2017 – The Year of HTTPS

Update: December 21, 2016

Apple just announced that they are delaying their implementation of the HTTPS requirement from January 1, 2017 to a future date to be determined.   https://developer.apple.com/news/?id=12212016b

While Apple delayed implementation, we still believe that is a good idea to move to HTTPS early in the new year.


With less than 45 days left in the year, it’s time to start thinking about plans for 2017.  And if you are still using HTTP, you should think about making a resolution to switch to HTTPS.

Both Apple and Google have made announcements about changes that start in January that will impact forums that use HTTP.  The announcements by Apple and Google indicate that forums that continue use of HTTP could see a reduction in member logins and total pageviews.

Google Chrome – Logins using HTTP will be marked as Not-Secure

Google announced in a Google Security Blog, that beginning in January, Google Chrome will indicate all sites using HTTP that the login is “Not-secure.”

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 12.01.58 PM

And throughout 2017, Google Chrome will increase the warnings to sites using HTTPS, eventually, labeling  all HTTP pages as Not-secure, and change the HTTP security indicator to the red triangle.

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Apple – HTTPS required for all new apps, and app updates

Beginning January 1, 2017, Apple is requiring all apps to secure connections via HTTPS and certain other security requirements.  These new requirements are called App Transport Security, or ATS.  For more information, see TechCrunch  for an overview and  Apple Developer  for technical details.

At least in the near term, Apple is expected to allow apps already approved in the App Store to remain there without being updated. However, as of Jan. 1 all new and revised apps submitted to Apple for approval will need to be ATS-compliant. To be ATS-Complaint, a sites must use HTTPS.  Sites using HTTP will not be in compliance with ATS requirements

The new requirement is subject to Apple’s App Review Team’s judgement.  Based on reading of the Apple’s requirement and conversations, this is what we think the HTTPS requirement means for Tapatalk and BYO (branded) apps:

  • After January 1, Tapatalk will continue to be available, and can include forums that use HTTP
  • However, overtime, this may change as Apple increases adherence to HTTPS requirement
  • All BYO apps currently in the App Store will continue to be available in the App Store
  • After January 1, it’s unlikely that Apple will approve new BYO apps or updates to existing apps (unless the sites are HTTPS)
  • Google has not required Android apps use HTTPS. At least not yet

For any sites still using HTTP, we strongly recommend you upgrade to HTTPS as soon as possible.  Upgrading your site to HTTPS is not difficult and your hosting provider may be able to help you with this. Security certificates are required for each of such sites, and this too can be obtained through your hosting company or elsewhere.

Once you update to HTTPS, you can login to Tapatalk>Sites>Site Settings and update your Forum URL.

Need Help converting to HTTPS

We found this very helpful site that can provide free, automated, and open Certificate Authority:


We also have worked with Total Web Systems LTD that also provides a service to move your site to HTTPS.


While updating to HTTPS does take some work, the use of HTTPS will help ensure a safer internet for everyone.  And with the pending changes by Google and Apple, continuing use of HTTP have implications that could well reduce member logins and total pageviews.

If you have any questions, please login to Tapatalk and submit a support ticket.  

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Tapatalk SEO and Monetization Update

In the past year, we’ve added Google AdMob and DFP support in Tapatalk Mobile App and BYO (Branded App) that provide full advertising control at no cost to you. Today, we’re announcing similar support for Tapatalk users accessing their feed at Tapatalk.com.


Tapatalk.com provides content preview in News Feed and Notification with direct linking to your website. Tapatalk.com is designed to be similar to Pinterest –  intelligently aggregating preview content form network of websites.  

We are including the ability to monetize the impressions at Tapatalk.com by adding the option for you to include an AdSense banner using your AdSense Client ID.  And in the next few weeks, we will also be adding DFP support.

Insert your AdSense ads on the page


To insert your AdSense ad, login to Tapatalk Dashboard, choose the site, then select Monetization Settings and you can include your AdSense tag that will be displayed on the new page.

