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Google AdWords Forum

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Google - Affiliates - Update
latest news coming through
Shak




msg:1154965
 9:43 am on Nov 25, 2004 (gmt 0)

following on from this:
[webmasterworld.com...]

Google are going to be making serious serious changes to the whole affiliate > merchant via ppc stuff.

early reports indicate an "auction" based system where advertisers fight it out on who can bid, and only 1 advertiser per site as such.

obviously I do NOT have correct details as I do NOT work for Google. so can not explain exactly whats gonna take place.

but be ready, it soon cometh.

Shak

 

dazz




msg:1155115
 9:05 am on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

My input about the affiliate ghosts destroying the AdWords adspace is a legtimate argument -- and G$ itself may very well be responding to it.

Im sure the people at google will be knocking on your door very soon and offering you all kinds of jobs.

Your arrogance is astonishing!

michaelbs




msg:1155116
 12:48 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

My input about the affiliate ghosts destroying the AdWords adspace is a legtimate argument -- and G$ itself may very well be responding to it.

If they are so be it! No one is crying - we are simply trying to get an answer to a very important question that effects our business model!

Michael

PPCBidder




msg:1155117
 1:28 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

...trade names and trade marks. A lot of merchants allow their affiliates to bid on these... Say Google allows only one URL pointing to a particular domain as some of you have suggested. What would happen is that Google would essentially be removing any commercial value (for google) from these types of keywords because all of those ads (save one) that use to point to the trade name/mark holder would likely be replaced... by people looking to cash in only the newly cheap keywords with untargeted ads... result... less relevant results for the end user... It would also look a lot spammier IMO... I would contact my attorney so he/she could inform google I donít want anybody else bidding on my name/mark anymore.

kingfish's statement does follow logically as to what would happen to the majority of trademarked terms, which Google clearly values as part of its Adwords model. Remember in April they changed policy to allow bidding on trademarked terms, for a number of firm and strong reasons:

[news.com.com...]

By changing to a 1 ad per domain system, Google effectively destroys what it fought for last April.

MultiMan




msg:1155118
 1:33 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

If they are so be it! No one is crying - we are simply trying to get an answer to a very important question that effects our business model!

If only that were the case (i.e., trying to get an answer as it applies to one's business model), then I could respect that.

But that is not is what some are doing here. Instead, they inaccurately accuse me of "whining" when the facts are, my well-made argument makes sense, it might very well end up happening, and THEY are the ones actually whining.

MultiMan




msg:1155119
 2:07 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I read the article as linked.

From the article:

Google said that it carefully evaluated the legal landscape before making its decision and is betting on a long-held tenet of trademark law that holds there is no infringement in the use of a registered mark unless there is a likelihood of consumer confusion.

Usng someone else's trademark in a COMMERCIAL, an ad, an ADWORDS AD, is indeed a dillution of the owner's trademark. G$ can claim all its self-justifying absurdity it wants, but each trademark belongs only to one owner, and G$ isn't it (except for their own trademarks).

If G$ would STILL choose to take that trademark-infringing route only shows they choose the unethical ways every time when it comes to $$$.

Trademarks belong to their owners. End of story. Others' trademarks do not belong to G$. And they do not belong to the searching users (so the silly "let the users decide" argument is irrelevant!). Neither do others' trademarks belong to trademark-infringing ghost affiliates. I am not talking about authorized affiliates of specific trademarked companies, but about those who use such ghost affiliate systems as an "eBay" account or whatever in order to then infringe a non-eBay trademark with a "Buy TRADEMARK now at eBay" type of ad. That IS an infringement of the trademark owner's rights and G$ must absolutely be held legally liable for allowing such infringement to occur.

The thing to remember about trademark law is that when a trademark owner lets a "little infringement" get away with it, then even that little allowance legally opens the door (establishes a precedent) for a legal challenging from the "little infringer" to prevent the owner from further disallowing even more overt infringement. Giving an inch can mean being forced to accept a mile. Clearly, therefore, it is extremely unethical for G$ to allow the infringement of owners' trademarks. To allow that is another example of G$ "doing evil."

