InboundWriter WordPress Plugin Review

by Kristin on October 18, 2011

In early September I ventured to Content Marketing World in Cleveland Ohio. One of the sponsors and vendors was InboundWriter. I’m always looking for new a blogging tool to try and a SEO tool to spend my free time with so just before I left on Thursday I stopped by the InboundWriter booth to get a demo of the product they had to offer.  I was pretty impressed by the demo they showed me so I exchanged cards with the team and headed home.

A few weeks ago Erik emailed me asking if I’d be interested in beta testing their WordPress plugin before it launched. I told him I would be happy to! I’ve got to say, if you are a blogger or a member of the content marketing community who doesn’t have time to start learning all the tricks of search engine optimization, I’d highly recommend that you check out this blogging tool.

A Quick Overview of the InboundWriter WordPress Plugin

InboundWriter sits on the right hand side of your posts page inside of your WordPress backend. Once you start writing our post you have the option of including up to three “relevant terms” that you are planning on focusing on within the post. As you write InboundWriter will start grading your post. Once you hit 200 words, it will begin to show you the results of your content marketing.

While the concept of this is very simple, it is an SEO tool that all bloggers should consider using to help optimize their blogging efforts for search engines.

For each of your relevant terms, a star rating will pop up next to it helping you decide which keywords you should use more of within your blog post. After the plugin starts to score you, this blogging tool will also include “steps to improve my score” to help you figure out where you have gone wrong.

I’ve used this plugin on a few of my recent blogs and have had a lot of fun watching the score move as I work to optimize for a few different terms. It’s worth checking out if you have any concerns about your search engine optimization. The plugin works great on OLD blog entries as well!

InboundWriter Web Tool

If you’re not using WordPress (you should be) but are looking for an SEO tool to help optimize your website content, InboundWriter offers a web based version of their tool as well. This was the original demo they shared at Content Marketing World to help content marketers with their search engine optimization. You can optimize up to 8 documents a month for free and if you decide to optimize more, their plan is only $19.95 a month.

InboundWriter released a video about their product:

It is not a bad deal considering the results that this SEO tool has to provide!

Learn More About the InboundWriter WordPress Plugin

At the end of the day, I’m a nerd when it comes to learning about content marketing so I had a great time with the InboundWriter WordPress Plugin. It is a very simple blogging tool that can help improve your writing on a number of levels.

They have a free report for download and I highly recommend checking it out to understand the impact of real-time content optimization a little better.

Overall I think this is a fantastic SEO tool and I would recommend it to any blogger I run into. I’m excited to watch it evolve with the changes to search engines.

For more information on their plugin InboundWriter has added a new section to their website about the Inbound Writer WordPress Plugin. They do require registration in order to use the plugin, although you have both free and paid options available.


Is Social Media the New Mainstream News Source?

by Kristin on October 5, 2011

Social media has very quickly become a place to share news and information. Any NFL fan can watch Twitter on a Sunday afternoon and not miss a play, family members can share updates through Facebook and now social media has become one of the largest sources for news.

In a day in age where we rely on “instant results” there isn’t time to wait around for the major news networks to update their website reflecting all of the breaking news. Instead we turn to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to get the latest gossip.

An Era of Apple Comes to an End as Steve Jobs Dies

Tonight the world learned that Apple founder Steve Jobs died just one day after the first Apple announcement under Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook. As users were disappointed with yesterdays announcement, many were hoping that Steve Jobs would be back for the iPhone 5 announcement.

Just one day later news would break that Steve Jobs has passed away.

While the story may have broke on MSNBC or CNN, thousands of people found out when they opened their Twitter stream or their Facebook news feed. From social media, users had linked out to other news sources but the news spread quickly with thousands of tweets thanking Steve Jobs for “all of the Apples.”

Some people may click to read the full story, the ripple effect had already spread through social media faster than anyone could read the obituaries posted about Steve Jobs.

People didn’t question the source, they just posted their condolences.

Amanda Knox Verdict

Another story that made it big on social media this week was the end of the Amanda Knox appeal. Monday was a big day for Amanada Knox and all of the Americans who have followed her case over the last four years. After appealing her murder conviction, they were waiting to hear the judges final result.

