Archived posts from the 'Blogging' Category

Ping the hell out of Technorati’s reputation algo

Ping your inbound links for technorati reputationIf your Technorati reputation factor sucks ass then read on, otherwise happily skip this post.

Technorati calculates a blog’s authority/reputation based on its link popularity, counting blogroll links from the linking blogs main pages as well as links within the contents of their posts. Links older than six months after their very first discovery don’t count.

Unfortunately, Technorati is not always able to find all your inbound links, usually because clueless bloggers forget to ping them, hence your blog might be undervalued. You can change that.

Compile a list of blogs that link to you and are unknown at Technorati, then introduce them below to a cluster ping orgy. Technorati will increase your authority rating after indexing those blogs.

Enter one blog home page URL per line, all lines properly delimited with a “\n” (new line, just hit [RETURN]; “\r” crap doesn’t work). And make sure that all these blogs have an auto-discovery link pointing to a valid feed in their HEAD section. Do NOT ping Technorati with post-URIs! Invest the time to click through to the blog’s main page and submit the blog-URI instead. Post-URI pings get mistaken for noise and trigger spam traps, that means their links will not  increase your Technorati authority/rank.

 

Results:


</p> <p style="color:red; font-weight:bolder;">It seems your user agent can&#8217;t ping Technorati. Go get a <a href="http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/">browser</a>.</p> <p>

Actually, this tool pings other services than Technorati too. Pingable contents make it on the SERPs, not only at Technorati.

If you make use of URL canonicalization routines that add a trailing slash to invalid URLs like http://example.com then make sure that you claim your blog at Technorati with the trailing slash.

Please note that this tool is experimental and expects a Web standard friendly browser. It might not work for you, and I’ll remove it if it gets abused.



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No more RSS feeds in Google’s search results

Google killing RSS feedsFolks try all sorts of naughty things when by accident a blog’s feed outranks the HTML version of a post. Usually that happened mostly to not that popular blogs, or with very old posts and categorized feeds that contain ancient articles.

The problem seems to be that Google’s Web search doesn’t understand the XML structure of feeds, so that a feed’s textual contents get indexed like stuff from text files. Due to “subscribe” buttons and other links, feeds can gather more PageRank than some HTML pages. Interestingly .xml is considered an unknown file type, and advanced search doesn’t provide a way to search within XML files.

Now that has changed1. Googler Bogdan Stănescu posts on the German Webmaster blog2 We remove feeds from our search results:

As Webmasters many of you were probably worried that your RSS or Atom feeds could outrank the accompanying HTML pages in Google’s search results. The emergence of feeds in our search results could be a poor user experience:

1. Feeds increase the probability that the user gets the same search result twice.

2. Users who click on the feed link on a SERP may miss out on valuable content, which is only available on the HTML page referenced in the XML file.

For these reasons, we have removed feeds from our Web search results - with the exception of podcasts (feeds with media files).

[…] We are aware that in addition to the podcasts out there some feeds exist that are not linked with an HTML page, and that is why it is not quite ideal to remove all feeds from the search results. We’re still open for feedback and suggestions for improvements to the handling of feeds. We look forward to your comments and questions in the crawling, indexing and ranking section of our discussion forum for Webmasters. [Translation mine]

I’m not yet sure whether or not that’s ending in a ban of all/most XML documents. I hope they suppress RSS/Atom feeds only, and provide improved ways to search for and within other XML resources.

So what does that mean for blog SEO? Unless Google provides a procedure to prevent feeds from accumulating PageRank whilst allowing access for blog search crawlers that request feeds (I believe something like that is in the works), it’s still a good idea to nofollow all feed links, but there’s absolutely no reason to block them in robots.txt any more.

I think that’s a great move into the right direction, but a preliminary solution, though. The XML structure of feeds isn’t that hard to parse, and there are only so many ways to extract the URL of the HTML page. Then when a relevant feeds lands in a raw result set, Google should display a link to the HTML version on the SERP. What do you think?


1 Danny reminded me that according to Matt Cutts that’s going on for a few months now.

2 24 hours later Google published the announcement in English language too.



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Nominate a red crab in the 2007 Search Blog Awards!

