performance car care products.
the road ahead
A Netpop Research study as reported in a Center for Media Research Brief
concluded, "market trends and customer opinion are being shaped by end users
more rapidly and with greater impact on business than ever before as an entirely
new form of leisure develops around talking and sharing, providing opinions and
perspectives... and suggests that websites need to connect directly with users
or the users will create their own venues." The study also found:
- 105 million Americans contribute to social media
- Social networking has grown 93% since 2006
- 7 million Americans are "heavy" social media
contributors (6+ activities) who connect with 248 people
on a 'one to many' basis in a typical week
- 54% of micro-bloggers post or "tweet" daily
- 72% of micro-bloggers under age 18 post or "tweet"
Who are the people with the time to Twitter, tweet, peep, blog, mini-blog,
Facebook, get LinkedIn and generally play the Internet like a piano? You may be
one according to Steve Rubel, Sr. Vice President of Edelman Direct. As reported by
Karl Greenberg in Marketing Daily, Rubel told an audience, "We are amazed at the
number of people who view social media and traditional media as two different
things. But 75% of newspaper sites now let people comment, and 100% have blogs.
The elephants and zebras have mated, and it's all one species."
He went on to
say: "As the economy tightens up, people are recognizing that reputation
matters. We are seeing more workers flock to social media who say they have
to be there to build their own brand as an insurance policy or escape clause.
Corporations should figure out who those people are, and rather than fire them,
give them a soapbox. People should figure out who, in their companies, could be
personal brands. Give your 'all stars' independence--let them know what the
Max Kalehoff elaborates on that thought in an Online Spin column.
He sees employee online celebrities building relationships and trusts with
customers with the downside being, "A lack of personal optimization can be a
serious disadvantage in a down economy. With unemployment rising, job seekers
who are highly visible to employers have the upper hand. Those who are not
discoverable don't exist. No wonder LinkedIn is seeing record traffic and
a surge in interpersonal recommendations."
Kalehoff notes there are mature
services and software to help businesses optimize but "scattered tools on the
Web an individual can use to positively influence his or her personal
search-engine reputation. Consider any number of free social-networking sites
and publishing tools: LinkedIn and Twitter, as well as any of the blogging
platforms like Blogger or Wordpress. But these tools are not part
of any cohesive or sanctioned optimization strategy. And, collectively, they all
require significant personal investment to learn, activate and maintain."
Comments? Please go to:
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Autowriters.Com invites readers to submit their own Clog
(Online Column). Your reward: a byline and an audience of
your peers. All submissions are acknowledged, queued
and used at the editor’s discretion.
The Tom-Tom seems the appropriate place for this letter to
APA members from its current president, Katie Kerwin.
Neither rant nor rave, it reviews the reasoning behind the
APA Board’s unexpected decision to restrict its membership
and therefore, its automatic meeting entrée to working
automotive journalists or PR persons and related media.
March 10, 2009
Dear APA members,
The Automotive Press Association board has reviewed our
membership policy and decided to make some changes based on
our mission and bylaws.
• Our mission is to put newsmakers in front of journalists.
Our ability to attract the best speakers depends on being
able to promise those speakers a room full of influential
auto journalists and automotive PR people with a stake in
their message. Hosts understand that an APA speech is open
to all APA members, so it is in our best interests to ensure
that our membership reflects this mission.
President of the Automotive Press Association
• Our bylaws state: “Membership shall consist of persons who
are engaged in automotive journalism, public relations
activities and other interested media related to the
After lengthy consideration and the creation of a membership
committee to formulate recommendations, the board decided
that those guidelines require us to revise our membership
admission rules. No one’s membership is being revoked. But
if a current member isn’t a working automotive journalist or
PR person or interested media (say, an auto analyst,
economist or consultant), his or her membership will not be
This affects our rules for retirees. The bylaws limit
membership to working journalists or PR people. Current
retiree members are grandfathered in. In the future, when active
members retire, their memberships won’t be renewed unless
they continue to engage in professional activities related
to the industry such as freelancing or consulting.
The clarification of our policy also means that we have
lifted the freeze on new members from PR agencies. As
before, those firms may have a maximum of four APA members
at any time. If one of the four leaves, another qualified
agency employee can become a member. There continues to be
no limit on memberships for PR staff at automakers and
PR membership is restricted to PR professionals and excludes
administrative staff and employees of organizations that
supply support services to the industry.
