Why Your Brand Needs Stipple

Take Back Your Brand's Photos Most brands have hundreds, if not thousands, of product images on their websites. And those images get reused, re-blogged, re-tweeted and re-posted by hundreds of other sites and users around the internet every day. So that's good, right? Well, not really. While it's great for awareness around a product, tracking those photos becomes extremely difficult, not to mention the fact that carefully crafted marketing messages that live on a brand's site are nowhere to be found when those images find themselves elsewhere. That's where Stipple comes in. [caption id="attachment_8679" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Stipple Allows Brands to Share Interactive Images.                                                                     Image source: Stipple.com"][/caption]  Tag, Share, Track, Repeat Stipple believes they have solved that issue by allowing everyone from brands and merchants to bloggers and photographers to place interactive, trackable tags on all of their imagery. Now, when those images are pulled onto other sites (social sites included), they will be embedded with everything from videos to e-commerce tags to make purchases directly. For more on Stipple, check out the video below.  Game Changer? Will "smarter" photos have the ability to make imagery the future of social commerce? Is Stipple the solution that marketers have been looking for when  trying to measure the effectiveness of their content sharing? We'd love to hear your take. Sound off in the comment section below.

This Is Not About Marketing

It's about the behavior enabled by social media and how we still have a lot to learn about being a community that lives, breathes, watches, shares and does just about everything including listening to police scanners ' online. Being a Bostonian and living through last week's events has made me reflect on a lot. My deepest condolences go out to those who have a suffered loss or injury. And, when it hits 'home,' it really does. No longer are there 6 degrees of separation, everyone knows someone who has been affected.  And, throughout this experience, our city has shown an un-surmounted pride that reigned strong throughout the airwaves, digital or not. But, what's got me is that this 'always on' movement of social, content and communities is bigger than any of us can even imagine ' and it came to light last week. Social Media is a Game Changer Social media, especially Twitter, has completely changed the game. Sure, there is the issue of speed vs. accuracy in the race to 'be the first' to break news, but we aren't even skimming the surface here. Friends were alerted about the marathon explosions seconds after they happened, so they could get off their bus; loved ones used social to alert others they were safe in the absence of cell coverage; and words of encouragement, pride and support were shared near and far. But, what you didn't read in your social channels was the deep-rooted fear that existed behind each in every tweet. We will always be #BostonStrong, but social had an adverse effect as well ' building fear and anxiety as people obsessed over every detail. From fake social profiles to the real ones, to the brilliant use of social for donation solicitations, I found myself in a love/hate relationship with my social channels. Rumors spread faster than the speed of light and what made it worse was the media was now even retracting statements. Who Controls the News? Coverage on TV was delayed and just didn't feel as detailed as what I was seeing on Twitter and Facebook. When you have homeowners reporting live with video, photos and tweets to update the public on what was going on in their backyards, how can you wait for a generic statement from the newscasters 10 minutes later? Gunshots vs. Flash bombs, evacuations and threats ' it's crazy that I found myself 'trusting' a complete stranger that others were endorsing as being the my most accurate, up-to-date source of information online. I also have to mention the hundreds of thousands of police scanner app downloads that occurred during the course of last weeks' events. So much sharing was happening that police asked the public to stop talking about what they were hearing in fear of jeopardizing the safety and security of their mission. It's confusing, trivial and makes me wonder if any marketing course will ever be able to put definition behind this proliferation of sharing especially when I 'found out' we took the bad guy into custody at least 5 minutes before I saw it on 'live' TV. It's hard to tell if this organized chaos will help us catch the bad guys sooner or if it will lead to riots, mass hysteria and even ultimate unraveling of our society in the near future. The Power of Real-Time Information Real-time information sharing enabled by social media is undeniably powerful and altering the way in which we communicate. In the case of this past week, I must say it was scary, exhilarating, and powerful'all in one.  Now, all I can do is hope that by the time my daughter is my age, we've figured out a way to use its powers for nothing but good. Until then, put your seat belts on. The way we are living our lives is changing before our eyes and screens, as we know it.

