One Year Ago, One Year Later


Over the past few years, I’d given thought to starting up a figure blog, but when I actually kicked it off, I figured that the most likely result would be that I’d have gotten bored after a couple of months and called off the entire enterprise. A year later, I’ve somehow kept up with it and nobody is more surprised that this thing is still going than me.

The two blogs that provided the motivation to create this site were HappySoda and RIUVA (though I have no idea what that site is about now; it’s definitely not about figures anymore). When I decided to give this a shot, I thought that maybe I could establish a niche by covering figures that most people wouldn’t buy – porno figures, in other words. It hasn’t gone entirely that way since my tastes don’t completely diverge from the mainstream so I’ve tried to distinguish my writing by not taking myself or this hobby seriously whatsoever.

The fact that I’m very lazy and not particularly disciplined or self-motivated is one reason for me to be amazed that I’ve kept at this, but I’ve also been surprised at how interesting photography has become to me. I cringe at some of my earliest pictures and I’m still planning on reshooting a lot of the figures whose photos show off my cluelessness in bald, stark garishness. Here’s one of the earliest photos I took for this site:

Yipes. I started practicing figure photography in late 2008, a few months before I took this shot, and those pictures are even worse. I’ll see about uploading one of those for the general amusement of the world.

I think that I’ve gotten better at taking pictures although I definitely wouldn’t describe myself as being good (I figure that a good photographer has some idea of what he or she is going to get before taking the shot; me, I shoot a test shot, transfer it to my computer, run my standard post-processing routine on it, hope that the photo comes out reasonably close to what I was looking for, and then I do the shoot). The creative aspect of this hobby is probably my favorite part, so much so that figure photography has superseded my interest in most of my other hobbies.

Whenever one celebrates a blog anniversary, it is customary to provide traffic statistics. Everyone wants to see everyone else’s stats; it’s sort of like high school, where everyone wanted to know who was going out with each other and went to great lengths to uncover that information, listening with clandestine rapture and passing it around with breathless incredulity and raised-octave ohmigods. That is, if you ran in those social circles; I did not, I wasn’t the most popular guy in school nor did I particularly care very much about the lives of my classmates. I have the feeling most people in this hobby come from a similar background and … ehh, well, anyway, here’s visitor stats:

As you can see, the blog basically got no traffic for the first three months of its existence. I’m pretty sure what traffic I did get was me, since I didn’t start filtering out my own IP addresses until a couple months after I began logging statistics. Also, those two spikes really cramp the graph. Here’s the graph for pageviews:

It’s a bit more interesting. Pageviews is an important stat for me to track since the core of this site is the figure reviews; most people who visit this blog don’t actually ever load the front page.

Incidentally, I hit the 300k mark only yesterday, and for a while I was thinking that I’d have to compromise my integrity and turn off the self-filters and click on every link on this site myself to push it over. Happily that wasn’t necessary.

Here’s where people are coming from:

I’ve gotten no visits from loser countries like North Korea, Cuba, and Turkmenistan. People over there need to hurry up and overthrow their dictators and visit my site.

I use Google Analytics as my main traffic logging tool; I figure that the people at Google know a thing or two about web applications and I’ve also noticed that their analysis seems to be more conservative than similar sites, and I’d rather underestimate than overestimate my actual traffic. For example, I also use Statcounter and there’s a bit of a discrepancy here:

Traffic was sort of discouraging at the start, although I’ve always had the attitude that I really write this blog for myself and accordingly I try not to let traffic patterns affect this site too much. I decided at the start that I didn’t want a Sankaku Complex or Danny Choo feed on this site; I don’t like cluttering up the sidebar here and you see those things on every other figure site on this planet, and I wanted to be different in that respect. I also stopped trying to actively generate traffic a while back; I used to post on figure.fm, for instance, but it seems to be mainly a Dollfie joint these days and that’s not really my thing, so I don’t put much stuff up there anymore.

Anyway, it’s been a good year and a fun year and I’m hoping that the next year is just as fun and that I get better at photography and that figure manufacturers finally make me a freaking figure of Irma and Itsuki Kannagi already. One can hope, no?

This entry was posted in Random Thoughts and tagged .

