BizSite Blog

Want To Get Noticed On The Internet? Heres How!

Carlfred Giles - Monday, June 24, 2013

 

The internet has changed the face of marketing. The ease in which it allows you to reach a worldwide audience is like nothing the world has seen before. So how can you use internet marketing to your advantage? This article will give you some great tips on how to get the most out of internet marketing.


An important tip regarding Internet marketing is to be sure that your site is not only viewable, but also user friendly to mobile devices. This is important with the popularity of smart phones, and the amount of web browsing that people use them for. Allow for easy page transitions and be sure that your content uses a low amount of bandwidth.

When a new customer purchases from your website, always show your appreciation. If you follow up with a "thank you" email with a personalized list of products they might also be interested in, you can remind new customers to return in the future and possibly compel more sales. Follow up with regular customers every few months as well.

Do not get caught up in trying to build your email list as large as you can get it. Numbers are good, but what's more significant is the quality of those subscribers on your list. Are they just a bunch of readers who won't remember you the next time you send out an email, or are they people who have a genuine interest in your niche?

When it comes to having the most informed customers you can in Internet business, it is important that you work to create a thorough FAQ section on your site. Even if you're only selling one or two products, include information about payments, returns, complaints, and other information your customers need to know.

Take advantage of the search engines, in order to find out who is linking to you. Many search engines have special codes that you can type before the website, which will give you different information. For example, typing "link:" before including your URL, will give you a list of all of the websites that are linking to yours.

If you have a linking system going on with other websites, make sure to check them frequently. The Internet is never constant, so sites come and go and sometimes, even change completely. Make sure that your links work and link to where they're supposed to so that your customers do not become irritated.

Replace banners by button ads. Buttons take less space and are much quicker to load. Make sure your buttons are attractive and present clearly what they redirect to. Do not have all your buttons in one area: place them in different parts of your pages. Use banner ads for your most important products only.

Re-evaluate your website periodically. What's working? What's outdated? What can be changed? Don't keep your website the same, because visitors have no way of knowing what is current information and what no longer applies. Making changes and freshening up things a bit keeps visitors aware that there is someone there, and that can build interest in what you have in store for them.

Always make sure that you're including useful content when you update your site or blog. Clean, professional-looking content is a must, but it must also be very helpful. Give away some tips, some new product information, or something similar in order to make your customers feel as if they're getting something for nothing.

The internet is an incredible tool, and anyone marketing a site, service, or product should use it to its fullest advantage. Now that you've read this article, you know a variety of tips and tricks to get great results from your internet marketing. Don't underestimate the internet. You'll be amazed at what it can do for you.

Benefits of using Google Places

Carlfred Giles - Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reach millions of Google users, quickly and for free, with Google Places

More people search for businesses online than anywhere else, so it's important to make sure your local business listing can be easily found on Google.com and Google Maps. With Google Places, creating a great listing takes just a few minutes and doesn’t cost a thing.

Edit your listing and speak for yourself

Your business probably already shows up on Google, but you should still verify your listing and make sure its details are accurate and thorough. Your improvements will start appearing soon after you verify them through Google Places. Also, you can add notifications

Practical and easy to manage

Your Google local business listing is an easy way to maintain an online presence even if you don’t have a website. You can visit Google Places anytime to edit your information or see how many people have seen and clicked on your listing.

Premium options, all for free

Make your listing really shine with photos and videos; custom categories like your service area, brands you sell and how to find parking; and coupons to encourage customers to make a first-time or repeat purchase.

Create your listing today using Google Places by following the walkthrough below.

Signing up for Google Places is simple

If you own a business, you probably know the basics. You can add extras like photos and descriptions if you have them handy, or come back to add them later.

At the end of the sign-up, we'll ask you to verify your submission by phone or postcard. We do this to make sure that only the right people are able to change any public data about your business.

Okay, let's learn more about getting started on Google Places!

 

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The Most Important Question to Answer Before You Build Your Website

Carlfred Giles - Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Building a website can be fun. You’re putting your company out there for people all over the world to see. You get to tell others about your passion. You get share your service with the rest of the world. You get to SELL and make $$$!