The video was streamed live through websites like CNN, they had a live blog and there was live tweeting going on. Yet, when the verdict was read the tweeting and blogging stopped. Amanda Knox was taken from the courtroom on her way back to gather her things before those who couldn’t get a connection to the live video even knew what the Amanda Knox verdict was.


Immediately turning to Twitter, people were already tweeting the verdict before any of the major news stations had it posted on their update. Within seconds those of us waiting on CNN and MSNBC were able to find the verdict with no questions asked. We immediately trusted the source.

All of this brought up one big question in my mind: Is Twitter (and other social media websites) becoming our mainstream news source?

Social media allows us to customize the news we hear about based on those people we follow. Instead of checking CNN for the news, I find myself checking Twitter and Facebook first. After I’ve made it through that news I turn over to our local news website or CNN. Generally speaking I’ve already seen the major news stories that appeal to me on my social media websites.

Steve Jobs and Amanda Knox are just two examples of how quickly social media can spread the news.

What are your thoughts? Should the major news networks be concerned about social media taking their place?


7 Things I Learned at Content Marketing World

by Kristin on September 8, 2011

Content Marketing World 2011The past three days I’ve had the great fortune of spending time with some of the greatest content marketers in the world. As someone who never attended a conference before, when I heard about Content Marketing World, I knew it would be the perfect first time conference for me. Of course, it was the first time ANYONE would attend this fantastic event.

I learned so much over the last two days of sessions and I have ideas pouring out of my brain. I wanted to share a few of the key pieces that have stuck out.

Please note: I initially had 12 written out, but keeping in mind what you’ll read in number one I decided to narrow it down. :) There may be more blogs on other topics soon!

1. Our attention spans have changed from 20 minutes to 9 seconds due to web browsing – Sally Hogshead

I’d heard of the “five second rule” (no, not the one where the food is still good after 5 seconds on the floor) where you have five seconds to capture your visitor’s attention, but I didn’t realize how much that had changed due to web browsing. You have 9 seconds to fascinate your potential customer with your brand or content on your blog/website. People used to spend 20 minutes learning about a product or brand, they now spend an average of 9 seconds. Think about that… how are you capturing their attention?

2. Speak Your Customer’s Language, Not Yours

An overall theme that came up in a number of sessions this week was “speaking your customer’s language” instead of your own. This seems like it should be a “duh” point to anyone doing content marketing for a company. Although it is something that has gotten lost in a number of industries as companies try and become “thought leaders” (I think 100% of the people raised their hands in the session when someone asked ‘who is trying to become a ‘thought leader’).  It’s one of the easiest, yet hardest, tasks there is… think how your customer thinks.

3. The business of content marketing is creating a customer who creates a customer – Simon Kelly

It is no secret that social sharing is important to content marketing online these days. Simon Kelly brought up a great point, you are not just creating content for a potential customer… you are creating content for that potential customer to share with another potential customer.

4. Silent Bob is not so silent

I didn’t attend the evening event with Kevin Smith on Wednesday, but the closing keynote with him was awesome. As many said his talk was surprisingly relevant. I’m not sure I actually ever watched Jay and Silent Bob all the way through, but Kevin had a lot to say on the topic of marketing. He was one of the speakers to touch on the aspect of how “giving it away for free” turns into more sales.

He also told his story and how everything started with him getting kicked off of the Southwest Airlines flight. That moment really changed a lot for him and drove him to do the stuff he is today.

Kevin Smith was very funny and a GREAT way to wrap up the week. I do have to wonder, did anyone count the total number of times he dropped the ‘f-bomb’? I lost track :)

5. Giving information away for free will bring in more customers

This was a topic that came up in a number of conversations throughout the week. Both Brian Clark and Michael Stelzner said they essentially founded their blogs (companies) on a whim. They saw a need for a specific type of content and began to create it for FREE.

Through giving this content away for free they began to build a subscriber base and a customer base. As people began to trust them as a “thought leader” through the free content, they were able to grow.

6. No one cares about your product, except for you. – David Meerman Scott

Hands down David’s keynote on Wednesday morning was one of my favorites of the week. Put it this way… I immediately went and bought both of his books for sale after it. David talked about marketing in “real time” and how writing about current events can really drive more attention to your brand and your product.

There was one phrase out of his keynote that has stuck with me for the last 38ish hours is: “look at the second paragraph.”

