Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ad Sense


Preface: I nearly talked myself out of posting this, because I realized that I would probably piss off and/or alienate a lot of bloggers that I genuinely admire and respect. But I've never shied away from expressing an opinion for the sake of preserving my popularity. Sometimes that has served me well, others....not so much.

So please understand, that although I am expressing a view that might be opposite of yours, and though I might disagree with a decision you have made, that does not negate my very profound admiration for you as people, bloggers or mothers.

It will likely come as no surprise to anybody who knows or has been reading me for any length of time, that I have strong opinions on a myriad of topics. I yak about religion and spirituality a lot. I yammer about women's issues and child rearing and learning disabilities and the deplorable state of our country's educational system.

But I don't usually bitch about blogging itself (usually being the operative word. I've put my two cents worth in here and there.) I don't whine about mean girl bloggers or bloggy cliques, I don't snark about the Mommy wars or post nasty comments on blogs that might espouse a view that is divergent from my own. It's not worth the time or effort, frankly, and life is too short to go around with a stick up your ass all the time. Plus, it makes sodomy really difficult, which isn't really all that big a big deal seeing as how it is still officially illegal in this here draconian State.

But anyway....I am going to broach this issue, because I think, as has happened with so many entertainment venues, both internet and real life, the blogosphere is being inundated with and cheapened by....commercialism.

Yep. I'm going to talk about Ads.

First let me make clear that I don't begrudge anybody a little advertising generated income. I really don't. I've considered it myself, to be perfectly honest. If one has decent writing skills, a voice that resonates with a wide audience, and a flair for self promotion, then far be it from me to complain. A couple little unobstrusive ads that I have the privilege of clicking or not clicking, are not, in and of themselves, enough to turn me into a fuming ball of apoplectic indignance.

Let's be candid...intellectual property doesn't just manufacture itself. Many writers out there agonize over every word. They don't just write, they craft. They put so much of themselves into their writing that it's a true gift to read.

And being consistently funny isn't always as effortless as it seems either. Ask any comedienne out there, funny doesn't just fall out of the sky. Sure, there is that rare blogger who can just be funny without even trying, (coughJesscough) but often, just as much blood, sweat and tears go into the funny pieces as the serious, intellectual or literary ones.

The point is that before the blogosphere, we would have to pay to read the kind of things bloggers are now writing, either to purchase print media, or to subscribe to a site or service where they could be accessed.

So very few writers make into print, though there is an abundance of undiscovered talent out there. I think it's wonderful that voices we might never have heard are being disseminated, shared, and enjoyed by a perhaps wider audience than they would have otherwise, if ever.

So again, I hold no grudges against those who have ads on their stie.


It takes 3 minutes for me to load your blog, during which time, all the other browsers I have open are rendered inactive and inaccessible and which may or may not culminate in my browser crashing or freezing, thereby necessitating a reboot.

That irritates the living piss out of me, and as much as I might love you, love your writing, love reading about your cute but clueless husband, your adorable kid, or your clever pet(s)...I'm crossing you off the blogroll.

And are any you familiar with PayPerPost? Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake, but I had never heard of this until a few days ago. I was honestly taken aback that someone would actually write an ad on their blog. Their personal blog. Where people come to read about them. Their family. Their life. It's politely called a "sponsored post". I call it whoring out your blog.

"Well, it's that time again, back to school. And I was just saying to my husband the other day, that I just couldn't face another school year without thisamazingproduct."

I'm really trying to go easy on the judgementalism, but that is just about the tackiest thing I have ever seen in my life. It's like giving a dinner party and then busting out the Tupperware between the appetizers and the main course, holding your starving guests hostage while they listen to some brainwashed drone extoll the virtues of overpriced plastic food storage. so many of the novel concepts that have been birthed by the internet, the commercialism of the blogosphere is undermining and cheapening the very principles it was built upon.

Community. Comraderie. The free exchange of thoughts, ideas and information. Sharing our talent and creativity. The solicitation of support, advice and constructive criticism.