With a clear policy, our membership director Mona Richard
has concrete rules on which to rely and she has the full
confidence of the board in applying them. No board member,
including the president, can overrule her decision (so don’t
even try going over her head.) A decision can only be
reversed by a majority vote of the membership board.
A complete copy of the membership rules will be made
available to any member or membership applicant who requests
them. If you have questions, please feel free to ask APA
President Katie Kerwin or any board member.
As a separate issue, the board would like to remind those
who attend our meetings of a few basic rules of courtesy. We
ask that you don’t make sales pitches or attempt to recruit
clients or advertisers at meetings. Please refrain from loud
conversations during presentations and Q&A sessions, and any
other disruptive or objectionable behavior.
The board has decided that members or guests who break these
rules will get a warning. Those who continue or repeat an
offense will lose their membership and be barred from future
Lastly, guests are welcome at any event for which the host
hasn’t specified a no-guest policy. Please don’t invite or
bring a guest when the invitation says no guests. That
decision rests with the event’s host, who is footing the
Comments? Please go to: http://autowriters.com/blog/the-tom-tom-katie-kerwin/
Tom-Tom rants, raves, rambles and ruminations are
and express the opinions of the writer.
in a Feb. 12 audio blog on The Social Net suggests that the reason
newspapers accustomed to being the dominant news source in their market are
failing in this country is because they can't compete, unlike England where his
home town of London has 89 different titles vying for attention. . . . An
American survey says don't give up on print. The Rosen Group
released findings of a national poll indicating the vast majority of U.S.
consumers still deem print editions of newspapers and magazines to be
"indispensable" sources of news and entertainment. President and Founder of the
PR agency, Lori Rosen, quoted in OnLineMedia Daily, acknowledged,
"two-thirds of Americans now use Web sites 'devoted to news' as a daily source,
and nearly a third consider them to be their No. 1 source of news and
information. She notes: "People are looking online for news and lifestyle
information, but they are not abandoning their print editions." She also
reported, "nearly 60% of (survey) respondents do not consider information found
on blogs to be 'credible'."
The U.S. House of Representatives apparently agrees with that
assessment. Blogger Jason Lee Miller on
www.WebProNews.com reports that the
House version of bills moving through Congress to protect a journalist's sources
says, "if journalism is a hobby or passion you do as a public service, or if you
are a freelancer without a boss—both of which easily describe a blogger—then the
government reserves the right to force you to tell them who told you something,
much like the government tried to do with New York Times journalist
under the Bush Administration." And that may explain this quote provided
by Intermediate Network’s Press,
PR and Media Digest: "It is Ryanair's policy not to waste
time and energy corresponding with idiot bloggers." Also from that publication
comes word of a BBC journalist blaming the underreporting of the country's
financial crisis until it was upon them on, "an incredibly powerful public
relations machine . . . whose job is to lie to the press." Surely nothing
like that in the U.S. ;-)
Sylvia Marino, executive director of community operations for
these points in a recent interview with Karl Greenberg published in Marketing Daily:
1) "What GM and Ford are doing is engaging not just with their consumers, but
with any consumers - trying to set the record straight using Twitter, their own
blogs, for example, saying: 'We have more vehicles that get 32 mpg and better
than Toyota does'."
2) "When you look at companies who have built relationships with consumers,
across blogs, across different social media, there is question-and-answer,
give-and-take--not one-way. There is an acceptance of negative views, not that
everyone has to be right. I think what you are finding is, people go back to
basics. Having a one-on-one conversation, you are much more likely to have a
higher level of satisfaction with that person than if you get a nameless,
3) "It doesn't require the CEO or chairman. In fact, you want the person who
has the access and voice and support."
4) "On Twitter there may be some six or seven thousand people reading any
given post, and many of those 7,000 people are retelling the story. . . . And
that's what we are really talking about. Yes, there is a big investment in
one-to-one--but the fact is, in these environments when I'm answering one
person's question, it's available to millions for viewing. It's very powerful."
