Tag Archive | "manager"

Facebook launches Nearby Friends feature for mobile

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Wondering which of your Facebook friends are in the neighborhood? Facebook now gives you that answer. Soon, Android and iOS users will be able to opt-in to a location service called Nearby Friends.

Facebook stressed in the blog post announcement that this is opt-in (compared to many other services Facebook launches, which are opt-out). Facebook has done something similar in the past, where users are notified when a friend checks in somewhere nearby, but now you’ll be able to see who is around without them checking in.

Users who do this will be able to choose who can see their location.

Product Manager Andrea Vaccari wrote about this new feature:

Sharing your location with Nearby Friends goes two ways — you and your friends both have to turn on Nearby Friends and choose to share with each other to see when you’re nearby. Your friends will only be able to see that you’re nearby if you share this info with them and vice versa.

If you turn on Nearby Friends, you can also choose to share a precise location with the particular friends you choose for a set period of time, such as the next hour. When you share your precise location, the friend you choose will see exactly where you are on a map, which helps you find each other. Then you can meet up and spend time together.

You can also share location information with someone up until a specific time. This will help when you’re meeting someone, but don’t want them tracking you throughout the day.

Vaccari wrote about a couple possible uses for Nearby Friends:

When Nearby Friends is on, you can see when your friends are traveling if they’re also using this feature and sharing with you. You’ll be able to see the city or neighborhood they are in, including on their profile. When you see a friend visiting a place you’ve been, it’s the perfect opportunity to send a recommendation for a great restaurant. You can also make last-minute plans to meet up with a friend who happens to be in the same place you’re headed to.

Facebook will roll this out to Android and iOS users in the coming weeks.

Readers: How do you feel about this feature?

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Facebook’s Secret New “Business Manager” Could Compete With Developer Partners For Marketing Dollars

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TechCrunch has discovered a big, unannounced marketing tool from Facebook called Business Manager that lets teams at enterprises and agencies manage multiple ad campaigns and Pages in one interface. There’s just one problem. Business Manager could directly compete with Facebook’s Preferred Marketing Developers who it has historically left to serve these lucrative customers. Read More

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Facebook page admins asked to join waitlist for new layout

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Want to be among the first to get the new Facebook page layout? Facebook is now notifying some page admins to join a waitlist to have their page converted to the new design, according to sister site AllFacebook.

When a page admin clicks that they want to be added to the waitlist, giving them earlier access to the new design, they receive the following message:

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Facebook SPMD Ampush names Rick Cotton as CRO

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Ampush, a Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, announced recently that the company has named Rick Cotton as Chief Revenue Officer. Cotton comes to Ampush from Sequoia-backed TuneIn, a digital radio app, where he was the company’s head of global advertising. Prior to that, he was a Senior Vice President/General Manager at Monster, where he launched and grew the company’s consumer advertising business while managing strategic operations.

With Ampush, Cotton will expand the company’s national sales team and ensure top-quality customer service as the company grows. He will help develop and execute Ampush’s go-to-market strategy and collect market feedback.

Ampush CEO Jesse Pujji welcomed Rick Cotton to the company in a press release:

We’re thrilled to have Rick join our executive team and drive our strategic client relationships as well as go-to-market and product strategy. He brings a rare combination of leadership, analytical rigor and client-first focus that is a perfect fit for Ampush’s DNA. His deep experience in marketing software and technology will take Ampush to the next level in the native ad space.

Cotton says he is excited to get started:

Ampush is aggressively innovating to drive results across native platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The company is developing a premium brand that offers leading technology and top-tier customer service to meet the needs of world-class partners like MasterCard and HotelTonight. I am excited to join the Ampush leadership team while helping to scale what I believe to be the premiere native ad solution on the market.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

Facebook to simplify ad campaign structure

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On March 4, Facebook will rework its ad campaign structure. Previously, the levels of advertising on Facebook were ad and campaign.

But soon, Facebook will break this up into campaign, ad set, and ads.

