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The Power of Community in Your Podcast


Christmas is a time for giving, and that’s true for your online communities as well as family and friends in real life. Just before the holidays started I was reminded of the connection that a show can have between the listeners and the producers.

This time, I was the listener, and looking forward to the Christmas show from Radio International. It’s one of a number of sites based around the Eurovision Song Contest, and hosts a weekly podcast and radio broadcast in the Netherlands, and a few days before the festive broadcast I learned that JP, the host, wouldn’t be able to run the Christmas show – one that everyone was looking forward to.

So I volunteered.

Was it the same show that JP would have put out? I suspect not – a three hour show, with music, chat, and news has its own vibrancy derived from the host in the chair. Besides, I was sitting in the Belgian studio with JP’s music collection, but up in Edinburgh with a slightly more esoteric Scottish flavoured collection.

But with some help from many of the listeners I reached out to, a playlist was put together, guests were told of the new arrangements, and I sat down with a few spare hours and made sure that Radio International had their weekly show.

The community contributed to the show in the best way possible, and for me that was one of the best shows I have done. It also shows that everyone’s online shows are about more than a one to many broadcast – they are about personal connections, interactions, and friendships that flow in both directions.

That’s what makes new media so unique, special, and personal. And that’s what makes it an amazing space to continue to explore as we head into the new year.

Facebook, YouTube and Google Grab Number One Spots on Nielsen’s “Tops of 2011” List


Nielsen unveiled their Tops of 2011 list this week and when it comes to their Tops of 2011: Digital list, nothing is really surprising about it. Google is the top web brand, Facebook the top social network and YouTube is where the masses go to watch videos.

Actually, I am a little surprised at the fact Yahoo! ranked number 3 for Top U.S. Web Brands. They beat out Microsoft, YouTube and AOL Media Network, to name a few.

Here are the Top 10 U.S. Social Networks & Blogs:

1. Facebook
2. Blogger
3. Twitter.com
4. WordPress.com
5. Myspace.com
6. LinkedIn
7. Tumblr
8. Google+
9. Yahoo! Pulse
10. Six Apart TypePad

What site(s) did you spend most of 2011 on? For me personally, I would have to say Facebook, YouTube and of course – all things Google related.

Texas Teen Ben Breedlove Uses the Power of Words and Video to Touch Thousands


There are most likely hundreds of blog posts on tips and tricks to making a video go viral. You ask yourself what your audience wants to see or if you should upgrade to a better camera. Or maybe if you just had that high priced video editing software, your videos would be shared with thousands.

What if you just simply shared something of importance? No fancy equipment. No music. Just you and your message.

Texas teen Ben Breedlove sat silently in front of a camera, with some notecards he had written on and held them up for all to read. Nothing fancy. Just his words he needed and wanted to share.

This was a two-part video the 18 year old shared about the heart condition he’s been living with called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. He shared how he’s cheated death 3 times and what he remembers from those moments. He ends the video with “Do you believe in angels or God? I do.”

Breedlove died on Christmas Day (December 25, 2011) and these videos titled “This is My Story” were uploaded just a few short days before he passed. His videos now have more than 2 million views.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ben Breedlove.

Should We Forgive GoDaddy?


SOPA has sure made a mess of things, hasn’t it?

No company knows that better than GoDaddy. When the list of SOPA supporters came out, Internet users everywhere cried to users to boycott GoDaddy, moving hosting and domain name registration to other companies. A lot of people did. Last Friday, when this story was getting top billing on tech sites everywhere, over 21,000 domain names were moved to other companies. That hasn’t stopped people from registering thousands of new domain names.

Bob Parsons, CEO of GoDaddy - worthy of our forgiveness?

The net loss for the day was only 1,020, which is pretty insignificant considering that they manage over 50 million domain names.

Yesterday, the specific day when people were encouraged to move their domain names, the boycott fizzled completely. The company actually had a net gain of over 20,000 names, though they have admitted a spike in transfer rates.

