Archive for September, 2007

Zazzle Logo Contest

September 28, 2007

logocontestmantle3.jpg

Note: This contest is now over. Winners will be announced after Monday.

============

Contest Update

Hey folks, just wanted to update everyone and make sure that we were clear on some of the finer points of the contest.

You can only submit one entry. Whatever entry is your first entry is the only entry that will be considered for the contest. The only change you can make to the logo is to resize it. We really want people to incorporate the logo into the artwork, not change it.

I know there has been some confusion, so for those people that already created entries that changed the logo, instead of mixing it into a design, will be added to a special category when the contest is over that will get honorable mention, but won’t be eligible for the prizes. The good news is that there is still over two weeks left in the contest to submit your official entry! So if you don’t like your first entry or you made an invalid entry just remove the tag “zazzlelogocontest2007” from that entry and make a new one that you tag for the contest. Anyone can add a new entry and there is plenty of time to do it, just make sure that you only have one entry and that it adheres to the contest rules.

==========

 

Zazzle’s got a new look and a new logo! So it’s time to show your design skillZ by using the new logo to make great merchandise! Take one of these hi-res versions of the logo and mix it into any kind of trendy, crazy or awesome design you can think of (no gross stuff please). Once you’re done, you’ll have the perfect entry into the Zazzle Pimp Our Logo contest! Basically we want to see how you can use the Zazzle logo with your design to make the best take-the-cake contest entry! Need some inspiration? Check out some of these entries to see what other Zazzlers are doing.

 

View Entries » | Go Create »

 

 

The submission deadline is 11:59 PM (PST) on Thursday, October 18, 2007.

So what do I get?

For the mac daddy, A+ designer, we are going to feature his/her design on the homepage for a whole week! And if that wasn’t enough we’re going to throw in a Wacom Cintiq (The Cadillac of digital writing tablets, a $2,500 value) to boot.

(here is a video of a Cintiq at work!)

2nd place gets $1,000 and 3rd gets $500! So get started customizing the Zazzle logo now. And for all the New Zazzlers out there, read below about how to join!

How to enter

  1. Create a Zazzle account here
  2. Get a hi-res version of our logo
  3. Create your design and place it on a product (can be any product type … t-shirts, mugs, posters, stamps, you decide!). Make your product
  4. Publish your product to the Zazzle marketplace with the tag “zazzlelogocontest2007″ (find out how to tag your product). If you have already published your design prior to the start of this contest, simply tag it “zazzlelogocontest2007″ to submit it.
  5. Voila! (this doesn’t count as a step), see how easy that was? I knew you could do it.

Celebrity Judges

To help Zazzle to decide the best entries into this contest we’ve got two distinguished artists to judge your designs. See below to read a little about each artist.

Sonya Paz (sonyapaz)

sonya_pic.jpg Sonya has a passion for Modern Art, Pop Art, Cubsim, Modernism and Surrealism. These influences, combines can be seen in much of her work, where traditional styles compete with energetic pop art images of the past 25 years.

Sonya is a member and recently elected Vice President of the Artist Guild of San Francisco. Over the past few years her art has been exhibited at a number of venues; these include Gordon Biersch, MJ Schaer Gallery, Bacchus and Venus Gallery, International ArtExpo 2004 and returning again in March 2005.

Sonya has recently opened up her own fine art gallery in Santa Clara, CA and her works are also being represented across the USA; South Miami Beach, Napa Valley and Detroit. She is currently working on an exclusive label for a Livermore Valley Winery, and her work is featured in many local wineries and in various restaurants around the country.

Von Glitschka (vonster)

von.jpg Von has worked in the communication arts industry for 20 years. He now refers to himself as an Illustrative Designer. In 2002, he started Glitschka Studios, a multi-disciplinary creative agency.

His fresh, exuberant graphics for both in-house art departments and medium to large creative agencies have won numerous design and illustration awards along the way. Recently Von had 39 of his logo designs selected for inclusion in Logo Lounge IV. His clients are diverse, and include Microsoft, Pepsi, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Virgin Atlantic, Major League Baseball, Hasbro, Bandai Toys, Allstate insurance and Upper Deck.

Pimp Our Logo Contest!

