WordPress Tip; How to Avoid Duplicate Content

SEO has all kinds of rules and most people don’t know them because Google isn’t saying… Or at least they are not always clear. After all, they don’t want people gaming their search engine and they want to deliver quality content. But they do have some rules that are generally understood. One of those is that they don’t like exact copies or “duplicate content”. In the most heinous cases, this occurs when thieves copy other people’s content and post it on their web sites. But more often, duplicate content is an accidental result of the way WordPress works.Wordpress Excerpts - Avoiding duplicate content

In the Settings>>>Reading Tab of WordPress’s controls there is a choice to set your latest post as your home or “Front” page. When you do this, your latest 10 or so posts become your home page. But they also each have their own independent article page. The result is duplicate content. You have the full article on your Front Page as well as in the dedicated post page (which is eventually archived automatically by WordPress)…..

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Awesome Christmas Flashmob – Deck the Halls!

There is nothing that can bring a smile to my face as easily as a well executed, well intentioned Christmas flash mob. There is something about watching the surprise, the serendipity, and the music that brings out the joy of the season

We all need to take a minute to enjoy these kinds of things. I love them. Check it out. I’m sure you’ll love it too…

As I viewed this video, it had 122,336 visitors. I predict that by year end it will have over a million and will continue to get viral traffic for years to come. Good for the Carlson School of Business. If they are the ones behind this they are very smart. Besides all the fun of watching it, they got to show off a very beautiful and modern facility and great new media thinking all at the same time.

I’m not sure who organized this one but this was the text underneath the video…

The Carlson School of Management received a surprise visit from a saxophonist…and nearly 300 of his friends from the University of Minnesota’s School of Music this November.

“Deck the Halls” arr. Francisco J. Núñez and Jim Papoulis from “Coolside of Yuletide”

Special Thanks To: Greg Wrenn (saxophone), Campus Singers Maroon, Gold, and Mosaic; Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus, University Singers, Kathy S. Romey (coordinator), Phillip O’Toole (audio), Boosey & Hawkes, Northern Lights Video, Michael Teachout, Bryan Koop (director of photography), Steve Rudolph (producer)

For more information on the Carlson School of Management visit www.CarlsonSchool.umn.edu

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The Importance of Naming In Your Business or Product

Trademarks are important and give companies legal protections around their brands. But domain names have become just as important if not more; and not only domain names but user names around social media. I saw the article below today in the Wall Street Journal and I believe this is just an early example of a problem we are going to see more and more.

Merck in International Fight over User Name

If you want to grow today, you not only need to use trademarks and reserve domain names, you need to reserve your proper user names under social networks. If you did a good job in choosing a name for your company this isn’t too hard to do. But if you delay you can lose important opportunities to market your business. Here are a few ideas that might help you take advantage of this.

Choose A Good Name

It might be too late for some of you, but if you are naming a business or a new product, here are some considerations…

Check with your domain registrar to ensure that the name you choose is available as a dot.com domain name.

There are two philosophies about choosing a business name. Both have valid points:

1.) Choose a name that is very unique and make it into whatever you want to.

This philosophy states that it is smarter to define your business around whatever unique and smart sounding name you can come up with. It’s easier to find an available dot.com and to reserve the name under any/all social networks. Many very successful companies have done just this (think Google, Facebook, & more).

The other benefit to this is that it allows you to move into more than one area of business and doesn’t limit you by the name… OR
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Micro-Conversions – What Are They?

Listening to an old tape from Ken McCarthy interviewing marketing automation pioneer, Ryan Garey this morning, I learned some great new ideas and was reminded of some valuable old ones.

