Marketing 101

Discussion in 'Game Marketing' started by calmackay79, Jan 25, 2016.

  1. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    Hey all,

    I've noticed alot of people here are quite unsure of how to market their product/app, that they throw it into the wild and hope it will come crawling back out of said wilderness with a bag of gold in its hand.
    Sadly this is not going to happen - and while some of you may make games for the sheer joy & artistic side, some of you also would like to actually make enough money to quit your day job.
    So i'll delve into the following topics as time goes on, i'm open to criticism & people sharing opinions - after all, thats how we all grow and learn. I'll post them when I find time as I also work a full job, and run a social media marketing company on the side(and make games when time permits)

    1) Website - I will go through how to make a landing page and some easy tricks.
    2) Facebook - setup a business page, encourage likes and spread some social love.
    3) Twitter - Same as Facebook.
    4) Pinterest - an upcoming media tool to share styles and direct traffic back to you.
    5) Your App
    a) Icon - the do's & don'ts
    b) Keywords - How to source the correct ones
    c) ASO - in relation to your description
    d) App Video - The new item any serious app needs to stand out
    e) Screenshots - How to effectively expose your game.
    f) Monetisation techniques - how not to be annoying with a ba-zillion ads
    6) PR - who to approach and how (I'll throw in a list of 100+ reviewers)
    7) Paid reviews - worth it?
    8) Apple - how to contact them with your game, chasing that elusive feature slot.
    9) Publishers - who, how, when.
    10) Launching - prelaunch & followup
    11) Money - how to manage your spending, log your hours and work out how much your app 'owes' you before its making you money. (This is a big one that hardly anyone does)

    If theres anything else you'd like me to write about, please let me know. These items are the 1%'rs that will grow your business - they may not lead to an instant hit, but it will grow your business the more you release apps, pushing your revenue up as you go.

    So stay tuned for the first article - Websites!
     
    rcruz82, Insanity, Mike A. and 21 others like this.
  2. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    Websites
    "Having an attractive & well-designed website for your business creates opportunity to influence peoples mind-set & will help you to generate more sales"

    HOW DO YOU STAND OUT IN THE CROWD.png

    Like most online businesses today, the game has changed. Competition is fierce for the customers, you are no longer the one on the stage preaching to potential customers. You are the one in the crowd trying to get the speakers (customers) attention.

    In these short articles I'll go through steps you should take in order to be more successful in your gaming empire, starting with a website.

    WEBSITE - Do I need one? why?
    A website is a landing page to show off your product, in this instance - games. It allows people to check into your game, see images about it and links customers with ways to download it from simple online searches. Additionally it allows potential reviewers a place to gather screenshots and information easily without having to dig or ask for it.

    How do I make one?
    Making a website is quite easy, if you can make games, you will be able to sort this out quite easily. Technology these days means that building a website from scratch is dated. Similar to Buildbox - you no longer have to rely on programmers and companies to achieve this. There are easy to learn options that cater to all your levels of skill and expense. Some are -
    1. Wix - A free builder/hosting that you can upgrade for a little $
    2. Wordpress - The most robust of this list, caters from beginners to professionals
    3. Squarespace - Beautiful website builder, but can be alittle limiting
    4. Pagecloud - An exciting new webpage builder that looks very promising.
    All of these four website builders will cater to your needs in presenting your product to the open market, its just a matter of choosing one that suits your skill level, budget and needs.

    What sort of website should I make?
    The main question to ask yourself is what sort of business are you making? A one off product your building with loved ones? Or are you making a gaming empire?

    If your making just one game, than a landing page will suffice - this is a single webpage that encompasses images of your game, links to whatever stores you have it on (apple, android links etc) and a basic contact link to your preferred email (make sure you add a captcha style filter for spam) This allows people to look over your game before considering downloading - exactly the same way they do in the app stores, just on a different stage.

    If you are starting a gaming empire - you will want a multiple page website. Usually this will encompass a landing page with your companies details, pages for each game you have, a contacts page - and maybe even a blog page somewhere to express your views, share links and talk about your passion - more on that later.
    A full website, instead of individual landing pages will increase your customer base and help direct happy customers to your other games. This increases sales - and more importantly retains a group of base customers that will be easy to reach for new game releases. An instant market for new games speaks for itself, helping with app store placement & gaining reviews.

