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Friday, May 2, 2008

OpenX ad display problems

This one had me stumped for a while today, so I thought I'd post it in case it's useful to someone. I'm testing a new install of openX for a client, who plans to use it one a separate machine as an ad server.

So I've set up the publisher, zones, advertiser, ads, etc. I used an already existing ad they're running (javascript to a remote server). But the zone kept showing that no ads/campaigns were assigned to it. But if I looked at the campaign properties, it showed as being assigned to that zone. So one place said one thing, one said another.

Well, turns out the problem is that the zone is set to be 160x600 dimension zone. OpenX has decided that this ad is not actually 160x600 (although it is) and so it won't allow it to be assigned to the zone. Of course, it doesn't tell you that the ad was blocked for that reason. So you're left to wander the openx forums, until you stumble upon a useful post, and decide to set the zone to accept any size ad.

So, here's a little usability hint openX - Tell the user what the %#*@ you're doing. If campaign has ads that won't fit in a zone, for any reason, TELL US.

The other issue I ran into is that apparently after making changes to an ad in the system, there's a period of 20 minutes where you may not see the ads. Something to do with caching. Well, this makes testing and trying to figure out why an ad isn't displaying even more difficult than they've already made it... ugh.

This is why there's so often the impulse to not use a 3rd party system, but rather to code it yourelf. Thankfully I didn't give in to the temptation, but it was there!

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