Sales or Micro-Conversions

Plan your client's (and your) next steps

Plan your client's (and your) next steps

What is a sale? In business we must look at each step in the sales process as an individual sale aka a “micro-conversion”. Micro-conversions happen at several points in working with consumers. They don’t always happen in the same order but generally include the following…

  • Discovering you
  • Reading your ad
  • Learning more about you
  • Clicking on your ad
  • Reading your sales copy headline
  • Reading your sales copy
  • Emailing you to inquire
  • Opting in to your email or mailing list
  • Calling you to inquire
  • Making an appointment with you
  • Clicking on your buy button
  • Ordering from you
  • Using your product – usage theory.
  • Referring you to others
  • Partnering with you
  • Having a relationship with you

Unless you have a process for what your doing you don’t know what you’re doing.
And no one wants to buy from someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
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Google Is Getting Into Television

A WSJ article recently pointed out that the average person watches television for about 6000 minutes per month, while the average Youtube user watches only about 378 minutes watching video on YouTube. Although this presents a significant challenge to Google it also represents their most significant media opportunity. Just imagine the upside. There is nothing but upside to this play in my opinion.

Google has a lot to gain by going after TV revenues

Google has a lot to gain by going after TV revenues

When you consider that Google has already spent $100 million to get started in online television and has close to $40 billion dollars to spend on initiatives like this it’s easy to see they may very well succeed.

The article points out that from 2008 until now, Google has gone from 2% market share in the mobile phone business (Android) to 56% market share today. So history and market performance suggest that they are likely to make a significant dent in this new market.

And I think they will. Television and cable companies have been getting away with bundling channel for consumers and advertisers for years. Google’s modular and targeted approach to the consumer and advertising markets is likely to begin displacing traditional methods. I suspect the cable and network companies will only react after they’ve lost significant market share in both realms.

So what does that mean for online marketers? I’d suggest that you begin learning more about how to use video for your web sites and landing pages. It is the wave of the future and, in fact, is very important today.

Strictly speaking, it’s going to take a few years for Google to make their way into the living rooms of America via television sets. But the point is that they have a lot of incentive to go after this market. So this means that today, they are focusing more and more on making Youtube (which they own) more important. If your web pages have video on them most experts agree that it can help your rankings.

Another way to think about it is to consider that Google has a DEARTH of information available to it in the form of text. I kind of went off on a tangent to discover how much information is available on the Internet and found this page… if you care.

My point, however, is that, in terms of content (not storage space), there is a lot less video. So Google is likely to care more about video content right now than text content. The long story short is this… If you want to rank better at Google for your keywords and categories, add some video to your pages.

Read the story… | Source: WSJ.com (Note: You may need a subscription to view this content. | Date posted: 11/21/2011

Learn more about Google TV (on Youtube.com)… | Source: Youtube.com | Date posted: 11/21/2011

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Marketplace Fairness Act Introduced for Online Retailers

Three senators introduced this bill today and it looks as if this might be one of the first sensible bills for state sales tax collection from online retailers. Below is the press release…

Small Businesses Applaud Introduction of Marketplace Fairness Act
Businesses Encouraged by Proposed Modernization and Simplification

SEATTLE, Nov. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — FedTax® joins its more than one thousand TaxCloud® merchants in applauding Senators Enzi (R-WY), Durbin (D-IL), Alexander (R-TN), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Boozman (R-AR), Reed (D-RI), Blunt (R-MO), Whitehouse (D-RI), Corker (R-TN), and Pryor (R-AR) for introducing the overwhelmingly bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act. This bill allows states that have simplified their sales tax laws to require all retailers to collect existing sales taxes on Internet purchases.

“The Marketplace Fairness Act will finally bring sales tax laws up-to-date with e-commerce,” said David Campbell, CEO and cofounder of FedTax. “It grants almost immediate collection authority to the majority of sales tax-collecting states while providing clear and easy-to-follow guidelines for the remaining states to simplify their sales tax laws.”

Not only does this bill help small businesses by offering states an incentive to simplify sales tax regulations, it also helps local retailers that have been struggling to compete with online retailers that have not had to collect sales tax. The bill also exempts retailers with less than $500,000 in annual sales from having to collect sales tax in states where they don’t have a physical presence.

How the Marketplace Fairness Act Works

The Marketplace Fairness Act grants states the authority to compel online and catalog retailers, no matter where they are located, to collect sales tax. But there is a caveat: States will only be granted this authority if they have simplified their sales tax laws. Two Supreme Court rulings (Bellas Hess, 1967, and Quill, 1992) cite concern that collecting sales tax for multiple states would be too difficult. The proposed legislation requires that states simplify their sales tax laws in order to ease those concerns and make multistate sales tax collection easy.