September 28, 2007

Pimp Our Logo Contest

Zazzle’s got a new look and a new logo! So it’s time to show your design skillZ by using the new logo to make great merchandise! Take one of these hi-res versions of the logo and mix it into any kind of trendy, crazy or awesome design you can think of (no gross stuff please). Once you’re done, you’ll have the perfect entry into the Zazzle Pimp Our Logo contest! Basically we want to see how you can use the Zazzle logo with your design to make the best take-the-cake contest entry! Need some inspiration? Check out some of these entries to see what other Zazzlers are doing.

 

Enter the Contest » | View Entries »

 

The submission deadline is 11:59 PM (PST) on Sunday, October 18, 2007.

What do you get for winning?

  • Grand Prize Winner: Wacom Cintiq – Digital Drawing Tablet (a $2,500 value!)
  • 2nd Place Winner: $1,000 USD
  • 3rd Place Winner: $500 USD
  • Honorable Mentions: $25 Zazzle Gift certificates

Talk Like A Pirate Day Contest Winners Announced

September 20, 2007

Avast mateys! The winners of the Talk Like A Pirate Contest have been announced on the Zazzle Contest Page! Three cheers to the scurvy dog EAR52069 for the entry Old Pirate Skull he be the one talking all the treasure this morn’. Also, a hearty ARRRR! to all other entrants of this here pirate contest, they be worthy designs to sail with on any of the unforgivin’ seas.

Grand Prize Winner

Prize: $1,000 Cash

pirate10.jpg

 

Honorable Mention Winners

Prize: Their entry on us ($25 in Zazzle Credit toward their next purchase)

People’s Choice Winner

Prize: $25 Zazzle Credit

International Honorable Mention Winners

Winners of Pirate Contest

September 19, 2007

Avast mateys! The time you jim-lads be waiting for be here! It be time to announce the winner of the Zazzle Talk like a Pirate Day Contest! Three cheers to the scurvy dog EAR52069 for the entry Old Pirate Skull he be the one talking all the treasure this morn’. Also, a hearty ARRRR! to all other entrants of this here pirate contest, they be worthy designs to sail with on any of the unforgivin’ seas.

Grand Prize Winner

Prize: $1,000 Cash

pirate10.jpg

 

Honorable Mention Winners

Prize: Their entry on us ($25 in Zazzle Credit toward their next purchase)

pic1.jpg

piratemonkey.jpg

pirate4.jpg

pirate5.jpg

pirate6.jpg

pirate7.jpg

pirate8.jpg

pirate9.jpg

pirate1.jpg

People’s Choice Winner

Prize: $25 Zazzle Credit

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International Honorable Mention Winners

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ihm2.jpg

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We have a big contest coming up next and please stay tuned for that.

 

Pirate Day 07 at Zazzle

September 19, 2007

Ahoy, Mateys! It be International Talk Like a Pirate Day today and the scallywags at Zazzle celebrated with the best of ‘em! Here be the pictures from the pirate costume contest and treasure hunt. Also, there be plenty of pirate shirts from Zazzle in the Pirate Day collection that you might want to be plunderin’ for your pirate events.

Pirate Day

Also, be looking to this blog to see the winner of Zazzle’s Pirate Day contest, I hear the winners names are coming in the evening breeze! YAARRRR!

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The Style Villa: MTV Video Music Awards, Las Vegas 2007 – Day Two

September 17, 2007

Saturday, September 8, 2007

After a shower, a huge dinner and a few hours of sleep, we were ready to rock the Style Villa for Day two. Apparently, Saturday was supposed to be the biggest day with the most traffic and the biggest celebs. Could it get much bigger than Timbaland and 50!?

As the morning rolled around, we were reminded of two Vegas certainties: nobody gets up before noon and if you do, you better stay close to air conditioning or shade. By noon, it was 100 degrees hot!

Trying to stave off exhaustion and heat, we lounged lazily on the chairs in our bungalow. It wasn’t long before someone came by and gave word that Robin Leach had arrived! Robin Leach, Robin Leach!? The legend and man behind the iconic voice that narrated the lives of the rich and famous for nearly two decades? No way. Before I even had a chance to look around, I heard it….