Nominate the red SEO crabToday Loren asked for selfish nominations, thus everybody posts a call for action.
So did I:

• Best search related pamphlets
I hereby selfishly submit my blog.

To no avail:

Sebastian, we’re not going to have a category for Best Pamphlets, but good try :)

There’s no such thing as a Best Crabby Search Pamphlets category just because my blog would be the sole candidate? Ok, I understand that. Really. I didn’t even swear. Yet.

So here’s my call for action. Nominate your favorite blog (that’s mine of course!) in any of the following categories that match:

  • Best SEO Blog
    You’d expect more marketing stuff from an SEO blog.
  • Best SEM Blog
    You’d expect even more marketing stuff, as well as PPC and whatnot. I suck on both.
  • Best SEO Plugin for Wordpress
    I never wrote a WordPress plugin. Actually, this year I hate WordPress because they messed up the database structure in version 2.3 without providing any documentation or at least a reasonable migration procedure. Also their coding standards suck ass and make me puke whenever I see WordPress code.
  • Best Search Agency Resource Blog
    My employers don’t blog.
  • Best Link Building Blog
    Link building pamphlets are rare nowadays.
  • Best Social Media Marketing or Optimization Blog
    I don’t game social media.
  • Best Local Search Blog
    I’m happy when I find my shoes before I leave the house, hence I can’t give any advice on local search.
  • Best Video Search Blog
    I watch x-rated videos only. Probably posting geeky clips doesn’t qualify me.
  • Best Mobile Search Blog
    When I’m on the road I usually search until I give up and ask a cabby for an escort. Cheating this way makes sure I’m not always too late, but doesn’t qualify me for mobile search consultancy.
  • Best Google Blog Not Owned by Google
    I’m not in Google news.
  • Best Search Engine Corporate Blog (owned by the search engines)
    Although I’ve developed a tiny search engine years ago, I fear that smutty results don’t count.
  • Best Contextual Advertising Blog
    My organic traffic is cheaper, and probably as reliable as PPC campaigns.
  • Best Affiliate Marketing Blog
    I sold two Seobook subscriptions recently, does that count?
  • Best Search Engine Community/Forum
    I visit Sphinn and the Google Webmaster forum and never will launch a new forum again.
  • Best New Search Engine of 2007
    See above.
  • Best Search Engine Research Blog
    I revealed that Microsoft plans to relaunch Live Search as porn affiliate program, why eBay and Wikipedia rule Google’s SERPs, and more SEO research like that.
  • Best Search Linkbait of 2007
    When I try it, folks bury it.
  • Breakout Blog of 2007
    I’m blogging since 2005 but moved my blog away from blogspot this year.
  • Best Search Conference Coverage of 2007
    I don’t even attend conferences.
  • Best Search Conference Coverage in Photos
    See above.
  • Best Search Marketing Facebook Group
    Facebook killed my account for spamming or so.
  • Most Giving Search Blogger
    I can’t give away a fraction of Bill Slawski’s great insights.
  • Best Independent Search Blog (not owned by media company or marketing agency)
    What does that mean? Ok, I’m in.
  • Best Search Blog Post of 2007
    I wrote a dull book on redirects, and more.

Oh well. Instead of nominating my stuff better convince Search Engine Journal that they really need a Crabby Pamphlets Category. Or try Category #16 at Performancing.

Update December/28/2007: YAY! Thank you all! Now you can vote for my pamphlets in the “Best SEO Blog of 2007″ category at the SEJ Search Blog Award 2007 contest. Here are the candidates:

It truly is an honor just to be nominated together with these great SEO bloggers.



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BlogCatalog needs professional help

BlogCatalog DevilA while ago I helped BlogCatalog to fix an issue with their JavaScript click tracking that Google considered somewhat crappy. The friendly BlogCatalog guys said thanks, and since then joining BC was on my ToDo-list because it seemed to be a decent service.

Recently I missed my cute red crab icon in a blog’s sidebar widget, realized that it’s powered by BlogCatalog and not MyBlogLog, so I finally signed up.

