Is The .mobi Madness Finally Over?

from the that-would-be-nice dept

From back when it was first suggested six or so years ago, we were quite skeptical of the need for a "mobile only" top level domain called .mobi. It wasn't difficult to predict that devices would get better and wireless data services would get better, such that there would be no need for a special separate mobile web -- as everything could easily be delivered via the "regular" web. If anything, like many new TLDs, the whole thing just seemed like a cash grab, because companies would feel obligated to pay up to reserve their .mobi domain names before someone else did. And while .mobi tried to position its offering as something much more than a splinter scaled-down internet, most people pretty quickly realized that it served no reasonable purpose. To be honest, I hadn't even heard much at all about .mobi in a couple years, and as more and more people moved onto phones that could handle full webpages -- or, companies set up their own regular websites to automatically scale down for mobile browsers -- the whole concept seemed to have faded away. MobHappy reports that .mobi has been sold off to the company that also owns the rights to the .info domain -- so both can now live together in uselessness. But, best of all, as Carlo explains:
And in case you were wondering, my favorite .mobi site, flowers.mobi -- you remember, the one that was purchased for $200,000 in 2006 and was supposed to be developed into a legit site with "relevant content" -- is still just a parked domain with ads. And it's still not compliant with .mobi's rules for its sites. Big surprise there.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    What's this Carlo? A trade magazine?

     

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  2.  
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    Answer Man, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 6:43pm

    Carlo Longino, author of the material in the 3rd 4th and 5th links, the latter of which one might (rightly) suppose to be the source of the quote.

    Guess it's easier to have smarter people read these things for you, and you get them to do it at the meager cost of looking stupid.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 6:53pm

    Re:

    >>Guess it's easier to have smarter people read these
    >>things for you, and you get them to do it at the
    >>meager cost of looking stupid.

    Yes, and thanks for clearing that up. I was almost certain that he was an actor that played the youngest son in the hit TV series "Mike's Three Trolls".

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:05pm

    I read mobi's on my Kindle. That's what we're talking about right?

     

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  5.  
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    IronMask (profile), Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:06pm

    Re: Re:

    Owned.

     

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  6.  
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    in your dreams, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:09pm

    dotMobi

    .mobi has been purchased by Afilias who are certainly not "useless". They are a very well respected company in the online/domain industry with a lot of contacts/clients.

    "MobHappy reports that .mobi has been sold off to the company that also owns the rights to the .info domain -- so both can now live together in uselessness."

    You missed the fact that they also help manage .org (another useless extension?)... but of course you did, as you are only using info that helps with your 'cause' to smear .mobi.

    "Afilias’ technology ensures that your service works 100% of the time. Afilias powers key pieces of the Internet’s infrastructure, including resolution of all .info and .org domains."

    Not forgetting:
    .IN (India), .ME (Montenegro), .AG (Antigua and Barbuda), .BZ (Belize), .GI (Gibraltar), .HN (Honduras), .SC (the Seychelles), .VC (St. Vincent and the Grenadines), and also provides ancillary support to other domains, including .SG (Singapore)

    So yeah, going by what you've said, i.e. only mentioning the bad things as you see them in order to smear .mobi, then yes .mobi is doomed to hell.

     

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  7.  
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    inc, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:24pm

    Not only did .mobi cost more with a .com it isn't even needed. Most modern websites use some kind of dynamic scripting and can use the User-Agent to present a customized site for different platforms and languages. I agree it was just a money grab. Even if the user was automatically redirected to .mobi it's still pretty much useless. Even google just uses a sub-domain m.google.com, which is much easier to remember.

     

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  8.  
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    Jacob, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:30pm

    Re: dotMobi

    With your last sentence... are you saying theres another side where .mobi isn't useless (or "doomed to hell")? I use my phone for web surfing all the time and have never been to a .mobi site, why? because any website that wants to have a mobile part can just read the browser type and send mobile browsers to something like mobile.site.com automatically.

     

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  9.  
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    anti-mike fanclub member #1, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:34pm

    Re: dotMobi

    I would love to see you turn .mobi and .info into something useful. It's a tough job, and I'm glad it isn't mine. But don't bother denying that they are presently useless.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:43pm

    Re: dotMobi

    Nice reading comprehension failure. No one said that the company is useless. The .info domain, though, is, and so is .mobi...which is exactly what the sentence you're crying about said.