The blogosphere was, at its inception, bursting with potential...potential that has now been harnessed by advertisers to promote the ever pervasive interests of capitalism and commercialism. They are using OUR creative energy to sell their products. And by and large, they are reaping most of the benefits.

Are we going to stand by and let that happen?

Well, it appears that some of us, at least, are.

But mostly, I think, bloggers who don't care about their readers (and the comments they leave) are a rarity. I think there are still a lot of us who believe in the sanctity of blogging, as dramatic and cheesy as that may sound. I think some have really agonized over allowing ads on their blogs, and there are bloggers who ultimately did decide to allow ads did knowing the implications and imprecations that might garner. Their decision to place ads was an informed one, and I can't argue with that.

As I said, I've considered installing ads on my blog. I do take a lot of pride in it and I put a lot of time and thought into my content. And I do it for nothing. But you know what? That's a choice I made when I decided to create a blog. I didn't come into this thinking of it as an income vehicle, and I'm not going to jump on that bandwagon now that I have a somewhat regular readership. I've decided that I won't be putting up ads.

I know, I know, yay me. Honestly, I don't expect a friggin Altruistic Blogger award or anything. I just want you to keep reading and I want you to not want to beat your head against the wall while doing so.

I think it's time to take back the blogosphere.

Now, I'll either get a whole lot of support, or I'll be listening to the crickets chirp from now on.

I prefer the former, but if the latter happens, at least I have the satisfaction of knowing I was true to myself and my principals. Then again...principals don't leave comments, so....still like me, okay?


I want to thank everyone for all the great feedback. I am so gratified by the way everyone has made their respective points in a really constructive manner. I've seen some really down and dirty stuff on other blogs and the fact that this discussion has not deteriorated into a cat fight or pissing contest just goes to show what great readers I have.

That said...some of you commented that my blog is slow to load because of widgets and I will rectify that. I wasn't aware, since I have no problems loading it myself. I'm grateful for the head's up.

For those of you who provided links and a professional point of view, I appreciate what you have added to the discussion. I think it's important to examine issues like these from every angle.

I mentioned this in my comments, but I'll post it here too. The reason I only publish a portion of my posts via my feeds is that I discovered an aggregator ( was pirating all my content (and that of many, many, many other bloggers) and making money off of it. Originally, they did not credit the authors or link back to the originating blog. Aggregators can't scrape my content if I don't publish a full feed. You can read about it here.

Thanks again to all. I honestly expected to get raked over the coals, but you have demonstrated the kind of grace, intelligence, and thoughtfulness that has drawn me to so many of you.


  • At 7:45 AM, Blogger thailandchani said…

    Well, for what it's worth, I agree. A few unobtrusive ads won't bother me much... but if my page loads become too slow (There are a few that I can't access, even with cable access) or the ads are intrusive, I stop reading as well. PayPerPost? Well, no. I won't read it. In other words, unless I can ignore the marketing, I lose interest in the blogger.

    I agree with the principles you've stated. There should be at least one space on the Internet where we can exchange ideas without being marketed to in one fashion or another. To be perfectly, perfectly honest, I really don't feel responsible for someone else's financial well-being unless he or she is destitute, in which case their blogging probably wouldn't be an option.



  • At 8:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Very provocative post. Makes me think. Hmmm... some blogs do seem like ads with a little (sometimes very little) content tossed in for good measure, and I tend to stay away from those blogs. On the other hand, some blogs have ads AND excellent content. So I guess the ads don't bother me as long as the content is entertaining and informative (yes, I have been known to click on an ad from time to time, but don't tell anyone!).
    Sharon - Pinks & Blues Girls

  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I do have an ad on my blog, but it's small and you choose whether or not to click on it. I don't, however, disagree with you. The main point in which I agree is the part about loading slowly.

    I actually find that to be more of a problem with blogs who are running all sorts of animated widgety thing, music, etc...

    On the other hand, I've run into problems with my own blog loading slowly that I haven't figured out. I do know it has nothing to do with the ad because it's been coming and going since before I added it.

