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July 2009

2009 Blogs With Balls Program At BlogWorld Expo Announced

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If you didn’t know already, we are partnering with the folks at HHR Media this year to bring the most amazing sports blogging track ever to BlogWorld & New Media Expo.  The sports blogging conference is aptly named Blogs With Balls and drew more than 300 attendees to their first event a couple of months ago in NYC.

Without further adieu here is the preliminary schedule:

PANEL 1:  CONNECTING DIRECTLY

A discussion about what athletes being able to speak directly to their fanbase via blogs & Twitter means to sports media, bloggers, and fans.


PANEL 2:
THE FUTURE OF SPORTS MEDIA

A discussion between traditional journalists and bloggers about the rise in prominence of sports blogs as members of the media and how the two parties can work together to compliment one another instead of taking an adversarial tone.

  • Bethlehem Shoals  (FreeDarko, Bloomsbury USA, The Sporting News’ The Baseline)
  • Matt Ufford (WithLeather/Kissing Suzy Kolber)
  • Kevin Blackistone (Around the Horn/FanHouse/Dallas Morning News)
  • Amy K. Nelson (ESPN.com)


PANEL 3:
ACCESS
Certain teams and leagues have embraced bloggers and recognized their value in promoting their respective brands.  Several have allotted bloggers many of the same privileges they do member of the traditional media.   Many, however, are still guarded and protective of their product in this regard.  We discuss the pros and cons of the various (policies and how to deal with them).

  • Moderator:  Dan Levy


PRESENTATION 1:  BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT:  BUILDING YOUR BRAND & GROWING YOUR BOTTOM LINE

A presentation from the Sports Illustrated Group on strategies you can use to leverage your voice and your audience to reach marketers, advertisers and editors.

  • Jeff Griffing, VP of Ad Sales for the Sports Illustrated Group
  • Paul Fichtenbaum, Managing Editor SI.com
  • Ken Fuchs, VP SI Digital


PRESENTATION/Q & A:  STATE OF THE UNION

3 of the top sports bloggers on the web talk about the direction the genre has taken, the direction it’s headed, and answer questions from attendees.

Believe me when I say this is just the begging. The HHR guys have some amazing surprise guests lined up that we will be announcing soon.

Stay tuned to the blog over the next several days for more announcements for Blogs With Balls and the rest of the BlogWorld & New Media Expo conference sessions.

Hey That Blogger Stole My Content: How to Deal with Content Theft

Author:

stopthief

A blogger’s words are like a  store’s inventory. If merchandise is stolen, the shop loses sales. If others are stealing a blogger’s words or using his content, there’s really no reason for him to bother anymore as. Exclusive content is important for traffic and ad sales. In short, it sucks when someone else is using the fruits of our labor to build traffic and community for their own blogs and websites. Here’s something many brand new bloggers don’t know: It’s illegal to take someone’s content without asking.

Several years ago I had a few very famous battles with content thieves, and I’m happy to report I won each. The uproar over content theft (or content-jacking as Michael Stelzner calls it) seems to have died down a bit, with it, the ability to fight the scammy and spammy people who steal our words. After dealing with it again over this past weekend, I learned many newer bloggers had no idea they could fight content theft and that it was illegal. Thus, this brief primer.

Why steal content?

Why would anyone want to steal content from a blogger? Really, it doesn’t have as much to do with the blog or the blogger as much as it has to do with stocking a blog with content in order to bring in traffic and revenue. It takes too much time and money to write or hire writers to create enough posts for a profitable, popular blog. However, some unsavory types use feeds to pull in content relating to certain keywords and phrases to stock their own blogs. The readers of these blogs have no idea the content isn’t original and that it’s being pulled from feeds.  Many of these splogs or spam blogs use a partial feed so if readers want to read the entire post, they can click through to the original blog. The damage is already done, though, as readers went to the spam blog first. Of those original readers, maybe half will click through to read the real blog post.

How do I know if someone is using my content without permission?