Under the proposed legislation, states seeking collection authority have two options for simplifying their sales tax laws. They can join the twenty-four states that have already adopted the simplification measures of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (SSUTA), which was developed over the last eleven years by forty-four states and more than eighty-five businesses with the goal of making sales tax collection easy.

Alternatively, states can meet essentially five simplification mandates listed in the bill. States that choose this option must agree to:

Notify retailers in advance of any rate changes within the state

Designate a single state organization to handle sales tax registrations, filings, and audits

Establish a uniform sales tax base for use throughout the state

Use destination sourcing to determine sales tax rates for out-of-state purchases (a purchase made by a consumer in California from a retailer in Ohio is taxed at the California rate, and the sales tax collected is remitted to California to fund projects and services there)

Provide software and/or services for managing sales tax compliance, and hold retailers harmless for any errors that result from relying on state-provided systems and data

With states adhering to these provisions or the similar measures in SSUTA, retailers across the country will find collecting sales tax for multiple states much easier than it has ever been in the past.

Technological advances have eliminated historic burdens and costs

The world has changed quite a bit in the forty-four years since the Supreme Court worried about the difficulty of multistate sales tax collection in Bellas Hess. “Modern technology now makes it easy for businesses to comply with the Marketplace Fairness Act,” said Campbell. “In fact, our TaxCloud service handles every aspect of sales tax management for free, making collecting sales tax easy and affordable for any business — from sole proprietors to the Fortune 500. We’re happy to see the Marketplace Fairness Act introduced with sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It’s truly a bipartisan issue, a matter of fiscal responsibility and tax equality.”

TaxCloud calculates the sales tax due in real time, files tax returns, generates monthly reports, handles audits and tax exemptions, and more. It is also certified to comply with SSUTA, which means that TaxCloud offers businesses the advantages of tax amnesty and indemnification from states that participate in SSUTA.

Enacting the Marketplace Fairness Act will ensure sales tax laws reflect the world we live in, not the world of 1967. Online shopping has grown dramatically in the past decade, and it continues to increase. That growth owes much to technological advances — and those same technological advances now make it possible for retailers to easily collect sales tax for every state. The time is right for the Marketplace Fairness Act.

About FedTax

FedTax makes it easy for businesses to calculate, collect, and remit sales tax with its free TaxCloud sales tax management service. It was founded by e-commerce veterans who have extensive experience in large-scale internet services and have been directly involved in building some of the most recognizable brands on the internet, including Google, American Express, Microsoft, and Expedia.

FedTax has been designated a Certified Service Provider by the Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board. The company’s free TaxCloud service is relied upon by over 1,000 businesses to calculate and remit sales tax across the country. TaxCloud can be easily integrated into most accounting, order management, and e-commerce shopping cart systems.

FedTax is headquartered in Seattle and has offices in Connecticut and Kansas.

Media Contact:Daniela SaundersSVP Sales & Marketingdsaunders@fedtax.net(203) 803-2048

SOURCE FedTax

Copyright (C) 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Read the story… | Source: Market Watch | Date posted: 11/9/2011

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Best Viral Commercial of the Year

If I had the time, I could watch this commercial all day.

I love the song. The graphics are amazing. This is an example of some of the best viral marketing on the planet. The producers / advertisers say…

First they drove. Then they rapped. Now they're
 dancing (to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem). But they're
 not doing any old dance. They're shuffling. And
 they're doing it harder, faster and better than any
 hamster has ever shuffled before. Did you see their
 performance during the MTV VMA's? If not, here is
 the encore presentation.
Not only are the hamsters making a comeback; the
Kia Soul, the urban crossover vehicle that started a
craze is back and better than ever delivering more
power and better fuel efficiency than ever before,
the 2012 Kia Soul, "a new way to roll".