Everyone needs a website. Years ago when telephones came about they were quickly adopted by businesses as the first means of customer contact. Today, would you open a business without a telephone? Of course not!  And so it now goes with websites. Websites legitimize your business and are the first thing people go to when trying to find your service (and for those of you still using a phone book, check out Google Places…)

 

So what’s the first thing you should do before creating your site?

Ask yourself why you need it.

Occasionally the simple answer is “just because everybody else has one”. If that’s your answer, then you need a brochure site. A brochure site is an information website that provides basic data about your business. Usually it has pictures, hours of operation, services provided, and contact info. Brochure websites can be REALLY cool – surely you’ve browsed through ours…

However, most companies if they really think about it, can use their website for more. MUCH more. And THIS is the most important question of all:How can I get the most use out of my website?”

 

Some obvious ways to maximize your site:


  • Calendar of events

  • Collect potential customer contact data

  • Take customer sign ups/waiting lists


But let’s go a step further and think about your business specifically: are you a church? Warehouse? Insurance agent? Hydraulic company? A cleaning service? What are the things that take the most administrative time and how can they be automated so that the public can help themselves? Do you get phone calls all the time asking what’s on your menu? Post it online. Does your secretary spend most of her time rescheduling appointments? Let clients do it themselves from your site. Is your cash flow slow at the first of each month because customers forget to pay? Make it easy for them by accepting payments online. Think of what would make your world perfect and easy, and start with that!

 

Other ideas for good use of your website:

  • Message boards

  • Payment collections

  • Customer/Product reviews

  • Appointment scheduling

  • Account login

  • Sell products/services

Instead of trying to model your website after your competitor, think about how you can make a website do a little extra work for you. And if you get us to design the site, you won’t have to worry about it looking as good as your competitor…it will look better…

5 Questions to Ask Your Web Developer

Carlfred Giles - Monday, May 13, 2013

Building a website can be a lot like putting together a jigsaw puzzle--sometimes the picture looks good, but when you look closely, pieces are in the wrong places. A website might function, but as soon as you make a change or an update, the picture falls apart.

How do you avoid hiring a designer or developer that builds a website like this? Here are some questions you can ask and some feedback to help you understand their answers.

1. What web standards do they follow?
This is a great question that will fluster someone who doesn't have standards. What are web standards? This is the way of designing and coding a website that allows the website to grow with technology and the web visitor. This means using clean code and technologies like:

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): a simple mechanism for adding style like fonts, colors, and spacing to web pages
XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language): a markup language that has the same depth of expression as HTML, but also conforms to XML syntax
ECMA Scripts: the standard version of JavaScript used on most web browsers.

You don't have to know how to write the languages; you just have to know what the standards are to understand the answer.

A simple way to help you connect to this question is to remember that people online don't all use the same web browser or operating system. Designing and developing to standards gives your website the ability to look and function the way it should on different platforms.

2. Do they design for SEO best practices?
It's no secret today that everyone wants a website that can be found on search engines. Implementing search engine optimization may not be what you want your designer or developer to do for you; however, how your site is designed or coded can affect your strategy when you are ready. When you interview developers, this is a great question to ask and see if the person you're interviewing is familiar with how to code to meet SEO standards. Here are a few items that affect SEO best practices:

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets): Designing a website to meet SEO best practices means using style sheets to cut down on the amount of code on your web page. Search engines like text, not code.
Script files: When you use dynamic items on your site like image galleries or mouse-over menus, usually these are created through JavaScript. To follow proper SEO standards, script files should be created for pages instead of having the script on your web page.
Web page content: Your text or content should be on the page as much as possible this can even include your website navigation. There are ways to make text visually appealing without having the designer put it inside an image. Images that contain words are not picked up as content by search engines.

If SEO is a strategy you are considering down the line, it's a good idea to make sure your site will be built with this strategy in mind.

3. How do they plan for change or growth?
One of the most stressful lessons learned is that the website you built yesterday will not allow you to grow tomorrow. Being told you have to start over is one of those statements every business owner can't bear to hear. Before you begin, ask the question, "Does the technology you're using allow me to grow or add additional functions?" You may even want to take this further and think about tools you'd want to add down the line. You can also ask designers or developers to provide you with a brief list of tools they have already integrated with sites like yours. This allows you not only the opportunity to see if they are knowledgeable, but also whether they're supportive in providing you with ideas.