Roughly 24 hours later I was quite astonished as I received this email:

BlogCatalog - Submission Declined: Sebastian´s Pamphlets

Dear Sebastian,

Thank you for submitting your blog Sebastian`s Pamphlets (http://sebastians-pamphlets.com/) to BlogCatalog.

Unfortunately upon reviewing your blog we are unable to grant it access to the directory.

Your blog was declined for the following reason:

* You did not add a link back to Blog Catalog from your website.
To add a link visit: http://www.blogcatalog.com/buttons.php

If you believe this to be a mistake, you can login to Blog Catalog ( http://www.blogcatalog.com/blogs/manage_blog.html ) and change anything which may have caused it to get declined. After updating your blog, it will be put back into the submission queue.

If you have any questions/comments/suggestions/ideas please feel free to contact us.

Thanks,
BlogCatalog

Crap on, I followed the instructions on http://www.blogcatalog.com/buttons.php:

Meta Tag Verification

Id you’d rather not add a link back to BlogCatalog you can alternatively copy the meta tag listed below and paste it in your site’s home page in the first <head> section of the page, before the first <body> section.

<meta name=”blogcatalog” content=”9BC8674180″ />

It’s laughable to talk about the “first HEAD section” because an HTML file can have only one. Also having more than one BODY section is certainly not compliant to any standard. But bullshit aside, they clearly state that they’re fine with a meta tag if a blogger refuses to add a reciprocal link or even a pile of server sided code that slows down each and every page.

If I remember correctly, BC folks accused of hoarding PageRank defended their policy with statements like

I should quickly clear up that we provide also widgets and meta tags to verify ownership for anyone who doesn’t want to link back to us. We understand PageRank is sacred to many of our bloggers and give them the options to preserve their PR. [emphasis mine, also I’ve removed typos]

Not that I care much about PageRank leaks, but I never link to directories. And why should I when they can verify my submission in other ways?

Obviously, BlogCatalog staff can’t be bothered to view my home page’s source code, and they’ve no scripts capable to find the meta tag
<meta name=”blogcatalog” content=”9BC8674180″ />

in my one and only and therefore first HEAD section.

The meta tag verification is somewhat buried on the policy page, it looks like BlogCatalog chases inbound links no matter what it costs. Dear BlogCatalog, in my case it costs reputation. You guys don’t really think that I send you a private message so that you can silently approve the declined sign up, don’t you? I’m pretty sure that you treat others the same way. Either dump the meta tag verification, or play by your very own rules.

It seems to me that BlogCatalog needs more professional advice from bright consultants (scroll down to Andy’s full disclosure).

Update: A few hours after publishing this post my submission got approved.



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BlogRush amoebas ban high quality blogs in favor of crap

Whilst blogs like The Tampon Blog are considered “high quality” by clueless amoebas hired by BlogRush, many great blogs like Tamar’s were banned by the Reeve gang.

In my book that qualifies BlogRush as a full blown scam. If it’s not a scam, it’s an amateurish operation intended to hoodwink bloggers at least. Hiring low-life surfers for 12 bucks per hour to judge the quality of blogs talking about topics the average assclown on BlogRush’s payroll cannot understand is ridiculous, if not a sign of criminal intent. Here is how they hire their amoebas:

We’re looking to hire a bunch of people that would like to earn some extra cash. If you or someone you know might be interested, please forward this message to them. This would be perfect for a stay-at-home mom, college student, or anyone else looking to make some extra money.

All that’s required is sitting in front of their computer and doing the following…

Login to our Review System with an account we will setup for them. There will be a top “frame” control strip that has a few buttons:

“Approve” “Reject” and “Not Sure.”

The bottom frame will automatically load a blog that needs to be reviewed. After reviewing the blog, just press the appropriate button. That’s it.

* We have created a little training video to teach reviewers what to look for and how to decide what gets approved or rejected. It’s very simple.