The basic idea was: when a big news story breaks, write about it and in the second paragraph tie it back to your company/brand in a way that isn’t just describing your product/service. You are not the focus, the news story is. The subtle hint to your brand could drive more customers than a straight press release from your company.

He talked about how he had to get up at 4am and write a blog entry relating to the big news of the CEO of Yahoo! “getting sacked” and the way Yahoo! screwed up their marketing with the second paragraph.

I won’t go into all of the details, but the idea of the second paragraph is really sticking with me right now… I can’t wait to read his books.

7. The color orange can go a long way.

I don’t know if the city of Cleveland has seen that much orange in a long time, and not very much of it had to do with the Browns. Joe Pulizzi and the entire staff at Content Marketing World put on a great event. The fact that they had everything from the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame down to the soap in the hotel restrooms decked out in orange was an amazing task. It truly was a fantastic event. I already have the calendar marked for next year!


Google+, I’m Still Not Impressed

by Kristin on August 29, 2011

Google+ has been out for a couple of months now and I have to say, I’m still not all that impressed.

I understand that the +1 button is going to play a HUGE role in search, but as far as social goes, Google+ is just not doing it for me. My co-workers have reviewed Google+ and time and time again keep trying to convince me that Google+ is better than Facebook and Twitter.

Don’t get me wrong, I know change is good but my biggest problem ultimately comes down to Facebook and Twitter.

I’ve been a member of Facebook since February 2005. I’ve slowly had a chance to grow my friends list on Facebook and have used it to connect with close friends and family. More recently I’ve started connecting with members of the gymnastics world, SEO industry and even my co-workers. With Facebook’s uphill battle with privacy, I’ve always kept it to be fairly personal and not really gone into the “corporate” world with Facebook on my personal page.

Facebook pages is another thing. I have many pages out there that I moderate. While I don’t make the best use of all of them for promotion, I think it is a great way for a business to connect with their followers, advertise their business and keep everyone who cares in the know.

I first joined Twitter back in 2007 and played around with it a little bit. It wasn’t until a client wanted some integration with Twitter in 2008 that I really started getting to know my way around Twitter. Today I’m a Twitter addict. I’ve found it has become the BEST resource for learning. If you have questions, the Twitter community answers them. Looking for articles? Someone is bound to post at least 3 dozen good ones a day. Twitter has been nothing but good to me over the years.

At the end of the day, these two social networks (and Ravelry) suck up most of my time. Between these three social networks, I follow everyone that I want to follow. Starting with Google+ I feel like I’m starting all over again in building my follower lists and there is so much overlap between Twitter and Facebook that I’ve found myself ignoring pretty much every post on Google+.

I know Google+ has the opportunity to change your who sees what (Facebook does now too) and the ability to “hangout” but I have yet to use that features. Am I just not connecting with the right people?

I’ve often thought that I might use it more once they roll out Google+ for businesses, but until that happens I’m just sitting here feeling like I’m missing what all of the hype is about.

Other than another place for me to post my blog articles, I have not really found a reason that has left me checking Google+ every day. Every once and awhile I’ll login and comment on a post there instead of leaving a comment on someone’s blog, but other than that I don’t see why I should dedicate more time to it.

I’ve asked my co-workers and now I’m asking the blog world:

What is your favorite part about Google+? Do you see yourself using it more often than Facebook and Twitter? Why?

Leave a comment and let me know. I’m curious to know why everyone thinks Google+ is the place to be!


Purple Cow by Seth Godin – A Must Read

by Kristin on July 19, 2011

Seth Godin's Purple Cow I’ve heard the name Seth Godin many times before. Recently I was flipping through a blog and came across a list of things to boost your marketing. One included “Read Purple Cow, by Seth Godin The curiosity in me decided to order the book and see what Seth Godin is all about.

I am hooked.

Ignoring the fact that this book was originally written in 2002, with great content and Seth’s writing style this book fun and easy to read. As someone who rarely ever picks up an actual book, I want to order the rest of his books.

Seth doesn’t give you a direct answer on how to make a Purple Cow. In fact, he tells you straight out that not every idea will be a Purple Cow. that’s what makes it better. He gives you example upon example of other companies who have done it in the past and why they were successful.