34 Responses to One Year Ago, One Year Later

  1. super rats says:

    I find that the photography and the figures sort feed off of each other in terms of creating interest for me with each hobby. Taking shots definitely creates more appreciation for the good figures out there. I tend to think of figure photography in part as a sub-form of still-life photography, but instead of bell peppers it’s anime figures. I think a lot of shooters and potential viewers get thrown off by the pretty anime girl aspect and they kind of don’t get it. But, a lot of people don’t get still life pictures either. Some look at one of Weston’s shots as a couple of bell peppers and don’t see the sensuality.

    I’ll actually leave this. I generally do this on almost every comment and wind up deleting it since it’s a tangent. Somehow it’s related to the part where you’re talking about photography.

  2. Persocom says:

    Congrats on one year! I really don’t remember if I’ve commented much here or not anymore, but I’ve visited a number of times and lurked :3 If you don’t mind I’ll put you on my blogroll, I’d like to stop by more often and having things in the blogroll reminds me to check them out, no need to put me on yours, that’s your choice. I really admire how many hits you’ve gotten and without the help of featured feeds like DC and SC. I’m seriously considering dropping them from the side of my site when I remodel it, or sooner.

  3. Blowfish says:

    I know jack shit about stats so ill simply ignore them.
    Im actually amazed that there are more Germans than me that enjoy your site 😀

    Youve got my utmost respect for doing your thing and go where others wouldnt event think about going.I am actually wondering if youve gotten any problems with some of your more explicit piuctures (speak close up shots of anatomically correct plastic pussies) or if everyones relxed about it.

    Thats still a line where I wont go simply because I dont know about the legal issues that might result from showing this stuff openly.

    Anyways…Great Pics,Great Backgrounds,Great Text…
    I think thats enough sucking up huh?

  4. Aka says:

    Ha! Your site is a year old too? Congrats! Oddly enough my site turns 1 years old tomorrow, at 8:34am EST to be precise.

    I’m in the same boat as you, I didn’t think I’d be motivated enough to really run a site, I thought I’d get lazy and stop after a few months as well. That’s what happened in the past. But I think having a specific topic to write about makes it a lot easier. You know what you’re going to write about each week and don’t have to fish for stories or topics.

    Looks like you get a lot more hits than me too, about 20,000 more visits than me, and you’re using Google Analytics which doesn’t count everyone. Anyone blocking scripting generally doesn’t get counted I believe. I just realized that I was blocking scripting on your site, so I likely wasn’t included in those stats.

    I had to use JAWStats for mine as I messed up the Google Analytics for mine midway through the year. So my stats are likely inflated somewhat, but even still only 40,000 or so visitors.

    I will surpass you one day Tier! When I finally start writing decently and posting pornography as you do! haha

    Anyway, congrats on a year passed!

  5. Wolfheinrich says:

    Congrats on the anniversary brother, I have always enjoyed coming here to read your review on figures and stuff. Some of your commentary really provided some good laugh for me. I remembered I came here during when you first started! I followed your comment on my blog and I came here! I have more or less diverged from the ways of PVC figures in recent months and been focus almost entirely on Dollfie Dream, but that doesn’t mean I won’t collect PVC anymore, and/or Gathering when appropriate!

  6. Marcucho says:

    Hi!!.well.. Congratulation!!!, i want you to know that your blog has turned a obligate visit for me jakjakjak Really.. i like very much the figures you buy , i think we have a similar figures likes (gustos), Your photos are awesome, in fact, i like very much, yea!!, you’ve gotten better at taking pictures each day, i apreciate your creativity, escenary, lights, angles photos..all is nice..thanks!!

    Saludos!!

  7. Tier says:

    >> super rats
    One other concern that I haven’t quite resolved is that ostensibly I’m trying to review a figure, and my photos are often very dark and are perhaps not very useful in evaluating a figure’s quality (it doesn’t help that I usually jack up the red balance during post-processing to compensate for my greenish fluorescent lights). I initially was going to go for consistent, full lighting; in retrospect, that probably wasn’t a great idea since the promo shots already do that and the guy who runs foo-bar-baz does it far better than I can. I also don’t find it as interesting as going for a more artistic approach, which is something that I’m going to try to do in the future; I don’t often do headshots or close-ups, and I think that those sorts of pictures are often more interesting than full-body, 360-degree photo sequences.