Newsletter reports publisher Hearst is getting set to launch an electronic
reader that it hopes can do for periodicals what Amazon's Kindle is doing
for books. It is
a wireless e-reader with a large-format screen suitable for reading newspapers
and magazines and is likely to debut this year. The insider source for
freelance magazine writers also reports that Popular Science, in
anticipation of when e-readers become more commonplace, has launched a new
digital magazine called The Pop Sci Genius Guide. Wooden Horse also
states that Anderson News, one of the larger wholesaler distributors, has
closed operation and laid off its employees. Source Interlink
got a temporary restraining order that effectively forces publishers Time Inc,
American Media, Hachette Filipacchi Media and Bauer Publications to resume
shipping copies of their magazines to Source Interlink for distribution to
Speedway Illustrated has a new owner, Anthem Media Group, a
marketing firm and magazine publisher. It acquired Performance Media LLC, the
publisher of the magazine, from Down East Enterprise Inc. Founder and former
driver and TV commentator Dick Berggren will remain as executive editor. The
magazine has a monthly circulation of about 120,000... NEWSWEEK will transition
away from covering the week's news events to become more of a "thought leader"
publication such as THE ECONOMIST and THE ATLANTIC. . . . Beginning in April,
Consumer Guide will no longer print its Car & Truck Test Magazine focusing
instead on online delivery. In making the announcement, associate publisher Tom Appel notes that
www.Consumerguide.com now enjoys an average of 2.5 million unique
visitors a month.
Michael Karesh's uncommon blending of sociology, statistics and car
ownership has produced a unique tool for auto journalists and consumers to
quickly and easily compare features and costs, repair experiences and real-world
gas mileage of competing vehicles. It is called
True Delta and began when Michael's enthusiasm for cars
and companies that make them was sparked by a preview photo of the 1983 Ford
Thunderbird on the cover of a car magazine. "Those were bleak times for both
cars and the auto industry. Jack Telnack's revolutionary aero design and
the turbo under the hood were signs that cars were about to become exciting
again. I’ve been avidly following the industry ever since."
In the mid-1990s,
Michael was pursuing a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and needed a
topic for his thesis. While other sociologists performed fieldwork within
urban communities, he opted to move to Detroit and essentially live inside GM’s
product development organization for a year-and-a-half. "To really know what
goes on inside these companies, you’ve got to get deep inside them yourself,"
he said. While completing a thesis that focused on the role of interpersonal
trust in creating great cars, he taught marketing at Oakland University and
wrote car reviews.
While at Chicago, Michael received extensive training in survey research and
statistical analysis. After earning the degree, he deployed these skills to
gather car information he personally wanted to have but couldn’t find
anywhere. "In my car reviews, I tried to include thorough price comparisons
that accounted for feature differences, but with existing sources this took
forever and it was too easy to miss some of the differences." So he
developed a tool that produces thorough car price comparisons--in seconds.
This tool, launched in September 2004, formed the basis for
Site visitors were invited to join TrueDelta's survey panel. "With dots and
blobs, how much one car differs from another in reliability has not been clear.
As a result, many car buyers think these differences are much larger than they
actually are, and this has distorted purchase decisions." To provide actual
repair rates, TrueDelta surveys members monthly on any repairs that occurred the
previous month. "Why monthly? Because we’ve learned that memories fade quickly."
Actual repair rates are promptly updated four times a year to include new models
sooner and closely track cars as they age. "When buying a new car, do you want
to know how reliable it was a year ago, or how it’s been doing recently?"
Later, TrueDelta added a real-world Gas Mileage Survey that includes data on
how and where the cars are driven. The most recent addition: a "Why (Not)
This Car?" review survey where car owners explain why they bought the car
they did buy and why they didn’t buy their second choice.
While TrueDelta.com focuses on the needs of car owners, it can be a very
useful resource for automotive journalists (who are invited to visit the
site and apply for media access). As Karesh notes in one of the blogs on his
site: Why is it important that TrueDelta’s car reliability information is, on average, over nine months
ahead of the information provided by other sources? The plight of the
domestic auto industry provides the most significant answer yet. These
companies are fighting for their lives. They continue to have trouble
selling cars because of lingering perceptions, sometimes well founded, more
often not, that domestic cars are unreliable. If these companies are making
improvements in the reliability of their products, getting awareness of this
improvement to the public up to fourteen months earlier could make the
difference between surviving, and not surviving.