There are are several ways to check to make sure your content isn’t being ripped off:

Google Alerts: Sign up for Google alerts using your blog’s url, title and your name. Not all ripoff bloggers will link to your blog, but if they do it will show up in Google alerts. Some bloggers even set up alerts for the titles of some of their posts now and then to find out who is ripping them off on a regular basis.

Search Engines: Use quotes to run unique sentences through various search engines to see if anyone besides you is using your content.

Deep Linking/Pingbacks: If you link to other posts in your blog, you will receive pingbacks every time someone posts your content.

Copy Scape: Copyscape is sort of a search engine where you can run links to your blog posts and it will tell you if anyone else is posting the same content. You’re only allowed the first few each month for free, so choose wisely.

CopyGator: CopyGatpor detects who is using your feeds for their content. I haven’t tried this service before, so I can’t recommend but it’s free and worth a shot. There are several ways it works, the first is to post the CopyGator widget n your blog, the widget changes colors every time someone rips off your content. You can also enter a specific feed and receive alerts.

How do I get a content thief to remove my content?

Content thieves can be nice or nasty. They’re counting on your not wanting to be bothered with a whole lot of email and ceases and desists. They’re thinking you probably don’t know this sort of thing is an illegal copyright violation. In fact, some even try and convince you that if it’s on the web, it’s public domain. It’s not. If someone has stolen your content, you can ask them nicely to remove it from their blogs. If they refuse to comply, go ahead and send a cease and desist. Give them a day or two to comply. If they still don’t take down their content, contact their host. You can find out who is hosting a blog by doing a whois domain search. In most cases, the host will give the offending blogger 24 hours to remove the content or lose hosting.

Jonathon Bailey of Plagiarism Today has a fantastic set of stock DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) letters to use to request the removal of stolen content. He has sample letters for the content thief, the host and even for search engines. Usually when I send a cease and desist to the content thief, I don’t have to resort to contacting the host, but I have done so several times. These letters are a great tool for any blogger’s arsenal.

Don’t Let Content Thieves Get Away With It

Content thieves get away with their theft because they can. They do it because they figure no one will fight them on it. Don’t let them get away with it. They’re your words and if someone is going to use them, you should be adequately compensating.

Twiistup 6 at The Universal Hilton

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twiistup1 We would like to make sure everyone knows about the Twiistup 6 at the Universal Hilton coming up this week, Thursday and Friday.  This is an event that all of you should attend and they have a killer lineup of speakers.

  • Jason Calacanis Serial entrepreneur, founder of Mahalo and co-founder of TechCrunch 50 and Weblogs. Wikipedia Link
  • James Montgomery CEO of Montgomery & Co. and CEO of Digital Coast Ventures, Founder of Palomar Ventures. Bio Link
  • Michael Jones COO of MySpace, founder of Userplane and Tsavo Wikipedia Link
  • Brooke Burke (former) Television Host of Wild On E!, Rockstar INXS, and online entrepreneur, co-CEO of www.ModernMom.com Wikipedia Link
  • Chamillionaire Grammy Award-winning and chart topping musician and entrepreneur. Wikipedia Link
  • Cyan Banister Early stage investor in Facebook, Slide, Tagged and founder of TopFans.com and Zivity.
  • Brad Feld Co-founder of Foundry Group and Mobius Venture Capital, founder of Techstars.org startup incubator. Bio Link
  • Quincy Jones III (QD3) Music and film producer/entrepreneur. Wikipedia Link
  • Dave McClure Seed stage investor for the Founders Fund. Bio Link
  • Ian Rogers Former business partner of the Beastie Boys and former GM of Yahoo Music, now CEO of Topspin Media. Bio Link
  • Andy Sack General Partner at Founders Co-op, Founder of Kefta, Abuzz and Firefly Network Bio Link
  • Ben Huh CEO of viral phenomenon www.IcanHasCheezburger.com.
  • Justin Kan Founder of Justin.TV the largest online community for people to broadcast, watch and interact around live video. Wikipedia Link
  • Chris Brogan President of New Marketing Labs
  • Mark Suster GRP Partners, venture capital. Former VP Product Mgmt Salesforce.com & 2-time CEO and entrepreneur. Bio Link
  • Brian Solis Author of Now is Gone and Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, Publisher of PR 2.0 and bub.blicio.us, Founder of Future Works PR, and strategic advisor to Fortune 500 businesses and startups. Wikipedia Link
  • David O. Sacks Former COO of PayPal, founder and CEO of Geni.com and Yammer, movie producer Thank You For Smoking. Wikipedia Link
  • Dmitry Shapiro Founder and CEO of Veoh Networks, founder of Akonix Systems and Weekend University. Bio Link
  • Lisa Rosenblatt Co-founder of iMall (sold for $565 million) and co-CEO of www.ModernMom.com.
  • Taryn Southern First person (of only 3 total) to sell a scripted online web show to mainstream TV (MTV) Wikipedia Link
  • Micah Baldwin Founder of Current Wisdom (sold 2007), VP of Business Development and Chief Evangelist for Lijit Networks. Bio Link
  • Plus Moderators, Marsha Collier KTRB Radio, Jason Nazar CEO of DocStoc, Sean Percival of Lalawag and Tsavo and Adam Weinroth of Demand Media