Tapatalk.com and SEO

Tapatalk.com is similar to Google News – it is not a forum reader and it only shows a preview of posts. One of Tapatalk’s objectives is to find new ways to drive traffic to your forum and continue to develop new ad placement opportunities for site owners. Tapatalk.com creates an additional search result in Google’s Search Engine Result Page that provides an additional link to back your site. Here are some of the highlight of the SEO:

  • The additional listing is similar to an additional link from Pinterest, with additional recommended topics from your forums – and the additional link is not considered duplicative content.
  • The listing will always be below the result direct from your site.
  • If the person searching clicks on the link, they will see a snippet of your content on Tapatalk.com, the entire preview area is linked to “see more” button to redirect to your site
  • These pages are strictly to drive forum discovery and is not a forum reader to replace your website.
  • We are providing this page as an opportunity to increase traffic and revenue
  • You can disable this feature at any time, or request to remove any specific pages at any time.

Is this new feature Opt-In or Opt-out by default?

All sites can enable or disable these pages at anytime, by logging to tour Tapatalk Dashboard>Site Settings>Monetization Settings.  This is also where you can place your AdSense information.

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These are the forums that will have Tapatalk.com disabled, and you will have to login to enable Tapatalk.com:

  • All Paid Tiers (both Enterprise and Premium)

These are the forums that will have the page enabled, and you will to to login to disable the Tapatalk.com pages:

  • All Free tier sites that have mobile ads disabled, will have the page displayed without advertising
  • All Free tier sites that have Tapatalk advertising will have an ad from Tapatalk, and you will generate the revenue from the ads

We hope to find this feature useful in helping you to get more traffic from us, and for potential new users to discover your content. If you have question about this feature, email us at support@tapatalk.com or submit a support ticket for a faster response.

Thank you,

Tapatalk Team



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Chat in Tapatalk

Chat Rooms in Tapatalk

More time is spent on mobile devices on messaging apps than any other category apps.  According to a report in Flurry, time spent on messaging apps is roughly 2X the time spent on game apps, the second place category.  The popularity of messaging on mobile devices makes sense. The phone seems designed for short, quick messages.  And messaging, in the form of shoutboxes, have also been part of the forum ecosystem for many  years.


As some of you may know, Tapatalk has been testing Chat Rooms in the Tapatalk app for a few months.  And for forums with chat rooms, we have seen activity (measured by sessions) in the forum increase by an average of 22%.  Chat rooms help to drive activity back to your sites.  Tapatalk helps to drive users from the chat rooms to your forums by posting links to trending topics back to your site.

Chatroom Controls

We recently added Chatroom controls in your Tapatalk Dashboard.  When you login to the Tapatalk Dashboard>Site Settings you will have the following options:

You have full control over:

  • On/Off – you can control if you want the chat feature on or off for your forum
  • Members Only – You can limit the chat room to registered members only


App-Level Moderation Controls

All members with moderation credentials will be able to moderate chat room. If you are the admin of the forum, once you login to your forum using Tapatalk, you will be automatically assigned as Admin  of the Chat Room, with ability to 1) remove any Tapatalk users from the room 2) delete messages, 3) assign new moderators and 4) advanced features such as deleting all messages from the room.

Content Ownership

f a Chat Room is associated to your forum, you own the content.  We’ve built the Group Chat infrastructure on Google Cloud and we are actively working on a way to let forum owners to host the Chat Room under your Google Cloud account. While this feature is currently not available, we plan on providing that option in near future.

Chat Rooms and BYO (branded apps)

While chatrooms are not currently available in our BYO apps, this is a feature we will be adding in the next 3 months.  And the chat room settings in the Tapatalk Dashboard will eventually apply to both the BYO app and the Tapatalk app.

Login to your Tapatalk dashboard and take a look at your new chat room settings.  We encourage you to see if the chat rooms help to build your community and help drive additional traffic back to your forum.

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BYO Update Lower Price. No more app store submissions.

BYO Update. Lower Price. No more app store submissions.

We saved the best news of the year for our last newsletter of the year.   We have been listening to feedback on ways to improve the BYO program, the program that offers you a branded app for your site.  We heard two themes; make BYO less expensive and also make it easier to manage app store submissions.   Based on that feedback, we are announcing changes that make BYO far more affordable and easier to submit/update.

Introducing Premium – $10/mo.

We understand that BYO had two pain points: 1) cost and 2) hassle of submitting/updating the app through the app stores (plus the added cost of the developer licenses from Apple and Google). We’ve eliminated those pain points by centralizing the process, lowering the costs and eliminating the hassle.