A #Winning Move: Facebook Adopts the Hashtag

Ah, the hashtag. In recent years, this innocuous symbol has taken the social web by storm: it has a beloved'and downright iconic'presence on Twitter, and it's hard to look at an Instagram feed, Pinterest board, or YouTube video without ignoring the barrage of hashtagged comments. We're even speaking in hashtags'weaving a new vernacular to the beat of every #fail, and providing a layer of complexity to each #winning moment. In short, hashtags are awesome. #sorrynotsorry. So, when Facebook announced they were jumping on the hashtag bandwagon, we weren't surprised. With this move, Facebook joins the ranks of other social media behemoths in a mission to better understand the desires and engagement habits of its community members. The announcement comes on the heels of RadiumOne's recent finding that nearly 75% of social media users are using hashtags to share relevant ideas and contribute to trending topics. Not to mention hashtag usage has already spilled over to Facebook despite the current lack of significance. From a marketing standpoint, we wish there was a 'love'? button for the new Facebook hashtag.  It's a game-changer in terms of tracking the conversations surrounding your brand, capitalizing on earned media, and gaining new consumer insights on Facebook. Here's what you need to know: Beyond the 'Like'? Until now, we've measured Facebook engagement in likes, comments, and shares. But marketers are aiming to move beyond the 'like'? and embrace new metrics to define success. Hashtags will be at the forefront of this push for richer measurement, adding a new dimension to understanding a brand's social presence. Beyond 'liking'? to show approval or commeting on a single post, consumers can use hashtags to initiate or join a conversation and to find others who echo our sentiments. For marketers, hashtags will allow for a more organized look at the buzz surrounding our brands. What are people talking about, and are there any relevant conversations you can/should join? New Earned Media Possibilities Your News Feed is cluttered with sponsored posts and paid advertisements, and you're sick of it. Right?  In recent years, we've become particularly good at tuning out these paid strategies, and marketers are becoming increasingly concerned with finding new avenues for engagement on social media. The hashtag should provide a potentially fruitful new possibility for brands'the ability to expand viral reach without paying to do so. Create conversations through branded hashtags, encourage community members to post with the hashtag, or join conversations relevant to your brand. You'll be able to greatly expand your Facebook presence and reach entirely new audiences. Leverage It Up The Facebook hashtag provides yet another opportunity to leverage your social strategy across multiple sites. Have you coined a popular hashtag on Twitter? Bring it to your Facebook community to encourage enhanced conversations around your brand. You can also use hashtags for cross-channel promotion, encouraging users to share relevant content with their different social sites via the hashtag. Do you currently live-tweet with a hashtag, or Instagram event photos with a hashtag? Keep doing what you're doing, but don't forget to share on Facebook as well! Take Advantage of Graph Search The announcement of the Facebook hashtag means bigger and better things for the new Graph Search. In its current state, Graph Search relies mainly on 'Likes'? and profile details to dictate its search results. But hashtags should allow for a more comprehensive understanding of community members. For example, I may 'like'? One Direction's fan page (ironically, of course. Ok, maybe a little non-ironically), but I probably won't have much interaction with the page beyond the initial 'Like.'? Hashtags, on the other hand, will give more insight into what I'm really prioritizing on Facebook. Which conversations have I joined? What buzz-worthy content am I sharing and why? With hashtags, my thoughts and ideas will be catalogued, and it will be easier to find like-minded users. Graph Search just got way more exciting. buy college research papers It's time to embrace the Facebook hashtag. In the process, you'll develop a relationship with your followers, join relevant conversations, and better understand the sentiments surrounding your brand. A #winning social media strategy, if you ask us.