Some of these speakers will be at Blog World & New Media Expo coming up in Las Vegas, and this is a great way to see them in a sneak peek.  The event is described as:

Join us for the biggest Twiistup ever. Twiistup has expanded with a two-day stage program that brings together innovators in technology and media. The classic open-bar evening mixer will continue, but attendees are encouraged to attend the full conference to experience this unique program.

Get registered right away as passes for the vent can only be purchased through tomorrow. I think you may get a chance to see some of our own at the event and talk to them about what we have planned in Vegas in October.  Some of the other attendees you may have a chance to meet.  Here is the Twiistup Twitter page to check out the latest.

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Twitter Stepping Towards Commercial Accounts

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Looks like all that talking might actually be leading to some doing. That’s right, Twitter has finally taken its very first steps out of the world of the free, and into the world of the paid…kind of.  Twitter has unveiled a new thing called Twitter 101, which is basically a series of web sites and downloadable material that all aims to help businesses really investigate how they can use the service to their advantage, and even shows some companies that have done so very successfully.

Whether or not this will translate into an actual business plan and way for Twitter to make some serious income, remains to be seen, but it’s good that they are at least taking their first baby steps towards monetizing something that many have claimed will be impossible to do so.  When asked, Anamitra Banerji, manager of commercial products at Twitter, had this to say about what Twitter 101 might mean to the company and its future:

“yes, many companies are on Twitter, but many have questions about how and why to use it, and many are still not on Twitter. It’s a lot easier to ask people for money if they understand how it could be useful to them without paying anything…Twitter 101 is the first step toward doing that…If you intrinsically see some value in Twitter, you will want to pay more to get more…”

Pay more to get more.  I guess we’ll see if anyone will be willing to pay when it comes to something they can already get for free.  We all know Twitter is great as a broadcasting tool, great at building networks and updating in real-time your friends, customers and potential clients…whether or not it’ll be a great way to actually make money for themselves?  That’s another story.

Build Your Blog's Community Using Tweetmeme

Author:

meme

Of all the bloggy bells and whistles, I’m hearting my TweetMeme button the most. It’s sending me the love like you wouldn’t believe. TweetMeme is a handy little widget allowing readers to retweet a blog post on Twitter in order to share with friends and followers.

I recently installed a TweetMeme plugin on all my personal blogs. I am so glad I did. TweetMeme is directing traffic to my blogs like no widget ever has. I think it’s a success because readers only have to click on button without having to invest any time with logins,voting or permissions. They don’t even have to type anything if they don’t want to. Though the user can edit, TweetMeme will do all the work. Placed up at top of a blog for all to see, it’s a great way for a community to give back to a blogger. It’s also a great way to welcome new members to your community.

The other day one of my posts received 29 re-tweets thanks to the TweetMeme button, which translated into 700 extra visitors to my blog network. I’ve had similar results with other popular posts. Some more well-known bloggers received hundreds, if not thousands or retweets via the TweetMeme button so I can only imagine what kind of traffic they’re pulling in from this puppy.