The boycott has made a difference. A few days ago, GoDaddy released a statement saying that they no longer support SOPA. Then, more recently, the company released a statement saying that not only were they no longer supporting the bill, but they now directly oppose it. The lack of support for transferring names yesterday can be attributed to both GoDaddy’s changing stance on the issue and Reddit’s new focus on actual politicians. (Reddit is where the call for a GoDaddy boycott originally started.)

So with all of that said, is it time for the blogging community to forgive GoDaddy?

This blogger says yes.

I personally have domain names registered and hosted with two different companies – GoDaddy and HostGator. I was poised to switch everything to HostGator, but when GoDaddy changed their position and decided to oppose SOPA, I decided to keep my account. For now.

Finish Your Vegetables, GoDaddy!

In my opinion, it sends the wrong message to boycott the company after they’ve given in to consumer demands. I’ve even seen people making fun of GoDaddy for changing their position so quickly to appease customers. Um…isn’t that what we wanted? What, did you want a more difficult fight?

The whole point of a boycott is to change what a company is doing. So if the company makes the changes you want and you still boycott, it sends the message that it doesn’t matter whether a company listens to its consumers or not. Next time, they won’t bother changing because it won’t make a difference anyway.

A good analogy is a kid who won’t finish his dinner. You tell the child, “Because you haven’t eaten the rest of your peas, you aren’t getting any cake for dessert.” If the child clears his plate, you have to give him the cake. That was the implied deal. You can’t really say, “Well, originally, you decided not to finish your dinner, so you still aren’t getting cake, even though you changed your mind.” Well, I mean, you can, but good luck getting the kid to eat his dinner tomorrow. You’ve conditioned him to think that it doesn’t matter what he does; you’re going to withhold cake if you feel like it.

Why Are You Anti-GoDaddy?

There’s no shortage of reasons to dislike GoDaddy. If you decide to leave because of the dead animal debacle, do it. If you object to their racy ads, transfer your names. If you believe the company can’t be trusted to make good decisions in the future, close your account. These are all good reasons to leave – for some people.

But if your reason for leaving was to boycott the company’s support of SOPA, I think you should stay – or even consider moving back if you already transferred. The boycott worked, and we want to send the right message – that if we boycott you and you change, we’ll stop boycotting. It’s time to forgive and move on to find other ways to make a different in the fight against SOPA. A lot of other companies and politicians still support the bill, and we need to at least try to change their minds.

A final warning to GoDaddy, though: the Internet might forgive, but we never forget. You’re on probation.

Picture via Parsonsrep at Wikimedia Commons.

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas 2011: 5 Traffic Tips


During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until 2012 comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

When it comes to blogging, the numbers matter. Without traffic, you can’t build a brand. Without traffic, you can’t sell advertising. Without traffic, you can’t spread your message. Without traffic you can’t sell your products. Unfortunately, the “if you build it, they will come” model of blogging doesn’t really work. Great content is often buried in the bottomless void of the Internet, and even the best bloggers in the world occasionally write posts that are fantastic, but go relatively unnoticed. So the topic of traffic is relevant to all of us! Here are some awesome posts about this topic:

1. How to Drive Massive Traffic To Your Blog—With Less Effort by Amy Porterfield at AmyPorterfield.com

This is the last post in an entire series by Amy called “How to Create Bite-Sized Content Your Readers Will Devour and Share.” In this post, Amy talks about the need to find your own sweet spot when it comes to the effort you exert trying to get more traffic to your site. The answer is going to be different for each person, but the overall concept is that you don’t need to do everything. You just need to do what works for you. Writes Amy,

The good news is, you’re probably already doing a lot right. Really. You’re probably already doing at least 90% of what you need to do to hit your own sweet spot.

In fact, you might be doing too much.

Let’s look at what you HATE doing. Some people hate, hate, hate Twitter. If you hate Twitter, maybe you’re doing too much there—or maybe you’re wasting your time. Often, when we don’t love something, we don’t do it very well. The same goes for Facebook, your blog, and any other social media you do.

Amy created the 4-week video training program The Simple Social Media Formula: Social Media on Your Terms and is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies. You can find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @amyporterfield.