    I looked up the bell pepper picture and the first thing I noticed was how phallic the upper parts of the pepper are. Then I thought that the pepper looked a bit like a diagram of a women’s reproductive system. Then I thought that there was a baby’s face in the left side of the photo. It’s strangely organic-looking and kinda disturbing to see an infant’s face in a womb on the outside of a vegetable. I’m thinking that maybe I don’t have a future as a photography critic (I’m also thinking that I’m not going to look at bell peppers the same way the next time I make gumbo).

    >> Persocom
    Thanks for the kind words! I wonder how many more visits I would’ve gotten if I’d put the feeds up; I don’t actually get many hits from feed aggregators or other blogs. The huge majority of my traffic comes from search engines.

    >> Blowfish
    Thanks too! The funny thing is, every now and then I’ll look up referring sites and I’ll see that someone ran my site through Google Translate, and it seems like Germans are most interested in reading my writing. I wish that I were fluent in a second language just so I could put my site into an auto-translator and see how badly my words get mangled.

    I actually have not gotten in any trouble and I’m hoping to stay out of trouble … I figure that one can make an argument for artistic merit as long as blatant obscenity isn’t involved, but I guess I don’t know for sure (the only thing I know about US obscenity rules is the Potter Stewart standard).

    >> aka
    It seems a bunch of figure sites all started in early 2009; I know The Inferno Project and Wolfheinrich’s World celebrated their first years in operation recently, too. When I started off, I actually intended this to be half figures, half video games; in particular, I wanted to write reviews of obscure RPGs, since I collect those. It’s funny how this basically became entirely a figure photo blog … although I’m still thinking about doing writeups for Seikon no Qwaser before the winter anime season ends, since the greatest anime series of all time deserves more words than have been written about it.

    Looking at the pages with the most views, number one is Demon Girl … I guess people like, uhh, demon girls. In second place is Eve … I guess people like nudes but she’s more of a tasteful nude. Funny how the top most-visited pages here aren’t anime figures. #3 is, uhh, Masane Amaha from Witchblade. Maybe I ought to re-shoot her given how popular that page is. After those three are a couple of Kanu Unchou figures and a whole bunch more NSFW figures … I guess pr0n does bring in traffic after all XD

    >> Wolfheinrich
    I think your site and mine sorta started growing at the same time XD In fact, I think you were the first person who ever commented on my site! Dollfies might not be my thing but I like looking at your collection. I gotta admit, swimsuit maid Sasara is looking really nice.

    >> Marcucho
    Thanks! When I started putting up NSFW pictures, I wondered if I was going to drive visitors away … it’s good to know that there are other perverts in the world that like the same figures as me XD

  8. softz says:

    Congratulations! Oh boy, you sure do have many visitors. Of course, you deserve it. Your photographs are beautiful and your reviews are great. Keep up the good work man.

    Cheers!

  9. Pingback: Happy 1st Birthday OMGWebsite! | OMGWebsite

  10. Ashlotte says:

    If you aren’t a “Good” photographer what the hell does that make me?!? T_T

    And yes please don’t ever start doing “reviewish” photos…I like your moody lighting. :p

    You should defiantly try some more detail shots or odd angles though…Recently got into that myself and its sooo much more fun then 360 degree standard stuff!

    Ah either way keep up the good work doing the things that the rest of us are too chicken to do smut master! ~_^

  11. super rats says:

    I don’t really review a figure in the sense that the photos are here for you to analyze whether or not you want to get this, so I agree with you. It’s really about what you enjoy doing versus anything else.

  12. GREW says:

    Ero Figures, huh?
    I’m new on your blog but nice like.
    I would get some problems if I were collect such figure (I have already problems with normal one xD).

    And yeah: Germany on the 2nd place! o/

  13. Aka says:

    @Tier, I wonder if it’s just simpler to do a figure review than a game review. I imagine it would be simpler to sum up a figure with a few pictures than it would be an entire game. With a figure you only have to explain what you like dislike really. With a game you’d likely have to explain the story, the interface, how fun it was the play etc… and to povide screenshots, you’d need to remember to take them at various points in the game. Or maybe I’m off base, I dunno as I’ve never really reviewed a game.

    Porn brings traffic because the Internet is for porn. It’s cyclical.

    I do wonder though what I can get away with posting before my host gets upset, or what. I’ve really looked into obscenity laws in the US or Canada, nor do I know if they’d apply to anything I’ve done or will do in the future.