Social Media Challenge: Abandoning the #LikeMePlease Express

There's a lot of chatter in the marketing space about the right social tactics and tools for brands, but from where I'm standing, it's not that granular (at least at first). At its core, social is about telling a narrative, which means it's not about an across the board solution for every brand. There's this bandwagon that I've deemed 'the hashtag, like me, please express.'? And, it appears as if brands are readily hopping on' thinking that they are social because they have a Facebook page and post pictures on Instagram. I challenge brands to hop off the bandwagon. Turn off the computer; sit around a table; and identify the story you are trying to tell. Ultimately, brands want online chatter to drive offline chatter, so isn't that where the idea should originate ' offline? I know, I know, mind blown. All Social Media is Not Created Equal Social media provides brands with an unprecedented opportunity to speak to their audience in real time in a genuine and authentic manner. The message that is being communicated essentially defines your brand, so make sure it's a good one (no pressure). Tandem to defining the message is identifying the audience. We know that 67% of Internet users are on social networks according to Pew Research.  We also know that 67% are leveraging and engaging with each channel in many different ways. Case in point, there's no across the board solution. Our latest Socia for Brands POV takes a deeper dive into some of the ways brands can leverage recent social network changes to amplify their online presence and better define their brand persona. The Human Element: Social Media Enables Two-Way Communication As your audience begins having more and more conversations about your brand on more channels around the clock, brands need to be prepared to engage in two-way communication. This is where you get to tell your story. If it's a good one, people will listen and respond. Brands need to capitalize on the conversation social media facilitates. It makes your audience feel connected and valued, which in turn helps foster brand evangelism and brand loyalty. Social is a Necessary Part of Your Brand's Business Strategy As social becomes less of an option and more of an inherent part of a brand's business strategy, it's important to approach it as one would approach any campaign ' identify your message and your audience. The goals are buy tadalafil online the same. Say something that matters and highlight your differentiation factor. So hop off the band wagon. Be unique, creative, and adaptable. While much of this may not be new news to marketers and brand strategists, it's always worth a revisit to the core of it all. So, tell us, what's your story?

Insights Lab Weekly Round Up: Old School Edition

Let's face it. At AMP, we LOVE the Internet. And, we want to share our geeky, awesome, internet/techy finds with you on a weekly basis. In this week's edition of the Insights Lab Weekly Round Up, we'll venture down memory lane'taking a look at the old school social platforms that paved the way for nascent networks and social platforms of the world like Pheed. I am away from my computer right now When @YourAwayMessage surfaced last Fall, we were reminded of the good old days of away messages filled with BRBs,  OMGs and poor grammar. I would venture to say that AOL Instant Messenger served as my generation's introduction to instantly chatting with friends on the Internet. Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Imagine a world without Facebook status updates telling you what your kindergarten best friend or high school crush is up to. You'd have to wait until the 10 year reunion to catch up. In 1995, classmates.com solved this conundrum by allowing classmates to find friends and classmates from K-12 via the Internet. Since this time, the site has evolved and rebranded to Memory Lane, focusing buy cialis online on nostalgic content like high school yearbooks and music tracks. Facebook's Predecessors Don't be fooled. The present-day, social gaming site based in Kuala Lumpur was once the 'hot'? social network. Launched in 2002, Friendster paved the way for MySpace and has been deemed the granddaddy of social networks. During Friendster's peak in 2003, Google offered founder, Jonathan Abrams,  $30 million;  however he chose to be funded by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Benchmark Capital. The decline is considered one of the biggest blunders in the history of Silicon Valley. What does "old school" mean for the new(ish) kids on the block? From these networks, you can see that tech comes and goes but social behavior is permanent. As stated in AMP's Psychology of Social, social media reflects an inherent human need to connect and have a role within the larger group. Neighborhood BBQs, block parties, Facebook, Twitter and the next "it" social platform all rely on the basic human need for connection.

Facebook's Graph Search ' Friend me, Like me, Share me!