I know that many small businesses don’t have the resources to come up with creative like this, but with some time, you can certainly come up with great ideas. I think the lessons in this video are:

* Use curiosity and set the stage
* Create a high contrast or irony to set your product out from the background
* Use great music to draw your viewer into the action and message
* Make your customer feel great while learning about your product
* If you can afford it, don’t be afraid of some cost for your creative

Think of the story you are telling and make sure your product is highly visible in your message. There is an art to making sure that viewers know what a commercial is about. Have you ever watched a commercial and, at the end, wondered what the product was. This one is entertaining and for some reason, you never forget that it is about a Kia Soul.

I think that the success has to do with human nature.  The commercial begins with the dark, fiery, destruction of robotic warfare.  Everything is grey or on fire.  Then out of nowhere, a silent, very clean, bright neon green Kia Soul pulls up.  The contrast is highly apparent and sets the product visibly in our conciousness as the commercial progresses.  The car not only piques the curiosity of the robots, but it piques the curiosity of the viewer.  Of course, hamsters dressed as rappers only pushes our curiosity further.

Then the music… As the awsome beat visibly grasps all robots’ attention and interest, it also pulls the viewer further into the video and entertains us all.  Then of course, in the midst of the excitement, we see a clearly contrasted logo of the Kia Soul driving into a peaceful sunset.  What a great feeling we now have about that car.  I know that if I ever see one, I’ll remember that feeling.  I have a feeling that this car company will do just fine.

This video has generated two million views since August 25th, not counting it’s television and cable audience. The bottom line is I just love watching it.

Posted in Advertising, Viral | 1 Comment

Humility Can Be Your Ticket To Success

Social Learning and Cumulative Cultural Adaptation

Monkey See Monkey Do Is Not Always True

People say that monkeys are intelligent because they can use basic tools. Mark Pagel, a biology professor at the University of Reading, doesn’t agree. He points out that if monkeys are so smart, why do they use a little stick to reach into an ant hole and collect ants for food? Wouldn’t it be smarter to use a shovel?

In a recent speech at TED (Ted.com), Pagel pointed out that the single most important tool humans have is their ability to transfer cumulative knowledge. This is the reason that humans rule the earth today. It’s what separates the giants in industry from the beginners.

So what is your attitude towards learning today? How do you treat your elders? If you’re an elder, how do you treat a nearby young whippersnapper? Do you really think you know all that you need to to do better?

As we get out of school and grow older, all of us have a tendency to feel comfortable in what we know, but the truth is that the more we learn, the more we should realize how much we don’t and even can’t know.

We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. My point is that we need to continue learning from the ideas and strengths of others. Otherwise, we hamper our own chances for future success.

Don’t ever say, “I’ve heard that before”. You may have but you may also prevent whoever is talking to you from teaching you something you haven’t heard before. And for those of you that think you can’t learn from something from an old fogey, don’t fool yourself.  You’ve learned everything you know from someone usually than you.  When you start to think that way, you are on your way to getting old yourself.

A humble, open mind is one of your most valuable tools if you want to change your future for the better. Nurture your humility as much as you nurture your confidence.

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Coming Soon – Instant-On Laptops With Google OS (Chrome Books)

Update: 2012-11-01  – I just bought my first Apple MacBookPro.  Duh… I’ve blown it by not buying one of these years ago.  They are instant on already.  Why did I not listen to my own son for so many years.  If you are a die-hard PC person and need a new laptop, just go buy an Apple MacBookPro. You won’t be sorry.

Will The Google Chromebook Revolutionize Computing?

It very may will.

How often have you dreamed about turning on your computer in less than 8 seconds and then getting to work.  If Google delivers on their promise, that’s what you’ll be able to do very soon.  They’re describing it as the “Instant Web”.  And with broadband as popular and ubiquitous as it is today, you really won’t need Microsoft Office or MS Word, or anything like that.  Google has duplicated most of those programs online.

To me, this seems pretty dangerous to Microsoft’s long time monopoly.  I know that Microsoft has tried to imitate Google’s products with the Live.com implementation but they haven’t made it simple enough and I can envision Google moving into this space very effectively.

Connected 24/7

The Chromebook is supposed to be able to be connected to the Internet 24/7 while you are at home using WIFI and through Verizon Wireless while on the road with prices starting free for 100 Megabytes of data per month and up to $50.00 per month for an additional 5 Gigabytes of data per month.  There are also a few other plans in between.