With the new Premium option, Tapatalk will submit the your BYO branded app and updates through our developer account. You have all the benefits of the BYO branded app that you control, including:

  • Your name and logo in the app stores (helping to attract new members through App Store SEO)
  • Google App Indexing to improve your SEO rankings by Google (Available January, 2016)
  • Control of advertising through DFP and AdMob
  • WordPress Support
  • Push Notifications
  • Photo & Video Sharing in addition to Attachment support
  • Smart Banner directing members to your BYO app
  • Customization of tabs and colors
  • No need to pay/renew for developer accounts at Apple/Google.

While BYO Premium will be on the Tapatalk developer account, the app and the members are yours. We will never email or contact any users of your BYO app. In the future, if you decide to move to Enterprise tier (see below), you will also be able to request app transfer back to your own developer account.

Enterprise – $40/mo

The Enterprise tier will work as BYO does today.

  • You enjoy all the BYO app features, and Tapatalk will create a binary that you can submit through your developer accounts
  • If you transition to Premium Tier, and later decide that you prefer Enterprise, Tapatalk will transfer the app back to your developer account and you just pay the higher subscription fee for Enterprise.

If you prefer to keep the Enterprise tier, but do not want deal with App Store submissions, you can also elect to use Total Web Systems to assist you. Total Web Systems can provide AppStore Assistance and have negotiated a 25% discount for their services for adopters of our BYO technology. Use Discount Coupon TAPA25 with AppStore Upload before March 30, 2016 to to take advantage of this offer.

For both tiers, we do require that your forums also publish your forum in Tapatalk. We fully expect that you will direct your members to your BYO app, but we also want people to discover your great content in Tapatalk. And if you want to minimize exposure in Tapatalk, we also provide the ability to check “Do Not Promote” and your content will not be indexed in Tapatalk.

New DFP Options and AdMob Support

We also heard that you wanted more options for ad placements. We now offer four DFP ad options, including a 320X50 at top of the screen and a 300X250 at the bottom of the screen to maximize revenue. (And you can also serve the same ads when your content is viewed in Tapatalk.)

We also are going to include AdMob support.  While most people really wanted AdSense support, Google will not serve AdSense in an app. Instead, Google provides AdMob as a solution.  The AdMob support will be finalized by the end of this year

DFP and AdMob support applies to both the BYO apps, and to your content viewed in Tapatalk.

Premium Tier BYO available early January

We are busy preparing changes to the Tapatalk Dashboard to enable processing of the new BYO premium app.  We plan to launch before mid-January.  As soon as we are ready to launch, we will send an update.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2016

We want to take a moment to thank all of you for allowing the members of your forum and/or blog to access your content on Tapatalk.  We wish you a Happy Holiday season and a Healthy and Successful 2016.  We appreciate your support and promise to continue to work hard to earn your business.

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We’re Continuing to Strengthen Security

As 2015 winds down, we remain committed to one of our major initiatives this year, security. Not as obvious or glamorous as UI/UX improvements, but critical and exciting (to us anyway) nonetheless.

Both Site Owners and Tapatalk users benefit from robust security efforts. We’ve even got one expert senior-level engineer who is wholly focused on security infrastructure. Additionally, with technical offices in North America, Europe, and Asia, we are literally monitoring systems 24/7. We can assure you that we are taking all steps possible to ensure that our Site Owner partners and app users are safe and secure.

Moving Images on SSL

Since Q1 2015, we have been making some Tapatalk hosted images available on systems that allows SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) in the URL. Today, we have started the process to sunset all non-SSL images by migrating all images to this the new platform.  In order to support older user uploaded images, will require that existing URLs in the forum post content to be changed to point to the new location.  This change also introduces the first stages in supporting IPv6 forums as the new image service provides both IPv4 and IPv6 access.

For all images that published to Tapatalk before November 2015, you will need to update your older image addresses.  In the near future we will publish a detailed instuctions in a Knowledge Base post on how to update URLs, and provide a few months to complete the restructure.

We appreciate your understanding and your efforts in updating the URLs.  We are making this change to continue to provide the highest possible level of security and compatibility as forums using SSL will no longer alert when serving mixed secure and insecure content.

Tapatalk Bug Bounty Program

About a year ago, we launched a Security Incident Response  Web Forum (https://tapatalk.com/security.php).  To encourage “whitehats” to report security related bugs in Tapatalk or in our Plugin, within the next week we will launch a  Bug Bounty Program in Hackerone (http://hackerone.com/tapatalk).  Over the past year, we have received more than 50 incident reports with 6 verified incidents, resulting in 5 security releases affecting 10 different forum systems.

