Blog Entries
Chat Room, Member Photo and Other Improvements

We have released a major platform publish today that addresses a number of areas including Member Photos, Chat, and Activity Feeds.

Member Photo Improvements and Changes
We have changed how member photos are handled to make the system easier for your members to use and for you to moderate. If you want to offer photo uploading and collections for your members you will need to have the Photos page added to your site.

  • You can now turn on the option to Approve Photos Uploaded by members.
  • Members no longer have to create a photo collection before uploading photos. We have added a default un-assigned collection for photos freshly uploaded.
  • You can separately set who can moderate photos uploaded by members.

Chat Room Improvements and New Features
With the Chat Room you will see as the most dramatic change and was a big focus in this update. We have replaced the service we use for the chat room, added multi-room support and more. The chat room has also been changed to a pay feature and comes with any of our plans. Free users will have a 30 day trial of this feature.

  • Now you and your users can create more then one chat room. Now Spruz is the only social website platform that supports user created chat rooms!
  • The Chat Software is now powered by Skysa rather than Tinychat. Plus Spruz has been given the chance to use Skysa's new integrated video chat (which is currently in beta) before it is publicly released to Skysa users next month.
  • Configurable chat moderation control allows you to set the access level required to moderate rooms created.
  • Set the access for who can create new rooms. Room Creators are automatically moderator over the room they created.
  • Setting to Allow Non Registered site members to join rooms. This will allow people to join a chat room without being a registered member of your site.
  • Friends only setting that will create a room where only friends of the room creator can join it.
  • Options to disable video chat on all chat rooms or by the room.
  • Room Description Field for setting more details about a room, rules, etc.
  • Customize your own bad word filters so make the language used in chat as clean as you want.
  • Sharing Tools that make it easy for users to share a room.

Some of the other features of the new chat room include;

  • User Customization Styling - A user can change their style of text and background of their messages in chat. Their style changes are remembered from across different chat rooms and sessions.
  • Smilies - 25 fun smilies to use in chat.
  • User Message Highlight - Hover over a user in the right column and all their messages in the conversation will be highlighted.
  • Auto Linking - Paste in any URL into your chat message and it will auto link allowing other people to click and visit the location in a new window.
  • Image URL Support - Paste in a URL of an image and the image will show up in your conversation and in the Media tab of the right column.
  • YouTube Video URL Support - Paste in a URL of a YouTube video and the video will show in your conversation fully playable. Videos shared in chat also show in the Media tab of the right column.
  • Out of View Message Notification - If you are scrolled up (perhaps viewing a photo or video) in the chat room and a new message comes in, the message and sender info will show at the bottom of the conversation area allowing you to keep track of what is going on.
  • Audio/Video Chat - Use your webcam to chat with others in the room.
  • Shared White Board - Start a shared whiteboard and allow other users in the chat room to join you for a fun and useful shared drawing experience.
  • Shared Document Editing - Start a shared document editing session and you and other users can collaborate on documents in real time.
  • Welcome Message - Set a friendly welcome message which everyone will see at the top of the conversation when they join the room.
  • Go to Profile - Click on a user in the right column and have the option to go to their profile in a new window.
  • Ignore - Click on a user in the right column and you have the option to ignore them. When a person is ignored all their previous conversation messages are hidden and no new ones are displayed. You can always un-ignore them too.
  • @ User - Send a conversation message flagged for a particular user by clicking the @ button on a previous message of theirs. Your @ message shows up in the conversation with a label showing it is directed at that user.

Other improvements

  • Activity Feeds now record all activity items. Example: If a user posted 3 discussions over a 60 minute period the activity feed used to only display the most recently posted discussion. This was done to prevent very active users from drowning out the activity feeds. However thanks to user feedback the feeds now record all activity as it happens with the exception of a 60 second delay filter.
  • New Manage Features Admin Section. Under the Your Site manage menu we have added a new Manage Features option. This quickly lists the installed features of your site, show how many items are in each and if you have any items to approve if require approval is turned on. You can also quickly edit the options of each feature from this area. The goal of this addition was to add another more easy way to customize and control the features of your site.
  • We have expanded the year selection when a user registers to leave it up to the site owners what to do with users under 14 years of age.