After pushing one of the buttons the next blog to be reviewed automatically loads in that bottom frame. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s The Deal…

We’re paying USD $12.00/hour for this review work. It’s not a fortune, but it’s a pretty simple task. Heck, just put on some music and sit back and review some blogs. Pretty easy work. :-)

I’m not pissed because they rejected me and lots of other great blogs. I’m not even pissed because they sent emails like

Congratulations! You are receiving this update because your blog has passed our strict Quality Guidelines and criteria — we believe you have a high-quality blog and we are happy you’re a member of our network!

to blogs which didn’t even bother to put up their crappy widget. I’m pissed because they constantly lie and cheat:

We’ve just completed a massive SWEEP of our entire network. We’ve removed over *10,000* blogs (Yes, ten thousand) that did not meet our new Quality Guidelines.

We have done a huge “quality control audit” of our network and have
reviewed all the blogs one-at-a-time. We will continue to review each
NEW blog that is ever submitted to our network.

You will notice the HUGE DIFFERENCE in the quality of blogs that now
appear in your widget. This major *sweep* of our network will also
increase the click-rates across the entire network and you will start
to receive more traffic.

They still do not send any|much traffic to niche blogs, they still get cheated, and they still have tons of crap in their network. They still overpromise and underdeliver. There’s no such thing as a “massive amount of targeted traffic” sent by BlogRush.

The whole BlogRush operation is a scam. Avoid BlogRush like the plague.

BlogRush's pile of crapUpdate: Here is one of John Reeve’s lame excuses, posted in reply to a “reviewed and dumped by BlogRush idiots” post on John Cow’s blog. A laughable pile of bullcrap, politely put.

John Reese from BlogRush here.

I am not sure why your blog wasn’t approved by the reviewer that reviewed your blog. (We have a team of reviewers.) From what I can tell, your blog passes our guidelines. I’m not sure if the reviewer loaded your blog on a day where your primary post(s) were heavy on the promotional side or not — that’s just a guess of what might have influenced them.

You have my email address from this comment. Please contact me directly (if you wish) and I will investigate the issue for you and see about reactivating your account.

AND FOR THE RECORD…

No one is being BANNED from BlogRush. If any account doesn’t have any approved blogs, the account is moved to an “inactive” status until changes are made or until another blog that meets our guidelines gets approved. Nothing happens to referrals or an account’s referral network; they are left completely intact and as soon as the account is “active” again everything returns to the way it was.

* I just found out that your pingback message was deleted by one of our blog moderators because we don’t want any comments (or pingbacks) showing up for that main post. A few childish users started posting profanity and other garbage that was getting past our filters and we needed to shut it off for now.

There’s no “conspiracy theory” happening. In fact, we’ve been incredibly transparent and honest ever since we launched — openly admitting to mistakes that we’ve made and what we planned to do about them.

~John



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One out of many sure-fire ways to avoid blog comments

ranting on idiotic comment form designsIf your name is John Doe and you don’t blog this rant is not for you, because you don’t suffer from truncated form field values. Otherwise check here whether you annoy comment authors on your blog or not. “Annoy” is the polite version by the way, I’m pissed on 99% of the blogs I read. It took me years to write about this issue eventually. Today I had enough.

Look at this form designed especially for John Doe (john@doe.com) at http://doe.com/, then duplicated onto all blogs out there, and imagine you’re me going to comment on a great post:

I can’t view what I’ve typed in, and even my browser’s suggested values are truncated because the input field is way too narrow. Sometimes I leave post-URLs with a comment, so when I type in the first characters of my URL, I get a long list of shortened entries from which I can’t select anything. When I’m in a bad mood I swear and surf on without commenting.

I’ve looked at a fair amount of WordPress templates recently, and I admit that crappy comment forms are a minor issue with regard to the amount of duplicated hogwash most theme designers steal from each other. However, I’m sick of crappy form usability, so I’ve changed my comment form today:

Now the input fields should display the complete input values in most cases. My content column is 500 pixels wide, so size="42" leaves enough space when a visitor surfs with bigger fonts enlarging the labels. If with very long email addresses or URLs that’s not enough, I’ve added title attributes and onchange triggers which display the new value as tooltip when the visitors navigates to the next input field. Also I’ve maxed out the width of the text area. I hope this 60 seconds hack improves the usability of my comment form.

When do you fire up your editor and FTP client to make your comment form convenient? Even tiny enhancements can make your visitors happier.