No More Installing Software

All of your applications (things like word processing, databases, and spreadsheets) and your actual working files will be stored in “the Cloud”.  I know, a lot of you are thinking, “What is this darn cloud anyway?”.  Well, there you have the definition.  It’s not really that hard; the Cloud is the Internet.  Your files, instead of being held on your computer, will be held on Google’s servers, protected by your password.  That’s the Cloud in a nutshell.

Strong Security

Today’s connections are very sophisticated and security, although never perfect, is strong enough to protect company’s and individual’s private documents.  And because connections are now very fast, this makes it practical for you not to have to worry about your files being on your own computer.

I have to say, it really sounds good.  Google has already built and maintains word processors, spreadsheet programs, database programs, drawing programs, email programs, and even things that are the equivalent of PowerPoint for presentations.

These programs are all at Google Docs already.  So it appears that the Chromebooks will be reasonably priced laptops that require no installation of programs (since the programs are already available online), require no constant updating (for the same reason), are secure, and most important, turn on as fast as a television set does!

Early versions of the Chromebook made by Samsung and Acer are available for pre-orders online at Amazon or at Best Buy. They range in price from $379.00 to $499.

Lastly, if you want to, you’ll be able to allow your friends and coworkers to view and even work on your documents together with you.

A few caveats and considerations:

One early adopter (not sure how he got the device) pointed out in an Amazon review that you can’t use programs like Photoshop, etc. and that it doesn’t have a CD or DVD drive so you can’t watch DVD, etc.  So for now, it appears that if you need those programs or features you are going to still have to keep your old laptop.

Another threat to the success of this idea is the Popularity of iPads and other tablet computers.  But, with all the conveniences and utility described about the Chromebook, I can envision them being the laptop of choice for many students and for families on a budget (and today, aren’t we all). I think there are still a lot of us who like a built in keypad rather than a touchscreen version like the iPads come with.

If this thing works and is executed as good as Google usually does stuff, it may very well redefine how most of us do our computing.  Of course, all of this remains to be seen.

You can learn more about them (or buy one) here…

Google Chromebook Page or here… CRN Article

They are available for presale at Amazon: Chrome Books at Amazon.

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Weiner’s Plight Not That Uncommon

Ten Ways to Stay Out of Trouble On Facebook and Twitter

Representative Anthony Weiner’s situation is not all that uncommon.  The only thing different about Mr. Weiner’s situation is that he is a famous Congressman with a lot of political enemies.  

For years, people have been pushing the send button before they realized what they were doing.  Sometimes they press the wrong button and “copy all” when the communique was confidential and meant for one.  Sometimes they press the send button before cooling off and say something that they wish they hadn’t.

The thing to remember is that there are rules that we should follow when using email or communicating online and if we don’t follow them, we risk serious damage to our careers and reputations.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

For Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any public social network…

1. Know That Anything You Post Online Is Public. Don’t type anything online that you want to remain private.  When you post on a social network or online forum, consider it done and intractably “out there”.  Weiner wanted to retract his post and may even have tried to do so. But even a Senator couldn’t stop some individuals from printing copies of what he sent.  If even one person copies or pastes a message, you’ve lost control of it.  I read all the time about people’s jobs being lost, girlfriends being upset, and couples getting divorced because of stupid messages that someone posted accidentally.  

2. Make Sure That You Understand The Terms Of Any Online Site You Post To. Read the fine print and be willing to comply or just don’t participate.  The fact is that most social networks own the content you place there.  If you’re uncomfortable with that idea then just don’t do it. There’s not much you can do about privacy today unless you get your own blog and private protect it (See point 6).  There are people trying to create better privacy laws but for now it is the wild west and you basically give up your rights to privacy in the information you post just by posting it online.  

3. Understand How A Site Works Before You Really Get Into It. Before getting into any social network site, go to the “Settings” and “Privacy” sections and click on all the links and read all the rules.  I know this sounds silly and these rules and terms can be very long, but if you value your reputation and you wish to retain any semblance of privacy, you have to do this.  Don’t use sites until you understand what you are doing.  