However, if G$ does bring an end to that trademark-stealing policy by use of now separately choosing to limit or remove all affiliate ads, then maybe G$ WILL be on its way to cleaning up its unethical act after all.

Additionally, if it does so, it could even be DOUBLY improving its value (ending the theft of trademark infringement AND removing the irrelevant ghost affilates from distracting and destroying the AdWords adspace). It will also be doubly showing that G$ might possibly be headed BACK to maybe one day again following its asserted but currently-hogwash claim to "Do no evil."

We'll have to wait and see.

PPCBidder




msg:1155120
 2:43 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

"let the users decide" argument is irrelevant

How is this irrelevant when Google's VP made the statement! This is Google's stance. VP of sales also said "By letting people restrict certain words, you're not getting the results that people expect from Google."

This decision (on trademarks) is recent, and many of the same arguments apply to the issue of affiliate bidding. If anything Google is not hypocritical, therefore given their stance on trademark bidding, it follows that the rumors in this thread will not come to pass.

buckworks




msg:1155121
 2:52 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Usng someone else's trademark in a COMMERCIAL, an ad, an ADWORDS AD, is indeed a dillution of the owner's trademark.

Bidding to have your ad appear when someone else's trade name is searched for is a different issue from using their trademark IN your ad, and thoughts that apply to one situation don't necessarily apply to the other.

I see the abuse of dynamic matching as by far the biggest problem with Adwords these days. Google needs to get better control of dynamic matching, because the proliferation of deceptive or simply stupid ads created by scattershot dynamic ad creation does far worse things to the credibility and usability of Adwords than any alleged problems created by having some affiliates in the bidding mix.

wayne




msg:1155122
 4:36 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

All of the responses in this thread are from marketers using Adwords to advertise their business. It would be interesting to see what the response would be from actual users of Google's search engine. Personally, I don't see how having three or four or more of the sponsored ads on the same page going to the same website is benefitting the user.
Perhaps another answer would be only one ad per
domain per page. That way more than one ad per domain
would still be allowed but only one will show on each
page.

Shak




msg:1155123
 4:54 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

All of the responses in this thread are from marketers using Adwords to advertise their business. It would be interesting to see what the response would be from actual users of Google's search engine.

would that be the users who go to MSN or Yahoo and type in google . com to reach their favourite search engine.

users :) - thought we stopped worrying about them a long time ago, and instead worried about useS for the $ we can make from this interweb thing ...

AWA, any news or u still busy updating your friday report, fascinating reading that btw, amazing how all the stuff from WebmasterWorld gets translated into corp speak.

Shak

MultiMan




msg:1155124
 5:03 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)


"let the users decide" argument is irrelevant


How is this irrelevant when Google's VP made the statement! This is Google's stance.

Oh my gosh! Is G$ your god?

You have to be kidding me, right?

Just because G$ says that, well, that is irrelevant also.

Law and property rights are not based on what G$ says.

MultiMan




msg:1155125
 5:12 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you own property, and some squatters start using your property to make money for themselves, against your wishes, destroying or dilluting your property value, and not even paying you anything for it, YOU are the one with the sole right to prevent them from using your property.

It doesn't matter what the customers of those squatters think. "Let the customers of the squatters decide" is an irrelevant position.

The exact same issue applies to using someone's trademark in ads on G$. It's communistic, it's theft, it's a form of "trespassing," and it's criminal, as far as I am concerned.

Dynamoo




msg:1155126
 5:31 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm an affiliate who uses AdWords, and I also run sights the have AdSense which also suffers from the multiple ebay/kelkoo/amazon/etc ads problem.

From an AdSense perspective I *know* that the multiple ads impact on CTR and effective devalue the usefulness of AdSense, and it's easy to see that this rolls over to the ads displayed on the Google SERPs pages.

What *visitors* want from ads is variety. Heck, I use the ads myself when buying products, and what I want to see are a range of ads with the product I'm interested in. Several times recently all the ads have been for the same retailer, which makes them useless, so I go back to the standard search engine results.