Like a booming ship horn, it came, “ONLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS!” as he examined a 222 diamond encrusted flat iron on display at the bungalow sponsored by CHI professional hair equipment next door. At first I thought it was a mirage…but then the entire Zazzle team looked around in a daze, and suddenly burst into laughter. It was as if we had just walked into a TV show! Needless to say, he rounded the corner and paid us a visit. Guess what he put on his shirt? Yes, you guessed it, “Champagne wishes and caviar dreams”. How predictable.

Once noon had come and gone, things began to pick up. One after another, celebs started rolling into the Zazzle bungalow. A couple of times we even had celebs waiting in LINE to create their shirts! Imagine that, celebrities waiting in line. In any case, here are few of the celebs from day two and their corresponding photos below:

 

Lucy Walsh - She loved her shirt so much she changed into it right in our bungalow. What a cutie!

 

 

AJ Buckley – He made a few shirts, but this was our fav. (In case you can’t read it, it says “So Malaria”!) He also hooked us up and jumped on the SWAK campaign bandwagon. Unfortunately, he coudn’t stop laughing and the lipstick got EVERYWHERE!!

 

?uestlove - Looks like he’s headed to the Scrabble Championships – no, REALLY!!

 

Nelly - Had fun with it, and schmoozed with everyone in our bungalo, including ?uestlove!

 

Tila Tequila – Made a shirt so suggestive I couldn’t bear to post it…

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Ashanti – Aww, Gwen’s #1 fan!

Shar Jackson - Think she wanted to make a public statement? That’s the beauty of Zazzle!
She was even caught wearing it on TMZ…check it out here!

 

Cisco Adler from WhiteStarr – He loved his shirt so much he wore it out the next day!! See it here:

 

Tara Connor – 2006 Miss USA smooches for SWAK, and makes a shirt with one of her fav phrases, “Festive”. Look Donald – she’s a good girl now!

 

 

Joe Hahn from Linkin Park – he really is KISSING! Look at that face!

 

Peter Moran of VMA nominee Peter, Bjorn & John– made a shirt in his native language, and allowed me to apply red lipstick for SWAK – on camera no less!

Melanie Brown & Stephen Belafonte – they smooched for SWAK together, and made a pair of shirts that ended up in Life & Style! In addition, Mel B. did her ONLY interview of the day with Vh1 right in our bungalow!

 

Jeffrey Ross – um, grammar anyone?

 

 

 

 

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Start of Something New

September 13, 2007

Hey everyone – earlier this year, we decided to step back and think about what Zazzle is, and how we could make it better. We listened to a lot of your feedback and talked with a lot of users and customers. Based on what we heard, we set out to make Zazzle easier and more fun to use, and most importantly to better feature and sell the amazing products created by our community of artists and designers. In the process, we embarked on a major redesign of Zazzle that has taken us through thousands of design concepts, numerous focus groups and conversations, and countless hours of coding (touching every page on the site!)

Today, we are thrilled to launch just the beginning of some really exciting changes! Seriously – keep checking back because the best is yet to come :)

So what’s new today?

We’ve revamped the Zazzle website to be better for buyers who are looking for great products. And better for buyers is of course better for contributors who want to sell products!

With our new overall design (we call it the “Zazzle Skin”), we’ve designed a whole new background and color palette, intended, so that products and designs featured on the site will really *pop* on screen!

Our new site navigation should make it easier to get around Zazzle and immediately find and browse to great products from any of the links in the header. And to jump right in and design great products too! (special tip: click the arrows next to the main words in the header and you’ll get lots of handy quick-links into the site!)

new_header.png

Before we get into the specifics, I want to give a huge shout out to the entire Zazzle Team for making this happen. This has been an extraordinary effort and we’ve hand-touched every single page on the site to make these improvements. Huge kudos to every single person who made a difference here!

Even better, the website should now be a lot faster and smoother to load as we’ve revamped the underlying pages. If you are curious, here’s a great explanation of the technology involved in our redesign!