On Facebook, when you post a post on your wall or on the wall of a friend, it is visible by everyone in the world; all their friends, and the friends of their friends.  Considering that they know you and that they know many of your same friends, this can be startlingly far reaching. You’d be surprised at how fast any news you post can spread to other people you know in differing social circles.  All these sites have privacy settings but most people never bother to use them and by default they are set to the most generous un-private modes.  It’s your responsibility to set them to your liking

I have a saying about social networks; “On social networks, all worlds collide”.  If you don’t want your employer or your church study group to know all about your private life, you’d better learn how to control your privacy settings early on.

4. THINK Before Posting.  Don’t post away while you are emotional or drunk or angry.  Just don’t do it.  If you must write in those moods, then do it on paper or just open a Notepad window and type it in notepad, then post it a day later so that you’ve had time to cool off.  The act of writing is cathartic so you might feel better just by having written out what you felt.  But a day later, after you’ve had some time to think, you may realize that it would have been stupid to post your feelings online.

5. Keep Your Private Thoughts Private. Just because we can drive our car 100 miles per hour doesn’t mean we should.  Just because you can post your most private thoughts and feelings online doesn’t mean you should.  People are going to be able to read this 10 years from now!  This includes future employers, future dates, future potential spouses… It includes anyone you’ll ever meet.  People Google everyone today.  Do you want all your cards on the table about your entire life forever?  

I suggest buying a simple software program called The Journal.  You can get it here for $49.00…

http://www.davidrm.com/thejournal/  

The software is excellent and it is private because it stays on your computer.  If you must write about your deepest and innermost feelings, do it here.  Then if you feel like sharing it with the world, share it 10 days later after you’ve had time to think.  By the way, don’t post pictures of you being drunk online.  That’s not funny or cool, it’s just plain dumb.

6. Get a Free WordPress Blog Instead.  If you really want to share with your family and friends online get a free WordPress Blog at WordPress.com and use the private / password protected feature for all posts.  

2011-06-08_1502

You also have the ability to set Privacy Setting at WordPress.com.  

2011-06-08_1505

7. Read and understand any games you play on social networks (Mafia Wars, Farmville).  These always sound fun but they are designed to get you more involved and almost always ask for information on all your friends and relatives.  Sometimes, while you’re engaged in the game you forget about privacy and share information that shouldn’t be shared.  I say, stick with monopoly or scrabble with your family at home.  If you must play with your friends online just think first and if you feel uncomfortable with anything a game maker asks, trust your feelings.  The best policy is always to be suspicious online.

8. Don’t Publicly Post:

A. information about and pictures of your family and kids; It’s being used by thieves, con-men, and kidnappers
B. information about your vacations or family outings until they are over: See point A.
C. things about others without checking with them first.
D. credit cards, social security numbers, or bank information

9. Check The Settings In Any “Location Based Services” Such As Foursquare, Facebook Places, Etc.  These are relatively new and we still don’t know how they will play out in terms of privacy.  Be careful.

10. Use Email Instead But Still Follow These Rules.  Most of these rules have applied to email for years. It’s just that they are more applicable to Social Networking.  Social Networking sites are like fire or firearms. They can be used for good, but you need to understand what you are using first. Take the time to learn about social networks; not just on the surface but deep inside before you let loose.  Click all the possible links on a site and read all the terms even though they may seem long.  You’ll actually get good at it after a while and have a better understanding of what is happening with your posts and information.

By the way, there is still nothing wrong with sharing information with your friends via email.  Email is still vulnerable, but it is nowhere near as public as social networks and if you make a mistake it usually doesn’t reach the masses.  Thanks representative Weiner for helping us to be more wary of social networking. :0)

So those are ten rules to live by if you care about privacy, about your job, about your girlfriend or spouse… You get the picture. 

Here’s a bonus rule and it’s just as important.  Teach this stuff to your kids at an early age.  Give them healthy skepticism about anything they do online and warn them about posting private pictures, feelings, and information online.

Thanks for reading!

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