Facebook explained this in a Facebook for Business blog post:

Campaigns correspond to each of your advertising objectives, like building brand awareness or driving web traffic. They’re designed to help you optimize and measure your results for each objective across multiple ad sets and ads.

Each campaign can feature multiple ad sets, each of which has its own budget and schedule. You can also organize each ad set to represent audience segments, like people who live near your store. This will help you control the amount you spend on each audience, decide when they will see your ads, and measure their response. The ad delivery system will optimize delivery for the best-performing ad in an ad set.

Within each ad set, you can have multiple ads, each of which can feature different images, links, video or text. You’ll still control the creative, targeting and bidding at the ad level.

Click below to learn more.

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Facebook explains that with the new structure, an advertiser can start with a campaign for each objective — such as in-store sales or post engagement. Then, ad sets can be created to represent the audiences that will be reached. Lastly, ads can be created within each ad set.

When will this be available?

The new campaign structure will be reflected worldwide across all ad interfaces, including the Ads Create Tool, Ads Manager and Power Editor, as well as third-party ad interfaces built by Preferred Marketing Developers. Though these updates won’t begin rolling out until March 4, we want to make sure all our advertisers and partners know in advance that this helpful change is coming.

When the new structure is rolled out to your ad account, all your campaigns will be migrated automatically to the new structure. The migration will not impact the delivery, spend or performance of your existing ads, and you’ll still have access to historical data for any of your existing campaigns and ads.

Readers: What do you think of this new flow?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

U.S. Investments Surge For African Tech Entrepreneurs

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From the largest technology companies to early stage investors, American high tech companies and venture capitalists are increasingly supporting startups across the African continent.

Whether it’s the 16 mobile apps in Botswana that Jim Goetz mentioned in his take on Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp; the launch of IBM’s new innovation centers in Lagos and Casablanca; Microsoft’s partnership with three incubators in Africa, or the African Development Bank’s recent summit on how to engage the private sector more effectively, African entrepreneurship is on investors minds.

In fact, 2013 was the most active year for technology investment on the continent, according to data from CrunchBase.

And Africa’s community of entrepreneurs is only growing. Those IBM Innovation Centers in Lagos and Casablanca will give founders of new tech companies access to IBM technology and expertise around big data, analytics, and cloud computing, as well as skills training and business and marketing support.

“In the last decade we’ve seen a lot of transformation [in Africa]. There’s increased stability and a lot of bandwidth that’s come on line, tremendous economic growth, plus a lot of infrastructure being built and a lot of foreign investment,” said Solomon Assefa, an IBM researcher and vice president of Science and Technology.

Assefa, who also currently serves as a Program Manager for Growth Markets and Strategic Initiatives in Science and Technology at IBM,  said the goal is to create an ecosystem where entrepreneurs can create new products using existing technologies. “We believe Africa is vital and we think IBM is going to be very very essential for productive growth and development.”

Microsoft, Intel Step Up Investments

Other executives at America’s largest corporations agree. Microsoft, which launched its 4Afrika program in February 2013, has recently instituted a new lending initiative which selected its first five startups from across the continent earlier this month.

The program began in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria, but Microsoft expects to expand across Africa with the grant program and partnerships with African startup incubators, according to Amrote Abdella, the director for VC and Startups in Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative.

“The criteria we use [are] based on a couple of things: Is this a disruptive technology [and] is it relevant to Africa?” Abdella said. “We have a couple of really fast growing sectors where technology will change the way we operate [like] healthcare, education, and agriculture.”

While Microsoft’s investments in the continent will be in the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands, global technology investor Intel Capital is in the early stages of making multi-million dollar bets on continental African startups.

“The growth we’re going to see here is tremendous,” said Marcin Hejka, a managing director for Intel Capital and head of its Eastern Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia/CIS investment group. “I’m quite positive about that because we’ve seen it before in other emerging markets, in Russia, in Eastern Europe, In Latin America and in China.”