     

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  11.  
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    IshmaelDS (profile), Feb 15th, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: dotMobi

    I use my .mobi at work to be the domain I give to users that need to connect remotley. I figured I might as well use it since we own it. :) So instead of telling them to go to www.domain.com I tell them to go to user.domain.mobi

     

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  12.  
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    in your dreams, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:02pm

    There are a lot of useful .mobi and .info sites but I'm not going to post them on this smear bashing site.

    The point was that only the negative has been noted.

    Anonymous Coward
    "I read mobi's on my Kindle. That's what we're talking about right?"

    One minute you don't have a clue what .mobi is, next minute you're an expert in the "failure" of domain extensions.

    Get a life! LOLZ

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:05pm

    Re:

    And those sites wouldn't be useful on other domains that aren't useless? If you're going to keep this up, you might drown in your tears of poor logic. Be careful.

     

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  14.  
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    in your dreams, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    Well the useful sites that are on .mobi domains are all tailored for the mobile web so "logically" it makes sense to me. But for you, someone who likes to smear on .mobi, the logic is obviously different.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:30pm

    Re: dotMobi

    What an obvious shill.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:32pm

    Re:

    There are a lot of useful .mobi and .info sites but I'm not going to post them on this smear bashing site.

    What a joke. You're as useless as .mobi.

     

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  17.  
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    in your dreams, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 8:36pm

    You're as useless as .mobi

    Wow, thanks! I am honored.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 9:08pm

    Re:

    And why can't sites on other domains be tailored for the mobile web? Oh, right, they can. Continue the entertainment.

     

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  19.  
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    Paul`, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 9:19pm

    Re:

    The point is why bother with a new TLD when you can just do what a logical person would and use a sub domain like, oh I don't know, the most successful internet company to date, Google, does.

    It was a money grab and thats all it ever was.

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    :), Feb 15th, 2010 @ 9:55pm

    Mobi

    http://www.aprayer.mobi/

    Lets pray brothers.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 15th, 2010 @ 10:17pm

    Re: dotMobi

    .mobi has been purchased by Afilias who are certainly not "useless". They are a very well respected company in the online/domain industry with a lot of contacts/clients.

    Can we get three guesses who you work for?

     

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  22.  
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    in your dreams, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 10:32pm

    LOL that is your only conclusion? I must work for Afilias?

    So what are you saying, Afilias is not a well respected company? A company that is in charge of millions of domain names! To be exact 5,734,796 .info domains & 8,071,956 .org domains.

    No, I do not work for Afilias.

    Ahem brother! =)

     

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  23.  
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    bob, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 10:53pm

    So What Are The Usful .Mobi Sites

    As I have not been to one, ever.
    Really I would like to know.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Fentex, Feb 15th, 2010 @ 10:55pm

    Top level domains in general are unneccesary, the DNS system could work just fine if it was coca.cola rather than coca.cola.com

    Sure it might have needed a few tweaks about how root servers divied up the alphabet but there was never a compelling need for tlds - they're a complete accident of history and design.

     

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  25.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 12:59am

    Re:

    So what are you saying, Afilias is not a well respected company?

    No. Reading comprehension time. I said that the domains were useless. Not the company.

    You have said nothing to explain how the domains are useful.

     

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  26.  
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    Mobile Design, Feb 16th, 2010 @ 4:26am

    well......

    It is difficult for mobile developers and designers to reach one mean of carriers and makers software and UI specifications. There are mobile device and software makers which were designing and developing mobile devices at a rapid pace. During this time and still now, there is confidentiality and competition which means that there is no medium communication or standards for designing and developing mobile websites.

    It is all confusing for users, designers and developers. But as for mobile carriers and makers, they just don't care. They simply continue to push new devices and software to wipe out the competitor.

    .mobi was created to make a medium/standard for everyone to go by. Some may say .mobi is a waste while others say that it would benefit everyone. "some like it shaken while others like it stirred". Not everyone will agree and at this point of time, .mobi owners and .mobi haters tend to push their opinion on each other.

