If you read one thing today….

Posted by Lipglossiping On April - 8 - 2011

…please read this.

Picture the scene, you’ve spent the last two years growing and shaping a blog that shares your passion with hundreds of thousands of people around the world.  You started with nothing and poured long days and late nights into developing a brilliant blog that becomes your livelihood.

One day, some non-entity wakes up and decides they need a catchy name for their business.  They come across your well-established blog, like the name and think “I want a bit of that!”.  Instead of putting in even 1% of the effort you have, they decide to ride your coat-tails and appropriate your branding for their website, blog and other social media outlets.

As if that wasn’t bad enough… they begin the proceedings to trademark this name they have no right to using.  Which means that if they are successful, you won’t be allowed to continue using your blog name.  You lose your internet identity.  For good.

This is exactly what’s happening to Amber at Shoeperwoman – a blog I’ve lusted over for many years.

Please head over to Shoeperwoman and have a read of the story, it’s both eye-opening and sad.  Bloggers generally don’t have the means to protect their identities through the formal channels… we don’t start our endeavours with our business heads on but by God we should fight for what is ours.

Please RT, link to and help spread the word about Amber’s story.  You can follow Shoeperwoman on twitter, here.


Self-Combusting Cosmetics – Becca Pressed Shimmer Powders

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 19 - 2011

Australian brand Becca is one of my favourite cosmetic lines, I love almost everything about the brand.  The shades, the packaging, the beautiful campaign imagery that sets my pulse racing not to mention the products that deliver polished and understated results time after time….

But there’s one thing I don’t like about the brand, infact… it’s such an issue for me that I’m on the verge of throwing my toys out of the pram and boycotting.

My Pressed Shimmer Powders keep disintegrating.

Now, I don’t carry my makeup around with me.  I don’t need to… I work from home and if I’m out and about, I’m usually too laden down with either L’s things or my camera – a makeup bag is not an essential in my life.  These powders are treated with kid gloves and they sit in a drawer on my desk.

So why the hell is this the SECOND time one of my Becca Pressed Shimmer Powders has started to lift from the pan in this way?

You might think that I’m one helluva unlucky madam… I must admit, I was contemplating resigning my online account with Lotto too until I googled the issue and realised that I’m not the only one experiencing this quality concern.

Let’s do some maths here… I’ve owned a total of 5 Becca powder products and 2 have disintegrated – those stats aren’t good.

On the Becca website, I see that the Pressed Shimmer Powders are in the ‘last chance’ section so it looks as though they’re going to be discontinued.  I’m not sure whether to whoop or sob.

As for my beautiful, broken Nefertiti Pressed Shimmer Powder that I got for Christmas?  Well… I just shed a little tear.  And at £30, it was an expensive one.

Have you experienced any crumbling issues with Becca powder products?

Privacy Please!

Posted by Lipglossiping On December - 6 - 2010

Mornings suck.  Monday mornings suck even harder.  I was supposed to be going on holiday yesterday but Leila decided to do her usual trick of coming down the with lurgy 18 hours before we were due to set off.

From experience, I know that it’s infinitely more preferable to miss the holiday entirely than it is to be stuck in a 7×10 hotel room with a TV with 4 channels and a pissy baby who can’t sleep for coughing.  (She’s OK by the way… just needs some TLC and the chocolate from my Advent Calendar it seems).

Anyway… I wanted to debate something today.  It’s nothing controversial (I don’t think) but it is something that irritates me.

Here we go…

.

I like beauty treatments.  Perhaps it stems from my childhood… I used to sit on the floor infront of my mother’s chair for hours while she played with my hair.  And my poor Dad? I practically drove him to distraction begging that he tickle my feet whilst the teleprinter delivered the afternoon’s results on Grandstand.  You can tell I was the youngest child right?

What has never appealed to me though is the thought of having any of this done whilst ON DISPLAY in the centre of a highly trafficked shopping mall on a Friday afternoon.  I mean seriously… I know people are busy and all… but really?  I don’t even want my nails done in a public arena like this, let alone a facial or a massage.  What happened to a bit of privacy?