2. Why Guru Strategies for Blog Growth DON’T WORK… and What Does! by Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing

This post from Danny covers everything you need to know about building your traffic, using the idea that you don’t need to use the “slow and steady” strategy, but you do need to do what’s right for your current level of success. That’s why what’s working for someone with a million hits a day probably won’t work for you. You need to get to that level first! From the post:

No, this isn’t a post about how you should be patient and take things slow and steady, because eventually you’ll win the race.

(As Sonia Simone said in a recent radio interview, “slow but steady works, but we’ve all had the experience of being beaten to the finish line by a jack rabbit with ADD!”)

The point of this post is that the fastest way to grow is by using the strategy that fits with your current stage of growth. The more appropriate your strategy is to your stage of growth, the faster you’ll outgrow it, and be ready for the next one!

You can find Danny on Twitter @DannyIny. He’s also the co-author of Engagement from Scratch! and founder of Bowl of Goals.


3. 49 promo ideas. simple, grand + the tried n’ true. by Danielle LaPorte at White Hot Truth

I love the ideas for promotion that Danielle offers in this post. Some of them are old standbys that everyone tells us to do to drive traffic. Others are pretty unique ideas that I haven’t heard anywhere else. All of them are fantastic! Go through the whole list or pick and choose what makes sense to you.  Whether you’re launching a new business or trying to build traffic to a site you already run, these are great ideas. Here are a few examples of the tips Danielle gives:

15. Don’t be shy about all the awards and accolades you’ve earned—create a special section on your site’s About page just for that.
16. Have ongoing giveaways on your site to engage customers, generate content, and build up subscriber base. e.g. “Answer Today’s Q&A and you’ll be entered to win the Awesome Gift of the Month.” Get cool people to donate the Awesome Gift (or Service) of the Month and they’ll help with the buzz.
17. Host a Story, Poetry or Photo contest that’s related to your industry. You could take the best submissions and turn them into an e-book, or you could partner with a print magazine and the winner would get published.

You can find Danielle on Twitter @daniellelaporte. She’s the creator of the Spark Kit and Your Big Beautiful Book Plan and has a number of free downloads available for readers.


4. Are You Taking Advantages of Recurring Posts? by Pat Flynn at Smart Passive Income

What are you “known for”? What do readers enjoy looking forward to reading on your site? Hopefully, every post your write keeps them coming back for more, but doing a recurring series makes a lot of sense. Traffic isn’t just about finding new eyeballs. It’s also about keeping current readers coming back to your site more often. In this post, Pat talks about how doing a recurring series can boost your traffic. He writes,

Are you giving your audience anything specific and regular to look forward to?In other words, is there some type of post that you publish consistently over and over again that becomes a true unique element to your brand?

Pat’s free ebook guide is available on his blog’s sidebar. You can also like Smart Passive Income on Facebook and follow Pat on Twitter @patflynn.


5. How to Improve Google Rankings for Your Older Posts in 4 Easy Steps by Ana Hoffman at Traffic Generation Cafe

Oh, Google. You are the bringer of traffic, but the bane of my existence. I couldn’t write a post about traffic and not include any links to information on boosting your search engine rankings. In this post, Ana writes about the step by step process to actually put your old post to good use. You’ve probably spent hundreds or even thousands of hours writing those old posts, so you deserve to get a little traffic from them! Just a few small changes can help make good (but old) content more visible on search engines. Writes Ana,

Blogging is never a “publish and forget it” sort of deal.You publish a post, you answer comments, you build links to it in hopes of ranking it high in search engines so that you can start getting organic traffic on autopilot.

Then comes the day of publishing a new post – for many of us, it’s the following day.

And what happens to the previous post? Previous 10, 20 posts? That’s right – who has the time?

If you make the time for your old content, you can see great results! After checking out this post, you can find Ana on Twitter @AnaTrafficCafe and add Ana to your Google+ circles. She’s the author of 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination, which is available for free on her sidebar.