'Graph Search'? is the long awaited Facebook search engine that, according to Mark Zuckerberg, will be replacing the old white search box that many of us found no use for aside from finding Facebook friends. The new 'Graph Search'? is now in beta and available to only a few select users. While some see this move as a major upgrade, others see it as Facebook once again pushing privacy boundaries. Zuckerberg coins this new method of search as 'the new pillar of Facebook'? that will most likely change the way we view search in the years to come. Only the test of time will tell us if it can handle itself against the search engine titan that is Google. Facebook is a social data warehouse that's centered on people, photos, places and interests. Now with Graph Search and years of collected data, Facebook will become a multidimensional search engine. We will now be able to ask it complex questions that normally a search engine wouldn't be able to answer like 'Which restaurants do my friends like in Boston," 'Which of my co-workers are New England Patriots fans," or 'Which friends of my friends work in marketing, and graduated from BU.'? Recommendations are from actual people you know rather than strangers like when using Yelp, which has the ability to revolutionize word of mouth advertising. Zuckerberg also mentioned during the announcement that Facebook will be partnering with Bing to offer the best of both web and social search within the Graph Search results. Zuckerberg's new creation is focused on "making new connections" that can introduce you to new friends of friends in a more natural and social way. This breakthrough could only be possible because of their data from over one billion users. With that data, they'll now be able to generate actual answers to queries by using social signals instead of keywords and links, which will have us using Facebook in an entirely different way while possibly changing the direction of search engines entirely. We will have the power and resources to be able to recruit for jobs, find friends to hang out with spontaneously, find new bars and restaurants. It will even help single people find dates. Zuckerberg is furthering the original idea that started Facebook, which is connecting people together by providing an unmatchable product. If it sounds too perfect to be true, it just may be. There is no question that Facebook has a long road ahead to perfecting their new search engine. Keep in mind, what mainly drives their search results are 'shares'? and'?likes'? through users. This is asking every one of your friends and you to be diligently active on Facebook to 'check in'? and 'like'? places, post photos and fill out interests. Out of the hundred, or hundreds, or maybe even thousands of friends, who would you trust to give reliable recommendations? Think about how much thought we actually put into the 'liking'? process. There are times where we all might have just 'liked'? something for the sheer fun of it. Facebook will run into multiple obstacles along the way, but that's the very reason why they are gradually giving access to a limited amount of users, collecting data and tweaking code, before making it public to everyone on Facebook. So is this the start of the battle between Facebook and Google that many of us have been anticipating? Maybe not, Facebook foresees it as an evolution of the way we see search. Zuckerberg might have looked beyond becoming a competitor and begun the development of changing the game completely. Google and Yahoo! are not the only ones that should be raising an eyebrow, but other social sites like LinkedIn, Monster, Yelp and even Match.com need to realize that Facebook will challenge their livelihoods in their industries. If Facebook passes through the kinks and trials they are bound to face in the years to come, they could ultimately change the way we view and see the world as we know it, again.

Holding Down a Piece of Time: Currency in the Digital Age

In the early 1980s, budding NYC photographers captured the graffiti art spray-painted onto subway cars that traversed the city. They'd wait to set up shots. Pull emergency levers to stop trains, buying time with their cameras and the fresh paint. It didn't matter that these 'photographers'? were just kids or that the graffiti they worked hard to capture would soon be painted over by MTA workers. That's because the kids snapping photos and the artists who 'bombed'? trains were all interested in the same thing: Capturing something meaningful, ephemeral. Fast forward to today. Many of us are on Instagram taking photos of the seemingly mundane: what's for dinner, our evenings out, our kids'?¦ and ourselves (a lot of those). While it may seem silly to compare a 'selfie'? we post on Instagram to the photographs of graffiti from the 1980s, I would argue that these two phenomena actually have a lot more in common in terms of human motivation than we think. And looking at how they're connected will sketch a roadmap for the unfolding digital landscape. To be known and to belong A photo of artwork we like. Our reflection in a window. The frothy cappuccino you had at lunch. They're not exactly graffiti on subway trains, but they're the fleeting moments of our ordinary lives that connect us to people and practices'in other words, 'culture.'? By snapping a photo, you contribute to the macro-level conversation about a given topic, make your voice heard, and accrue status accordingly. It makes sense then that Instagram and Facebook serve as a way of building your identity and social status. It's a way of telling the world, 'I recognize this as something important, and therefore, I belong.'? And those are a couple of the underlying utilities of social media'to be known and to belong. It doesn't matter that your post is irrelevant in 24 hours. All that matters is that you caught a piece of life that was meaningful to you in some way, even if it was about to get painted (or posted) over in time. When teenage photographers pulled the emergency lever on subway cars so they could take more photos of graffiti, they were taking part in the same practice. The modern day obsession with Instagram is motivated by that same impulse: to hold down a moving piece of time and claim it as part of your experience. What it means for advertising The implications of this new, rapid-fire digital landscape have been discussed ad nauseam, yet advertising professionals still need a call to action'what are we supposed to take away from this paradigm shift? How has this technology changed the way we express ourselves, and what do we do with that dialogue? The answer becomes clear when you look at specific situations and examine human behavior over time. When we do this, we begin to see the truth of human experience. We begin to see that the graffiti-capturing teens of the '80s aren't that different from the ordinary folk who post pics on Instagram. Maybe we share too much now. Maybe not. Regardless of how you feel, it's changing our high-level cultural dialogue about everything from brands to what you wear to work each day. For advertisers, this is a significant shift in engagement with consumers. Brands want to get in on the conversations we're having. The age of big campaigns with long runways is coming to a close. Today, creative content and effective strategy requires a much shorter incubation period than ever before. Quite simply, when our feeds are moving as fast as our brains (and vice versa), content needs to keep up. Content as currency In the new digital landscape, brands are judged on their capacity to create authentic content for their followers. A brand's ability to do this well leads to the accrual of social currency. That currency buys engagement. When you do this well, consumers ultimately include you in the conversations they're having. Listen, this isn't as dirty as it sounds. Let's suspend cynicism for a moment and consider this: Engaging with consumers as part of conversations they're creating means we can potentially elevate and diversify human experience to a new level. To put it simply, we'll have the power to open up the world to more human perspectives than ever before. Where this will take us is anyone's guess, but as advertisers, we need to be prepared to take the ride.