Your security and privacy continues to be a top priority for Tapatalk, and the change in image URLs to HTTPS/IPv6 and the bug bounty program is a continuation of our on-going commitment to security.

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App Indexing Expands to Safari, Removing Interstitial Ad

App Indexing Expands to Safari, Removing Interstitial Ad

Content from forums is rich and detailed, and as a result, consistently ranks well in Google’s organic results. We like to update you on a couple of important developments related to App Indexing and SEO.  

App Indexing Expands to include Safari.

Tapatalk was one of Google’s early test partners in app-indexing.  Tapatalk has been working with Google since May 2014 and is one of Google’s Featured apps.  Google also announced that it “may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.”  With Tapatalk installed for your forum, your content qualifies for indexed content in an app, and therefore, your content will be featured more prominently in search results.

With Tapatalk installed for your forum, your content qualifies for indexed content in an app, and therefore, your content will be featured more prominently in mobile search results.  

Google App indexing has been available on the  Google app for iOS, Chrome for iPhone and iPad.  In announcement earlier this month, Google said that beginning November 1st, it would be expanding app indexing to Safari for iOS.

If you have not completed the app indexing verification process, Login to your Tapatalk Dashboard > SEO Dashboard to complete verification to make sure you are taking advantage of the  SEO boost.

Also see our Knowledge Base post for additional details on App Indexing and your SEO Dashboard.

Tapatalk Interstitial (Full Screen) Ads retired

A few weeks ago, Google announced that, beginning in November 1, they would demote sites that display app interstitial ads to promote the use of an app.  This would include the Tapatalk interstitial, that full screen ad that appears on mobile web.  

By updating your Plug-In the interstitial ad will be removed.  We strongly recommend that you update your Plug-In by November 1 so your site is not impacted.

These changes were a result of our conversations, and we encourage you to provide feedback on our Site Owner support board.  

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Serve your ads on Tapatalk using DFP

During the summer, we have been gathering feedback from Site Owners and monitoring comments about ways to improve Tapatalk.  And based on the feedback, we have been busy working on a number of improvements.  We are excited to share the first of several new features with you.

Introducing the ability to serve your ads through DFP on Tapatalk

I’m sure many of you have followed the news of Apple, with the release of iOS 9, allowing Ad-Blocking apps.  The apps are blocking ads on mobile web sites, but not in apps.  Here is a recent write-up in MacWorld.  Ad blockers on mobile sites could have a big impact on many sites revenue generation.

The good news Tapatalk provides a couple of monetization options.  Just about two years ago, Tapatalk introduced advertising so that Site Owners could monetize impressions of their content viewed on Tapatalk.  In that time, we have been increasing CPM, and earlier this year introduced Native Ads format.  

We also have been hearing from some site owners that they wanted more control over advertising in Tapatalk.

Good news!  Starting this week, you can now insert your own DFP tags and have your ads served when users view your content on Tapatalk.  We are going to support serving either 300X250 or 320X50 ad units.  Initially, DFP ads will only be available for forums, and in the near future, also include blogs and RSS feeds in Tapatalk.

Serving ads through DFP is available to all sites and there is no costs from Tapatalk in serving the ads. (Doubleclick ad serving fees may apply)

For me details, see this Knowledge Base article.


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Introducing BYO 5

BYO 5 – Here Soon! 

Some new features, some features changing, more frequent updates

BYO is a core product to Tapatalk; we would like to take this opportunity to update you on our plans for enhancing BYO and thank you for your continued support.

Over recent months, the BYO product has fallen behind in adding features that are included in the traditional Tapatalk app and we are aware there have been limited updates recently. We have been slow to update since there are a few BYO features, used by 20% or less of our BYO clients, that make updating the app a compatibility challenge in a rapid and ever-changing SDK world with constantly moving goal posts. These features take the majority of our time to maintain and update which provide distraction to BYO’s evolution and core. In order to better serve the majority of BYO clients, we are making changes to some features to improve maintenance to the product for the greater good!

Changing Features

AdMob Support

When we first launched BYO, there were limited number of monetization options and most clients wanted AdMob support.  (Actually, most wanted AdSense, but AdSense can’t be used in an app).  The new BYO app will no longer going to support AdMob in Tapatalk.  DFP is a far superior option, and we will continue to support DFP tags.