  14. Tier says:

    I found a picture that I took in December 2008, when I was giving serious thought to getting some web space and setting up a figure blog. Let’s see if I can inline an image here …

    I’m glad I don’t often take pictures like that anymore, though I would like to figure out a way to shoot on a red background … I get pretty bad results every time I try to shoot on a brightly-colored backdrop.

    I also realized that I’ve done 97 figure reviews in the first year, and I re-shot and replaced many of the pictures from my earlier reviews. I’m thinking it’s not likely that I can maintain a pace of a figure review every four days for the second year.

    >> Ashlotte
    Uhh, hmm, it makes you as good a photographer as you think you are! 😀 Hehe. The plan is indeed to go more towards that way … at the least, I’d like to come up with some slightly more interesting settings than straight black or white.

    I have no scruples! Maybe I ought to pick up some of that Daiki gel … and maybe see if I can find some articulated 1/8 scale animals … hmm …

    >> super rats
    Yeah, I think creative expression is more interesting to me than simply being informative … not to mention that much of the time, figures are sold out right at release and by the time anyone sees a review, it’s often too late to make up one’s mind.

    >> GREW
    That’s my thing! Well, not entirely, but I have no qualms (in addition to having no scruples). Though I don’t have that one Gigapulse figure with the dog … that’s a huge, gaping hole in my collection.

    >> Aka
    It probably is … I usually follow the same basic template when I do a figure review (although it’s becoming difficult to come up with new ways of saying “The sculpt is great” and “The paint looks fine” without sounding overly boring or cursory, and I always have problems with opening paragraphs for anything I write). My game review idea would’ve been to provide more of a historical retrospective, such as why a game is significant (despite being obscure), what the game means to me, and what the game reminds me of … I find it’s a bit easier for me to write about things when I have some attachment to the subject (although I surely don’t mind it when I can start a figure review with, “This is so-and-so from some anime I’ve never watched, she’s super popular and you all know who she is so I’ll dispense with the introduction and go straight to the figure.”)

    You know, I never did look into what my hosting provider will and won’t allow. Gee, maybe I ought to take a look at their rules. Then again, I’ve had to contact their support staff numerous times over the last year due to their somewhat shaky stability so they’ve definitely taken a look at my site.

  15. Rude Dog says:

    I think you underestimate your talent, Tier. Even the photo you show above is a hell of a lot better than stuff I’ve seen on other sites. I’ve just discovered your site within the last few months, and it’s become one of few that I visit regularly. The photography is beautiful, the writing entertaining and intelligent . . . and I’ve already bought several figures based largely on your recommendation, and have been very happy with every one of them.

    I hope you’ll continue with this part of your hobby for a long time to come.

  16. Tier says:

    Thanks for the kind words 😀 I’m definitely intending to stick around … it’s funny to think that I stopped playing World of Warcraft and then most video games altogether because I have more fun doing figure reviews these days.

  17. meronpan says:

    hahahahha, you should take a look at the first review pics that went up on my site 😛 and sadly i think most of my improvement is from a technical aspect more than on an aesthetic level ^^;

    anyhow, congrats on a year! you’ve certainly managed a nice bit a traffic… 3x my first year if i remember correctly. my 2nd year is rolling around and i’m still nowhere near 300k ^^; i hate to admit it but i’m a stat whore… or at least i am if left to my natural tendencies ^^;; thankfully after blogging for awhile those tendencies wore off, though so did the views 😛

    it’s too bad photography is such a nice fit with figures because they’re both insanely expensive! 😛

  18. Aka says:

    Tier, I too wonder how to shoot on coloured backgrops. I suspect a lot of it has to do with choosing a colour that compliments the figure and doesn’t steal attention away from it. I like what foo-bar-baz uses a lot of the time, not solid colours, but neutral enough not to steal attention. Would be nice to find something like that if I could. As great as white is for neutrality, it gets boring I think.

    I’ve maintained the white most of the time to keep consistency between reviews. If someone owns any figures I’ve reviewed, they can easily base an opinion of how well a figure is coloured. But it gets a bit boring shooting figures like that all the time.

    I use Dreamhost for my hosting, while they have some fiddly uptimes, at times. They really do seem to offer unlimited disk storage, I’m using something like 70 GB on their servers, obviously not for OMGW, but various other things. I keep expecting them to complain. Would be nice if they had quicker response times though, my site takes forever to load sometimes.

