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EXECUTION [Progress] Paid email newsletters

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by Andy Black, Jul 12, 2018.

  1. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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  2. Gymjunkie
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    Gymjunkie Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Freelance and Beyond was a good name, good idea... you just didn't write the right content for it. Looking at your archives, you were writing about starting freelance instead of sending info that helps freelancers move 'beyond'. Kinda jumbled up the content and intent...there was too much broad information.

    There is a need for that newsletter tho, millions of freelancers have a career already but are looking to grow out of it, it's not just people 'aspiring' to be freelancers. In fact, Freelance and Beyond shouldn't have been for newbs at all. Seems like you were more excited to execute a newsletter and didn't do your deal customer avatar and what THEY want.

    FaB could have been more for folks like me who want to move off of it and the newsletter could be great help with ideas and processes that diversify from freelance (for some it's teaching, for some it's doing digital products, for some it's affiliate stuff etc, ton of content for newsletter etc). That kind of newsletter featuring info, case studies, experiences of diversification would be quite useful. I can see myself paying monthly for that.

    If you like Subscription niche tho, stick to it, good you've stumbled on it. That's also a growing market.

    Paid newsletters are very intriguing! Looking forward to see how it goes further.
     
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  3. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks for the feedback @Gymjunkie. I'll come back and reply with thoughts soon.


    I'm curious is the list of previous posts you found was on the blog at FreelanceAndBeyond or on Substack at Subscriber Growth

    Below is what a paying subscriber sees in the archives on Substack. I don't think it's aimed at newbie freelancers?


    [​IMG]
     
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  4. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I renamed my newsletter. An Australian media company subscribed to my free newsletter and I think the name “Subscriber Growth” mislead them.

    I sent a personal email to him asking how he found out about the newsletter etc.

    We’re 5 emails deep already, discussing paywalls, MVPs, and Substack SEO itself.

    Engage people. If they’ve taken the effort to take even a small action such as signup then there’s a reason.

    “Do things that don’t scale.” (Paul Graham)



    I also nuked all free issues and pruned the paid ones. It’s now going to be a paid newsletter only (which was my original intention anyway).

    You have to eliminate to focus.

    It’s great deleting stuff. I could feel those free issues that I’d spent time on starting to weigh me down. “What do I write that’s a continuation of what I’ve already written? What would look good in my library?” Meh to that.


    I went paid only and a couple of people who already know and have conversed with me have signed up.


    I’m at 8 paid subscribers and $40 MRR.

    Free subscribers is no longer a metric I’m interested in. MRR at this stage is also less important than engaging and helping the paid subscribers.
     
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  5. jon.M
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    jon.M The Well Defined Forum Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Your latest PAID newsletter was really good. The idea resonated with me. Funny thing is I've thought about just that in the last few weeks. And I even listened to a podcast with Scott Adams a few hours before receiving your email. He talked about the exact same concept described in a somewhat different fashion. Interesting how everything lines up perfectly sometimes.
     
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  6. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks for the feedback @jon.M

    Did you like the specific idea I spoke about, or the idea of stacking your skills, experience, network, and resources to create your high ground?
     
  7. The-J
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    The-J Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Hi everyone

    I just released my paid newsletter last week and released the first issue!

    Currently sitting at 14 subscribers (I cheated and gave the early birds a lifetime sub haha! But they keep reading + interacting with me so whatever I love it! Also @Andy Black really wanted to pay for it so I let him even though he didn't have to)

    Why should you join? Because in my paid newsletters, I'm actually going to be talking about some really cool stuff that we're learning and doing that will help you guys become better at making sales (while also making damn sure not to break my NDA with the company i work with!!!)

    Here's an introduction. I work for the fastest growing company in my industry. I'm the media buyer, and one of 2 forum members who work there. We're a team of just over a dozen.

    Our record month was July, which is one of the slowest months in the industry. How did we succeed where others failed?