Now, as an *affiliate*, I personally don't stick the affiliate links directly into AdWords, what I do is link through to my own site where I add some value, content, pictures etc and then the visitors can click through on a variety of affiliate links, or browse the site. I believe that having the ad landing page on your *own* site adds value to the visitor's experience.

Personally, I believe that direct links to the merchant site through the AdWords ads is a bad thing, and that affiliates should not link directly through to the merchant. Affiliates will just have to adjust their way of doing business, and provide meaningful landing pages.

Whatever solution there is though needs to balance the following elements:

  1. Maintain the value of the displayed ads to Google's end users (i.e. people using the search engine and webmasters displaying AdSense).
  2. Understand that affiliates are amongst their biggest customers and continue to offer a service which is attractive to them (and lucrative for Google).
  3. Protect the interests of shareholders by protecting and growing this particular income stream.

On the last point, I think that banning direct affiliate links to merchants would be neutral in revenue terms, but would protect the integrity of AdWords in the long term. Banning affiliate links altogether I think would have an immediate and ongoing financial impact.

That's my two cents worth anyway. (Actually probably a quarter's worth!)

mikeD




msg:1155127
 5:48 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

if you ban direct affiliate links to merchants then the merchant will not have to bid on its brand name anymore. Therefore no revenue at all.

Bad move for Google. Great for merchants

shorebreak




msg:1155128
 6:13 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dynamoo,

Do you have any stats or rough estimates on the extent to which multiple eBay/Kelkoo/AMZN/affiliate ads lower CTR? I'd be really interested to know.

Thanks,
Shorebreak

patient2all




msg:1155129
 7:00 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

It would be interesting to see what the response would be from actual users of Google's search engine.

I don't think you'll find the typical user's response on WebmasterWorld. They'd find the whole forum boring. People here know how to search Google to get what they want, how to do boolean searches, etc.

When grandma wants to buy something, she'd like to type some likely unique search query in the search box. She'll find the SERPs confusing since many of the descriptions include errant html, the titles of the navigation buttons and who knows what else.

I just typed one of my keywords in, "freinds dvd", mispelling intentional, a popular keyword phrase believe it or not, and the first page SERPs would not have given me one lead toward buying.

It starts off with someone's blog,

then this forum
(excerpt from title)
there was no format pal/ntsc but is there anyway i can get around it?my freinds dvd supports backups ...

Then a highly confusing eBay serp result with a display url including
W0QQsopmsZ60147Q3a2Q3a1049Q3a1310187020Q3a70094720Q3aef0a92

Then an irrelevant yu gi o ad, a search page then an actual Amazon ad, but not for Friends, but for something called "The Mummy"

Fortunately, the clean boxes on the right side of the page contained exactly what she wanted, pointing her towards reputable merchants.

When she sees a little box naming the item she wants with a price, she's likely to click it. I believe that's who this ghost's typical customer is.

patient2all

suzyvirtual




msg:1155130
 7:22 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would just hope the if google did something this they give a significant "warning" and or "preparation" period for people to adjust accordingly.

I really think it would be overkill though. The problem domains are just a few (like 5) that everybody can name, yet I am sure there are 1000s of affiliate programs that are benefitting from adwords. It seems like something should be done just to curb the ridiculous dynamic insertion on these few retailers somehow.

Because affiliates don't benefit from the full profit margin that a retailer does, and because they don't get the benefit of the more intangible things orders create, like email addy for future promotion, brand recognition and future direct type-in order potential, usually an affiliate needs to create a more "tight" ad then a merchent does--more targeted, more relvant, more carefully choosen keyword and ad text and link destination. In these cases it seems that the affiliates are actually "helping" the customer find what they need better than the merchant would be able to do. It would be a shame to obliterate these positive transactions because of a few out of control programs...

patient2all




msg:1155131
 7:38 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

In these cases it seems that the affiliates are actually "helping" the customer find what they need better than the merchant would be able to do. It would be a shame to obliterate these positive transactions because of a few out of control programs...