  19. Lylibellule says:

    1 year already! I missed your beginning but what’s certain is that i became one of your fan. 🙂 Your photos evolution is surprising and mostly you’re creative which is enjoyable.
    And then, your writing are doing all the difference. Your speech is rich and well written.
    Funny to see that figures photography can become a real passion, a hobby of itself, just like bugs or flowers photography (who challenge me a lot even if i gave up on this now)
    When you start, hard to stop.
    Like Super-rat says, which photos greatly inspired me at my beginning, you appreciate more your figures because of this activity.

    Your statistics are impressive o^0

  20. Katsura-chan says:

    Well i can’t really comment on your beginning in photography since i don’t you for long but what i saw what really nice ^^
    Me i do photos when i have to and i don’t plan on doing some awesome shot because my blog isn’t focused on reviewing figure.
    Good luck in your journey to improve your skills ^^
    You got amazing statistics, i guess your hot figures are not stranger to them 😉
    Ah ah jk, you have a very pleasant writing and definitely your are the only one to review such underground figures.
    Keep going like this, love your blog ^^

  21. Ashlotte says:

    @Aka Bah thats what props are for! Me personally I try to stick to outdoors as theres always something interesting and its free…Eh plus unlike you two I’ve yet to even master black and white backgrounds… *cough*

    @Tier Aye I’m finding myself at a loss lately on some reviews…Theirs only so many superlatives in the English language and all…Trying to think up something different to spice things up a bit. >_>

  22. Tier says:

    >> meronpan
    Thanks! I’m also a big stat junkie, which is why I use two tracking services. It’s probably also why I’m a big fantasy football fan and why I do weird things like modify my MP3 playlists to get a closer match to the best-fit exponential regression curve of my playback statistics recorded by Audioscrobbler.

    Tell me about it … I think I’ve spent way too much on photography equipment in the last couple of months. I was kinda hoping that Canon would announce a 60D but I’m sorta happy that they didn’t, since my little Rebel works fine and is more than adequate for what I do.

    >> Aka
    Yeah, I really like how he has sort of a textured background .. I wonder what he’s using, I’ve tried out posterboard and it always looks flat. Maybe I’ll get some patterned contact paper and see how that works.

    I use Dreamhost too; the $7 for the first year of hosting deal was too good to pass up and I didn’t really feel like switching providers. I’ve had the same performance problems; I’ve e-mailed them about it but all I usually get back is either, “We got your e-mail yesterday but your site is working fine now, so there’s obviously no problem! ^_^” or “WordPress installs are known to be slow, check your plugins/check your HTML/run an optimization routine on the database.”

    >> Lylibellule
    Thanks! It is indeed difficult to stop. I should probably try to expand the range of subjects I photograph … bugs sound like a pretty good idea … maybe I should go visit the Smithsonian sometime, I remember they had a pretty cool collection of bugs.

    >> Katsura-chan
    Thanks XD It’s a fun journey no doubt; hopefully I’ll come up with some more interesting settings than just plain black or white.

    >> Ashlotte
    Yeah, I just sorta take the approach that most people are mainly looking at the pictures so it’s okay if I repeat myself XD I’ve got no problem saying, “I love this figure’s tits” over and over though, that never gets old for me.

    >> softz
    Most strange it is how the spam filter keeps catching your comments. I’ll have to figure out what’s wrong with it. In the meantime, thanks for the kind words! 😀

  23. Aka says:

    @Tier, “…best-fit exponential regression curve of my playback statistics recorded by Audioscrobbler.” lol! That’s really too much.

    I’ve really only contacted Dreamhost when it comes to issues like, randomly changing permissions on my cron jobs, or logs having the wrong permissions thus my cron job can’t process them thus my stats don’t update. Happened this month, so I have a day with exact zero hits, annoying!

    I use poster paper for my black/white and a lot of photoshop for black these days due to my scratched plexiglass base I use. I really need to find a piece of glass, it’d be much more resistant to scratching. Let me know if you find something that works, I’ve started to wonder if wallpaper would be an opton, but I don’t think anyone uses wallpaper anymore. I haven’t seen any in years.