While I originally found the book in a marketing blog, it is something that anyone in a company interested in product development can relate to. It doesn’t take the side of the marketer but shows how each person on the team can be important to the products result.

This book looks at the past and the future of products and “being remarkable” in your industry. With TV and print advertising becoming less and less popular, marketers and those developing products have had to find new ways to stand above their competition. Suddenly it’s not about who has the best advertisement, it’s about who makes the most “remarkable product”

So you want to know what a Purple Cow is? Read the book… you will not regret it.


AboutUs.Org Site Report – A Review

by Kristin on April 6, 2011

A few weeks ago introduced a new product, a site report tool that will allow businesses of all sizes to submit their website and receive a report back on their SEO. Aliza was kind enough to contact me with a coupon to try it out.

First, I have to admit, I’m a sucker for website reports. Wednesday mornings are exciting for me because that means Raven SERP Reports are updated, I love reading stats in Google Analytics and no website I work on is complete without a run through Website Grader.

Did I mention I’m a nerd?

This week I decided to check out the site report feature at

First things first, a quick overview.

The site report costs $9.95 a month per website, but you can continuously run the reports throughout that month. You have the ability to enter one domain and select up to 50 pages on that domain for the report to give you details on.

For every new domain you add it is an additional $9.95, so keep that in mind before you start quickly running reports.

I ran through the site report and was excited to see how much information I received. When I went to save off the website report it was 26 pages long! Keeping in mind I had it run 43 URLs.

Things to Note:

  • I LOVE the layout. When you’re viewing your report you have the ability to see the problems, the warnings and the positives about your site.
  • Drilling down into each page of content brings you a wealth of information, things I would have never thought of such as how many words in your title!
  • In a quick chance to save my report off I went to print to a pdf and the printable report is WONDERFUL. For anyone looking to try and explain SEO problems to someone who isn’t too sure about SEO, having this hard copy is AWESOME. They even show you with diagrams on a page where some of these elements are.

I mentioned that I’m a huge fan of the Website Grader. I think this tool used in conjunction with that can help direct any website get started on figuring out where they need to go with SEO.

At the end of the day, if you really want to improve your SEO, tools like this can give you an understanding but they won’t fix all of the problems. For companies who want to focus on SEO, I would always recommend hiring an SEO company to do the work.

For smaller businesses who are looking for an overview of their site at a low cost, I would recommend to start by checking this out. Signing up for a monthly fee may not be the direction you need to go, but I believe you can cancel at any time.

While you’re checking out the site report tool, don’t forget to check out the Learn section! There are some great authors in there. :)

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Wake Up Newspapers… It’s Not 1998 Anymore

by Kristin on December 8, 2010

I remember back when I first started making websites… it was 1998, I was in 6th grade and as far as I knew was the best web host ever. That was twelve years ago, and things have changed, or so I thought.

Inside of their basic editor, Angelfire offered the ability to add a background image to a website. That image would be tiled across the back of your website for everyone to see over and over again. Having a photo tiled in the background that made it near impossible to read your text was “the cool thing to do”. By the year 2000, most web designers grew out of the tiled photo background phase and moved onto bigger and better things (flash intros on splash pages, frames, tables… you know… the good stuff that still makes everyone in the industry cringe).

In the last six months I’ve noticed a trend starting to come back mainly with online newspapers… the tiled background. I’m not talking a simple tiled design that blends in nicely with the page, I’m talking tiled business logos as advertisements on the background of their pages.

It’s Not 1998 Anymore

Since graduating college I moved away from my hometown and now live out of state, but I like to keep up with the news back home. Recently I’ve found it becoming near impossible to visit my hometown newspapers website without seeing a number of ads for local universities in the background. While the newspaper industry has been going through a major adjustment over the last few years to compete in the online market, there are somethings that seem like they’re hurting more than helping. This is one of those things.

These days some websites are trying to cram in more advertisements than they have room for, newspapers are especially guilty of this. Recently I’ve noticed more than one newspaper starting to use the tiled backgrounds with logos from local businesses as advertisements, and it’s starting to pull me away from those websites permanently.

Instead of the local universities on Black Friday the Toledo Blade switched to advertising for a local business. While a majority of people were sleeping or shopping, those of us who wanted to check the news online were once again confronted with the reality of not being able to read the news online without being bombarded by an ad for Appliance Center. I’m all for online advertising, but there were a number of problems with the ad.