Hejka would not disclose how much Intel Capital is willing to commit across the African continent, but would only say, “This is the message I give my team in Africa: behave like there is no limitation [on capital].”

Intel has two investments in Africa and has made three commitments to its portfolio since it opened its office in Lagos last year. In December 2013 the firm committed to follow-on financing for Rancard Solutions, an Accra-based company which sells mobile content delivery software. “I’m absolutely certain we will see multi-billion exits in the technology space in Africa in a couple of years,” Hejka said.

New Infrastructure Creates Opportunities

Africa’s technology revolution is a function of the dramatic rise in access to cheaper bandwidth and the proliferation of mobile devices and the development of a home-grown market for content and commerce.

“The availability of bandwidth in Africa increased by a factor of 200 over the last two years, and now this bandwidth is propagating inland from the coast” said Intel Capital’s Hejka. “Furthermore, wholesale prices of bandwidth have dropped 90% in the past two years.”

Indeed, the development of Africa’s technology infrastructure and ecosystem is happening at breakneck speed. “Africa is getting everything at once… and there might be a risk of it being too much at once,” said Mbwana Alliy, the founder of the seed-stage investment firm Savannah Fund. “A lot of things are happening at once: smartphones and undersea cables at once and private equity investors and startup accelerators at once.”

The startups in Alliy’s accelerator have managed to ride the surge of interest. Five out of the ten companies he’s backed have already raised subsequent rounds of financing. “Is there a Series A crunch that I’m experiencing here? Not really,” he said.

International investors, both private equity firms and technology-focused investors have already staked claims across the continent and are backing new companies.

Private equity firms like Actis, Abraaj GroupHelios Investment Partners, and Emerging Capital Partners have been active in the market for years, but tech investors like Rocket Internet and Tiger Global Management have recently joined the fray. Some of private equity’s heaviest hitters like The Carlyle Group are investing in the continent now. Rocket alone will commit roughly $200 million to its African Internet Holding portfolio company.

Old Models And New Innovations In Emerging Markets

Africa Internet Holding, which is backed by Summit Partners, Rocket,  and Millicom International Cellular, is taking the platform approach to building African clones of successful internet enabled businesses like Amazon and others.

“The reason why this is happening is because Africa is a very different place for the internet than anywhere else in the world,” said Jeremy Hodara, the co-Chief Executive of Africa Internet Holdings. “People in Africa will directly buy online [and] if you take all the big internet businesses, we can do them in Africa and we can do even more because there are no brick and mortar competitors.”

Not only are African startups building the internet infrastructure for Africa, but they’re also building the physical infrastructure to support their businesses at the same time.

“There’s a lot of wealth in Africa. A whole lot of wealth in Africa,” said Chris Folayan, the founder of MallforAfrica, another e-commerce startup focused on the continent, which is backed by an undisclosed multi-million dollar investment form Helios Investment Partners.

“[And] Nigerians even today can not buy items directly for over 90% of the global e-commerce sites,” Folayan said. “They have the funds and they have the means to buy these items, so why not create a platform where they can buy these items?”

MallforAfrica has done just that. Using the company’s website or mobile app, shoppers can browse directly on web sites that do not allow consumers on the continent to buy goods, buy them, and have them delivered through MallforAfrica for a fee.

There are 70 sites which have partnered with Folayan’s company, representing some 7.8 billion items. Since its launch the company has processed 25,000 transactions.

“You have all of these things in place that literally create the foundation for a very advanced infrastructure,” Tofayan said. “When those things are in place you can see this is a continent and [Nigeria] is a country that are ready to play ball.”

Photo via Flickr user Jon Gosier

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

LinkedIn Opens Its Publishing Platform To All Members

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LinkedIn Publishing Tool for Members

To date, LinkedIn has allowed a small, editorially selected group of “Influencers” like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Barack Obama to publish their thoughts and advice to its network as long-form blog posts. Now, that changes, as LinkedIn prepares to open up access to its publishing platform to all 277 million users on its network.