I get that people often have to fit appointments into their lunchbreaks, sometimes picking at their Boots meal deal with one hand whilst choosing which OPI for the other but as a passer-by I feel uncomfortable just SEEING someone having their brows threaded so openly – so you can imagine my reticence at being on the other side of that ‘beauty bar’.

Perhaps it’s a cultural thing?  Maybe I’m a little too uptight and ‘British’ about it… but honestly?  It’s in those situations that I feel at my most vulnerable.  Trust in your technician is paramount… I don’t need my vulnerability compounded by hearing 6yr old Jordan ask his mother (and everyone else within earshot) why that lady over there is getting attacked with a piece of string.

I want to try threading but everywhere near me (that isn’t like some private secret threading party I don’t know how to get into) is the kind of place where I have to sit in the middle of a concourse (usually next to the cafe) or in Debenhams at the top of the escalators so that shoppers get the added bonus of being able to see up my nose aswell.

In this country, the  practice seems fairly limited to threading, manicure/pedicure and hair styling.  Perhaps I should be thankful for small mercies.  When I was in Australia, I would see people getting chinese massage and facials as I darted from store to store.

How do you feel about it?  Where would draw the line and what’s next…. a quick scrape and polish at the dentistry bar before after work drinkies?

It was one of those days…

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 28 - 2010

I woke up to an email from my site hosting service yesterday morning informing me that they were gonna take my site down in 48hrs if I didn’t stop spamming people.

Apparently, an AOL user (figures) has complained to their hosts that they received a spam email from Lipglossiping.com

Thankfully, my hosts attached a copy of the supposed spam, which is basically the same as the email I’ve generated below – I’m not using the original incase there’s any identifying personal information contained within.

So, if you ever get an email that looks a bit like this:

It’s because you’ve requested it.

Additionally, if you want to make sure you don’t get another… there’s a helpful link there at the bottom that says:

To manage your subscriptions or to block all notifications from this site, click the link below

Can’t remember requesting this email?

Let me show you how it happened…

That box… isn’t ticked by default.  You HAVE to tick it if you want to be notified of follow up comments.

.

So, to whoever commented… ticked the box… received an email notifying them of a follow up comment… got all pissy about it and decided to complain to their ISP instead of simply unsubscribing via the link included in the email and gave me a bucket-load of grief on a Saturday morning…

This post is for you.  I hope that your milk is sour on Monday morning and that you only discover this AFTER you’ve prepared your cereal.

I’ve removed the notify feature for now but will reinstate it when the dust settles and AOL stop trying to slap my wrists for something I haven’t done.  I have never and will never send unsolicited emails to any of my readers, I know how annoying they are.

To everyone else, I hope your Saturday was better than mine and I love you lots.

P.S. Just Host… if you’re reading this… you don’t know how grateful, humbled and appreciative I am that you’ve decided NOT to take down my website… due to it being “my first warning” and all.  You robotic, lacking-in-the-brains-you-were-born-with shits.

Oh, I feel a bit better now.

ETA: The lovely Kirstie has pointed out that you can be highlighted as a SPAMMER to email providers simply by someone clicking the JUNK button in their email client instead of the delete button.  I’m gonna have to admit to being guilty of doing this on occasion, thinking that I was sending an email to a junk folder so that it would filter out future emails.

I didn’t think it would highlight the sender as a SPAMMER to anyone other than my own email client.  Blimey.

So now I’m even more incensed with my hosting service for taking such a “guilty until proven innocent” attitude.  I’m usually like a dog with a bone where injustice is concerned… but as Mr. L pointed out…  They simply don’t give a shit and have already proven that they don’t read my emails properly anyway.

If anyone fancies recommending a great hosting provider, I’m all ears… I’m due to renew in April and something tells me that I won’t be bothering.

So, Nicki Minaj’s personally designed pepto-(a)bismol pink lipstick is up on the MAC website today… for one day only.  Until next Friday.  And the one after that…

And the one after that… until MAC have bled their fans dry not only of their money but also of their patience.

Buying stuff from MAC… it’s like the 12 labours of Hercules.

I’ll (unsurprisingly) be passing on this.  I can’t even make All Styled Up work for me so I have no hope with this one.  Plus, I don’t shop on Fridays.  It’s against my religion (as of today).

Will you be picking this one up?

Blogging, Social Media Agencies and Aspirations. A rant.