What is Wrong with Tiled Background Advertisements?

The biggest problem with tiled backgrounds in general is that they make the pages hard to read. If someone is quickly trying to to check the latest news it’s possible they will be immediately distracted by the background and will miss the main content on the page.

Problem number 2… backgrounds are not clickable. By having these advertisements in the background website users only see the image, they don’t know where to go from there. If the businesses goal was to convert users, they aren’t going to get very far with a simple background image. A clickable ad with a call to action button will better benefit a business than a background advertisement that doesn’t tell users where to go.

The third problem is that screen resolutions differ from computer to computer. While the standard these days is 1024×768 it is still possible to run into someone running a resolution of 800×600 or someone like me running a resolution of 1440×900. Every screen resolution will make the advertisements look different. Some will cause the advertisements to disappear all together, defeating the purpose of the advertisement; while others will give users an overload of tiled images, resulting in more tiled images than content on the page.

The tiled background images not only hurt the user experience of a website, but they are also not helping the businesses paying for that advertising spot except to point out that their business exists.

How Should Newspapers Fix The Advertisement Clutter?

With the newspaper industry evolving in so many directions at the moment it’s possible that this phase will be over in the future. At least we can all hope. For now, newspapers (and other sites who advertise with a tiled background image) need to reconsider their advertising space.

There are plenty of websites whose designers are able to incorporate enough space for 4 or 5 ads on a page without over cluttering the page or tiling the background. Ads do not need to be the biggest image on the page either. When an ad overpowers your website to the point where visitors aren’t sure whose site they are visiting, there is a problem.

Run tests with your website visitors on which ad spaces perform the best on your website. Those spaces should hold a higher value. If you start to see that one ad space isn’t returning any clicks, than it’s time to rethink what should be in that place. How many backgrounds are getting clicked because the website visitor thinks it will take them to the website advertised?

Whatever you do, do not devalue your white space on the page. The days of cluttered pages are long gone, clean simple and user friendly is the new standard.Wake up! It’s not 1998 anymore.

Do you ever get annoyed by websites who use their backgrounds as advertising space? What do you think they should do to fix it?


Write, Write, Write

by Kristin on August 24, 2010

One of the best parts about being in the tech industry is that it is always evolving and always providing new opportunities to learn. When I was in school, I hated to study. Math and me, didn’t mix, and I was always wound up frustrated.

Now that I’m out of school and learning to get along in the real world, I’ve found that I LOVE to learn. Now it’s about social media, seo, blogging, in other words, things that I like. I especially have learned more as I get to blog more. While I spend a lot of time blogging on the GT blog, I am always looking for new places to write and reasons to force myself to learn something new.

I’ve always loved to write, whether it’s bios of gymnasts (and trust me I’ve spent years writing those), blog entries no one ever will read, or even just notes to myself that need to be ripped up and thrown away to get past a point of frustration. I’ve found that writing is just a good way to get my thoughts out.

The more I write these days the more I find myself relaxing.

So I decided to take on the “Bad Ass SEO Blogging Contest” this month and see what I could do. With a focus on keywords and what types of keywords you should focus on for your website, I decided to give it a shot.

Check out the post, leave a comment, argue with me, and tell your friends.

Oh, and check out the sponsors:

$200. Prize Sponsors

Daniel McGonagle
Link Building

Best Travel Sites

Vacation Rentals

$150 Prize Sponsors

Candy Store

$100 Prize Sponsors

Alisa Bowman Marriage Advice

Vertical measures

Internet Marketing Services

SEO Software

SEO Ottawa

Virtual Assistants

Hesham Zebida Thesis Skins

Gerald Weber Houston SEO

Toni J Young Network Marketing Training

Quillcards Distinctive Ecards by Quillcards

Ghostwriter Dad Ghostwriting services

$50 Prize Sponsors

Whitney Segura Whitney Segura’s Internet Marketing Blog

James Brown James Brown

Raxa Design Houston web design

Eric Brantner Freelance Copywriter

The Servant Media Houston Business Development

Ana Hoffman, Traffic Generation Cafe Increasing Targeted Website Traffic

The Lane Real Estate Team Kennewick Homes

Other prizes: Non-Cash Sponsors 1 year Business Hosting plan. Includes toll free phone number and SSL $179.40 value Business Web Hosting

David Harry A full years membership at SEO Dojo, a value of $250.SEO Training Dojo

Link-Assistant.Com SEO PowerSuite Enterprise (max. functionality license) $599 worth with a life-time Live! Plan subscription. SEO tools

Special thanks to the contest media partner: My Blog Guest. is the free guest post exchange community where users meet to exchange guest posts and network.