    We're hitting snags on Facebook ads and we're pulling ourselves out of the muck. How can you compete when CPMs are higher than living F*ck and everything just tanked all of a sudden? All ad buyers have their 'come to Jesus' moment, and advanced ad buyers are going to like hearing how we get out.

    Of course, I'm going to be sharing some content to help understand what ad buying is and how to break it down intellectually (while also giving actionable insights on what to do).

    I'm not directly linking to the paid newsletter here: just the free one. When it's time to advertise the paid one for real, I'm going to pay MJ and actually do it for real.

    The free one is up earlier in the post: not gonna link to it again out of respect for forum rules.

    My free content is available to anyone who makes an account. If you like that, then there's more where that comes from.
     
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  8. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks @The-J

    I’d love to follow a progress thread on you thinking about and then finally creating your paid email newsletter. Why you chose Substack. Why you chose to write about Facebook Ads. Why it took you so damn long. ; )

    I probably should create a Marketplace ad, but I actually only want people who are following me in here to subscribe anyway.
     
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  9. The-J
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    The-J Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    1) Because you told me to

    2) Because it's all I know

    3) Because you weren't bullying me hard enough
     
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  10. jon.M
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    jon.M The Well Defined Forum Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Just checking in to see how it's going for you. I know that you're sending new letters quite frequently. How do you like the Substack platform now? What do you, or don't you, like about it?
     
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  11. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I actually really like the Substack platform. It’s simple to use, and it stores all the paid issues behind a paywall. I hadn’t intended creating a library that paid subscribers could access, but I like having it.

    I’ve not promoted my paid email newsletter and am at 11 paid subscribers.

    So far I’ve not created a paid email newsletter for Google Ads, because I don’t think I want to write about it every week.

    I’m not precious about the title of mt current newsletter and may just change the name to Andy’s Paid Email Newsletter.

    I love having somewhere I can post content whenever something comes to me, or as somewhere to store hinge I’ve posted elsewhere.

    Overall, I’d recommend having a paid email newsletter, and using Substack.
     
  12. Startup Steve
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    Startup Steve Contributor

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    I would create a knowledge base modeled after an FAQ. There are platforms out there that can then use artificial intelligence (AI) to create a bot allowing people through natural language query (NLP) to gain the answers and insights they are looking for. A good business model would be to provide a free access and then a paywall. Through data analysis you can determine the best avenue to monetize this knowledge and up selling a cross-selling people.
     
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  13. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Interesting angle. It’s the exact opposite of what I do.

    I try to help people one at a time. I don’t survey groups of people or anything.

    By helping people repeatedly I find out what problems are common, and what the common root causes are. I then polish and polish content until it resonates and helps people, and help by addressing the root cause and not the symptoms

    Once that’s done I may well have a course that I know can help people. I may then be able to put a price on it, or “just” use it to help more folks.

    No bots or AI involved, just me chatter my to folks and observing where they get stuck and where they get aha moments.

    I prefer not to do formal data analysis. I find the content that helps kinda rises to the top. The market tells you what helps them if you’re listening.

    I’m not saying it wouldn’t help if I approached this more formally. But I suspect it would take all the fun out of it for me and would stop it being something I do naturally every single day.

    PS: I’m actually a Maths and data geek, who doesn’t want to manage by numbers because I’ve seen that go off the rails.

    I just firmly subscribe to the phrase that you can’t outsource passion or insight - to a person or a machine.

    PPS: I’m not throwing the baby out with the bath water though. I’m going to keep re-reading what you wrote to figure out if I’m doing this in a manual way, and if I can be a bit smarter.
     
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  14. Startup Steve
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    Startup Steve Contributor

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    I was just providing insight into where the "knowledge management" market is going. The NLP capability today is amazing. The ability to perform sentiment analysis on who, what, where, when, how people tap, talk, and text in determining the most important why. Sorry if Minority Report becomes reality, it is my fault.
     