Comments? Please go to:
When it rains on the Detroit auto scene it pours, literally. The Detroit
News reported that leaks in the roof of its Cobo Center exhibit hall
threatened to splash salty and corrosive water onto priceless cars on
display in the Championship Auto Show held there recently.
Bob Larivee, Jr., chief executive officer of Championship Auto Shows
Inc. in Auburn Hills, which runs 18 auto shows around the country
was quoted, "You're not going to get a guy to bring his $400,000 hot rod
here from L.A. if the car might sit in a building with water leaking on
it." Worse, the newspaper noted, the political squabble over who will
repair the facility could threatened the North American
International Automobile Show.
A white paper by Auto Pacific substantiates that auto industry atomization, increasing sales by
creating more models to fit specific needs, no longer works. "With 2007
showing more models with fewer industry sales, the industry became
unstable. By the end of 2008 with industry selling at a 10-million per
year rate, sales per nameplate cratered. 2009 promises to be even more
dire." The paper charts some of the consequences of nameplate
proliferation on profitability and the effect on dealers, autoworkers
and consumers when nameplates are eliminated.
The Texas Auto
Writers Association has established a scholarship fund of $50,000 and is
forming a committee to establish rules and standards for a Scholarship
Program. Entries open for its
Excellence Craft Writing Contest open June 1 and close September 1. . .
. Two GM retirees living in South Carolina wrote CEO Rick Wagoner
suggesting he, "view your retirees not as legacy costs but as an army of
volunteers willing to help in the fight to return GM to profitability."
They offered 400 hours of work for $1.00 per year. For example, they
wrote, "Do you have an OnStar call from someone who is stranded in
Greenville? We'll pick them up and fix them dinner while their car is
being fixed. Do you have a truckload of tires at Michelin in
Spartanburg. We'll drive them to Bowling Green, if the teamsters don't
mind. Did your only door seal release engineer just quit? We'll come up
to Warren and break in a new one."
Noted in passing: The customized
Cadillac De Ville Parade Phateon "Popemobile" has been acquired by the
Petersen Automobile Museum. . . . Racer Joel Miller, borrowing from a
Jack Daniels promotion, plotted the entire body of his Star Mazda
Championship car with 5 inch square "billboard" spaces available at
$200.00 each for the season. (The distiller awards brand-loyal drinkers deeds
to one inch square
land parcels.) . . . GM might have considered
something like that before disbanding its performance group or tried
auctioning paddock passes as now being done by Formula One, although it
is for charity. And last, the 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupe that
clinched the first and only World Manufacturers Championship for the
U.S. when Bob Bondurant drove it to victory at Reims, France is expected
to bring a record eight-figure price for an American automobile when it
is put on the block during the Dana Mecum Spring Auction, May 13-17, in
Hachette Filipacchi Media has named Eddie Alterman, vice president and
editor-in-chief of CAR AND DRIVER. He replaces John Owen who served
as acting editor following the departure of Csaba Csere at the end of
2008. . . . The hundreds of thousands of former auto industry workers
flooding the job markets include thousands of uniquely skilled
specialists in varied fields from lumbar support to lubricants, fabrics
fasteners. One such is John Donabedian who specialized for
10 years in getting inside a vehicles designer's head, seeing his or her
vision and then capturing it digitally in development and at birth. He likens it to revealing the
"soul" of the product. A kind of
passionate involvement the industry can no longer staff full-time, so he
too, is one of the highly skilled looking to change lanes.
Contact John c/o
WINDING ROAD E-magazine named
Miersma as managing editor. . . After a lengthy but unsuccessful search
for a new owner, The Rocky Mountain News closed the doors on the
150-year-old daily. Dave Van Sickle has a new email address:
firstname.lastname@example.org and is in the process of launching a new
website of product news and reviews:
O'Neill, whose name and frequent job shifts, keep him memorable, is now
president of J.D. Power & Associates. Previously, he was a top executive
with, Toyota, Hyundai, Mitsubishi and Reynolds & Reynolds.
. . .Royal Ford, writing for his new employer,
Global Post penned
a moving tribute there
to the late Porsche PR man Bob Carlson.