If you’re not up for installing the plugin, you can also manually install the TweetMeme code into each blog post. I did this before committing to the plugin to see if it was worth it, and as you can tell, it certainly was.

Go ahead…install it. We’ll wait. Then come back and tell us what kind of traffic was referred to your blog as a result. Chances are, you’ll see at least some improvement.

Build Your Blog’s Community Using Tweetmeme

Author:

meme

Of all the bloggy bells and whistles, I’m hearting my TweetMeme button the most. It’s sending me the love like you wouldn’t believe. TweetMeme is a handy little widget allowing readers to retweet a blog post on Twitter in order to share with friends and followers.

I recently installed a TweetMeme plugin on all my personal blogs. I am so glad I did. TweetMeme is directing traffic to my blogs like no widget ever has. I think it’s a success because readers only have to click on button without having to invest any time with logins,voting or permissions. They don’t even have to type anything if they don’t want to. Though the user can edit, TweetMeme will do all the work. Placed up at top of a blog for all to see, it’s a great way for a community to give back to a blogger. It’s also a great way to welcome new members to your community.

The other day one of my posts received 29 re-tweets thanks to the TweetMeme button, which translated into 700 extra visitors to my blog network. I’ve had similar results with other popular posts. Some more well-known bloggers received hundreds, if not thousands or retweets via the TweetMeme button so I can only imagine what kind of traffic they’re pulling in from this puppy.

If you’re not up for installing the plugin, you can also manually install the TweetMeme code into each blog post. I did this before committing to the plugin to see if it was worth it, and as you can tell, it certainly was.

Go ahead…install it. We’ll wait. Then come back and tell us what kind of traffic was referred to your blog as a result. Chances are, you’ll see at least some improvement.

Twitter vs. Facebook

Author:

twitter-logo

During interviews with potential clients, I’m inevitably asked, “what is the difference between Facebook and Twitter.” I always tell them this:  It’s all about how and with whom you choose to communicate. Facebook is the extended family picnic. Twitter is a rock concert.

I thought about this a little last night before I went to bed, thus the inspiration for today’s blog post.

The differences between Twitter and facebook_logo Facebook.

Relationships

Twitter: Has “Followers“: The main difference between Twitter and Facebook is that with Twitter just about anyone can follow you. Unless you block particular Twitterers or protect your timeline, total strangers, friends, enemies, and your Great Aunt Martha can all view your Tweets. The beauty of Twitter is how you can establish relationships beyond your usual networks and mix and mingle with people you otherwise might not have met. Followers share information, links, news and more.

Facebook: Has “Friends”: Facebook is more personal. Facebook is where both old and current friends connect and your far away relatives can see what you’ve been up to. Yes, you can include folks outside of your personal network, but you don’t have to allow anyone else in, if you’re only interested in sharing with the people you know well.

Content

Twitter: 140 characters: Twitterers choose words carefully as they have to get their points across in 140 characters or less. This isn’t always as easy as one might think. As a result there’s some very creative microblogging happening out there.

Facebook: Chat away. Facebook users don’t have to be quite so choosy with their words. Plus, since Facebook caters to more personal relationships there’s lots of postcards from home.

Annoyances

Twitter: DM Spam: A pet peeve of many a-twitterer is following someone only to receive spam in return. No. We don’t want to know how you reached 10,000 people at one time. No. We don’t want to buy your ebook. And no. We don’t care to click on your affiliate links.

In all fairness: Twitter does allow us to block and report annoying spammers. Do so with gusto.

Facebook: Inappropriate ads. For some reason Facebook has inappropriate advertising that is obviously not targeted towards me. I mean, why would I, a happily married woman (it even says so in my profile) want to meet up with single females in my area?

In all fairness: Facebook does its best to ensure advertising is targeted and appropriate, even though some clunkers get through. Report innapropriate ads so Facebook can take the appropriate action.

Groups and Groupies

Twitter: Twitter Groups: Twitter groups appear on social networks such as Ning or via mailing lists, Yahoo and Google groups and websites. These groups are a terrific way to network with like-minded people and make some friends who share the same interests and ideas.