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How to get the perfect logo for your blog

When I moved my blog from blogspot to this domain, using my avatar image (which I’ve dropped at tons of places) in the blog’s logo was a natural thing to do. It’s somewhat unique in my atmosphere, it helps folks to remember my first name, and branding with an image in a signal color like red fitted my marketing instincts.

My red crab avatarNow the bad news. A few days later my 5yo daughter taught me that it was not exactly clever. She got a Disney video she wanted to watch with me, and (not so much to my surprise) my blog’s logo was one of the kingpins. Way back when I got the image from a freelance designer, I didn’t think about copyright issues, because I planned to use the image only as thumbnail respectively icon connecting my name to a rememberable picture (of the little mermaid’s crab Sebastian). The bigger version on top of all pages here however had way too much similarities with the Disney character.

Kinda dilemma. Reverting to a text logo was no option. Fortunately I click new home page links on all of my comments, so I remembered that not long ago a blogging cartoonist submitted a note to one of my posts. I wrote an email telling him that I need a new red crab, he replied with a reasonable quote, thus I ordered the logo design. Long story short, I was impressed by his professional attitude, and now you can admire his drawing skills at my blog’s header and footer as well.

Before I bore you with the longish story of my red crab, think of your (blog’s) branding. Do you have a unique logo? Is it compelling and rememberable? If you put it on a page along with 100+ icons gathered from your usual hangouts, will its thumbnail stick out? Does it represent you, your business, your niche, or whatever you blog for? Do you brand yourself at all? Why not? Do it.

Look at a few very popular marketing blogs and follow the authors to their hangouts. You’ll spot that they make consistent use of their individual logos respectively avatars. That’s not coincidence, that’s professionalism. For the records, you can become a rockstar without a logo. If you’re Vanessa Fox or John Andrews you get away with frequently changing icons and even NSFW domain names. However, a conspicuous and witty logo makes branding easier, but a logo is not your brand.

Become creative, but please don’t use a red Disney character known as Sebastian as avatar, or red crabs at all, because I’ve trademarked that. Ok, if you can imagine a cartoonized logo might fit your blog, then read on.

Red crab - rough draft 1As order confirmation Steven from Clangnuts sent me his first ideas asking whether he’s on the right track or not. Indeed he was, and I liked it. Actually, I liked it a lot.

Red crab - rough draft 2Shortly after my reply I got the next previews. Steven had nicely worked in my few wishes. He even showed me with an edited screen shot how the new red crab would look in my blog’s header in variations (manually colored vs. photoshop colored). It looked great.

Finally he sent me four poses to choose from. Bummer. I liked all of them:
My red crab - 4 versions
I picked the first, and got the colored version today. Thanks Steven, you did a great job! I hereby declare that when you need an outstanding logo for your blog you better contact Steven at Clangnuts dot com before you fire up photoshop yourself.

What do you think, is #1 the best choice? Feel free to vote in the comments!



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Share Your Sphinn Love!

Sphinn RockstarsDonna started a meme with a very much appreciated compliment - Thanks Donna! Like me she discovered a lot of “new” folks at Sphinn and enjoyed their interesting blogs.

Savoring Sphinn comes with a duty Donna thinks, so she appeals to share the love. She’s right. All of us benefit from Sphinn love, it’s only fair to spread it a little. However, picking only three people I’d never have come accross without Danny’s newest donation to the Internet marketing community is a tough task. Hence I wrote a long numbered list and diced. Alea iacta est. Here are three of the many nice people I met at Sphinn:

Hamlet Batista Tadeusz Szewczyk Tinu Abayomi-Paul
Hamlet Batista Tadeusz Szewczyk Tinu Abayomi-Paul
Blog Blog Blog
Feed Feed Feed
A post I like A post I like A post I like

To those who didn’t make it on this list: That’s just kismet, not bad karma! I bet you’ll appear in someone’s share the sphinn love post in no time.

To you three: Get out your sphinn love post and choose three sphinners writing a feed-worthy blog, preferably people not yet featured elsewhere. I’ve subscribed to a couple feeds of blogs discovered at Sphinn, and so did you. There’s so much great stuff at Sphinn that you’re spoilt for choice.