The company says the rollout is staged, with initial access arriving for some 25,000 English language users of LinkedIn, with a worldwide reach planned for a couple of months from today, give or take.

“One of our big, strategic bets for the company is for LinkedIn to become the definitive, professional publishing platform,” says Ryan Roslansky, Head of Content Products at LinkedIn. “We do this because we want LinkedIn to be the place where members can become productive, successful professionals – not just when you’re trying to find a job, or search for another person.”

In other words, LinkedIn needs a hook that would make it more of a daily or at least a weekly destination for end users, rather than a place you go to update your resume when looking for work.

The company first launched its “Influencer” network last fall with 150 “thought leaders,” and has since grown that to around 500 in the time since. That number will remain unchanged, though Roslansky tells us that the new open access to publishing on LinkedIn could potentially allow others to break into these more exclusive ranks by writing posts that find a wider audience engaging with and sharing their content.

Today, Influencer posts are well-trafficked on the site, he says, and see over 20,000 unique views, over 250 likes and 80 comments, on average. (Would-be-influencers, these are the metrics you’d have to hit to qualify for consideration, we’d wager.) The company is also adding a few new Influencers in conjunction with the wider publishing rollout, including Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, Financial Expert and CNBC host Suze Orman, and Summly founder and Yahoo! Product Manager Nick D’Aloisio.

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Currently, LinkedIn’s publishing system lets the Influencers share text accompanied by images, with no limitations on word count. These posts are pushed out to the LinkedIn homepage, where featured items rotate between four top-level positions. The posts also appear in an email digest, in the flagship LinkedIn application and in the Pulse app (the news reader app that LinkedIn acquired last year).

For members who choose to participate, the posts will appear on their profiles where they will “live forever” as a part of your professional identity, explains Roslansky. To reach those who can benefit from that knowledge, LinkedIn will tap into its understanding of users’ industry and interests to better target the right posts to the right people.

“One of the great things about LinkedIn is when you create a profile on LinkedIn, we know a lot about who you are, your industry, your function in your company, etc. – we have great insight into the interests you care about,” he says. So for example, if LinkedIn sees you’re a graphic designer and it sees a piece of content algorithmically trending on the subject of graphic design, it will make the match.

Of course, just because a network builds a publishing platform doesn’t mean everyone immediately becomes a great blogger. Case in point: Medium, which proves that just like tech news sites, newspaper websites or personal blogs, there will be gems and there will be some serious crap. Roslansky isn’t worried about the “crap” problem, though, saying that LinkedIn pieces will be published by those looking to share their professional thoughts and opinions – insight that hasn’t been written yet because it exists only in people’s heads right now.

(That being said, you’d be surprised at what sort of content people can spit out and proudly attach their byline to.)

LinkedIn may be looking to deliver more personalized insights and increase user engagement, but the actual end result – given broad enough adoption of the pro blogging feature – will likely be better hiring decisions as companies get to know the person behind the resume.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Aiming To Be The Coinbase of Europe, Sweden’s Safello Raises Investment Cash

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Billing itself as the “Coinbase of Europe” Sweden based Bitcoin company Safello has raised a $600,000 investment round lead by Bitcoin advocates Erik Voorhees (co-founder of the Bitcoin company Coinapult) and Roger Ver (Angel Investor & Bitcoin evangelist), and participated in by Blockchain.info CEO Nicolas Cary and angel investors Victor & Victor. The startup has also redesigned its site for usability to position itself as ‘safest way into Bitcoin’. The startup plans to go up against major competitors in the shape of Kraken, Bitstamp, Coinbase, and BTC-E.

The cash will be used to grow in Europe and to be a ‘safe harbour’ for Bitcoin. It’s estimated that about half of the Bitcoin exchanges have disappeared since 2009.

To achieve this, Safello has registered itself with the Financial Supervisory Authority in Sweden, a country that together with Germany has been pretty clear about bitcoin taxation, and, of course, a very stable economy.