4. How do they test their work?
As I mentioned above, not all of your consumers use the same technology. But to ensure things are operating the way they should or displaying correctly, web developer need to test their work. This issue might seem trivial, but you'd be surprised how many firms only test for one web browser. I recommend you ask specifically what web browsers and versions they test for during the development process. If you're building an online community, social or e-commerce website, testing is an important part of your success. Secure payment gateways need to be tested in a real environment. Be sure to get the specifics of what your firm considers to be part of a test phase and what it's being held accountable for after the website has gone live.

5. How do they handle support requests?
After a website has officially launched inevitably there will be a problem--it's technology; it happens. The question you want to know before you put pen to contract is how does your new firm handle support or bugs--technical hiccups with the website? Every firm will approach this differently, so pay close attention to how it phrase its response and commitment.

Building a website depending on the functions you need can be a lot like putting a puzzle together. The key to success is finding the right firm who understands the pieces that need to come together for your business.

68 Percent of Small Businesses Plan to Increase Marketing Spending in 2013

Carlfred Giles - Friday, January 25, 2013

 

 

 97% of small businesses plan to increase spending (68%) or spend the same amount (29%) on marketing in 2013.
Increased Marketing Spending is Planned by Majority of Small Businesses In 2013

Results from a recent survey found that a majority of small businesses plan to increase their marketing spending in 2013 (68%), and 29% plan to spend the same amount. And, the results reveal that along with an increase in spending, small businesses will, naturally, increase their use of many marketing channels. The marketing channel that small businesses intend to increase their use of the most is e-mail, with 85% of those small businesses that responded indicating that they plan to increase their use of e-mail as a marketing channel. Other channels that small businesses plan to increase their use of include: their business website (74%), blogging (72%), Facebook (70%), online advertising (66%) and Twitter (58%). Given the decline of print media over the past decade, it is not too surprising that only 22% of the respondents indicated that they will increase their use of print advertising in the coming year.

How Much Time Do Small Businesses Currently Spend on Marketing Activities?

Currently, according to the survey results, nearly 25% of small businesses spend four or more hours per week on e-mail marketing, and more than 27% spend four or more hours marketing on Facebook (interestingly, 12.5% spend 7+ hours). For those small businesses that use their business website as a marketing channel, nearly 34% spend four or more hours per week working on their website. Marketing by blogging also takes four or more hours of time per week for nearly 30% of small business owners. However, Twitter is not such a time drain – of the small businesses that use Twitter for marketing purposes, more than half (52%) spend less than one hour on it per week, and less than 10% spend more than four hours using it per week. Who is spending this time? For 88% of the small businesses that responded to BizSite Solutions the Owner or CEO primarily fulfills the marketing function.

5 Must-Read Marketing Books

Carlfred Giles - Sunday, December 30, 2012

Do you need a good read that will help you expand your career and business efforts? The New Year is the perfect time to pick up something new! If you’re a business owner or marketer who would like to pack something with a bit more substance into your suitcase or beach bag, consider these five must-read marketing books...

1. The NOW Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social by Jay Baer and Amber Naslund

Instead of simply describing how to graft social media onto an existing marketing strategy, authors Baer and Naslund focus on changing organizations to respond more quickly to new developments. They argue that taking too much time to make informed business decisions about real-time crises can lead to extinction and provide seven shifts that can help a business move faster and smarter while becoming more social. The book’s format is highly interactive (especially its Kindle version) and provides real-life examples and advice.

2. Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd by Youngme Moon

Described as a business book for people who don’t read business books, Different offers a unique combination of wit, insight, and compelling storytelling. Dr. Moon, a popular professor at Harvard Business School, looks at how some familiar brands like Apple, Ikea, and Harley Davidson have used product differentiation and unconventional marketing to break away from the competitive herd and transform their products into something new in the eyes of consumers.

3. Social Media and Public Relations: 8 New Practices for the PR Professional by Deirdre Breakenridge

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide to gaining the social media skills needed by PR professionals, this is a good place to start. Breakenridge, a PR veteran and author who has worked with Fortune 500 companies, describes eight social media skills and mindsets that are needed for various PR jobs. Useful tips and strategies that target both PR novices and pros are presented in a straightforward, textbook-like style.

4. Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Every professional can benefit from a professional network. Trust Agents describes how businesses and individuals can use social media tools to enhance their online reputation, foster trust, and build a positive brand image. Brogan and Smith are social media experts who espouse the idea that being helpful, establishing relationships and building trust online is the best way to leverage social media. Case studies that show the power of trust are included and actionable steps for using social media to earn trust are described in detail.

5. Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead: What Every Business Can Learn from the Most Iconic Band in History by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan

Youthful marketers are probably not familiar with the impact of the Grateful Dead on the music industry. Originating in San Francisco in the psychedelic ’60s, the Dead held the record as the top-grossing concert band for many years despite their lack of chart-topping hits. Scott and Halligan describe how these music pioneers used bootleg albums, direct mail, and the establishment of a Deadhead culture to build a dedicated community of fans. The authors then tie the Dead’s marketing strategy to today’s social media tools and describe how businesses can learn from the band’s success.

This article was written by Social Media Outreach Coordinator Harrison Kratz on behalf of CAREEREALISM-Approved Partner, 2tor — an education technology company that partners with institutions of higher education such as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to deliver a one of the top MBA programs online.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

 

Online Video Advertising formats – banner video and in banner video vs. pre roll

Carlfred Giles - Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Ahh, the great debate. What form of online video advertising is more valuable or effective – pre-roll or video banner/in banner video?

Let’s first define the two formats.:

Sample in-banner video ad

In-banner is an actual banner ad (generally 300×250 pixels) that is a video player, that is, something not unlike an embed YouTube video which requires a push to play (very few publishers will allow auto-play videos to load on a page.)

Pre-roll is the :15 or :30 second video ads that play before a piece of video content. Hulu is making these famous, an example of which we’ve posted below:

Let’s explore the measurable elements of any advertising asset and score points for one or the other.

1. Click-through

Both in-banner video ads and pre-roll require that a viewer push “play” to engage the ad. This presents a unique challenge and/or opportunity for video ads, in that static banner ads require one click to be redirected to the advertisers’ site. With video ads, regardless of format, there is a “two click” conversion required – first, clicking to watch the video, and second, clicking from the ad to the advertisers site.

Rarely are pre-roll ads “interactive”, in that they can actually present a viewer the ability to click to a website being advertised in the ad. In-banner video ads, on the other hand, can easily use interactive elements to allow for real time clicking to a third party site.

1 point for in-banner ads

2. Impression value

Pre-roll ads are the first thing a viewer sees when they push play on a video player. They are priced higher then standard banner ads because there really is no waste – an impression is delivered and odds are the viewer sees the ad every time.

In-banner video ads, on the other hand, are charge on an impression basis just like standard banner ads – meaning each time the page is loaded, an impression is delivered. The banner could be below the fold and never displayed to the viewer, and an impression will be cannibalized. This creates waste and potentially a lot fewer views relative to impressions.

1 point for pre-roll

3. Engagement

A video banner can be highly engaging but can also be poorly executed – it really depends on the content. Most studies (including one by Forrester Research) show that pre-roll ads are generally annoying to viewers, and most would rather not have to sit through them. They didn’t “choose” to view the ad (they choose to view the video content) whereas a viewer would actually “choose” to view an in-banner ad simply by pressing play. Click-thru rates on pre-roll ads are down, suggesting that viewers are perhaps tiring of them and they way they are used.

Another intangible is the notion that viewers clicking on in-banner video ads don’t actually realize what they are clicking is in fact an advertisement. Using this line of thinking, in-banner video ads actually “sneak up” on the viewer, and could wow them if done well, or really upset them.

We call a tie on this one – 1 point to each

4. Pricing

We’ve seen pre-roll ad CPMs as high as $50. In-banner video ads can be delivered at the same rates as traditional banner ads. They don’t require a publisher to be set up with an ad network that delivers pre-roll; in most cases you could even just use a YouTube player as your in-banner asset (though not recommended for branding purposes.)