Facebook: Fan Pages and Facebook Groups: You don’t have to leave Facebook to mingle with the groups. Believe me when I tell you there are Groups for everything under the sun. Charities, websites, products and celebrities all have groups. You can even create a group centered around your blog and encourage your community to interact. Like guacamole or the television show “Lost?”  Take advatage of Facebook’s fan pages to show your support and receive updates.

Images

Twitter: Twitpic: Upload your pictures on Twitpics for all your followers to see and comment on.

Facebook: Photo Albums: Upload your pictures to your Facebook photo album for all your friends to see and comment on.

Privacy

Twitter: Protected Pages: If you don’t want Joe off the street following you on Twitter, you can request to keep all your updates protected. If someone wants to follow you, they will need your approval to do so. You may not receive as many followers as you would have had your timeline not been protected, but at least you have control over who views your Tweets.

Facebook: Protected Pages: With Facebook you approve all friends but friends of your friends can still see your comments, images and more. However, you can also request to protect your Facebook pages so that only a select few can see your images, videos, comments and more.

Both Facebook and Twitter allow for networking, sharing and relationship building. Everyone has a preference, and many of us use both.

Which do you prefer?

Social Media Explosion Not Translating into Jobs, Yet.

Author:

We all know the hype behind social media, heck, we all LOVE the hype behind it.  We all know how much easier it is to get in touch, stay in touch and find New people to want to be in touch with, when you’re using social networking, and any or all of the tools of social media at your disposal.  It’s easier to find people, meet people, and, if the original claims were true, find employment.  Or is it?

So far, not so good according to new reports.  While social media and social networking has been lauded as the newest, best and brightest way to network and find new forms of employment, it doesn’t look like the results are living up to the hype…yet.  Instead of the onslaught of new social media and the technology behind it leading to the creation of a whole new set of job skills, job descriptions and yes, job openings, it seems like so far people are turning to internal, existing employees and just asking them to adopt new responsibilities.

Here’s what JetBlue had to say, that says a whole lot about the current hiring status of some of the biggest, and most active companies when it comes to new media:

“Rather than hiring external social-media savvy people…we looked internally for people who happened to be active on social media in their personal lives.”

Will this change?  Right now, we can’t say, but given the current recession state of our economy, it seems a lot more likely that internal hunting is going to continue to take place, and a lot of these responsibilities that might have otherwise required a new employee, are going to be passed around to the existing ones.

This isn’t to say it’ll always be this way, anything could happen, and all of you job hunters would be extremely wise to add as many new social media and social networking skills to your arsenal.  Just a thought.

Old Media vs. New Media

Author:

press-hat

I began working for a traditional magazine publisher in 1985, the beginning of a long, tumultuous career in “old media”. As someone who started out old school, it’s been interesting watching old media dissolve and new media evolve. Unlike many of my old school contemporaries, I’ve been quick to embrace the new way. I dig the whole community vibe and easily digestible format. I love how news breaks almost immediately without the approval of editors or network heads and how everyone is quick with the analysis.

In case you haven’t been at this “media” thing as long as me, here are a few comparisons:

Old Media: Pay a freelance writer $1 per word to research, interview and write up an expert article. Publish and pay six months to a year later.

New Media: Pay freelance blogger $1 per post to Google and rewrite someone else’s researched, expert article. Publish and pay on the same day.

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Old Media: News breaks. Sit on it for as long as possible in order to protect the guilty innocent. Make dozens of phone calls. Confirm sources. Check facts.

New Media: Post news immediately to blogs and Twitter. Deal with facts later.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Old Media: Letters to the Editor.

New Media: Comments, Tweets and retaliatory blog posts.

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Old Media: Editorial meetings, calendars planned months in advance, red pens and final approvals.

New Media: Same day publishing.

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Old Media: News only at certain times. Newspapers and magazines published only at certain times. Can’t learn new news until they’re good and ready to bring it to you.

New Media: All news, all the time.

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Old Media: Editors and copy editors go over every word, correct typos and take out unnecessary verbiage.