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If you’re not an Amway millionaire avoid BlogRush like the plague!

Do not click BlogRush affiliate links before you’re fully awake. Oh no, you did it … now praise me because I’ve sneakily disabled the link and read on.
BlogRush

    My BlogRush Summary:

  1. You won’t get free targeted traffic to your niche blog.
  2. You’ll make other people rich.
  3. You’ll piss off your readers.
  4. You’ll promote BlogRush and get nothing in return.
  5. You shouldn’t trust a site fucking up the very first HTTP request.
  6. Pyramid schemes just don’t work for you.

You won’t get free targeted traffic to your niche blog

The niches you can choose from are way too broad. When you operate a niche blog like mine, you can choose “Marketing” or “Computers & Internet”. Guess what great traffic you gain with headlines about elegant click tracking or debunking meta refresh myths from blogs selling MySpace templates to teens or RFID chips to wholesalers? In reality you get hits via blogs selling diet pills to desperate housewives (from my referrer stats!) or viagra to old age pensioners, if you see a single BlogRush referrer in your stats at all. (I’ve read a fair amount of the hype about actually targeted headline delivery in BlogRush widgets. I just don’t buy it from what I see on blogs I visit.)

You’ll make other people rich

Look at the BlogRush widget in your or my sidebar, then visit lots of other niche blogs which are focused more or less on marketing related topics. All these widgets carry ads for generic marketing blogs pitching just another make me rich on the Internet while I sleep scheme or their very own affiliate programs. These blogs, all early adopters, will hoard BlogRush’s traffic potentials. Even if you can sign up at the root to place you at the top of the pyramid referral structure, you can’t avoid that the big boys with gazillions of owed impressions in BlogRush’s “marketing” queue dominate all widgets out there, your’s included. (I heard that John Reese will try to throw a few impressions on tiny blogs before niche bloggers get upset. I doubt that will be enough to keep his widgets up.)

You’ll piss off your readers

Even if some of your readers recognize your BlogRush widget, they’ll wonder why you recommend totally unrelated generic marketing gibberish on your nicely focused blog. Yes, every link you put on your site is a recommendation. You vouch for this stuff when you link out, even when you don’t control the widget’s content. Read Tamar’s Why the Fuss about BlogRush? to learn why this clutter is useless for your visitors. Finally, the widget slows your site down and your visitors hate long loading times.

You’ll promote BlogRush and get nothing in return

When you follow the advice handed out by BlogRush and pitch their service with posts and promotional links on your blog, then you help BlogRush to skyrocket at the search engines. That will bring them a lot of buzz, but you get absolute nothing for your promotional efforts because your referrer link doesn’t land on the SERPs.

You shouldn’t trust a site fucking up the very first HTTP request

Ok, that’s a geeky issue and you don’t need to take it very seriously. Request your BlogRush affiliate link with a plain user agent not accepting cookies or executing client sided scripting, then read the headers. BlogRush does a 302 redirect to their home page rescuing your affiliate ID in an unclosed base href directive. Chances are you’ll never get the promised credits from upsold visitors using uncommon user agents respectively browser settings, because they don’t manage their affiliate traffic properly.

Pyramid schemes just don’t work for you

Unfortunately, common sense is not as common as you might think. I’m guilty of that too, but I’ll leave my widget up for a while to monitor what it brings in. The promise of free traffic is just too alluring, and in fact you can’t lose much. If you want, experiment with it and waste some ad space, but pull it once you’ve realized that it’s not worth it.

Disclaimer

This post was inspired by common sense, experience of life, and a shitload of hyped crap posts on Sphinn’s upcoming list where folks even created multiple accounts to vote their BlogRush sales pitches to the home page. If anything I’ve said here is not accurate or at least plausible, please submit a comment to set the records straight.



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The anatomy of a debunking post

Read this post at Internet HungerCurrently blogging about blogging is not exactly my agenda here. That does not mean I don’t think about it, so perhaps I’ll add this category some day.

Meanwhile please read my guest post the anatomy of a debunking post at Tanner Christensen’s blog Internet Hunger. I hope you’ll enjoy it, and stay tuned for an article by Tanner here.

 



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