    @Ashlotte, I used to throw Drossel in a lot of pics because she was a fun prop. But I think I got lazy and ran out of new ideas for her.

  24. Iced says:

    Wow, congratulations on your one year anniversary!! And 300,000 hits, too! I’m honestly not too interested in statistics (looking at mine just make me sick… XD) but 300k is a lot in a year! And well-deserved. Your posts are really great. They really stand out from other reviews in the blogosphere (I say this in the best possible way, of course xD), and I’m just another one of many who appreciates them. ^^
    Hoping your site continues to grow, and this year will be even better than the last (somehow in all this, I managed to type ‘next’ – what, can I read the future or something??)

  25. softz says:

    I guess your spam filter is trying to bully me huh. He must be thinking that I’m really soft huh… Wait till he sees some nasty stuff from me.. (*LOL* kidding ;))

  26. Tier says:

    >> Aka
    It’s sorta sucky when I can’t listen to my favorite artists because doing so would skew the graph too much XD

    I’ve noticed that Dreamhost has a statistics thingy in the control panel, but I’ve never got it working; maybe I ought to look into that.

    I looked up the price of wallpaper on Home Depot’s site a couple days ago and it looked like rolls were around $50 US, which was way more than I want to spend on a photo background. I do recall that they had some contact paper rolls that were much cheaper; I’ll have to give those another look.

    Ahh, the Drossel … I cannot imagine that there are any new ideas that she can be used for anymore! Her and that one midget that keeps showing up whenever I load figure.fm.

    >> Iced
    Thanks! I’m someone who lives very much in the present so I won’t mind if this year is better than the next (this outlook is based on the “indulgence lifestyle” philosophy that I adopted shortly after graduating from school).

    >> softz
    Discriminating it is not, and discerning it is not, apparently; it must be confusing you with all the Russian spam that I get. Maybe it thinks Kenshin looks Russian?

  27. Ami says:

    Congratz for your one year Anniversary! I think I remember visiting when you first started. I was a big time lurker back then so you have no way of knowing. 😉 But you really have come a long way. Your photography has greatly improved. But I like reading your entries the most (and I will rarely read a blogger’s entry from start to finish). You cover background info and things most reviewers would leave out. Plus, you have a great sense of humor and you’re always shameless about your love for pornographic figures. Not a lot of people will admit that so kudos to you. I think you’ve establish a great blog so keep up the great work. ^^

  28. DaSaru says:

    Congrats. I’ve only been here for a while, and all that while, I like what I seen and read.
    Keep it up.:)

  29. Tier says:

    >> Ami
    Ah, I was wondering if anyone was around to see my earliest reviews, since I’ve been going back and stealthily re-doing them and hoping that no one would notice XD And I’ve been wondering if anyone reads my writing too, since pictures speak so much louder than words with respect to assessing a figure. I’m really happy to learn that people like my writing style 😀

    >> DaSaru
    Thanks, I certainly intend to 😀

  30. Aka says:

    Yay shameless love for pornography! The best part of Tiers posts.

  31. Iced says:

    I know other people who have that kind of philosophy too. XD But I mean, why not have them both be great?! Unless it’s like a figurative thing, which is what I think you were implying, lol.

  32. Tier says:

    >> Aka
    Indeed! I kinda feel like that one character from Chu-Bra!, trying to bring greater recognition to something that a lot of people try to hide.

    >> Iced
    That would be even better! Though at this point, I might trade a great year for Irma and Itsuki figures <.<

  33. Congrats on your anniversary. I laughed out loud for the mentioning of “loser” countries. I don’t think I was expecting anything like that to be included. I think that’s pretty diverse that you wanted to review “porno” figures since no one else does it, but in the times that I have come to visit your site, I didn’t get that “porno” feel from the figures you reviewed. Even figures that others may deem as questionable in nature such as Native’s Collet is not “porno” for me.

    Here’s to another year in this hobby.

    -Cheers!

  34. Tier says:

    Thanks! Yeah, I call them porno mainly for humor, since a lot of people usually couch it with euphemisms like “fan service” or “adult” or with foreign terms like “ecchi” that wouldn’t be familiar to people who aren’t into anime culture. Though I do have an idea for a figure shoot that takes pornography to a somewhat more literal level … I just need to get a xenomorph toy first … maybe the Revoltech one that I’ve seen up for preorder will do.

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