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  15. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Had two paid signups today.
    I'm still sending out issues and I love having somewhere private to post.
     
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  16. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Ha. I'm tickled. I renamed the newsletter to:

    ... wait for it

    ...

    ..

    .

    "Andy's Paid Newsletter"


    All that wondering about the name at the start, and I end up going with the most descriptive.
     
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  17. Crushbowl
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    So I've been watching this thread for some time and I'm now deciding to contribute with my own research. To get everyone on the same page, here's the preliminary discussion:

    RE: Email Newsletter Subscription Model

    Ever since reading a 'welcome email' from DailyWorth as an example of how to 'indoctrinate' our subscribers, I realized that there's a whole other world of "Email Subscription Business Models" that perhaps has been overlooked.

    Examples of Digital Newsletter subscription businesses:
    - DailyWorth (recently acquired by Jean Chatzky)
    - TheSkimm
    - HARO (acquired)
    - Thrillist
    - DailyCandy (acquired by NBCUniversal; shutdown in 2014)
    - PureWow
    - TastingTable
    - Groupon
    - Craigslist (started as an email newsletter)

    If we're plunging head first into building a Customer Value Journey (CVJ), couldn't one leg of that be devoted to the Email Newsletter Paid subscription model?

    I found this interesting post that breaks down the various business models into 4 different camps:
    - Freemium + Original Content
    - Freemium + Curated Content
    - Paid + Curated Content
    - Paid + Original Content

    The business models behind popular email newsletters

    How publishers monetize their newsletters with paid subscriptions

    Also, there are two startups created just to make it easier to make money off of your email newsletter.

    Substack is like Medium.com in its UX/set-up. It's a platform geared toward freelancer journalists and hobbyist bloggers. But I don't see why it couldn't work in our market as well.

    The platform is in beta and currently integrates with Stripe for accepting payments to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Substack - Substack - Paid newsletters made simple

    The other is Revue, which is a Dutch company, that has the same goal of monetizing your newsletter via a subscription. They're slightly different in that they set you up for 'content curation' (pulling content from other parts of the 'net and neatly organizing it into email newsletter format).

    Revue - Build a newsletter that pays

    I don't think it's completely out of left field and perhaps wondering if DM can devote a full-on Workshop or EC to this topic.

    Rather than wait... wait... wait... to build a list to a critical mass, have the subscriber opt-in from day 1 - as a customer (paid subscriber).

    If we're going to pour ourselves into writing these crafty, titillating email series where we cycle product promotions every 3 sends, why not have the email list be a 'breakeven' point - like a Tripwire (SLO) - thereby lowering the CPA?

    Or flat out, make the email list a revenue source, from Day 1.

    I think the most pertinent question taken directly from the article is: "Is it better to get subscription revenue out of less users or better to sell ads or further monetize traffic against a far greater amount of users?"

    This is the core difference between Email Newsletter Subscription Biz Model and what most Internet Marketers are familiar with which is the Autoresponder Series method.

    Do we get the money upfront or wait to ask for it through several email sends?

    I also imagine that having a Paid Email Model skyrockets that dreaded open rate we're always consumed with increasing.
     
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  18. Crushbowl
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  19. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Yeah... I'm using Substack. It's nice and simple, and I can send out an issue on my phone if I want. It also stores all back issues in an archive for new paid subscribers to view. Handy that it does it by default.

    I had another paid subscriber signup a couple of days ago. I don't know how many paid subs I have. Between 15 and 20 I think. I'll check with support to find out. (The reason I'm not sure is that I gave some free subscriptions to team members and friends, but I can't tell who's who as Substack only collects email addresses and not names.)


    EDIT: I’m at 16 paid subscribers...
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2019
  20. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    I increased the price of my paid email newsletter from $5/mth to $9.99/mth. I prefer $9.99/mth as a price point - it doesn’t look so cheap now.

    I’m still tickled seeing €3 payments hitting my business bank account every few days. They’re kinda cute, although probably adding extra work for my accountant.