Thank you Suzi,

Wish I could have put it so well.

patient2all

patient2all




msg:1155132
 7:42 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

customers of the squatters

In all my years, I've never heard of squatters having customers. What on earth does that mean? You're trying to say the same thing again and again, just adjusting the wording and now you're at the point where the metaphor doesn't even make any sense.

Maybe it's time you try going to another topic and see what you have to offer there :)

patient2all

MultiMan




msg:1155133
 7:52 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

squatters having customers. What on earth does that mean? You're trying to say the same thing again and again, just adjusting the wording and now you're at the point where the metaphor doesn't even make any sense.

If you cannot grasp that simple concept, well, maybe you have a problem indeed.

It really was not too difficult to see the idea of a squatter setting up a table (or whatever) on a piece of someone else's property and then selling whatever.

wayne




msg:1155134
 8:28 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Suzyvirtual said:
"The problem domains are just a few (like 5) that everybody can name, yet I am sure there are 1000s of affiliate programs that are benefitting from adwords."

I think there are much more than 5 problem domains. There are many affiliates of Clickbank advertising with Adwords, most of them sending their visitors directly to the merchant. I can find a product on Clickbank, search on google for what would likely bring up their results, and many times there are 4, 5 or more ads on the same page going to the same merchant. After all of the ebooks out there promoting Clickbank and Adwords, this became a big problem. I still do not see where it benefits the user to have this many ads going to the same merchant on the same page. I agree with Dynamoo, don't kill affiliate advertising altogether, but require the affiliates to send the traffic to their own site first and add some value, instead of having so many ads all going to the same site.

suzyvirtual




msg:1155135
 8:37 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Wayne,
I concur that it may be more trouble domains than i realise.
But, I don't see how having 5 results that go to individual domains with some content and THEN go to the same clickbank product helps the costomer any better. In fact, it wastes their time and makes it so they cannot scan down the page and see that all the results are basically the same.
It seems like if the customers are not happy with what is being advertised that the market will correct itself...people will not buy, affiliates will lower/remove bids and keywords and newer/better ads and products will take their places.

wayne




msg:1155136
 9:27 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

It might be that the user sees the same domain in multiple ads, and are skipping over the rest of the ads, which would be costing Google a lot of money with less click thrus. I don't think there would be as many ads for the same product if affiliates had to create their own site, it is just too easy now for someone to pick out a few keywords and add the affiliate url, they could put up quite a few campaigns in a short time this way. If they had to actually create their own site to promote the product, it would at least take them some more time to put up their campaigns. Now they are just like advertising agencies.

kingfish




msg:1155137
 10:03 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

if you ban direct affiliate links to merchants then the merchant will not have to bid on its brand name anymore. Therefore no revenue at all.
Bad move for Google. Great for merchants

That is exactly the point I was trying to make in my longwinded post. (sorry about the typos btw) Interestingly enough when looking for sample filler ads,I looked up a few terms that I assumed did not have much of a monetary value. Sure enough you saw almost the same untargeted ads each time. The odd thing is though none of them were placed by affiliates they were placed by an agency or directly by the merchant. Yet again I have to ask why this problem is being blamed on the evil affiliates when the worst examples of these ads I find are placed by agencies.

Chernelle




msg:1155138
 10:14 pm on Dec 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have to agree with suzyvirtual

I was looking for a product recently, sure the Ads and URL's were all different but the product after I'd clicked through (apart from the added sales pitch and a few graphics) was the same in about 4 or 5 cases. Oh no I thought after I'd clicked, not this again. At least with direct links I could have saved myself a lot of time and frustration. I would have been able to see many of the results were the same. After I'd clicked on one and found it wasn't what I was looking for I could have ignored the rest, entered a new search term, and found what I wanted much quicker

wayne




msg:1155139
 2:43 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Which is another reason why google may want to get
rid of these multiple ads for the same domain. There are probably a lot of people that see the same domain in the ads and skip over them, which would cost Google a lot of money with people clicking on less ads. If each ad on the same page went to a different domain, people would probably click on more of the ads, which would result in more income for Google, and I'm sure Google wants to make as much money as they can.

inasisi




msg:1155140
 4:26 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are probably a lot of people that see the same domain in the ads and skip over them, which would cost Google a lot of money with people clicking on less ads. If each ad on the same page went to a different domain, people would probably click on more of the ads, which would result in more income for Google

If that were the case wouldn't the CTR of the same domain ads drop and those ads move down in position? So that possibly cannot be a reason for this.