Like any update the introduces new features there is the chance of having bugs, issues or things that might be off. So please do not post issues in comments, open a support request to report a problem.

Word Filter and other improvements

We have a small list of recent changes to inform you about today. Over the last few platform publishes we have rolled out some cool tweaks to various areas of the platform.

Word Filter Improvements!
We have completely overhauled this feature to make it more powerful. This change required us to start over from scratch, thus you will need to resave your customized word filters by simply going to your Word filter page and clicking the save button.

Some new features you will enjoy include ability to set case matching, and if you want to replace only whole words or not. You will also notice that the area to customize your sites word filters has moved to the Manage Settings pages.

New Advanced Options for Email and Default site domain!
We have new settings in the advanced options section of your website settings to give you more control:

Set a Default Domain: This feature is very handy in case you upgrade and add your own domain name but don't want to lose the traffic from your domain. You can select a domain name to use by default and our system will forward all your traffic onto the domain default. This is really useful to improve your site's SEO as well.

Customize your SMTP Service: While we offer basic email sending with all websites, in some cases you need more then that. You can now customize these settings to allow you to set your own SMTP service. Using an SMTP service can give you more options like email tracking, increase message deliverability, open/click rates and more with your email. One solution we recommend for this is Socket Labs.

File Manager Improvements!
Uploading in the file manager has been improved and simplified. Now, instead of having a "Finish Uploading" button, the current directory automatically updates to show the newly uploaded files after all of them have completed.

New Design Option!
A new design option has been added to allow additional CSS files to be linked to. The option is at Appearance > Advanced > External CSS on your site manage bar. One of the biggest things this option allows is a wider selection of fonts that are viewable to all your visitors. Find out how to use this feature to add custom fonts to your site here:

Rich Text Area Improvements!
We have added support for copied image codes in the insert image tool in the editor. Now the insert image tool is able to detect an image html code that a user pasts into the URL field. If it detects this HTML code it will automatically extract the image URL without the user needing to do anything different.

We have added a loading preview placeholder for the editor. This way people with slower connections/computers will see the editor preview while the editor is loading instead of a blank space. Additionally, the editor now has live spell-checking turned on by default

Theme Library Improvement!
We have improved the styling and streamlined the theme selection process. As part of this change, the theme you select will now show in a live preview of your site behind the theme selection dialog. This allows a much better look at what your site will look like with that theme before you apply it without having to preview the theme in a popup window.

Bug Fixes!
As always we have corrected a number of bugs and issues reported by our Spruz website creators, like an issue with staying logged in when using a domain, and corrected a problem where some RSS feeds were not loading correctly to name a few.

We have a number of different areas on the platform we are working on, features that we hope to see released by the end of June include new improved photo systems to make uploading and managing all image content on your site much easier, and more API Features.

As always if you encounter bugs or issues please do not post about it in the comments. Open a support request please!


New $4.95/mo plan and Unlimited Plan!
Category: Community News

Today we have updated our plan structure that introduces a new lowered priced $4.95/mo plan "Spruz Starter" and a new unlimited file space and transfer plan "Spruz Unlimited".

Our Spruz Starter plan provides a lower cost of entry into upgrading your website. This plan unlocks many features that are not offered in our Free Version. The Spruz Starter plan includes a monthly transfer allowance of 10GB and 1GB of file space.

Spruz Unlimited is a new no limit plan that eliminates the worries of running low on storage space and data transfer. The Spruz Unlimited plan includes many of the features we offered in our former Spruz Pro plan, but has unlimited bandwidth and file space.

With the recent changes to our Plans we have removed our $9.95 Spruz Basic Plan and the $49.95 Spruz Pro plan. Those plans are no longer available to order. Click here to view our plan comparison page.

Already have an upgrade? You can still take advantage of our new plans by going to our upgrade page and ordering a new plan. Even if you have already paid yearly for your current plan, we will give you a full prorated credit down to the day towards your new plan purchase.