Now on to the new site:

1) What’s Hot - Browse the latest and greatest products and activity from the Zazzle community

whats_hot.pngOn What’s Hot, we’re featuring the top products from a whole set of categories that are *hot* right now. What’s Hot in any category is based on an analysis of sales and activity on the site. Bookmark this page – you want to check this hourly or daily to see what’s currently at the top of the lists, and get it while it’s hot! And we’ll show you what’s being searched, hot deals, and more!

If you want to have our products featured here, simply make great products. If they are getting lots of sales and activity, you’ll have a good chance of showing up!

Check out What’s Hot

2) Categories - Browse through all content on Zazzle through featured topics and all categories.

categories.pngZazzle has soooo many products, that it’s hard to feature all of them at the top. We’ve reorganized our categories and navigation to feature the categories that buyers are most frequently looking for.

Designing products for the featured categories is a great way to get noticed on Zazzle. These will be frequently changing based on what buyers are looking for, hot topics, and the current season. (but note, if you miscategorize products in one of the featured categories, your products may be reclassified or removed)

Start Browsing Categories

3) Participate - Get Involved and make $$ on Zazzle by designing products, entering contests, rating/sharing the freshest products, and more.

participate.pngThe Participate section has been set up to help you more easily get started on Zazzle, and to find and meet other great contributors. On this page, you can check out who’s making money (what products are selling), and rate the newest products to influence what’s hot. See and enter current contests, and learn more about our associate and promotional tools. And most importantly, click through and explore the galleries created by your fellow contributors!

We’ve also made some improvements to your galleries and more with this launch. Click here to learn more about gallery updates!

(and most importantly – keep checking back. In the next two months, there will be some even more exciting news on the gallery front!)

Go to Participate

4) Create - Design and create any of Zazzle’s 350+ products with your own designs, images, and text

create.pngAs you know, Zazzle has an amazing set of products available for you to design, create, and buy. The “Create” section is your area to learn more about our specific products, and get started designing.

We’ve made a number of improvements to our design tools – Change Image: change_image1.pngHow many times have you started designing a product, got an image positioned and sized just right, but then decided you wanted a new photo? Now, just click the “change image” button and it’ll work perfectly!change_image.png Multi-select: You can now select multiple images or multiple text objects and move them, click “change image” / “change text”, and more and affect all the fields at once! Title your design: When you are working on a design and want to remember it, set the title now right on the design tool! change_image.png

And with our Create-a-Product API, we’ve just launched some great new features to dynamically create products with templates! This is TRULY an amazing feature – click here to learn more about templates.

Go Create Products

5) A whole lot more

Ok, there are just so many more more things to check out. For example, we’ve redesigned and reorganized MyZazzle to make it a lot easier to find your products, your images, and your earnings. Browse around the site and keep on exploring. You’ll find great products you have never seen before, and lots of other small gems. And sadly, you may find a few things missing including one of my favorite features – our “search for contributors”. Don’t worry, these are coming back as fast as we can get them into the new design. Just had to put a couple small things into a temporary pause.

And remember, the best is yet to come :) !!!!

Have questions or feedback? Discuss in our forums

- Josh Elman

P.S. Thanks to the entire Zazzle Team for all the hard work to bring this to life!

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The Zazzle Facelift

September 13, 2007

Trudging Across The Tundra

Sometimes, you have to take a step back and look at where you are before you are able to move forward in any reasonable way. When you have your head down, trudging across the tundra, mile after mile, you forget to look up every so often to see if you are moving in the right direction. Well, we just looked up. And we noticed that there were many places we could optimize in our code…from CSS to HTML to JavaScript.

In this latest incarnation of the Zazzle website, there are more behind the scenes changes than there are…well, things that there are a lot of. We took the time to essentially restructure our pages for performance and scalability, by doing a few simple things: organize page elements to load in a specific order, remove huge chunks of now redundant CSS, and implement a new design that allows us to use less images and HTML.

If You Build It Right, It Will Come Faster

Our first task was to take a look at the overall structure of our pages. This includes everything from what’s in the HEAD section, to where we load in our JavaScript. The important thing to note about this is that by structuring our pages in a consistent way throughout our site, we could now make better decisions about what external files need to be loaded, and where. This also allowed us to make the decision to load most, if not all, of our JavaScript at the very bottom of every document.