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 16 - 2010

Maybe I’m missing having a camera more than I thought… maybe I’m just in dire need of a plate of KFC chips (don’t they make the best?). But I read this post on BritishBeautyBlogger (and the comments that followed) with interest.

I’m a blogger. I’m not a wannabe journalist and I’m not a professional writer. I didn’t study English at University and I haven’t paid my dues working my arse off as general dogsbody in London to earn the right to give myself a more professional title.

In the same vein (and far less discussed)… if you’re a journalist with a (oh so fashionable) blog… that’s great. But in my humble opinion you’re not a blogger. You’re a journalist with a blog. And that’s fine, your blog is probably great and above all else, well written! But, there is a distinction. You aren’t a consumer in quite the same way that I am.

There’s been much talk about ‘compensating’ bloggers which really sits at odds to the other current trend of ‘Hey, lets remember why we started blogging in the first place’.

I never started my blog to make money and I think that it’s very wrong to assume that ALL bloggers want to be paid for content.

Any money that I generate from my blog comes from the visual ads placed outside of my content. Sponsored posts are never organic. I read them in the same way that I would any advertorial… with a certain amount of suspicion. I’m not saying that’s right or fair… it’s almost a subconscious choice.

Receiving samples or attending events is something that helps include a variety of content and has NEVER influenced the outcome of a review. Above all else, I’m a beauty junkie and a diehard blogger… I live and breathe blogging and engaging with the readers that I’m lucky enough to keep. How could receiving free ‘just released’ products to play with and the chance to see brands in their own environment not excite and inspire someone like me?

I can’t let it influence reviews. If I did, I would have approximately 1/10 of the readership that I currently enjoy. People aren’t stupid, they’re really not. PR companies and Brands obviously don’t like negative reviews and sometimes that’s the last I’ll hear from them. In my (admittedly limited) experience, Social Media Agencies ‘get it’ better than PR agencies. I guess that’s their job… I’ve never been penalised or ‘punished’ by a SMA, though I do find they can sometimes be a little more pushy – probably because they have more to prove to secure their fee.

On the subject of freebies… I will say that samples and events have definitely put pressure on me to make space for a brand on my blog (regardless of the review outcome)… which is something that I’m finally starting to find the confidence to address.

There are so many bloggers with professional aspirations and networks muddying the waters between consumer bloggers, journos with a blog and wannabe journalist bloggers. What about those of us who just wanna blog and are more than happy with our lot?

Aren’t our blogs loved by our readers because we’re normal people with a huge passion about our chosen subjects. So much so… that in our SPARE TIME and UNPAID, we want to create these outlets that other people can read?

Don’t we stop being that when we all start demanding compensation for our time?

If your blog is a commercial venture. Great. If you make your living from your blog? Marvellous. Some of my favourite blogs are written by professional writers… all I’m saying (in a really overly long way) is that one size doesn’t fit all.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to make money from your blog. Hell, I’d like to make MORE money from my blog… but for me (and just for me), I’d rather it came from my ads rather than my writing. If I wanted to make money from the crap that springs forth from my brain, I’d like it to be in an environment that wasn’t my blog. Does that make sense?

If you’re a social media agency or a PR agency with relevant content and for god’s sake if it’s just video, make it INTERESTING. I’m happy to feature… take your fee… I don’t want a cut, just help me keep my blog engaging, current and fun for my readers. I’m no industry expert but I’m a grown up, and a lot of my blogging naivety ended the first time I took someone in the industry at face value. You provide me with relevant content that I wouldn’t normally have access to and if I think it’s right for Lipglossiping, then you’ll get coverage. I ain’t guaranteeing it’ll be good coverage… but that’s the exciting world of ‘social media’. The rewards can be great and genuine, but the sting in the tail can be painful ‘cos 90% of us like to tell it like it is.

Now, someone take this sodding soapbox off me before I unleash another one. I can feel it building. I’m talking about rants by the way.

Open letter to Brands on Twitter and Facebook…

Posted by Lipglossiping On September - 2 - 2010

I’ve been sitting on this post since the beginning of the year.  My draft folder has it dated from February!  Why haven’t I posted it?