If the link doesn't work, click on beats at the site then select
Comments? Please go to:
across the finish line
George Blumberg, freelancer, wrote for NY Times, Chicago Tribune, AutoWeek
John Sweeney, a long-time member of NEMPA and former Executive Director
of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts
David Scott, 90, once London, England correspondent for Ward’s Auto and
former European editor for Popular Science and Automotive Engineering.
Glenn F. Campbell
table of contents
MPG is Hiring!
The Motor Press Guild needs a Track Day event organizer.
To learn more about the job and submit a bid, download the Request for Quotation
(RFQ) go to
The statements of qualifications and quotations for Track Day
Producer must be submitted on or before April 7, 2009. Proposals received after
that date will not be considered.
Each proposal must be submitted in a sealed
enveloped addressed to:
The Motor Press Guild c/o Chuck Koch Executive Director
4561 Colorado Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039
The envelope must be clearly marked on the outside with
"Proposal for Track Day Producer"
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AWARDS & EVENTS
New England Winter Vehicle Awards
Hardly any manufacture went away unhappy after the New England Motor
Press Association announced the winners in its annual Winter Vehicle
Competition that considers how each candidate meets the particular needs
of the New England driver during the area’s lengthy winters. Toyota's Venza
won the official winter vehicle of New England title but Suzuki
Bentley Continental, BMW5, Audi A5, Volkswagen,
Subaru, Ford, Nissan,
Dodge, Kia, Honda, Cadillac, Land Rover, and
Mercedes all came home with
class wins. The latter as NEMPA's toney official plow vehicle when
equipped with a Curtis Home-Pro plow system.
Toyota’s Venza won NEMPA’s Official
Winter Vehicle of New England Award. Bob Zeinstra (right), Toyota
national manager, large cars/van product brand marketing, came in from
California to accept the award from NEMPA president Ezra Dyer.
Photo by Gene Ritvo © 2009
Detroit Press Club Foundation Suspends Awards Program
"We regret to announce that both the International Wheel Awards and the
Michigan Excellence in Journalism Competition, both projects of the
Detroit Press Club Foundation, have been suspended for 2009. As with
many other projects dependent on the financial support of business, we
have been unable to garner enough resources to continue the projects in
the present form. We will do our best to resurrect both projects for 2010.
Thank you for your ongoing support."
Detroit Press Club Foundation
WAPA, Luncheon, Oakbrook, D.C., American Council for and
Energy Efficient Economy
MAMA, Luncheon, Oakbrook, IL, GM
IMPA, Luncheon, NYC, NY, Audi
SAMA, Luncheon, S. Miami Beach, FL, Mercedes-Benz
Curator’s Tour,” What Were They Thinking” exhibit, Petersen Automotive
Experts Panel, Dan Neil, Mike Sullivan, Eric Noble, Charlie Vogelheim,
Petersen Automotive Museum
Media Days, Greater New York Auto Show
MPG, Luncheon, Los Angeles
CARS Regional Summit, Chicago Renaissance Hotel, Surviving and Thriving
Amidst Ongoing Automotive Turmoil
Advanced Battery Manufacturing Conference Almas Temple Club, Washington
Automotive News Pace Awards Ceremony, Detroit, MI
WAJ Media Day,
Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca
APA Luncheon, Detroit, MI, Audi
SAMA Luncheon, TBA
Safety Seat Check-Up Day, Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, Safety Belt Safe
U.S.A. and California Highway Patrol, Southern Division
TAWA Spring Challenge, Texas Motor Speedway
MAMA Spring Collection Out-of-Towner Dinner, Elkhart
MAMA Spring Collection, Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI
APA Luncheon, Eyes On Design, Detroit, MI
MPG Luncheon, TBA, Los Angeles, CA
The 14 regional automotive press associations provide
information and background not easily found elsewhere.