Should Our Privacy Really Be in the Bargain Bin?

Privacy is a fundamental human right. That said, the definition of privacy is not simple' especially in the context of the explosion of data being generated online every minute of every day. For those of us who prefer numerical evidence, Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content, Google receives over 2,000,000 search queries and email users send 204,166,667 messages every minute. There are millions of other content-sharing and data-collecting websites out there; hence the heightened interest in the topic of online privacy. Last week, Facebook updated its privacy guidelines'?¦ again. Days later, several of my Facebook friends posted a 'privacy notice' on their page to protect their profile information from being disclosed, copied, and/or disseminated by Facebook or any of its employees. The text of the notice began, 'In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above, my written consent is needed at all times!'? The notice states that anyone can copy the text and paste it to their Facebook wall, as a means of protecting him- or herself from the evil social media tyrant who is trying to take advantage of the uninformed. The reality of the situation is that Facebook's changes are real. However, there is no status update that can protect you (as a user) from being affected by the new guidelines on the site. This is the second 'privacy notice' that has gone viral on Facebook since June, when the company debuted as a publicly traded company, and I doubt very much it will be the last. As online consumers, we often hand over control of our personal data and content in exchange for the use of 'free'? services. I would argue that we do so, not because we are entirely unaware that data is being collected about us, but because we lack an understanding of the true value of our data as commodity in the marketplace. Because we lack an understanding of the ways in which big businesses monetize our privacy, we agree to an unfavorable 'privacy bargain' in which we (as consumers) assume all the risk. We perceive our involvement on Facebook to be low-risk because we evaluate the (potential) consequences of our actions in terms of the present day. What about the future? What about long-term control over our personal information and data? Returning to last week's 'privacy notice' episode on Facebook, I find it ironic that we declare a high value on our privacy but demonstrate through our online behaviors that we actually value privacy very little. As consumers, we need to think long and hard about the deals we make every day when we go and share content, online. What are your thoughts? Share with us by commenting below.