MultiMan




msg:1155141
 4:46 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Even when they do, an army of other affiliate copycats for the same domain try to see if they can succeed behind the previous failures. Where, normally, a failed advertiser would leave, this instead creates a situation of ever-revolving new affiliate advertisers for the same domain. Useless.

cyhcto




msg:1155142
 6:17 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well I only really registered to ask one question, but after reading this thread, I'm left with another:

If the concept behind the AdWords system is sound, wouldn't they want as many affiliates as they could get?

After all, in my experience companies that offer affiliate partnerships also typically use performance incentives, exclusive marketing kits, special promotions, and other tools to help their affiliates promote their products. I've also found that the most affiliates who generate the most sales are paid the largest commission - again, completely sensible.

So, I'm led to the conclusion that companies actually -want- their affiliates to succeed.

Google is trying to propogate the idea that their PPC system is not just about the amount of a keyword bid, but also the relevancy of that keyword to what Google thinks the person is looking for - or in practicality, the relation between what Google thinks your ad group offers and what Google thinks that user might like to buy based on their search. The more relevant Google thinks your ad group is to a particular search, the more broadly Google allows you to bid for your placement. The better your ad does in it's placement (CTR), the more of a sort of "placement bonus" your ad gets based on it's perceived relevancy. By using relevancy in conjunction with bid amount to determine placement, Google offers searchers a small, non-intrusive text advertisement that may lead them to just what they need. By using CTR in conjunction with bid amount, Google ensures that the most profitable advertisements will be the most visible.

So I'm led to the conclusion that Google wants their AdWords advertisers to succeed.

They claim that "a $0.05 keyword with a 50% CTR will out-position a $.50 ad with a 5% CTR" and everyone gets all excited at the opportunity that creativity and hard work offers someone against some gigantic advertiser with bottomless pockets. And -all- the successful affiliate advertisers I've ever come across are among the most creative, hardest working people I've ever met.

So, if you've read this far, you might also be asking yourself the same question by now. I don't know if it's even a valid question, much less what the answer or the ramifications of it might be - economic, philosophical (from Google's point of view), strategic.... but I've thought about it all week and for me the question still stands:

If the concept behind the AdWords system is sound, wouldn't they want as many affiliates as they could get?

inasisi




msg:1155143
 6:22 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Where, normally, a failed advertiser would leave, this instead creates a situation of ever-revolving new affiliate advertisers for the same domain. Useless.

Multiman, if the problem is only from these ever revolving new affiliates, then the new In Trial/On Hold / Disabled policy would be the solution to that. Google could see the past performance of other affiliates for the same keywords and put them 'In Trial'.

Also I don't believe that it is always a new affiliate cropping up in the space of old affiliates. For some of my keywords, I do see that the same affiliate/ affiliates have been holding ground for a long time. The only way they can hold ground is if the user finds them relevant.

cyhcto




msg:1155144
 7:51 am on Dec 11, 2004 (gmt 0)


Also I don't believe that it is always a new affiliate cropping up in the space of old affiliates. For some of my keywords, I do see that the same affiliate/ affiliates have been holding ground for a long time. The only way they can hold ground is if the user finds them relevant.

To me that sounds like a value judgement based on a positive belief in a potential customer being as efficient at determining the "relevance" of a particular advertisement - not something that I find common with most potential buyers.

I believe a case can be made that if an informed consumer is searching the web for information relevant to a product they are interested in (in my mind the 'ultimate' impression to get your AdWord in front of), they are exponentially less likely to click on a "sponsored link", no matter how unobtrusive, relevant, or appealing, than they are to scroll through the search results until they find - for example - a relevant forum thread with posts by owners of the product in question, or a review that's relevant to the product in question and perhaps offered by a recognized and trusted source.