Frank Schuil, co-founder and CEO of Safello says: “Our new interface is simpler than our competitors. And we are more ‘compliant’ than the others. Our goal is keep the user interface minimalistic so it’s simpler for people to get into bitcoins.” Erik Voorhees, says Safello’s growth “has been amazing thus far.”

Stability is key in the Bitcoin market but it is hard to find right now.

Bitstamp, the manager of the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, said over the weekend that it had restored automated customer withdrawals, after they were halted for days due to a hacking attack that crippled various Bitcoin platforms.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

Coding Cupboard Is A New U.K. Crowdsourced Marketplace For Budding Devs To Get Project Work

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A new crowdsourced marketplace aiming to connect up budding coders with businesses needing to find developers to do one-off project work has launched today in beta in the U.K.

Called Coding Cupboard it’s the sister side of Concept Cupboard — a creative industries talent-finding web platform that launched this time last year aiming to connect students/recent graduates with businesses wanting design work doing.

The basic concept of both sites, which have been privately funded to date, is to pull in a pool of young professionals just starting out on their careers, and thus in a position to mobilize for freelance work, and match them up with businesses that have smaller jobs that need doing quickly — via a pitch and response process.

That template — deployed in the creative industries space — was evidently successful enough for the founders to expand their Cupboard brand to tech dev work with today’s launch.

Why expand to coding? Well there’s obviously continued rising demand among businesses for digital development work, with the proliferation of apps and other digital technologies. While, on the student side, the number of new computer science students is growing in the U.K., with more than 21,500 accepted into universities last year, a year-on-year bump of 12% according to HESA data — more growth than in any other subject.

Youth unemployment has also been a huge problem during the U.K.’s recession. Although the national economy is improving, it’s still tough for young people to find work — and therefore hard for them to gain the experience employers look for to land full-time roles. This unwelcoming job market gives Coding Cupboard its opportunity to push in, reckons co-founder Adam Ball, himself a recent computer science graduate.

“We’re a business with a social purpose of tackling youth unemployment. We’re helping young people to show what they can do whilst also helping businesses source coding at a more affordable rate than established freelancers & agencies,” he tells TechCrunch. ”Our main competitors would be people like Elance, oDesk etc. We’re unique because we focus on the extraordinary undiscovered talent that students have.”

“We work closely with careers departments to get their students using the site,” he adds.

Ball, who joined the company as an intern on Concept Cupboard and now runs both sites (and also built Coding Cupboard), adds that with youth unemployment being a global issue the company has a roadmap to take Coding Cupboard to markets outside the U.K.

For now, though, this is a U.K. launch.

“We’re starting by offering projects such as website builds, mobile apps, custom coding and social media projects,” adds Ball, detailing the initial offering. ”A business signs up, uses our simple step by step briefing tool (so that even the plumber can use it) and launched their project to our coding community.”

Coding Cupboard is launching with 50+ businesses signed up to the new platform, beefed up by businesses that use Concept Cupboard being ported over — meaning it has more than 1,000+ businesses pitching projects. (Concept Cupboard has some 1,200+ businesses on that site, and 4,700+ creatives — and has so far helped students earn more than £100,000+, according to Ball).

The business model for the company is to charge businesses a listing fee for projects (this is a percentage of their budget for the work but is added on top of the money that goes to the student) but for Coding Cupboard’s launch it’s waiving the fee.

Later this year, it will also be rolling out a “recruitment proposition” to further expand the revenue generation opportunities for the business, adds Ball.

The other co-founders of Coding Cupboard are marketing agency veteran Guy McConnell, formerly a Board Director at Black Cat; Simon Devonshire, Director of Telefonica’s regional incubator academy network, Wayra Europe, and previously General Manager of Small and Medium Business at O2; and Julie Cheetham, also previously a Black Cat Board Director.

Article courtesy of TechCrunch

4 reasons to target email subscribers with Facebook ads

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Only 20 percent of people open your emails, and 5 percent click. That’s 95 percent of your email subscribers who are not going to your landing page that you spent so much time optimizing!