Compare an average pre-roll CPM of around $20-$25 to a in-banner of around $5-$10, and clearly there’s an affordability factor at play. Again, you have the potential waste of impressions with in-banner vs almost all pre-roll ads being seen for at least a few seconds (great return on your per-impression spend), so we’ll give the edge to pre-roll on this one.

1 point pre-roll

Final score: Pre-roll 3, in-banner video 2.

At Zpop Media, we work only with in banner video ads, so there’s no stuffing the box here. Our perspective on this subject may change, but perhaps this is why, in a study done by YuMe video advertising network, 96.2% of all online video ads served from Jan-Nov 2009 were pre-roll, while only 0.1% were in banner.

Responsive Web Design

Carlfred Giles - Monday, April 23, 2012

Responsive web design term is related to the concept of developing a website design in a manner, that helps the lay out to get changed according to the user’s computer screen resolution. More precisely, the concept allows for an advanced 4 column layout 1292 pixels wide, on a 1025 pixel width screen, that auto-simplifies into 2 columns. Also it suitably fixes on the smartphone and computer tablet screen. This particular designing technique we call “responsive web design”.

Responsive web designing is a completely different designing version than the traditional web designing, and developers (especially fresher) must know about the pros and cons of responsive web designing. This blog is a mighty example of the approach so we will reveal a few facts about the uses of responsive web designing. The basic instinct might be to choose media queries to develop a responsive site. However, the hassle you face with media queries is that new queries can pop up from moment to moment; each time the user experiences sudden and drastic changes to the look and organization of the site. Experts suggest using some CSS transitions to ease the jump.

Images in responsive web designs are called context-aware. Responsive web design images are primarily fluid images that can be replaced by context aware images, an updated version for better designing. This particular technique serves the purpose of responsive designing in true sense as the images serve at different resolutions, ranging from larger screens to smaller ones. The scaled images appear to change fluidly with the help of updated developer tools and coding languages, allowing designs to look sharp in every context. Responsive web designing is remarkably different from traditional designing in terms of technical and creative issues and a careful use of this can do wonder while designing.

What Are the Advantages of Mobile Optimized Websites?

Carlfred Giles - Tuesday, March 13, 2012

With a rapidly growing number of mobile web users and competitors from all over the world establishing their presence on the Web, how does your website standout and deliver value? Is your website optimized for the new mobile experience, and what revenue does it generate to your business?

Mobile is viewed by many as the “new Web” due to the growing popularity and availability of the Smartphone. Mobile users are looking for content at their fingertips that they can use easily, access immediately and from virtually anywhere. So you will have to confront the challenge of delivering an improved user experience. This can only benefit your business for three main reasons: accessibility, exposure, and mobility. How does one achieve that?

BizSite Solutions offers fast and quality website optimization for smartphones. Here are some tips to give you an insight about this service, and also to guide you when you are building a mobile website:

Start by optimizing your website. When you create a separate website for your mobile users, you enable them to experience easy navigation and an improved user experience. Smartphone users are generally tech savvy and will recognize the value your website brings to them in the matter of usability.

Optimize mobile website content and design. Mobile web is about achieving more with less – you have to consider the design and content limitations of mobile web browsing in order to deliver improved user experience. Make your mobile content easy to access, interactive, and relevant. Also, the design should be minimal for a faster mobile web experience. Easy surfing will result in easy purchasing and will strengthen your brand identity!
Optimize for mobile browsers. You know that browsers should be your website’s best friend. It is of vital importance to build your mobile website accordingly, and to monitor which browser brings you the highest volume of traffic – then optimize it again.

There are certainly numerous advantages to having a mobile website. In addition to the reasons above, a mobile website provides improved SEO performance. Your rankings will rise on mobile-friendly search engines such as Google and Yahoo, and your website will be placed in relevant mobile and local directories, which will increase your business’ visibility.

Having pointed out the directions and advantages of mobile web, we can only suggest that advertisers and agencies take advantage of this new and ever popular web opportunity!

 http://blog.codemyimage.com/what-are-the-advantages-of-mobile-optimized-websites

A-Z Tips to Increase Site Visitors

Carlfred Giles - Saturday, September 17, 2011

We said A-Z and we meant it. Here are 26 sure-fire ways to increase web traffic and site visitors to your website. Use some or all of them, and let us know which ones worked best for you.