    I've only seen the pay for posts on one blog and thought it odd. I did eventually stop reading that one, but mainly because I no longer found it interesting.

    I've rambled on long enough. Thanks for the food for thought.

  • At 8:13 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    I signed up for the BlogHer ad feed mostly to make Jenijen happy - she is so irresistable and talked me into it. I don't know how effective it is, though, since after having that stupid tortilla chip ad up for 2 weeks, I STILL could not tell you what brand the ad is for.

    I would never buy what PayPerPost is selling, but if someone I like makes an honest (unpaid) recommendation on their blog, I am really more likely to try the product if I need it. Amalah recommended Curel lotion in the blue bottle and DANG - I have never been so happy with the state of my skin. Jonniker recommended Secret platinum antiperspirant and I acutally bought some and love it.

  • At 8:27 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I did succomb to the BlogHer advertising on my site after struggling with it for quite a while. I made my decision based on what worked for me. I like being a part of BlogHer and I think they show tremendous support for women bloggers. I just started this a few weeks ago and haven't heard many complaints. If it is something I am doing anyway (blogging) then why not make a few $. On the other hand, I struggled with the decision, because I am totally annoyed when I go to read a blog and it is covered with ads like a billboard. It is clear that the sole purpose of the blog is to generate income and I am NOT for that. Other than blogher, the only thing I advertise is my own retail site....because I can. I agree that we already live in an age where our lives are overwrought with commercialism and it is not what I look for in a good blog read, nor do I intend to generate that myself. Okay, I have gone on enough. Is there anymore I could say that would tell you just how lukewarm I am on this subject? LOL

  • At 8:49 AM, Blogger Girlplustwo said…

    is it fair for me to say i agree while i still have BlogHer ads on my blog? probably not, but you know, i've got a mouth on me.

  • At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't have ads on my site because I'm a neat freak and can't stand clutter. However, I reserve the right to change my mind later today. I don't mind ads on other people's sites as long as it doesn't impede reading. I won't work to read a blog, so if your page is loading slow, I'm outta there.

  • At 9:05 AM, Blogger Carol said…

    If I ever post an ad on my blog, you have permission to shoot me.


  • At 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Like you, I don't think a small click through ad here or there is so bad and the Blogger Ad Network a ton of bloggers have seems mostly to promote products and services that I would really use. I read a lot of bloggers who do product reviews, but they have separate review sites and they may put a little teaser on the main site, maybe at the bottom of a post about their dog or something, to click on over if you're interested in such and such thing.

    I have nothing against a blogger making money on their content because, as you said, a lot of them put a lot of effort into it and the content is reminiscent of magazines that before the blogosphere I would have had to purchase.

    But I agree with you that ads should not get in the way of the regular content or keep the page from loading relatively quickly. I can overlook some sidebar issues as long as the posts aren't difficult to follow. But flashy, content covering ads turn me off, so I stop reading. I would think that's a fine line because neither the blogger or advertiser wants to drive regular visitors away, and yet some of the more pervasive ads do just that.

    The main reason I don't have ads is that I don't have the readership to support it, and I haven't bought my domain. I'm still on wordpress and the free version does not allow access to my template. I can make a few changes using widgets, but I think putting ads up delves further into the code of my site than I can access. Until I can justify the expense of my own domain and a monthly fee for the host, I will remain ad free.

  • At 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There are a few review sites that I've read and really liked - but I went to them knowing that I was going to read product reviews. I think the PayPerPost/insert-product-here entries are awful, especially when they catch me by surprise.

  • At 10:44 AM, Blogger Sarahviz said…

    I tend to agree with you BA, although I do have BlogHer ads on mine.

    I finally quit reading those blogs that had PayPerPost. I always felt tricked at the end.

    And my friends complain that my blog (ever since I re-vamped my header) loads too slowly...

  • At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Tupperware brainwashed me? What you mean I don't need all those plastic containers to store my food? DOH!! Duped again.