So what, you ask? In our old site, we would load in a default CSS file for all pages, and if anything on that page needed special stylings, we would override them with styles from another file specific to that page. Ok, makes sense. And we still actually do that.

But the big difference is that now that the pages are structured in a consistent manner, it’s a lot easier to NOT have to do an override of an override of an override to achieve a particular look since we are only loading in the CSS files that are needed. There were many cases before where we had many CSS files loaded for a page, each performing overrides.

On top of that, the CSS itself has been optimized in many places, mostly due to the simplified HTML markup that makes up the page. Simpler markup means simpler CSS…which leads to much less code. How much less? We estimate that there is approximately 50% LESS CSS than before, and with a much cleaner user interface. Win-win baby!

Loading JavaScript at the bottom of each page also serves two purposes. One, the page HTML loads and displays to the user while downloading instead of waiting for JavaScript to download. Second, it allows us to easily “wire up” scripted elements on the page once the page is complete. The advantage there is that at this point we are certain all elements exist and the JavaScript can run unfettered.

Rounded Corners Are So 2003

There are some things HTML/CSS just doesn’t do well. Rounded corners are one of those things. Our old design used many rounded corners all over the place, which caused us to create something we called a “zBox”. What is a zBox? It’s basically a bunch of HTML and CSS that would render a box container with rounded corners. We made it so easy for us to use that whenever we needed to add a new container to our page, we’d simply call our zBox component.

The only problem was that a zBox contained a significant amount of HTML and CSS, not to mention images that needed to be loaded for the corners. It was not unheard of to have a page with half a dozen or more zBoxes.

With our redesign, we decided to simplify…not only the code, but the entire look of the site. This meant getting rid of the ubiquitous zBox. By simply replacing zBoxes with single DIV containers, we were able to remove huge amounts of markup and images, making each page that much lighter to load.

Here’s an example piece of code for a zBox:

<div class=”zBox” id=”divId”>
<div class
=”zBoxTop”>
<
div class=”zBoxTopDiv1″></div
>
<
div class=”zBoxTopDiv2″></div
>
</div
>
<
div class
=”zBoxMiddle”>
<
div class
=”zBoxContentWrapper”>
<
div class=”zBoxContent clearfix” id
=”innerDivId”>
##content##
</div
>
</
div
>
<
div class=”zBoxContentDiv1″></div
>
<
div class=”zBoxContentDiv2″></div
>
</
div
>
<
div class
=”zBoxBottom”>
<div class=”zBoxBottomDiv1″></div
>
<
div class=”zBoxBottomDiv2″></div
>
</
div
>
</
div>

And here’s that same container without using zBox:

<div class=”myClass id=”divId”>
##content##
</div>

And that’s not even including the CSS and images that are needed! So needless to say, with our new simplified design, we were able to cut tons of unneeded code from the site. It’s like Zazzle went on a diet and looks great!

Even The Skin is Low Fat

With our svelte new design and our consistent page structure, we are now able to provide room for future growth. And where do growths usually occur? Well, on the skin, of course! Yes, gross analogy aside, we will be able to offer the ability to skin parts of our site!

We already provide themes for contributors to skin their entire galleries. This helps contributors create a brand and experience tied to their art and designs. The steps we’re taking with our website technology move towards deep level customizations. Imagine being able to skin the gallery with even more control (like custom CSS!) – just like we’ve started to on Zazzle. The possibilities will be endless!

Gallery updates with today’s launch!

September 13, 2007

We’re excited to be releasing some gallery updates today and stay tuned because we’re going to be making some big improvements in the next weeks and months.

It was just last summer when we launched revamped contributor galleries and we’ve seen some wonderful galleries created over the past year. In that time, we also made updates such as the introduction of fan clubs and improvements to the gallery wall.

With this release, we’ve now revised the galleries to significantly improve product browsing (see screenshot below and here for an example). Your actual products are shown at a larger size and the design is displayed when the user mouses over the product. This impacts the products shown on the gallery homepage as well as the browsing experience when users click “Products” to view all products in the gallery.