    I had to get Substack support to do the price change. Previously I had followed a workaround supplied by them to manually remove the annual plan in Stripe. This means I have to get Substack support to make any future price changes to my monthly plan.

    This isn’t a big deal, but it’s odd Substack force us to have annual plans, and for them to then end up with this manual work to do. I guess most people have an annual plan (and I guess most people make no sales).


    What’s more baffling is that I can’t see which subscribers are on a paying plan, what they’re paying, how much they’ve paid to date, and how much I earn each week or month.

    The whole point of Substack is to create *paid* email newsletters... so why can’t you get basic metrics about what you’ve been paid?

    @Fox says Kajabi reporting is similarly poor. The mind boggles that these businesses who’s purpose is to help us generate revenue haven’t got basic revenue reporting in place.
     
  21. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks for whoever signed up today. I had changed the price from $9.99 to $9. I think the $9.99 looks more than $10 even, and I prefer the roundness of $9.

    Anyway... I'm still posting regularly to the newsletter. I think I'm still only at 15 or 16 subscribers. It's not something I'm advertising. It's enough to know there's a handful of people reading.
     
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  22. Crushbowl
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    Crushbowl New Contributor

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    In continuing with my research, I've been looking at other ways of delivering paid subscription content. Other ancillary related terms:
    - Password Protected
    - Paywall
    - Restricted Content

    Just thought I'd use this thread to continue cataloguing what I've come across.

    Also, I really hate the idea of using PayPal, Stripe, etc. because they take a large chunk with their ridiculous fees.

    Still exploring other options...
     
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  23. ZeroTo100
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    ZeroTo100 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Hey Andy,

    Always love reading your work and how transparent you are in your journey.

    You ever think about experimenting with a different payment option such as 97.00 a year plus maybe throw in some bonuses and a free gift.

    What about dropping down to like 2.97 per month and then scaling it higher when you hit a certain number of readers - then you can grandfather initial users in.

    I recently read an interesting study on payment options. It seems like people are more willing to choose a monthly option that costs more overall after seeing the lump sum price.

    If I sell a photography service for 297.00, the human psych would rather spend 3 payments of say 114 vs paying that 297 upfront - even though they’re paying around 15% more. Imagine what that does to your bottom line?

    Food for though. ;)
     
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  24. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Thanks. Good thoughts about pricing. I’m sure an annual fee that has two months free would entice more people to signup monthly, and would get some folks to signup annually.

    The Substack support team advised me not to remove the annual fee, saying I’d leave money on the table. It’s not even an option in the interface, you have to ask them to do it manually.

    I still went ahead and removed the annual fee because I want to know if people will pay monthly, and for how much.

    More importantly, I didn’t want people paying for a year when I wasn’t sure I’d kill it after a month! I’m fairly sure I’ll keep it going because it’s so easy, and I’ve been posting content daily for over five years. However, I just don’t want “annual” hanging over my head.

    For my course there’s no payment plan. It’s the full price or nothing. For this, I *want* it to be monthly.

    The lowest price a Substack newsletter can be is $5/mth. I pushed the price up a bit because I thought $9.99/mth looked better than $5/mth. It looks less “cheap”.

    Then I thought $9.99 looks a bit dumb. I’m embarrassed to tell people it’s $9.99 which is effectively $10/mth. I even think $9.99 looks more than $10.

    If I had a plugin then I’d probably start it at $9/mth or $10/mth ... even if more folks would buy at $3/mth. I want to filter for the slightly more serious.
     
  25. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Someone posted this in @AllenCrawley ’s insider email marketing AMA (https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/threads/ama-email-marketing-how-to-best-practices.86639/):


    I’ve not watched all the video yet, but this intro slide jumped out at me. (I might have already mentioned/linked to a great 2016 podcast this guy did with James Schramko on the Superfastbusiness YT channel.)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2019

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