  • At 10:49 AM, Blogger flutter said…

    I think it's all a matter of personal choice. I joined blogher ads and I am not apologizing for it. If I make money off of my writing, then fabulous. If not, then that's ok too. If it ever took away from the quality of my writing then I would just stop my blog all together.

  • At 12:27 PM, Blogger annie said…

    I don't mind a FEW ads, but PayPer Post is just downright tacky and rude as far as I'm concerned. I have noticed quite popular blogs ALL significantly lose readership (or comments at least) on ALL posts after starting PPP.
    Me, I am very against ads. I understand what you mean, the sanctity of blogging. I think I would start a whole other blog if I felt I wanted to use ads, and keep my original blog pristine.

  • At 2:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I feel exactly like jen. ...
    "I did succumb to the BlogHer advertising on my site after struggling with it for quite a while. I made my decision based on what worked for me. I like being a part of BlogHer and I think they show tremendous support for women bloggers."

    I have the Blogher ads only....and that is all I plan on having. The pay per post is ridiculous. I totally agree with it being called whoring. I hate it when people have their ads in between post and at the end of their feed. Ads in the sidebar, I can handle.

  • At 2:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just recently signed up for the BlogHer Ads as well. I have no idea if it will even bring in an extra 7 bucks to cover my Squarespace cost.

    I struggled with the decision because, like you I thought it wasn't worth it to compromise myself or my writing. I think the BlogHer ads have more integrity than most and I agree with their overall corporation to promote women bloggers.

    So, that being said, I hope my site doesn't load slowly for others because if it did, then that would really bother me and make me think twice.

    Ok, what am I saying then? I don't mind the ads if they don't effect the writing. I have seen blogs with google ads smack in the middle of the post, and that to me is effecting my reading experience. So I don't read anymore. Likewise for the PayPerPost stuff. I am not sure if I am reading the person's thoughts or pitch, and that makes me a tad weary. To me, it all hinges on the writing.

  • At 3:51 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    I agree too... though I do have one teeny tiny google ad box that I don't think has ever been clicked on once. So I'm not sure why I still have it on there. Oh well.
    Anyway, free blogs are good! I love that you entertain me for free ~ thank you. :)

  • At 4:49 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    I find all of the varying opinions on religion, spirituality, blog ads, parenting (and everything else) facinating. That's one of the coolest things about blogging -- I get a new perspective. I don't have to agree. Its just cool to learn a new view.

    I have ads right now. (BlogHer and a small one). I don't expect to get rich. But I do love blogging and hope to earn a few bucks. (If can eek out a few bucks a month with ads and some other writing gigs, I can continue to do the SAHM gig and continue my volunteer work.)

    I guess I just have a problem with the people who have ads on top of ads, on top of ads. And all of the ads are animated and take forever to load. And then I get a migraine from all of the flashing crap...

  • At 5:15 PM, Blogger Mom101 said…

    You know I'm with ya on the pay per post and I'm on the record as saying I hate it for about 8 zillion reasons. It's so disingenuous, and if you lose your authentic voice in the blogworld, you have nothing.

    As for ads...well, you know I'm okay with that, particularly tasteful ones.

    I want to point out however that you do have ads on your blog. You may not get paid for them - but you're advertising, the bloggers choice awards, Strunk&White (et al) and When your readers click through, someone makes money. Not you, but someone.

    And geez, I certainly hope that my own (adamantly non-animated) ads aren't causing my pages to load slowly. I'd miss your always thoughtful comments.

  • At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    To each it's own, this is what makes the world go round. How boring it would be if we all agreed on everything.

    I personally don't mind ads although the Pay Per Post ads bug me because the blogger usually hasn't had any firsthand experience with whatever is being advertised. Otherwise I have found some great books and products from bloggers who have written or linked to products that they have tried and liked. If the content is good ads don't bother me.

    The ads generally aren't what cause a blog to load slow. Large images, abundance of images, and widgets are what slow down a web page. I'm currently having issues with this on my blog. Ever since I switched to a custom domain my blog has been slow because blogger is redirecting it to my domain. I'm now regretting that I switched. Deleting some of my widgets has helped. Removing my Blogher ad or adsense ads did not make my page load any faster. I don't even know why I bother with adsense since I made like a whopping 14 cents with them! Unfortunately I think Pay Per Post has given blog ads a bad name. I'll be surprised if they don't eventually go under.