New Media: Bloggers are called out in the comments for their typos.

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Old Media: Advertisers pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to sponsor a television show.

New Media: Free products for bloggers to review.

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Old Media: Censorship

New Media: Bloggers and Twitterers make sure all sides of the story are exposed.

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Old Media: Readers.

New Media: Community

Ok. So maybe there are a few exaggerations here, but there’s a whole lot of truth to it as well. To me, the biggest differences between new and old media are the time it takes to get the news to the people, and also, the ability of the people to receive the truth, instead of watered down, sponsored, “need to know basis” versions of the truth we’ve received in the past.

What differences do you see in new vs. old media?

Turning a Blog Into a Network: One Year Down the Road

Author:

blog

Almost a year ago, my blog Freelance Writing Jobs grew from a standalone blog with several bloggers to a network of seven blogs. As you can imagine, it’s been a challenging experience, one in which I continue to learn and grow.

There were several reasons I decided to grow my blog into a small network. The biggest reason, I think, was because I had several writers, plus several job listings daily, and it was getting a bit noisy and busy. I thought by having several different nichey blogs,  it would make life a little less noisy and content would be easier to find. I also felt that since the blog was doing terrific, revenue wise, seven blogs would do even better. To say it’s all been interesting is an understatement.

Now, I won’t claim to be as big as b5Media, Sparkplugging or Splash Press Media, but I am continuing to grow – and it’s been an uphill climb.

If you’re considering turning your blog into a network, you might want to take note. Things won’t be rosy and there will be plenty of growing pains, but hopefully it will all turn out in the end.

Folks Won’t Get it At First

Anyone who has ever changed a blog design knows that readers will complain for a while. No one likes disruption in their routine. Changing my standalone blog into a network meant more than a design tweak. I had to change the blog’s homepage to become a portal leading to the various blogs. This threw the entire community into an uproar. My community was very comfortable with the “old FWJ” and many wanted to know why I would fix it when it wasn’t broke. I’m happy to report most have come around to the dark side and are enjoying all that we have offer.

Murphy’s Law Will Prevail

After having been responsible for two server crashes in as many weeks, I can tell you things can, and will, go wrong. The thing about having managing so many blogs and bloggers is that calamity will ensue. As traffic grows so will the need for better hosting — it’s best to learn that before it’s too late.

Seven Blogs Won’t Necessarily Mean Seven Similar Revenue Streams

The biggest challenge has been in monetizing FWJ. So far the new blogs haven’t come close to matching the original blog’s revenue stream. There are plenty of reasons for this. Mostly it’s because the other blogs aren’t getting the traffic the original blog and home page are receiving. The team really isn’t as into the promotion and traffic building as I am. (See the section below regarding bloggers sharing your vision).  Though the blogs are earning, it’s not as I expected but we are showing a slow steady rise. FWJ as a network is quite profitable, so it’s just a matter of getting those blogs going.

You Will Spend More Money Than You Planned

There will always be tweaks and upgrades. There will be coding issues to fix. There will be new hosting fees. Contests. Promotions. You will want this bell and that whistle. You will need to advertise. And yes, it will cost you.

Your Bloggers Won’t (Necessarily) Share Your Vision

To me, FWJ is a passion, to my bloggers it’s a job. If Iwant them to go on and beyond I’ll either have to pay them handsomely or bribe them with bonuses or contests. Now, I don’t expect anyone to put in extra work on my behalf, especially if they’re not getting paid for it. Just keep in mind you get what you pay for. Passion costs extra.

There are No Regrets

So, almost a year later, do I have any regrets? No siree, Bob. This has been a wonderful experiment. My community, filled with thousands of amazing writers, has grown by leaps and bounds. I employ the best freelance writing bloggers in the world. Advertisers are starting to come to me, instead of the other way around. We have a wonderful, sharing and giving community. I learned so much about growing a blog network, traffic, monetization and more it’s been so worth it. I’m still taking babysteps and we have to move to a better equipped host, but it’s all good.

How are you going to take your blogging to the next level?

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