Well… whenever I read it, it makes me wonder if I sound like a bit of a know-all to be honest.  But, the truth is… I’m running short on posts following my holiday (you didn’t even know I was gone did ya?!) and I haven’t really done a rant for AGES!

So, here goes…

Brands have been taking Social Media seriously for the last couple of years and have been implementing techniques to jump on the bandwagon left, right and centre… sometimes, without really thinking it through.

I have tons of random thoughts on brand involvement with Social Media outlets (inc. blogs) in general but I’m curious on how you guys feel they’ve impacted on arenas like Twitter and Facebook?

Ultimately, I think it’s a great advancement and would love to see all brands employ a mouthpiece for these channels.  It often makes a faceless corporation accessible to their customers in a way that’s relevant and current.  Though, when it goes wrong… it’s like the best car crash telly ever.

Here’s my 10 top tips for brands wanting to engage with Twitter and Facebook

1. Serve your customers!

If a brand takes on Twitter or Facebook, they need to be prepared for Customer Service duties… don’t ignore followers/readers with complaints.  By all means, direct them to an appropriate email address (though that does feel a little like ‘fobbing’ off).  If you can address issues directly… top marks.

2. Don’t dabble… commit!

I see lots of brands engage in Social Media half-heartedly.  Big No No!   There’s nothing worse than asking a question through an ‘instant’ medium (during working hours) to receive a reply a week later!  Sort it out!

3. Don’t use Twitter/Facebook as a holding page for links to other social media channels.

It irks me so much to click on a Twitter link only to be taken to the Brand’s Facebook page which contains nothing but a link to the Brand’s blog or website.  Thanks for the wasted clicks.  I’ll just click off.

4. It’s OK to have personality!

Allow a little personality through.  We love seeing you make a mistake and tweet the wrong person the wrong thing and then fluster as you try to correct.  FUN!  It’s also nice if you let us into your world… tell us about your ah-mazing chocolate croissant you picked up on the way into work.  After all, it’s all that banal stuff that makes the Twitter-verse go round!

5. Know when to draw the line.

This one’s tricky… at what point does personality edge into inappropriateness?  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.  It happens and it makes me cringe… if you wanna share last night’s shenanigans with @bestbud then THAT’S what DMs are for!

Unless you know me personally, I’d rather you didn’t call me ‘hun’ either.

6. Give us twitter/facebook specific discounts or offers.

Make us feel like a special part of your family.  If we like you enough to follow/add you… then we’re listening.  Reward that.

7. Showcase your brand and let us tell you what WE think!

Let us in, we’re nosey buggers.  Tweet us a pic of your desk, the R&D dept (though maybe not Accounts eh?), what are you guys working on?  What can we expect from you next?  Twitter and Facebook are such great venues for gauging consumers opinions and feedback, you’d be silly not to utilise the potential.  Plus, we love to feel all important, so give us the opportunity to help you (and possibly shape you as a company!)

8. Make sure your Social Media mouthpiece has a grasp of netiquette.

Do they ‘follow’ anyone back on Twitter?  In an environment that’s all about the flow of information… this communication needs to be 2-way.  If you aren’t following any relevant users or commenters back, what’s the point?  You’ll be asking us to sleep in the wet patch next.

9. You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours…

Word of Mouth is obviously a hugely significant part of modern marketing and in this age, information is King (and Queen).  If you want your followers to talk about you… engage, engage, engage.

10. Relish the prospect of getting closer to your consumer.

Yeah, we’re scary.  We call you names on Twitter and the same rules of professionalism don’t apply to @badassmomma543 on Twitter as they do to you.  Life sucks.

However, as with all Social Media (blogs included), the rewards can be so much more fulfilling when you loosen that iron-fist and relinquish some of that control.  Take the step that brings you closer to the people who are out there actually BUYING your stuff.

Last year, I listened to an owner of a well-known beauty brand tell a group of people (without any PR prompting!) that (social media) was the purest form of feedback a brand could receive.  I can’t even tell you how much the sincerity in those words raised my spirits as a consumer.  Some brands really do ‘get it’.

Does yours?

What do you guys think?  I know loads of you are on Facebook and Twitter… are there any specific brands that are getting it right or (gasp) wrong?!  Is there anything I’ve missed out… anything you don’t agree with?

Poor Service – Are you a complainer?

