-7 Webby Nominees

WordPress is strongly represented among the 2016 Annual Webby Awards, powering 1 of every 7 nominees in the Website categories. Nominees span 32 of the 48 categories, recognizing websites marketing major financial institutions and web apps, superstar artists and musicians, government projects, and major media and news outlets.

With its intuitive interface, flexible code base, and focus on democratizing content creation, we’re not surprised to see our go-to CMS solution owning such a respectable percentage of the pack. 10up believes in open technology and we’re glad to see platforms such as WordPress in such high use.

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Jake Goldman

WordPress 4.5 was released yesterday, featuring improvements to content editing, responsive previews, and a handful of under the hood performance and developer improvements. More than a dozen 10uppers made this release possible, most notably Adam Silverstein, who served as Release Deputy.

Thank you for helping make WordPress: David Brumbaugh, Drew Jaynes (emeritus), Dreb Bits, Faishal Saiyed, Helen Hou-Sandí, Josh Levinson, Lukas Pawlik, Pete Nelson, Ricky Lee Whittemore, Ryan Welcher, Scott Kingsley Clark, Steve Grunwell, and Sudar Muthu!

Simple Page Ordering competes in Torque Mag’s #PluginMadness

Torque Plugin Madness Logo

Torque, a news site dedicated to WordPress professionals, has launched 2016 Plugin Madness: 64 of the most popular WordPress plugins from the official directory will compete for the champion title.

10up’s Simple Page Ordering, built by none other than our Founder, has been recognized as one of the most in-demand plugins, and selected as a top contender.  Simple Page Ordering simplifies ordering of pages (and other post types) by adding drag and drop positioning to the backend page list. Torque has randomly assigned its selected plugins to brackets across four regions: Pressers (which includes our plugin), Wordees, Extenders and Installers. In NCAA March Madness bracket style, plugins will be narrowed down through rounds of voting, beginning with 64 entrants. Voting happens every week over at pluginmadness.com.

What Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) means for consumers, publishers, and the future

We now spend more time on mobile gadgets than on desktop devices. The mobile web experience is more important than ever, and overwhelmingly defined by content relevancy, timeliness, and above all, speediness.

Mindful web developers—given adequate budget allowances—strive to build mobile-first sites that provide lean, engaging experiences across different screen sizes and devices. These sites better retain their audience because the experience is enjoyable and, in some cases, because impatient readers will leave (“bounce”) rather than wait for a clunky web page. Because Google recognizes its customers’ preference for performant sites, it factors pagespeed into its search algorithm, boosting speedy sites in search results.

In spite of these incentives to minimize page weight, most websites are heavier than ever. High resolution displays ushered in huge images, and universal support for custom typography has us downloading fonts everywhere. While the renaissance in front end toolkits like jQuery and React.js eases development and alleviates server-side scaling, it has done so at the expense of pushing more assets and processor strain to the browser. Most problematically, today’s website monetization and measurement tools often deliver heavy (and invasive) ads with little incentive to improve.

Much of this “bloat” has been obfuscated by our increasingly powerful devices, improving mobile broadband connections (especially among the “creative” class), and increasingly competitive browser technology. Even so, publishers are clearly testing (or even lazily trampling) acceptable boundaries, creating an opening for ethically gray solutions like iOS 9’s content blockers, and more closed platforms like Apple News.

Enter the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project: an open source initiative based on existing open web standards led by Google, touting noble intentions to improve the mobile web experience by providing standardized, lightweight guidelines and tools for developers. AMP HTML versions of web pages trade complex functionality and capabilities for lightness, simplicity, and a focus on content, resulting in near instant load times.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

While there may be more transformative long-term potential for AMP as a framework, in the near-term, Google’s initiative is hyper-focused on improving news and media consumption. In essence, AMP competes with the self-contained, largely closed, and far more restrictive experiences offered by Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and the rumored “long-form format” coming to Twitter (among others). Publishers opting to offer AMP’s lean presentation will be rewarded with increased visibility in mobile search results for news, including Google’s News Carousel: the highly coveted positioning at the top of mobile search results.

Backed by Google and already in beta testing with some of the largest news organizations, AMP is poised to become a standard feature for content-centric websites.

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The future of WordPress performance: CDNs, HTTP/2, and more

It’s an exciting time in the WordPress community, with the release of Calypso, a successful inaugural WordCamp US, and WordPress now powering 25% of all websites. Maturation of the WordPress REST API is enabling the decoupling of the content management layer from the display layer, which has the potential to further drive adoption; larger teams can write independent code that communicates via the API, reducing blockers and accelerating feature releases. At the same time, the entire Web is poised to undergo a metamorphosis, as HTTP/2 begins to fundamentally change how content is delivered.

WP REST APIWhile these developments offer tremendous potential for those of us who work with WordPress for a living, I think there are some important considerations to keep in mind as WordPress and the Web move into a new era of maturity and possibility.

Using a CDN with DDoS protection is increasingly important

We recently started testing a CDN service that offers DDoS protection and mitigation for this site. While we hardly consider ourselves a high-profile target, the number of attacks reported by service is astonishing (more than a dozen every day, sometimes double or triple that). The majority are attempts to exploit known vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins (or other common web applications), such as those listed in the WP Vulnerability Database. Exploit mitigation (or at least, notification) at the CDN layer provider is compelling.

In addition to protection from known vulnerabilities, CDNs are vital to accommodating significant burst traffic, and eliminate the effort involved in hosting sites in multiple datacenter across the world. Instead of scaling your servers to manage exponential traffic as a story goes viral or an online catalog gets slammed on Cyber Monday, the work is offloaded to the CDN and its network of edge servers.

Of course, a CDN might not speed up your site–in fact, it can do just the opposite if you start serving up your site over HTTP/2 and you’re using “best practices” for optimizing your site for HTTP1.1.

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Client’s “Great Thanksgiving Listen” Campaign Featured on Google Homepage


We love when our clients are successful, and StoryCorps and their amazing Thanksgiving Listen campaign being featured on Google’s homepage certainly qualifies. The project, powered by the WordPress JSON REST API, is hosted on a custom Amazon Web Services stack created by our systems team to accommodate its highly unusual scaling requirements. Check out our earlier post about StoryCorps and consider using your own Thanksgiving to record your family stories!