  • At 6:01 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Mom 101...Point taken. I never looked at it that way, and you're absolutely right. I'm going to have to think long and hard about whether I want to continue to put money in someone else's pocket. Thanks for the thoughtful feedback. And that goes for everyone.

  • At 6:11 PM, Blogger Trisha said…

    I don't care about ads. I never click on them, and really, I don't even see them. It's probably because I seem to gravitate to writers who don't have many ads on their blogs.

    All that said, I have problems with your site, BA. The pink box that makes it possible to see and read your text loads slower than the rest of your page. I can read the first paragraph, and then I have to wait for the rest of the pink box to load before I can go on. I'm a fast reader, so it drives me nuts. I have this issue on many custom background sites, despite having DSL internet. I have abandoned reading some blogs because of this. Others I only read in Google Reader, but yours, alas, only shows a snippet of the post, and I have to go to your blogger site to see the rest. Because I really enjoy what you have to say, I am willing to put the effort and time in to wait for your background to finish loading in order to read your excellent writing. I just thought I'd let you (and others with the damned box behind the text setup) know that it's an issue to consider when designing your page.

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    Ah. The BlogHer Ads...I've emailed some of my very favorite bloggers personally because of what's been going on with their sites since they've loaded them.

    I'm thinking it must be some sort of glitch; but they do completely shut down my entire system. I've gone so far as to ask them to just email me the posts because I hate not reading them.

    I've no objection to making some money off of what they write and craft; but my computer probably isn't going to make it through many more slams from my forehead.

  • At 7:05 PM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    It's Internet Explorer, BA. I had the same problem and I was just as frustrated as you. I clicked away from so many of my favorite blogs because I got too annoyed by the wait time.

    Once I switched my browser to Firefox, my blogging life sped up a million percent. No more waits.

    That is one reason I finally decided to do ads. (That, and the millions of dollars I'll be raking in, of course.)

  • At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm SO with you, BA. Here's an interesting article by a web usability god (Jakob Nielsen) on whether people actually look at ads or not - makes me snicker a bit when I go to a blog overloaded with clickable area after clickable area and think probably very few people are actually *looking* there (much less clicking!) I suppose someone must be making money though, otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it. Would they? :-)

    See especially the information under "Banner Blindness", about 1/3 way down.

  • At 7:51 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    I don't understand pay-per-posts at all.

    I am ambivalent about BlogHer ads even though I decided to run them.

    Mom-101 made an excellent point, I think.

  • At 8:13 PM, Blogger Student of Life said…

    I think the blogosphere is a fantastic place to experience the Marketplace of Ideas. We can read information and opinions on any topic ad nauseum and decide for ourselves what to believe, endorse, or even fight against.

    I am a journalist by trade (for 14 years until I packed it up to stay at home with my kiddo), and I am saddened to see the decline of pure and true journalism. So much of what we once knew as traditional journalism is now nothing more than P.R. crap. Many of the nation's most widely-read magazines do this pay-for-coverage stuff that you're talking about bloggers doing. To me, it's the ultimate violation of the public trust when traditional media outlets cross that line. There's no way to be objective when your pockets are being lined by the very people you're "covering."

    When I see bloggers who do this, I am less offended, but it does make me less inclined to return to their blogs. I want to experience writing that is pure, whether it's fact or fiction. If I wanted P.R. crap, I'd pick up a women's magazine.

  • At 8:17 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Trish, thanks for letting me know. I had wondered about it, but nobody has said anything until now. Husband did comment that I had a lot of "shit" in my sidebar, and I've been meaning to pare it down some. I do love my library thing widget, but I can do without blog log and the stuff of the day.

    I'm not sure what you mean about the box behind the text though. Can you explain a little more? This is not a custom template, but merely one that I've tweaked. I'm not nearly sophisticated enough to custome designe a template.