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 7 - 2010

This week, whilst up in London I was in a well known and respected beauty hall buying Leila her first Mason Pearson hairbrush.  This beauty hall is small, cramped and slightly unusual as the tills are randomly dotted around the department without the usual till/counter setup.

I picked up the hairbrush and approached two sales assistants who were stood at the till nearest to me.  Hovering with the hairbrush in my hand I waited for them to finish their conversation and notice me standing there.

They didn’t.

I wasn’t in a rush… so I waited quite happily until a few minutes had passed and frankly I started to feel a bit silly.  I began dropping increasingly obvious hints that I was indeed on the same planet as them.

2 minutes later, I faux coughed and got noticed.

“You can pay for that here” said SA1 whilst SA2 turned and busied herself for a moment.  I smile and extend my arm to hand her the hairbrush… but before it’s left my grip, SA1 has signalled SA2 for her attention and they’re gabbing again leaving me with my hand outstretched waiting for someone to take the damn brush off me.

Awkwardly I lower my arm and wait whilst SA1 continues her conversation with SA2.

Eventually SA1 reaches out without saying a word or even breaking eye contact with her pal.  I place the hairbrush in her hand all the while thinking “Don’t buy it from here… go on, interrupt and tell them not to bother themselves…” of course, I don’t say a word…

…and so it continues.  I hand over my card in silence… again, waiting with my hand outstretched while SA1 takes an age to contemplate whether or not she can be arsed to put my transaction through.

Eventually I get handed back my card, receipt and the hairbrush in one big handful.

“Could I have a bag please?”

I get passed a bag in the manner you would pass someone a closed book…. so I purposefully make a show of fumbling with my purse, bag, hairbrush and receipt (remember no counters to rest anything on).  I’m pissed at this point and they’re still just freaking chatting.

“You can pay for that here” were the only words that were uttered to me throughout a transaction that took 5 minutes to complete.

Rude.

Did I complain? You bet… poor Mr. L suffered my irritation all the way up Regent Street.

Are you the complaining type or do you suffer in silence like me and then ear-bash your nearest and dearest?  Had any poor beauty hall experiences recently?

Pet Peeve #1453 – Light Up Cosmetics

Posted by Lipglossiping On January - 27 - 2010

Why?!  Just why?

Some of us may look like we apply our makeup in the dark, we don’t.  It’s just a polite expression…

If someone, gently ribbing me happens to say: “Bless, you look like you’ve applied your makeup in the dark!”  They’re not telling me to go and purchase a light up mascara wand or lip gloss.  They’re telling me to either a). Go get some makeup lessons or b). Put the blue eyeshadow down.

I don’t want LEDs on my cosmetics and I certainly don’t want to pay more for the privilege.

I-Gloss from New <ID Cosmetics…

Lashlight from Too Faced… <tongue in cheek>The mascara that blinds you with light whilst you’re holding a pointy stick 4mm from your eyeball</tongue in cheek>

Nothing says… “Are you 4 or 24?” better than a disco in your lip gloss.

Cosmetics Sale Pricing

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 25 - 2009

So, I was asking on Twitter last night… Why is it, when department stores advertise things like 25% off sales, the beauty department only ever offers 10% off at the most.

All department stores are the same, you receive the email with the promise of big savings only to open it and sigh at the small print.

So, it was rather apt this morning when I read this article on the Daily Mail website.

If you haven’t got time to read it, here’s the headline:

Battle of the beauty brands as Debenhams slashes prices by 15% in Christmas price war

15198038

God I hate the Daily Mail.

“Slashes” and “15%”, an oxymoron if ever I heard one.  Excuse me if I don’t pee my pants with excitement and rush down to my nearest overpriced cosmetics counter to take advantage of that generous 15%, I wouldn’t want to start a stampede in the middle of this dramatic pricing war.

So yeah, no real point to this post… just venting a little.  Sorry about that.

NYX Hauling to the UK – MsCuppyCakes RANTY UPDATE

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 22 - 2009

Part 1 & Part 2 of the saga… and don’t read further if you’re offended by swearing.

…So, my original order was made back in May and included lipsticks, loose pearl eyeshadows and nail polishes.