    As to this article, "Is The .mobi Madness Finally Over?", it is not clear to what "madness" it is referring. Is it referring to the hype or the fight that followed after the launch? To some, they simply didnt want to waste anymore time arguing about .mobis strength in the mobile industry - they began to develop.

    Not all .mobi businesses will expose their profit but this does not mean that they are doing poorly. It is simply none of anyones business. How much profit they made was either based from their great marketing in either advertisement or the .mobi domain itself. Quite honestly, if you are in business, you will do whatever it takes to get all of your customers. Some choose advertising on TV, radio and magazines... why not a .mobi? I would, why not you?

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 6:58am

    Re: well......

    The point is that having a TLD just for mobile devices is pointless, because any website on any domain can easily detect if they are serving to a mobile device and do whatever it needs to do to adapt to it.

    A new TLD is not a gain for anybody, not end users, nor developers. It further balkanizes things, and divides the namespace up in a way that breaks the existing echeme.

    Think of it this way -- it's like the early days of the web, when everyone was putting "www." in front of their domains names. Pointless (as the web has a dedicated port, there's no need to have a unique domain name), stupid, and caused inconvenience for everyone. Nowadays, people recognize the pointlessness of it and very few sites require the prefix.

    .mobi is the same mistake, just on the other end of the domain name.

     

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  28.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    Re: well......

    Adding a .mobi TLD did not create any standardization in any mobile device or on any so called mobile web page. It didn't make it easier for anyone to see or use a site. It doesn't set a required screen size. It doesn't set a user interface for a full Qwerty keyboard/9key/touch screen.

    It also didn't make it any easier to find any website ether. Say I try to go to youtube on my cell phone, do I just type in www.youtube.mobi and hope it works? Hell no. Why would I do that? www.youtube.com automatically detects I'm on a mobile device and changes the output accordingly. It just redirects you to m.youtube.com (hay, same effect, no extra money).

    So, why would Google pay for youtube.mobi? The only reason is so Google doesn't get bad press when people go to youtube.mobi and find a squatters page, or worse. And scaring websites into paying more for another TLD that's not going to be used sounds like a money grab to me.

     

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  29.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: well......

    the youtube mobi page was not a link I wanted to put in nor douse it actually point to youtube.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Fred, Feb 16th, 2010 @ 10:52am

    .Mobi

    What the .mobi haters and smear campaigners always conveniently forget is that there are new businesses and start ups that can't use the .com because it is already taken. I am talking generic keywords and non trademarked terms and names. Since the .com is not available and mobile internet is the future .mobi is perfect for them and many excellent names are available at a much lower pricetag then the .com if the .com is even available. They can even build a PC site on it that recognizes mobile devices if they like just like a .com
    The shortsightedness of some people like the techdirt guys as far as .mobi is concerned has always amazed me. I thought we were dealing with adults with a brain but no they ceaselessly keep on bashing .mobi in a real juvenile way.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Ram, Feb 16th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

    .mobi

    Interesting thread. The curious part is why some of you believe just using sub-domains is the right strategy for usability online. Many Internet users get confused with [name.brand.tld], and it's not easy to hunt-and-peck the punctuation marks and the longer names on a mobile phone.

    It seems more intuitive to type in brand.tld than prefix.brand.tld. And that's partly why some brands are considering applying for their own .brand tld to further simplify usability & branding.

    As to the relative "usefulness" of a top level domain - of the 94+ million .com/.net domains out there, very few are actually "useful", and most people only go to an absurdly small fraction of them. With over 1.5 billion internet users, what's "useless" for you may well be "useful" for another.

    .Mobi originally set out to become a convention for mobility online. The world is slowly but surely moving from a wired internet to a mobile one, and I believe that .mobi has a credible opportunity to own a spot in that world (and that's part of why we bought the company). Time will tell, of course!

    Ram Mohan [afilias, Twitter @rmohan123]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 1:41pm

    Re: .mobi

    ".Mobi originally set out to become a convention for mobility online. The world is slowly but surely moving from a wired internet to a mobile one, and I believe that .mobi has a credible opportunity to own a spot in that world"

    But why do you need a separate TLD to set standards for mobility online? Particularly one that has four letters -- that's an extra character to hunt & peck on the little keyboards!