'It's Complicated'? with Retailers' Social Media

Do you have your credit number memorized because you are a frequent online buyer? No? Well, maybe your bank account is better off than mine. Nonetheless, online retail is at an all time high, with e-commerce sales Inc. 500 companies, the top three social media platforms with the most users are Facebook (74%), LinkedIn (73%), and Twitter (64%). These sites are great points of entry for retailers, but we don't suggest these be the only sites retailers should be utilizing, as it all depends on retailers' overall objectives and goals. One of the most common social media pitfalls is feeling the need to be present on all social channels available. It is important to remember all social media platforms are not created equal ' they differ in purpose, tone, and require different approaches. Not to mention the bandwidth issues associated with trying to manage multiple platforms is huge. Quality over quantity is a pretty good rule of thumb here. With sites like Pinterest gaining steam and Facebook attracting 500 million unique users monthly, here are a few tips for how to leverage your social media channels to drive retail: Reputation management. You can't ignore the fact that Facebook alone now has over 900 million users who may be talking about you, and there are a dozen other platforms that have over 100 million users, such as Twitter, LinkedIn and, Google+. You need to protect and grow your brand, so the first step is to know what's going on. The best defense is a good offense. Build your brand visibility to position yourself as an expert. Engaging in social media and blogging on a regular basis is a low-cost way to achieve visibility and become a thought leader for that topic and a voice that people trust in your industry. That's how you brand yourself as an expert in your niche and make your company the one that others seek out. Customers today trust those they know and those they see others trusting. This doesn't mean spamming users with articles and opinions. Generate thoughtful conversation and make use of imagery, which catches user attention. Increase customer leads and conversion. With most of the population now using social media, at least 30% of users look at business profiles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn before buying any product or service. Of those, approximate 70% said they wouldn't deal with a new company if it didn't have a social media presence. Having a presence doesn't mean having a dormant page. You need to make users feel special. Creating exclusive deals for fans and followers is a great way to drive traffic and increase conversion. Maximize customer retention. It's a well-known adage of business that efforts to retain existing customers have tremendous payback, compared to the costs of attracting new customers. Courting them with ongoing updates and special offers through their social networks is a natural way to keep their loyalty. Be Proactive.  Why not ask customers for feedback before there is a problem, and watch what they are telling their friends, both good and bad? The ability to monitor consumer tastes also grants access to a wealth of information that may help with product line planning and inventory. While social media does have the ability to drive sales and increases conversion rates from various platforms, it is first and foremost a forum for two-way communication between customers and retailers. It also presents a fast and cost-effective way to gather information about new markets. The bottom line is retailers need to determine the most appropriate platform to fulfill objectives and communicate business messages.

Reaching Teens through Social Media

'If you are not online, you are completely out of the loop ' you don't have a life, you don't really exist,'? is how one thirteen-year-old describes the importance of being online. For teens, it seems as if online is the new real world. Teens spend an average of 31 hours per week online and much of that time devoted to social networking. To get a better understanding of their social media usage, AMP conducted an online survey of 114 teens, ages 12 to 18. We found that social media consumes most aspects of teenagers' lives with no signs of stopping. In fact, 62% of teens report using Facebook more often this year than they had last year. This may be due to the fact that many consider social media to be more real than their real lives. For brands to have the greatest impact with teens on social media, they must cater to teens' online behavior. Where Teens Are Our findings uncover behaviors that brands can leverage to reach teens in this space. Facebook is by far the most often used social network with 91% of teens having an account. Furthermore, 86% of teens report that they like to get information about brands on Facebook. Youtube is the next most preferred site with 71% having an account, and 31% looking for brand interaction. Twitter follows in a close third with 50% having an account, and 25% wanting to tweet with brands. Brands should focus on communicating with teens on Facebook but also consider reaching teens on Twitter and YouTube, depending on which channel is most appropriate for their objectives. When Teens Are Online Between classes, sports, and part time jobs, teenagers lead busy lives. So, when should brands connect with teens? The sweet spot is between 2pm and 8pm. 79% of teens report that they typically are online after school, and 68% are online before bed. Although many teens log on in the morning (41%) and between classes (31%), speaking with them after school will allow for a more in-depth, meaningful interaction. What Teens Want from Brands To optimize interaction with teens, brands need to consider who teens are and what they want. It is important for brands to understand that teenagers "want a genuine experience, they want to be heard and recognized by the brand.'? For brands, this data suggests brands should not just continuously self promote. They should converse with teens, especially encouraging teens to include the brand's products in teenagers' status updates and pictures, as 63% of teens say posting status updates and pictures the main activity they do do on social media. It also allows brands to reach teens' online networks. 40% of teens have more than 300 Facebook friends, and 30% have more than 100 Twitter followers. So, these posts can be seen by a great number of other teens. When your brand is trying to reach the largest audience possible, it can be difficult to resist posting too much. The likelihood of being un'followed' or un'liked' is relatively low as 90% of teens have never un'followed' on Twitter, and 60% of teens have never un'liked' a brand on Facebook. However, it is important to build a positive relationship with teens, so try not to post too often. No matter how interesting the content, frequent posts come off as spam. 38% of teens consider it an annoyance to clog up their Facebook news feed, and 60% cited over-tweeting as a reason to un'follow' brands. Teens report that they do want to hear from brands about new products, coupons, promotions, and giveaways - just not six times in one day. Brands that understand where, when, and what to post will have the greatest impact on teens through social media.

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