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing
5 Traffic Tips (this post)
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (traffic), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

FTC Decides to Close Its Investigation on Hyundai and Their Blogger Outreach Campaign


During Super Bowl XLV, Hyundai hired a PR firm to handle a blogger outreach campaign to build buzz around their Super Bowl commercial. The bloggers were asked to write about the commercial, featuring the Hyundai Elantra, and were given a gift certificate in exchange.

But there was a problem with the campaign. There was no disclosure that the bloggers received something in exchange for the promotion, as the FTC requires.

Needless to say, the FTC launched an investigation to find out if the bloggers had indeed been told to disclose to their readers that they had received a gift certificate, in exchange for posting about the Hyundai commercial. The end result? The FTC recently announced they have closed the investigation and gave their reasons why in this letter.

Here are two of the main reasons why the investigation was closed:

  • “First, it appears that Hyundai did not know in advanceabout use of these incentives, that a relatively small number of bloggers received the gift certificates, and that some of them did, in fact, disclose this information.”
  • “Second, the actions with which we are most concerned here were taken not by Hyundai  employees, but by an individual who was working for a media firm hired to conduct the blogging campaign.”

Although no action was taken, Lesley Fair of the FTC’s division of advertising practices, wrote in a blog post that the closing letter from the FTC is worth a read if your company uses social media in its marketing.

He also gave these guidelines for companies needing more guidance when it comes to complying with the FTC policies:

  • Mandate a disclosure policy that complies with the law
  • Make sure people who work for you or with you know what the rules are
  • Monitor what they’re doing on your behalf

The FTC may have closed the investigation and Hyundai escaped something that could have been real messy for the company, but this definitely teaches all of us a lesson – the FTC is paying attention to disclosure policies, so make sure you have one and it’s stated clearly.

Do you feel bloggers are doing a good job disclosing what they are receiving in return for working with a company? And, for those you who regularly work with companies and PR firms on outreach campaigns, do they clearly state a disclosure policy is required?

What Louis C.K Can Teach Us About Selling Digital Content


Louis C.K. has always published his comedy specials in a traditional way. He’s been quite successful, and I’m sure that there was no shortage of production companies wanting the rights to his latest special. Yet he chose another route – self-publishing on a website of his own.

He shelled out a ton of money to make it happen, but ultimately saw his investment multiply. And, while I’m sure people are still downloading his special illegally, the $5 price point made it a lot more accessible to fans on a budget.

Louis C.K. might not be a digital mastermind, but I think all of us online content producers can learn a few things from his success. You don’t have to be a celebrity to replicate what he did and find success of your own. Here are a few take-away points I think are extremely important:

1. Don’t clutter your website.

Check out louisck.net, or louisck.com for that matter. They redirect to a purchase page. You don’t get some kind of splashy homepage or profile or store with tons of options. There’s no flash intro, no silly sidebar with links to everything under the sun, no long sales page. You get a link to buy his special. If you look for it, you can get to the news page or watch some videos, but the site isn’t cluttered with a million things to take the buyer’s attention away from doing anything but buying. If you’re going to sell something, don’t distract your potential buyers.

2. Save your fans from dealing with tons of annoying restrictions.

People pirate digital content. I’m not okay with that; everyone deserves to be paid for their work. But making buyers jump through a bunch of hoops to give you their money is just silly. On Louis C.K.’s site, he specifically addresses would-be pirates and talks about why he formatted his content the way he did, even if it does make it easier to share illegally. For him, it’s more about making it easier for the fan than making it harder for the pirates, and I think a lot of people responded to that and clicked the “buy” button because of it.

3. Give buyers a way to stay connected – if they want.

I hate when I purchase something and am automatically added to a mailing list. It’s really just one step above spam, if you ask me. On his site, there’s a mailing list, but you can easily opt out of it when you make your purchase. If you never want to hear from Louis C.K. again, no sweat. In fact the “No, leave me alone forever, you fat idiot.”* option is default. You have to make a conscious decision to add yourself to his mailing list. It’s respectful. Treat your fans that way too – let them decide whether or not they want to stay in touch before you fill their inbox with tons of emails trying to sell other products before they even know if they like the first one.