That, though, I believe is a small (but growing) subset of those who are likely inclined to purchase something even -remotely- related to what they are searching for. And that subset is an even smaller percentage of the people searching Google, who want example configuration files for Linux mail server daemons or shipping and handling rates for a particular international carrier. Neither of these two are likely to click an ad hawking Linux configuration bibles or packing materials, no matter how relevant the ad.

Someone may need the information in that book, or may need the packing materials because they need to ship something from England to Arkansas, but that doesn't matter one bit. What matters is they are searching Google because they want a particular, tangible bit of information at the speed Google has always delivered it - instantly.

Google succeeds as a search engine because users are exposed to the least amount of hassle between them and the information they want off of the Internet. Those are the people that relevancy matters to - people like me - "give me the most relevant page for 'adwords forum'" was what I told Google. I got two answers back:

A) Here's Webmaster World's 'Marketing World' section, specifically on Google Adwords, with some text we spotted the last time we visited it.

B) Here's an advertisement for beating the AdWords system, you can reach 100 million people instantly and make 100 zillion dollars in 5 minutes while sleeping!
(I paraphrase, nearly as inane though)

If I'm interested in an AdWords community, it stands to reason I may have some questions about it. Since it's an advertising system, it may well be that I'm interested in making money with it by advertising as effectively as possible, which the top product on the search certainly seems to offer. Thus, was I presented a relevant advertisement that there's some legitimate expectation I might click on? Try it, and you'll see what I mean. Looking for the phone number to the movie theatre downtown? Get 21 DVDs for $0.01! Looking for your credit card company's website so you can start managing your account online? Repair Your Credit Instantly!

I don't necessarily think Google's algorithm for determining the relevance of these links is wrong, since they are both topical. However, neither of those two example searchers are going to click on those advertisements out of -relevance- but instead for the same reason I click on Internet advertisements - "hmm, interesting. Well, I'll check this out and track down that website/phone number in a minute, because this might be cool." And the further down the list you go, the less "topical" the AdWords advertisements become. That's not exactly my definition of "relevance", but again, I suppose it is "topical".

Try it yourself, with a - imagine you're a typical PC user who's just seen a breaking news story on CNN about how the latest Internet worm has ground traffic to a halt. You've got no AV protection, but you've determined to spend what it takes (within reason of course) to get the best stuff... so you go to the only search engine you ever use any more, and type in

"pc antivirus software comparison"

Like I say, try it and see what you get - [google.com...]

I'll tell you what I got on the first page:
> 1 Ad for a popular antivirus brand at $20 off retail
> 1 Keyword spam from a MAJOR Internet search engine
> 1 Page title "compare anti virus" that apparently allows you to compare the quality of 125x60 pixel ads offered to affiliates.
> 1 Price comparison search engine's results (which is almost close)
> 2 Enterprise-class software evaluation firms (TCO & ROI consultants it looks like)
> And what set of ads would be complete without the chance to get a major PC security suit absolutely FREE*
*You have to submit a credit card application

Now look at the second search result.. tell me what you think Joe Noantivirus is going to click on.

But I digress... let me put it differently.

If relevance was relevant to success in advertising, I would have been able to go to more than three websites in a row from 1998-2002 and not be offered the opportunity to "Punch The Monkey And Win $20". That would have died, instead of spawning in to "Smash The Fly And Win A Free iPod!".

I was outside working on my car last weekend when my friend called me in and asked me if he could "put my email [address] into this web thing" because it turned out he actually had to hit the fly AND sign up 8 friends for the free iPod.

Oddly, he left shortly after that ;)

caveman




msg:1155145
 6:45 pm on Dec 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

>seriously under consideration?

Big players now planning for this as imminent (since it will hurt their volume). Anyone not planning on a reduction in Q1 rev's from this channel may be behind the curve. Another brick in the wall.

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