Blogging About Not Blogging?

by Kristin on May 8, 2010

So it’s been just over a week since I issued the inbound challenge to northwest Indiana, southwest Florida, and everyone else around the world.

My goodness it’s been incredibly fun to watch. Ignoring the fact that I’ve barely blogged here, I’ve been enjoying spending my 33 minutes a day on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… and commenting on other blogs.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons I want to write about… such as:

  • My awesome week of mail (involving lights, social media pillows [I'm a TOTAL nerd], and fiber)
  • Why I have WAY too many knitting books, but still refuse to give them up (couldn’t lift the box by myself)
  • How excited I am getting back into photography (gym photos in two weeks!!!)
  • How I actually finished a book (It only took three months)
  • Why the Apple store in downtown Chicago completely rocks my socks (new space bar, new battery, no cost!)
  • …and most recently, why you should go see Billy Elliot (Chicagoans, GO!)

Have I?

Eh no…

Will I?

Hopefully this week… plus more!

I have a whole list of things I want to blog about, talk about, and keep writing down… This week, just wasn’t a good week… Actually May is just a crazy month to be trying to keep up with all of this, which is why it’s been such a great challenge to me. On Friday I mentioned on Twitter that I wanted to blog, I just hadn’t had time… saan1911 suggested I write a blog about not writing a blog… so I decided to do so…

Here is a nice long winded blog to say that I haven’t sat down to organize my thoughts… and really the only point of this entry is to tell you that I’ve been enjoying watching everyone’s #golden33 and I can’t wait to continue to see how the month of May plays out for everyone!


Facebook’s New Layout – Why The Complaints?

by Kristin on February 16, 2010

New Facebook Layout

Change Is GOOD!

For their sixth birthday Facebook launched a new look to their website. The new look rolled out over a period of a week and Facebook uses slowly were able begin to use the new site. As new users began to use the new site, the status messages started showing frustration and groups such as BRING BACK THE OLD FACEBOOK started forming, again. Deja Vu?

Every time Facebook rolls out a new look, people get upset, frustrated, and form groups. I don’t understand it. Very few websites remain exactly the same over a period of six years. When it comes to websites and design, change is usually good. Think about it. If we kept websites the same for years and years on end, we would still have our sites in tables with the pipe border around each table with each cell being a different color. I bet Facebook would look great with the old table look, circa 1997.

Change is generally good. Most websites such as Facebook are making changes behind our backs every day. They are upgrading server functionality, they’re changing code to make the site run just a little bit faster, and they continue to build upon the pieces of the site that are already in place. People never complain about the site moving faster do they? By creating the new layout, Facebook is actually making it easier to navigate in the long run. It now only takes one click once you’re logged in to see your friends profile updates. Before, it was two. Ideally we’d all become accustomed to the new design over night, but it takes a  little bit of time and eventually we realize that Facebook just made it easier for us!

Facebook has taken a great approach to the design change. Looking over Facebook’s archive of designs, you will see the color scheme has always stayed the same, the homepage has had two major overhauls in terms of layout, and the inside of the website generally matched the header and footer of the outside. They’re staying consistent. It would be a major problem if every time they did the redesign the navigation moved, the colors changed, and the functionality changed. Facebook slowly rolls out new functionality and eases us into the change. They didn’t go from the 2004 look to 2010 look over night.

Think of it as the evolution of the Pepsi Logo. In the 1970′s the Pepsi logo was sharp and fit with the times. Forty years later the logo still has the circle and says their name, it just moved with the times. Like Pepsi, Facebook hasn’t changed its overall brand with the new design, they’ve upgrade it to move with the times. Very few companies can get away without change. It’s a part of life and over time the new Facebook layout will be appreciated. For now, click through it and stop complaining. It’s not that hard to learn!

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