    The reason I only publish a portion of my posts via my feeds is that I found out a scraping site was pirating all my content (and that of many, many, many other bloggers) and making money off of it. They can't scrape my content if I don't publish a full feed.

    That said...THANK YOU for your readership and for your feedback.

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…


    Yep, I'm a sheep too. I was approached to put Blogher ads on my site awhile ago and I put it off and put it off some more. But then I succumbed. I'm a SAHM who brings in very little money and I do put my blood, sweat and tears into a lot of my posts (not all, to be sure, but many). The way I'm thinking about it now, if I'm working that hard I'd like to at least get a coffee allowance out of it.

    And I'd be totally bummed if I didn't see you around my blog. Totally. Bummed. Out.

  • At 8:55 PM, Blogger Blogversary said…

    All good points.

    I have seriously considered using PPP because I would like to make a little pocket change to pay for things like diapers. But, since I have Blogherads on my current blog I don't, but I have no issue with people starting a second blog for the sole purpose of making money.

    This is the Internet and if someone doesn't want to read a blog, then that is fine. No biggie. I won't begrudge or judge anyone for having ads or no ads.

  • At 9:44 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    You know, I've been thinking a lot about this issue of having ads on blogs. I've only been blogging a couple of months so even if I wanted to have ads I don't think I'd qualify. But I have to say that I completely agree with you.

    I read quite a few blogs and for the most part the ads don't bother me. I am a little put off by excessively busy blog layouts however.

    Someone I know who blogs has recently started doing PayPerPost, and I find myself turned off from her blog. I don't read her blog to hear about stuff she has not actually used herself. As you and others have said, an ad where I can choose to click or not isn't so bad, but the PayPerPost thing, having actually encountered it in a friend's blog, really annoys me.

  • At 7:29 AM, Blogger OhTheJoys said…

    I am just stuck on the operating model of it all. I have never clicked on an ad on a blog. Not ever. How are advertisers making money?

  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger Trisha said…

    I knew I wasn't making much sense, lol. Okay, you have the lovely paisley background, and then there's a pink layer on top of that, and then your text appears on top of the pink. When I come to visit your page (and I do understand about the bitacle disaster) The paisley and text load immediately, but only the top 1/3 or so of the pink loads, then the rest takes a few seconds. Because of the colors of the paisley and the text, I can't read beyond the first paragraph (strangely, the same amount I can read on the feed) until the pink background finishes loading. Like I said, it's only a minor inconvenience, and if I didn't read so fast, it probably wouldn't even bother me.

    Your sidebar stuff doesn't bother me, but I admit, I don't "see" any of it. I scroll past it to read the posts, and never click in to any of it. The only time sidebar overload gets on my nerves is if I'm trying to find someone's archives, and have to scroll and scroll and scroll to get to them.

    Wow, that's a lotta ramble for 6:45 in the monrning. Sorry.

  • At 9:31 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Over the past few weeks, I've been having a problem you describe---I go to check out a blog I like, and my entire computer freezes for about 10 minutes (not kidding) while the site loads! It is making me nutty and really really reluctant to go back to those sites. I too don't mind some ads on a site, but when they start to freeze up my computer, or take over the content, I end up tuning out.

  • At 7:30 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    You know how I feel about this, BA. Pretty much the same as you, but...not *as* much I suppose as I decided to join the BlogHerAd network. It wasn't an easy choice, for all of the reasons you and others have stated. I'll bet that 20 bucks I make this year will come in REAL handy ;).

    PPP...I don't even know that I believe the posters, because I can't recall evercoming across a negative review.

  • At 11:37 PM, Blogger Terri@SteelMagnolia said…

    I never click on ads ....

    I have never heard of PayPerPost... hum....

  • At 5:52 PM, Blogger Mitzi Green said…

    YES!!! YES, YES, YES, YES!!!! i have so damn nearly written this same post myself so many times--particularly the part about how "it takes so long for your blog to load and my whole computer is jacked up until it does." thank you. from the bottom of my soul, thank you.


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