they are too distant to attend their meetings, belonging usually
gives you access to transcripts or reports of these events and
Automotive Press Association, Detroit - Katie Kerwin
International Motor Press Association, NYC, Fred Chieco, President -
Midwest Automotive Media Association, Chicago -
Motor Press Guild, Los Angeles -
New England Motor Press Association, Boston -
Automotive Press Association, Port Orchard, WA-
Phoenix Automotive Press Association, Phoenix, Cathy Droz, President-
Rocky Mountain Automotive Press, Denver -
Southern Automotive Media Association, Miami FL, Ron Beasley, President,
Automotive Media Organization, Charlotte, NC
Texas Auto Writers Association
http://www.TexasAutoWriters.org, Harold Gunn,
Writers of North America,
www.twna.org Tom Kelley,
Western Automotive Journalists, San Francisco -
www.waj.org, Ron Harrison
Washington Automotive Press Association, D.C., Rick Trawick, President
Subject: Thanks for a very informative and thought-provoking
I especially enjoyed reading your Feb. 2009 Autowriters.com
For starters, it was encouraging to read that viable
payments-for-contributors models may finally be emerging to
replace the opportunities that are being lost to us in
traditional print publications. It is high time that potential
readers and advertisers realized that skilled contributors
(writers and photographers alike) could not and would not
continue to provide free or unrealistically low-priced content,
and thus publicity, for automotive and motorsports products,
services and events forever. We need (and, dare I say, deserve)
to generate a living wage from our work.
Changing subjects, as a Miata owner (I’m on my third), I look
forward to seeing the new quarterly Mx-5 (Miata) publication
that you told us about. I forwarded that information to the San
Diego Miata Club, via our newsgroup
Black 2006 Mx-5
Subject: Re: 12.008 Autowriters.com Newsletter
I don't know what category to which my observations belong, but
I'll offer them anyhow.
While print newspapers continue a downward spiral and auto
blogs are on the ascendance, I predict that these blogs and
on-line auto reporting will suffer a fate similar to most of the
dot.com companies back in the 90's.
Ultimately, we will come to see that the Internet, while
extraordinarily useful, and indeed timesaving, is built on sand
and will eventually collapse. It may take decades for that to
come about, or it might be the arrival of as yet unthought-of of
way of communicating.
I'm sure that when the telegraph arrived, there were many
observers who believed that this was the ultimate in rapid,
widespread communication. For a while it was, but then the
telephone, radio, and TV came into being, and the telegraph was
ultimately relegated to past history.
2. Farrago used a meat cleaver when a scalpel would have done a
more precise and accepted job. Add to his proclivity for the
profane, his views and observations might have been more
accepted by his colleagues had he not been so vulgar. GM may
die, but it probably won't. If it survives under present
conditions, even with a bailout, it will live a long time as a
Also, Farrago’s coming on the automotive scene in relatively
recent years (he is only in his thirties) often contributed to
his erroneous references to the automotive past.
I don't know if what I wrote fits into any categories, but
felt good writing them.
We have added a new dimension to Media Digest from this week,
aimed at our readers from the automotive industry but also, I
hope, of occasional interest to others as well. It's a weekly
update from Carfacts and Vanfacts – our own automotive data
specialists – which highlights changes to Great Britain’s new
car & van prices and specifications. It's real and raw industry
intelligence, and that's an incontrovertible fact!
Immediate Network Ltd
6 Wey Court, Mary Road, Guildford, Surrey GU1 4QU
Just a quick note to say I really enjoy getting the newsletter.
It's one of a handful of things I get in my in-box that I read
start to finish.
I thought I'd also mention that in amongst all the bad news
about the publishing industry, Hemmings is doing some pretty
First up, in the last three ABC growth rankings, Hemmings Sports
& Exotic Car continues to be the fastest growing automotive
publication in circulation. We're coming up on our fourth year
of publication now, and we're continuously seeing growth between
17 and 24 percent in circulation. We're up over 40,000
subscribers these days and we're beginning to eclipse some
magazines that have been long-standing household names in the
And this is true of all of our magazines (Hemmings Motor News,
Hemmings Classic Car, Hemmings Muscle Machines). Each magazine
saw growth over the last six-month period.
What are we doing to make this happen? We're featuring cars that
people want to read about, and that they won't find for free
online. We're taking our readers' feedback seriously, and we're
strongly active in the hobby. We put on at least five events
over the course of the summer, and that's in addition to
bi-weekly cruise-ins we have here at our corporate offices in
Just thought you might be interested that it's not all bad news
Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car
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