So what are you going to do? Just let those subscribers (read: sales leads) go to waste? Well, read on. In this article I’ll show you how (and why) to reach and convert that 95 percent using Custom Audience-targeted Facebook ads.

I know that you may still have reservations. A lot of marketers think that spending their ad budget targeting people they have already acquired as subscribers is just throwing their money away. You may have already spent money on ads to acquire them in the first place. So why should you do it again?

Let me explain four reasons why you should target your subscribers with ads on Facebook:

1. Increase Your Click-Through Rate

Targeting people who already know you, and have shown enough interest in you to opt-in to giving you their email address, will give you a much higher conversion rate than converting people who don’t possess either quality.

You can utilize this recognition and trust by using your logo as (or in) the ad image, your company name in the ad copy, and your website URL, which appears automatically if you are running an ad that clicks-through to a page on your own website.

2. Lower Your Ad Spend

As your click-through rate increases (which we learned about above) you will need to show your ad to a much smaller number of people to get your desired amount of clicks and conversions.

Facebook allows you to bid for your ads on a CPM model, meaning you pay based on the number of people who see your ad (more specifically per thousand ad impressions). Using this bid model, as opposed to CPC, you’ll see your total spend drop to reach the amount of clicks (and conversions) you want to obtain.

3. Increase Landing Page Conversion Rate

Similar to an increase in ad CTR, the previous recognition and trust in your business will boost conversion rates on your landing page (which users are taken to after they click on your ad).

Visitors won’t be worrying about what your company is or if you can be trusted because they will have already gained that trust before they opted-in to your email subscriber list the first time.

4. Save Time

If you’re like me, you’ve spent hours, days even fine-tuning your Target Audiences for each campaign and landing page you’ve created. No interest category, demographic grouping or connection goes untested.

But what if you didn’t have to spend all that time? What if there was an easier way to find a great Target Audience?

Well, you already know that your email subscribers are interested in your business. In fact, they have already converted on one of your landing pages or web forms. So you know they’ll be a high-converting audience.

Simply using your email subscribers for your Target Audience will save you a ton of time both choosing audiences and testing different ones to find out who your business really resonates with. You will have even more information about them, from their form field responses on what they’re interests are or industry they’re in. This will help you save time thinking about the type of offer/gated content to use as the ‘bribe” to get them to click your Ad, as well as in writing the Ad copy itself.

How Do You Target Email Subscribers With Facebook Ads?

Targeting your email subscribers is done through Facebook’s Custom Audience targeting option. This option is accessible through Facebook’s Power Editor and 3rd party platforms like Wishpond’s Facebook Ads Manager tool.

With Facebook’s Power Editor rool you can use this option by following these steps:

1. In the top-left corner, click on “Create Audience” > “Custom Audience”

2. Next, a modal window will appear. In it there are three options for uploading your email list (including directly through Mailchimp). For this walkthrough, we’ll go with “Data File Custom Audience.”

3. This will open a new modal window, where you add some information about your list, and then upload the file itself, which must be in .csv or .txt format.

4. Once your Custom Audience is created, you will see it in your Power Editor (below) and have the option to “Create Ad Using Audience”.

This can also be done within the Ad Creation Wizard of Wishpond’s Facebook Ads Manager. All you need to do is copy & paste a single-column list of email addresses into the box provided (below). Soon you will be able to upload lists directly from email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, AWeber and Constant Contact.

How Does Facebook Target Your Email Subscribers?

When you upload your list of email addresses (either through Facebook’s Power Editor or a 3rd party platform) Facebook goes through its user base (yes over a billion accounts) to match the email addresses to Facebook accounts. As you may have guessed, this can take some time on their end (generally a few hours). Once the matching is complete, your subscribers are automatically shown your ad on Facebook.

One thing to note is that the email address you upload must be the same as the email address the person uses to login to their Facebook account. This means that you won’t be able to target certain subscribers on your list.

Nick Steeves is a Product Manager for Wishpond, a social marketing firm.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Article courtesy of Inside Facebook

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