  1. Optimize your site (SEO).
    Win on the search engines when people search for keyword phrases related to your products or services.
    (More about search engine optimization.)

  2. Get your site listed in directories.
    Submit your site to all the major web directories. This will generate traffic directly from the directories themselves and will also help to improve your link popularity. That helps you win on Google!
    (More about web directories.)

  3. Get listed in search engines.
    Submit your site to all the major search engines.
    (More about search engines.)

  4. Get links to your site.
    Get people with complimentary sites to link to yours. You offer rental kayaks on the beach. Ask the local restaurant owners to link to you, and offer to link to them. Ask the local tour guides, the real estate agents, the night clubs, and everyone else. Links lead to clicks onto your website and help to improve your search engine rankings.

  5. Buy links to your site.
    Buy text links on other websites. That means more spiders stopping by, more people clicking through, and better search engine rankings.

  6. Buy banner ads.
    Buy banner ads on other websites. It helps to build brand recognition.

  7. Participate in a banner exchange program.
    It won't cost you anything, and will lead to a few extra visitors. Plus, you're spreading your brand all over the place.

  8. Participate in a WebRing.
    Connect your site with other sites in your niche.

  9. Pay for clicks to your site.
    Pay for clicks or inclusion on the search engines so that people will see your site in the sponsored links section of the search results when they search for keyword phrases related to your products or services.
    (More about pay per click.)

  10. Set up an affiliate marketing program.
    With affiliate marketing, you can either pay per click, pay per lead generated, pay per sale, or pay per customer acquired.

  11. Use smart public relations (PR).
    Get news coverage of your business and your site. Approach online and traditional media. This will often lead to others placing links pointing to your website, which leads to more clicks and also to improved search engine rankings.

  12. Use E-mail marketing.
    Ugly, but effective for the cost. Blast out your special offers, but be nice about it.

  13. Use off-line marketing.
    Promote your site. Put your url on all your license plates. Paint it on your car. Buy newspaper and yellow pages ads with your url. Put up flyers and stickers. Sponsor a little league team. Do anything and everything to spread the word about your website around your city.

  14. Run regular promotions.
    Stage regular giveaways and spread the word about it.

  15. Get published.
    Write articles for publication on other websites. The author profile will link to your site. The article will show that you're an expert.

  16. Publish yourself.
    Write articles for your own site regularly. This will help you to win on the search engines and gives your visitors a reason to come back over and over.

  17. Ask for reviews.
    Ask for reviews of your self-published articles on other webmasters' websites. Ask for reviews of your website, your products, your software, your services. These will usually include links to your articles.

  18. Write briefs.
    Write daily or weekly news briefs focusing in on your industry or specialty area. This keeps your site "fresh" in the eyes of the major search engines and helps you to spread a wide net when fishing for top search engine positions.

  19. Create a newsletter.
    Ask your visitors to sign up for your newsletter, and encourage them to send it along to people they know. Send a newsletter regularly with teasers or lead-ins to your in-depth new articles or with special offers and the latest products.

  20. Post in chat rooms.
    Become active in bulletin boards and chat rooms focusing on your industry. Leave inciteful comments, and people will click on your profile, then visit your site.

  21. Give away free stuff.
    Offer something people want at your site. Give them a reason to come back and get more. Offer free downloads and update them regularly. Offer coupons or discounts. Content content content.

  22. Give awards for excellent sites in your niche.
    This builds more links back to your site and establishes you as a credible reviewer, an expert in your space.

  23. Run a contest and promote it.
    Photo contests, essay contests, goofy contests, random drawings, anything. Example: Messiest Garage in America contest on OfftheFloor.com.

  24. Join your local business organizations.
    Chambers of Commerce and other organizations will often add your site to their member directory. That's an added advantage over the obvious business-building and networking opportunities.

  25. Create an RSS feed.
    Give people another way to interact with your content.

  26. Be accessible.
    Build your site so that it is accessible to all browsers and to PocketPC and Palm Pilot users. Don't forget, people with disabilities buy things too. Make your site Section 508 complaint. Your competition probably hasn't.

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