Spruz is hiring customer service/sales personal
Category: Community News

This is a Work at Home Postion! Are you an active Spruz website administrator? Are you looking for a position where you can make a difference? Spruz is has opened several positions for community managers. This is a work at home position with a base pay plus commission pay structure.

Responsibilities will include;

  1. Operating our Live Chat service to help site owners with sales, how-to, and support related issues.
  2. Moderating our Owners Community and helping site administrations with questions, problems and advise
  3. Contributing to our Help and Knowledge base systems.

Position Requirements

You must;

  1. already be familiar with using Spruz and have a Spruz powered website
  2. have a reliable computer and high speed internet connection
  3. be able to install our live chat client on your personal computer
  4. be over 18 years of age and be a legal resident of the US or Canada
  5. have a quite home environment that will allow you to focus on the job at hand during your scheduled hours.

This is a contract position, while you will be a representative of Spruz, you will in effect be self employed and handle your own tax and income liabilities.

  1. Base pay of $7.00/hr + commission
  2. Advancement Opportunities

To Apply

Email and include your resume, good contact information with best times to reach you, your availability, your Spruz website account email address and other information that you feel will help us understand how well you will fit within this position.


Blog, Profile, and Settings Improvements Tags: Update

Today we have released a new publish that carries with it a number of visible changes and improvements.

Blog Improvements

  1. New Blog Preview when adding or editing a blog entry. This allows you to see how your blog post will look on the page after saving it!
  2. Save as Draft button, now you can come back later to finish that next great blog entry. Drafts will store on the site for 30 days and has a visible link at the top of the blog so you can access your drafts.
  3. Blog Scheduling, you can set a date and time for your blog entry to post to the public, very handy for planning holiday greetings and such.

Profile Changes

  1. We have renamed the Add Elements link to Apps. The link displays a list of elements (now called Profile Apps) a users can add to their profiles. This should make it easier for users to understand how to add things to their page. Now from the Apps pages there is also an Add More button to access the Widgetbox App Library.
  2. Add Widget has been moved the the Profile Apps page under the Add More option.
  3. My Home has been phased out and replaced with My Feed, My Feed will take the users directly to their Activity Feed while keeping them within the profile wrapper.
  4. Add/Edit Style has been renamed to Profile Designer

New Social Integration Settings Page
To access go to Manage Site > Settings > Manage Settings
This new settings feature has been put in place to make it easy to configure features and settings that may rely on 3rd party social solutions such as Twitter.

  1. Configure your own Twitter APP information. This information is now required if you want to allow your users to post to twitter when they update there status on your website. As some of you know the Tweetit feature was broken because Twitter had removed the feature we were using for your users to update there twitter feed when posting a status update. This publish solves that problem but you will need to configure via
  2. Share Content Template customization. We have standardized the sharing feature, by default you will have a Twitter and Facebook Like button on content like Blogs, Videos, Photos and Events. But you can change that template to use AddThis, ShareThis or customize your own. You would use values of $item_title and $item_url to pass the Page Title and/or Page Url to your sharing solution.
  3. The Settings for configuring single signin powered by RPXNOW has been moved to this page. We have made it easier to configure this as well by providing a separate API key and Realm boxes.

Other Changes and Fixes in this update

  • Link Directory - We have developed our own Website Thumbnail solution to generate previews of sites from the links. In the past we used 3rd party solutions that had branding and were somewhat unrelaible. This will fix the broken images you may have seen in your link directory over the last few days.
  • Email Form Captcha Feature, if you are using the #draw_captcha()# SPL function in your email forms, the Pick an Image has been replaced with a more standardized Captcha method that is powered by ReCaptcha.
  • Plus a number of other less noticeable bug fixes that effected a very limited number of our users.

We hope you enjoy these updates, we have a number of other items still in development that we hope to have released in the next few weeks.

With any large update like this, there may be bugs or other unforeseen issues, DO NOT POST ISSUES IN COMMENTS! Please report bugs and issues via a Support Request.



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