*his words, not mine!

4. Be transparent.

Most people shy away from talking about their process. They just show you a finished product to buy and allow people to make the purchase. They definitely don’t follow up with sales stats in most cases. At least, not super specific sales states.

Louis C.K. took a picture of his PayPal account balance. He also talked about how much the special cost him to make, what he paid for his website, why he decided to sell his content digitally, and what he planned to do with the money. All of that makes me trust him so much more. It’s almost like your fans get to know you when you’re not only personable, but also transparent about the fact on your website.

5. Don’t be greedy.

It’s easy for your eyes to light up when you see big numbers, but let’s be honest; nobody needs a million-dollar salary to survive. Instead of keeping all the money he made, Louis C.K. was honest about what he really needed. He gave the rest to his employees (along with big bonuses) and charities. As a potential buyer, I’m more inclined to buy when I know that part of the money I spend is going to good causes. And it’s really attractive to know that the artist is deciding how the money gets divided, rather than a Hollywood production company, especially given the SOPA bs happening in Washington right now.

6. Let your fans get involved.

To go along with point number five, I also thought it was very interesting (and smart) that Louis C.K. crowd-sourced via Twitter to decide what charities deserved some of his cash. When you get your fans involved, it not only helps build community, but it’s extra press for your products. Every people tweeting with him was advertising his special to their followers. While I don’t necessarily think it was a marketing ploy on Louis C.K.’s end, I do think that he probably saw another small sales spike around the time he was interacting with people on Twitter, trying to choose charities.

7. Don’t pretend to be an expert when you’re not.

Lastly, if you’re not an expert on something, don’t “fake it ‘till you make it.” People will smell that bs a mile away! Louis, for example, is not technical genius. He doesn’t understand torrenting, and makes that pretty clear on his site (in fact, he makes a joke out of it which is even better). Do what you know how to do; you’ll sell more products and build a more trusting, loyal fanbase than if you claim to be some kind of expert when you’re not.

Even if you’re not interesting in buying you can check out Louis C.K.’s Live at the Beacon Theater page here to see a good example of someone selling their digital content in a positive way.

Image via Wikipedia.

Up to 70 Percent of Toy Companies’ Samples Go to Bloggers


LeapFrog's LeapPad sent to mom bloggers to create buzz

The Holiday toy shopping season has come and gone and toy companies are now analyzing their sales and marketing efforts. “What worked and what didn’t?” they ask. How toy companies get the word out about their products has changed drastically over the years.

The Associated Press recently published a story on how mommy bloggers can make or break a toy’s success. It was just five short years ago that 98 percent of the samples toy companies sent out went to TV stations, newspapers and magazines. Enter 2011 and as much as 70 percent of their toy samples went to bloggers, says the AP. That’s a huge shift.

LeapFrog’s $99 LeapPad was almost impossible to purchase as we got closer to Christmas and part of that reason could definitely be attributed to mom bloggers, such as Colorado blogger Emily Vanek of ColoradoMoms.com. She was contacted by LeapFrog’s PR to host a “mommy party” for the product. This was LeapFrog’s chance to use word-of-mouth marketing in real life, as well as the online marketing efforts of mom bloggers all over the United States.

Of course, with all things related to mom blogging, there are your critics. Just read the one comment left by “dosolivas” who says, “Mommy blogs are an industry with a scheme ripped straight from ProBlogger.com to build up the ILLUSION of influence. One way they do that is by creating notice on big media sites, soliciting to appear on morning shows, and things like that. This creates the I SAW IT ON TV effect that gets people to think the site must be legit because… they saw it on tv.”

Another commenter chimed in and said they’ve worked with mom bloggers for close to two years and working with them has overall proven to generate buzz for a product.

It will definitely be interesting to watch how companies and mom bloggers (or bloggers in general) work together over the next few years.

Do you think companies will continue to reach out to bloggers for their marketing efforts for years to come, or are we hitting a spike that’s about to start going downhill?