Comscore and Quantcast Analytics Support

With extremely limited number of BYO clients using either comScore or Quantcast Analytics, we will be removing both features and focus on better Google Analytics support. BYO’s Google Analytics support will include both basic user and session tracking; and will also include thread level tracking.

Rate Us Support & Full Screen Interstitials (DFP and Admob)

Based on very low usage rates, we will be removing these two features from upcoming BYO versions.

New Features

By deprecating the above features, we can now begin to incorporate some new features in the BYO app and provide the majority a better service.  These new features include:

Trending Tab

One of the most popular features in Tapatalk app is our Trending Topics tab.  We will begin to offer Trending Topics for BYO apps so your members can quickly see the hottest topics in your forum. You will have the option to either change the default name, or completely hide it from users. This feature is only available for sites that also publish in Tapatalk.

Registration Feature with Custom Fields Support

The new BYO app will support Custom Fields support in User Registration.  Custom Fields allow you to request additional fields for user to enter during registration process, such as the model of his car, birthday, etc. – removing the current requirement to use External Registration Process for this purpose.

Submission to App Stores

We also understand that the app store process can be a challenge.  We formalized a relationship with our partner, Total Web Systems that can help with the uploading your BYO app to Apple App Store or Google Play.

We have arranged for Total Web Systems to provide AppStoreUpload Assistance and have negotiated a 25% discount for their services for adopters of our BYO technology. Use Discount Coupon TAPA25 with AppStoreUpload before December 31st 2015 to to take advantage of this offer.

Currently in BETA, the new major milestone BYO 5 app utilises the latest and greatest from the ever-popular Tapatalk iOS codebase. Within the next 4-6 weeks, it should be ready for general release.

Your feedback, issues & suggestions are welcomed in the following thread: https://support.tapatalk.com/threads/byo-version-5-development-preview-feedback-thread.32090/

We hope you like BYO 5 and thank you for supporting Tapatalk and the BYO app.

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Email Privacy Policy

At Tapatalk, we understand the importance of maintaining the privacy of members data, and in particular, privacy of email data, and we wanted to take an opportunity to Tapatalk’s email data usage and security.

Registered Tapatalk Users

We want to be clear that we never have, and never will, divulge or sell any emails. Any emails sent to registered Tapatalk Users will always include an unsubscribe link and our mailing address.  Additionally, Tapatalk Users can manage their email preferences in app by going to Me>Settings>Email Notifications.

Beta Programs – Tested and Ended

Earlier this year, we did test a couple of Beta programs to drive members back to your forums.  We recently ended all email related programs because they did not have the hoped for success metrics in terms of open rates and CTR back to forums.   There were two Engagement Email programs:

  • Trending Topics Newsletter: A newsletter sent to all registered members of the community with trending topics from the previous week, with links back to the forum.  Only sites that asked to participate in the Beta program received the newsletters.
  • “You Got Emails”  –  An email to members if they received a like, or if they were quoted, with a link back to your forum, to supplement existing forum email notification features.

The “You Got” emails were sent to sites that asked to participate in the Beta, and we also tested in eight countries (non-US, non-EU, and non-Oceania).  For these eight countries,  a notification email was sent to all site admins explaining the test, with instructions how-to opt-out.  

Any email sent with these two programs included unsubscribe link.  And these two Beta programs have been retired, and subsequently the encrypted email information deleted.

One additional note.  There was a human error that caused three forums to be incorrectly added to the Beta program.  As soon as we found about the error, the engagement emails ceased, and all emails were deleted.  

The Tapatalk.com admin console and the plugin implementation have been updated to reflect the termination of the Beta programs.  

We understand concerns around email privacy and happy to address any other concerns or questions.  

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Sunsetting Engagement Emails

A few months ago, we introduced a beta engagement email campaign to help remind members to check their forums on tapatalk and write new content on your sites. The idea here is to benefit everyone–people participate on your forum while mobile, they are active on Tapatalk–instead of spending increasing amounts of time on other social media.

While the intentions were good, based on feedback and response rates, we have decided to sunset this beta program.  We will not be sending any Engagement Emails, and the tabs have also been removed from your Tapatalk dashboard.

We will continue to look for ways to engage your users and bring them back to your site and we welcome your continued feedback.

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