    I would be very surprised if .mobi became well-used, for a whole host of reason, except perhaps by vendors of mobile products (where it would at least make some kind of sense).

     

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  33.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Haters?

    I think you're taking this a bit too personally. Nobody here is "hating" on .mobi. Simply questioning it's usefulness. Skepticism != hatred.

     

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  34.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 6:35pm

    Re: .Mobi

    What the .mobi haters and smear campaigners always conveniently forget is that there are new businesses and start ups that can't use the .com because it is already taken.

    Not hating, not smearing. Just questioning how useful, and given how long it's been out and its lack of usage, it seems our points were supported by reality.

    And arguing that .mobi helps folks where the .com is already taken is bogus too. How often did that actually happen? Most .com owners felt compelled to buy the .mobi to protect themselves. That's why this was all a money generating scam.

    The shortsightedness of some people like the techdirt guys as far as .mobi is concerned has always amazed me.

    Then why not explain how .mobi is actually useful

    I thought we were dealing with adults with a brain but no they ceaselessly keep on bashing .mobi in a real juvenile way.

    Wow. The only thing juvenile in this thread is you implying we're "children." We brought up a legitimate concern years ago that has been supported by what's happened over the years. What's juvenile in that?

     

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  35.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 16th, 2010 @ 6:38pm

    Re: .mobi

    Interesting thread. The curious part is why some of you believe just using sub-domains is the right strategy for usability online. Many Internet users get confused with [name.brand.tld], and it's not easy to hunt-and-peck the punctuation marks and the longer names on a mobile phone.

    Hmm. .mobi is longer than .com. And which internet users get "confused" honestly? Besides people weren't suggesting a different subdomain, they were suggesting that the site do browse recognition and move people over to a mobile version. Just like we do with Techdirt.

    .Mobi originally set out to become a convention for mobility online. The world is slowly but surely moving from a wired internet to a mobile one, and I believe that .mobi has a credible opportunity to own a spot in that world (and that's part of why we bought the company). Time will tell, of course!

    The trend is pretty clear. Mobile devices increasingly can handle fully functional websites. Why does it need mobile optimized domains?

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Henry, Feb 17th, 2010 @ 4:11am

    I have never seen a sub-domain work!! everyone forgets the dot. The m.google.com is not very good. When you try to teach the public that they have to type two dots in a TLD they do not understand!

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Andy, Mar 16th, 2010 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re: .mobi

    Mobile devices increasingly can handle fully functional websites. Why does it need mobile optimized domains? True - mobile devices increasingly CAN handle fully functional websites. However, it is not necessarily a question of a mobile optimized DOMAIN, but mobile optimized CONTENT. So the question to ask is: Is the TLD content served on a mobile content useful to the user? 9 out of 10 TLD web content is too large and cumbersome to navigate on a mobile device. The best solution is to program a redirect on your TLD website that will recognize any request coming from a mobile device and deliver mobile optimized content to the mobile device. Try this: On PC: http://www.exploregeorgia.org On mobile device: http://www.exploregeorgia.org (exactly the same URL) ... and see the difference.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Richard Page, Mar 16th, 2010 @ 8:53pm

    .Mobi

    Very interesting why wouldn't it make the most sense to have 2 sites going into the future? When promoting your wares in the pc world and in the mobile world. Looks like tthe easiest way for the public to understand and remember is if they are looking for you mobile all they do is to .MOBI you. The moblie sites are way easy to surf on phones. When I am on the phone and I want info that is what I want and fast I don't need the fu fu. All I have to do is remember SUBECT.mobi Example: Weather.mobi vs. Weather.com

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Mark Sandulli, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    Re: So What Are The Usful .Mobi Sites

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Mobile Marketing Max, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 2:21pm

    .mobi

    It all seemed like a good idea several years ago, but now we are really wondering what the point is. People want answers fast on their cell phone - they are not going to think too long about whether to use a .mobi or not and will try the .com first. Redirecting to the m. on your .com is the best way to deliver your mobile website. If you don't own the .com or other preferred TLDs then the .mobi is a good option.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    ftgdeqgyiop, Apr 13th, 2013 @ 6:54pm

    Pljj

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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