Based on what we’ve learned from changes in the marketplace, the change will make it easier for visitors to find products they like (increasing conversion) and best of all, the products now blend much better into the gallery theme that you’ve selected or created. In addition, the overall gallery experience (buttons, header, etc.) now fits with the new Zazzle style guide and you’ll notice that there is no longer a green strip across the top of every gallery.

Keep visiting the Zazzle blog and forum to stay updated on the upcoming gallery changes. Your feedback and input are a very important part of our development efforts!

- Josh Reeves, Product Team

P.S. We’ve also made a small change in MyZazzle to move the royalty and referral earnings links from the “My Accounts” section to the “My Earnings” section.

Updated Gallery:

new_galleryskin1.jpg

Old Version:

old_galleryskin1.jpg

The Style Villa: MTV Video Music Awards, Las Vegas 2007 – Day One

September 13, 2007

 

It is nearly impossible to find the words to properly describe the insanity that was the Style Villa. Overwhelming, ridiculous, surreal, fabulous – these words are all accurate, but by no means do they say it all. Let me start from the beginning…

Earlier this summer, Zazzle was offered an exclusive invite to be a part of one of the most attended celebrity gifting suites in the industry. The Style Villa. The Style Villa is renowned for attracting huge stars, and for attaining levels of cool that all other events only aspire to. What did participation get us? Three days of hosting a stylish and sexy poolside bungalow at the swanky Venus Pool Club at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where only the very posh are privileged enough to sunbathe and sip cocktails. Access to celebs and other industry A-listers were promised, and Zazzle decided to put our best foot forward by attempting something we hadn’t done before – taking the Zazzle show on the road. So we fired up the party bus, stocked up on redbull and cheezits, and headed to Vegas! When we arrived, we took our suped-up apparel printers poolside, and allowed celebs to design their own tees and have them made on the spot. Needless to say, it was a HUGE hit. Here is day one…

Thursday, September 7:
It is over 100 degrees, but the team is performing beautifully – we unload our truck, and set up our bungalow without a hitch. Many hours, empty water bottles, and sweat soaked shirts later, everything is perfect and running smoothly. Ready for the big event! See the photos here:

 

 

 

 

Friday, September 8:

Opening Day! The sun was shining, the pool was sparkling, and the temperature was rising. Dozens of gorgeous bikini clad models slinked poolside passing high end shots, cocktails, and snacks. My team (consisting of four handsome, single guys) somehow sweet talked them into our bungalow for a quick photo op. That’s Zazzle’s very own Freddy Fresh!

 

freddy fresh

Since most people were traveling on Friday, it was a pretty slow day until late in the afternoon when we saw some of the biggest names in the music industry! We made a shirt for Timbaland that read “Timbo da King”. Apparently, it went over so well his “people” called our people and asked for MORE of them! We printed them up, delivered them to his hotel and he wore them to his big Vegas partay that very night! Lookin good Timbo. Check it out here:

timbo

timbo 2

 

While superstar 50Cent refused to enter bungalows of any apparel companies (I am guessing due to an existing endorsement deal), we got an indirect request to create a shirt for him. Our designer Josh worked his wizardry and whipped up this baby for him, inspired by his recent cash-in with SmartWater:

While we couldn’t get a photo of the actual delivery, he was thrilled with it, and let us know by shouting, “I can whe-are dis!” with a huge grin. He really showed us love by wearing it out that very night! Apparently the SmartWater folks weren’t too happy with the public display of his recent earnings, as the SmartWater PR team came to find me the next morning to learn the details… that’s what happens when people express themselves!

Coltrane Curtis hung out with us for a bit, making a totally raunchy and inappropriate shirt! While he went a little off the deep end with his shirt design, he was a very good sport, and allowed me to deck him out with lipstick in order to leave his kiss print for our Sealed With a Kiss campaign coming up in February of ’08.

 

 

 

Last, but not least, Desperate Housewives star Josh Henderson left his lip prints and designed several custom shirts. Josh was great and had a lot of fun with it. Not to be outdone, Zazzle’s own star in training, Mike Karns got in on the action (seen in the middle). Rumor has it Mike’s in the running for a walk-on roll as the next love scandal on the show….has there been a milkman? :)

All in all, a fabulous and successful day! Stay tuned for juicy details from day two!

 

 

 


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