Corporate Supporters Back Away from SOPA


After the official list of SOPA supporters was published and a post on Reddit about GoDaddy supporting SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) created a PR nightmare for the company, it looks like the list of corporate supporters is getting shorter.

For those of you not familiar with the SOPA and GoDaddy debacle, here’s the short story.

After GoDaddy showed up on the list of SOPA supporters, a single post on Reddit asking people to move their domain names elsewhere, caused GoDaddy to withdraw their support. On December 23rd, GoDaddy made the announcement:

“Go Daddy is no longer supporting SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” currently working its way through U.S. Congress.

“Fighting online piracy is of the utmost importance, which is why Go Daddy has been working to help craft revisions to this legislation – but we can clearly do better,” Warren Adelman, Go Daddy’s newly appointed CEO, said. “It’s very important that all Internet stakeholders work together on this. Getting it right is worth the wait. Go Daddy will support it when and if the Internet community supports it.”

You can read their entire letter here.

GoDaddy isn’t the only company speaking out and asking to be removed from the SOPA list of supporters. Law firms and companies who were listed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as SOPA supporters are not only asking to be taken off the list, but are also saying they have no idea how they ended up on it in the first place.

One company’s message on Twitter was “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!”

Does it look like to you SOPA and its “corporate supporters” is crumbling before our very eyes?

In Which the BlogWorld Team Wishes You Happy Holidays


At BlogWorld, we recognize our most valuable asset is our community; the people who we spend time with both online and off. You’ve all been so amazingly supportive of us throughout the years and we want you to know how much your support means to us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to our entire community including BlogWorld attendees, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, vendors, and all of you who spend time with us on the social networks, and #BWEChat,  or hanging out with us at conferences, meetups and Tweetups.

Our individual holiday wishes are below:

Rick Calvert, CEO & Co-Founder

“I want to say thank you to each and every one of you for choosing to be a part of our community. We are grateful beyond words. I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”


Dave Cynkin, Co-Founder, Sleep Deprivationist & Thrill Seeker

“For me, year-end is more than a time to look back at milestones and resolutions for growth in the new year…It’s a time to embrace the good fortune we’ve had in meeting creative, brilliant and insightful people and sharing memorable discussions together. This community is one of the most precious gifts to enjoy. I’m grateful for meeting you and look forward to spending more time together in 2012 (and I hope to see you at BlogWorld!). Wishing you and yours a healthy and relaxing holiday, and a happy New Year! ”

Patti Hosking, Director of Business Development

“Wishing you the peace, joy,  serenity, and excitement of being poised at the top of a mountain on skis just after a new snowfall has covered all the trees.”

Dani Goren, Director of Operations

“Happy Holidays”

Deb Ng, Director of Conference and Community

“Thank you, not only for being a part of our community, but for welcoming us into your own communities as well. My very best wishes to you and yours for the holidays and for a positive, peace-filled and prosperous 2012.”

Jennifer Holder, Executive Assistant

“Happy Holiday’s to you and yours, may they be filled with love and cheer.”

Christopher Castro, Registration Manager & Speaker Coordinator

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Felis Pasgua yan Año Nuebo! (Chamorro)”

Jennifer Wojcik, Sales

“Happy HanaChristmaKwanzakah to EVERYONE! Thank you all so much for an amazing year! On to 2012 with much pomp and fanfare. Love to you all, BlogWorld community!”

Nikki Katz. Managing Editor, BlogWorld.com

“Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season & a wonderfully prosperous New Year! Can’t wait to see everyone in NYC.”

Allison Boyer, Features Editor, BlogWorld.com

“Happy holidays, everyone! May 2012 bring you all growing bank accounts, shrinking waistlines, so much laughter that your sides hurt, and stats that would make Mashable jealous. Thank you for being the best community in the world!”

Julie Bonner, News Editor, BlogWorld.com

“To a joyful present and a well remembered past. Best wishes for Happy Holidays and an exciting New Year!”

Katherine Randall, Public Relations

Here’s wishing you and your family a happy holidays and prosperous New Year! Can’t wait to see everyone in NYC!”


Happy Holidays from the BlogWorld team!

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