I received 2/3 of my order 2 weeks later with the rest being marked as Out of Stock on the invoice.  I didn’t think anymore of it and assumed that I’d be refunded for whatever was unavailable.

Fast forward a couple of months and the rest of my order still hadn’t arrived.  Neither had my refund.  I was busy being a new mum, so was preoccupied with other things and not overly concerned about this.

I emailed them in July to query what was going on as I hadn’t heard a dickie bird from them and they replied promptly to let me know that my items were going to be shipped that week.  They weren’t infact shipped until the end of the month and I wasn’t notified of this until I had chased them up a couple more times.

We’re now heading towards the end of August, and I emailed to tell them that I still hadn’t received my order and I wanted a refund for the items not received.

I had a one line reply telling me to go check with my customs office.

That totally got my back up.  No apologies, nothing… just a ‘we sent it’?  Fuck off, I’ve waited since May for you to pull your fingers out of  your bums and send me my order and now that it’s lost somewhere over the Atlantic you tell ME to chase it up?

I’m gonna do a long story short thing here, because quite frankly… I’m boring myself thinking about the whole thing now.  It wasn’t a huge amount of money – but it’s the insincere “have a nice day (we don’t actually give a shit)” attitude they displayed towards the whole sorry saga which turned me into a dog with a bone on this one.

After some more emails which mainly involved them telling me what great communicators they felt they were whilst I tried not to piss myself with laughter over the irony, I got an email this morning…

…We will not continue back and forth email, as it is clear we view this situation very differently.

We have issued you a refund.

in other words: “You don’t half go on, we thought you’d have buggered off by now – so take this and piss off”.

I can do that! ‘Cos your stock buying abilities suck, your communication skills are non-existent and most of all… the name of your shop is rubbish.

It’s a no brainer…

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 10 - 2009

I hope this isn’t too deep for a Sunday evening/Monday morning, but it’s something that’s been playing on my mind for a few days.

I’ve noticed that disclosing my love for all things cosmetic to a colleague, friend or even family member often has a profound affect on the way I’m perceived by this person.  I’m not completely discounting the possibility that I may be a little hyper-sensitive to this, but generally, I notice a shift in attitude.  This usually involves them expressing a flicker of surprise followed by puzzlement and if they particularly care about me, there’s a genuine sense of disappointment that I don’t choose to invest my energies into something more worthwhile.

I wonder if it’s because I don’t conform to how people prejudiciously imagine fashionistas and their beauty equivalents should look, think and behave?

~ I’m above the age of 22
~ I don’t ‘air kiss’
~ I’m someone’s mother and wife
~ I don’t say ‘awwww bless’ lots
~ I run my own business
~ I can hold a relatively intelligent conversation on a variety of subjects (go me!)
~ I don’t have the *ahem* ideal body shape for displaying fashion
~ I don’t have a complete meltdown if I break a nail (just a mini one)

Don’t get me wrong… there are definitely some women that seem to revel in the stereotype.  My Space-Cadet-O-Meter usually registers the vacuumed in cheekbones/overly ambitious pouting action displayed in some profile pictures.  In general though, since discovering beauty blogs I’ve realised just how diverse the beauty blogging community is, and most bloggers don’t appear to conform to the stereotypes.

I feel sad that our hobby is often regarded with such disdain.  It’s thought of as frivolous, trivial and altogether rather pointless.  Your appearance, rightly or wrongly (that’s a WHOLE other debate!) has a huge impact on your daily life and surely it makes us sensible rather than senseless to invest time and gain pleasure from making the best of what we started life with?

Even my husband (who is completely tolerant) will roll his eyes and gently tease me about going to ‘play’ with my makeup.  I asked him curiously if he could think of another word to replace ‘play’ that didn’t make me sound like an 11 year old about to raid my mother’s vanity case.  He couldn’t, and neither could I.  I don’t mind the expression, I use it myself – but I do think it’s indicative of the attitude that prevails when it comes to beauty.

Either way, I can live with it up until the moment that people I hold in high regard look at me as if I should know better.

Do you have anyone in your life that understands YOU, but just can’t seem to grasp your love for this ‘superficial’ hobby of ours?  And perhaps more importantly, do you notice it having any impact on your perceived credibility?

RANDOM

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Urban Decay The Black Palette - Photos & Swatches

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