    I don't have the time/I'm still not sure, what do I do?
    Not everyone has the time to build the marketing for their games or products or are unsure of how to start. There are also plenty of options to get others to build them for you. The two main options are using local companies in your areas or outsourcing to freelancer communities.
    1. Local - The more expensive option, but being able to talk face to face to discuss your options will get you a far superior product. Mapping out how you want your website and discussing your ideas directly with the developer will allow you to be more involved, make updating easy, and be more hands on with how it is developed.
    2. Outsource - by going through sites like Upwork & Freelancer, you can hire companies for a far cheaper price, but with all outsourcing this carries more risk. Make sure you are clear in what you ask for, and only pay for services delivered; NEVER pay for anything that has not been done upfront (other than maybe a deposit)

    Tips?
    • You can also use your website to gain a mailing list, just be gentle how you go about this. A single pop up asking for a email subscription will allow you to expand on a mail list you can use to announce new games. This should be part of your marketing plan for every release - allowing previous customer know you have a new game coming.
    • Media packs - Reviewers are busy creatures, if they decide that they may review your game they want a one stop shop for images and information on your game. By having a downloadable bundle for each game you give the baby his bottle, and everyone is happy. You will be surprised how much reviewers 'move on' to another game that supplies their details easier.
    • SEO and all that searchy stuff - This is becoming more and more complex as the internet continues its rapid expansion. While I highly recommend this, and encourage learning about it; I am going to leave it for now - people make entire careers in this subject alone. I will not be covering this for websites, but will expand on it through ASO for your apps.

    These are only short articles, you could literally write books (and people do) on these subjects - I am open to questions, corrections and enquires into helping create your empire.

    Cal is Director of MackDavi Creative - A company that specialises in social media marketing, web site building & mobile app development (both games & informative)
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
  3. heathclose

    heathclose Miniboss Boxer

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    oh boy i can't wait for the rest of the list... @calmackay79 this rocks, thank you for your contribution, as a new boxer, ill be watching EYES PEELED...
     
  4. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    Facebook

    "Worldwide, there are over 1.55 billion monthly active Facebook users (MAUs) which is a 14 percent increase year over year"

    - Source: Facebook as of 9/30/15

    Todays article if you can't guess by now is on Facebook marketing, how to attract people to your page & engage them while building a community. The biggest mistake people make in social media marketing is trying to use social platforms to sell the audience. You are actually trying to build a community of fans that want to share your content, while working your products into your story.
    Think of product placement in movies - you are all wrapped up in an action scene, where the hero shoots his way through a building, takes a refreshing drink after; with a quick pun - flashes a smile; jumps in a car and zooms off.
    If you go back, you may notice the building was a subway, the drink was coca cola, and the car was a BMW, all paying for placement in that movie.
    The next thing I will ask you to think of is that I said Subway, Coca Cola & BMW and you immediately associated each product with an image in your head..... TADAH! welcome to marketing, imbedding images, logos & in our case, games into subliminal messages that your community associates with, without even thinking about it (and now want)

    Next your probably wondering "how the hell do I do that?" and the easiest answer is - write a blog about building your game, your trials, your moments of triumph, funny bugs you happen across, your office that you work from. The more involving you are - the more people are engaged.
    Which brings us back to Facebook, and posting content.

    First Thing first, you will need to create a Business page for your game/studio. you do this from your personal Facebook page (i'll assume everyone has one)
    1. How to setup a business page - On the left column is a pages options, you can create a new page here, fill in the details of your business as you go, adding URL links and details. Its that easy - Facebook practically walks you through the process.
    2. Image & Banner - these are important for first impressions, find out optimal sizes of both and through a site like Canva, you can create stunning banners and portraits quite easily. Canva actually have a preset for the banner (just not the portrait). In addition, Facebook have now added 7 second GIFs to the portrait - so take advantage of this to set yourself apart from everyone else. use a part of your game, or a cool sequence to really pop.
    3. Now its time to invite some people - invite your ENTIRE friends list to like your page. Don't be shy, your building a gaming empire where people are going to want to get to know you, interview you, and replicate what you do, so the time for being bashful has past.
    4. Content - Most people start off wrong here by trying to attract like minded individuals. In the short term this is fine for a few sales, but you are after your audience. people that play games, share it with friends and comment about it. Create content that is engaging, like what I spoke of earlier - like your morning ritual before you sit down in front of the computer, how to get in the mood to start etc.
    5. Posting - Post every day, twice a day - the more the better, but at least twice a day. Aim for times when people are getting ready for work, lunch breaks, and returning home from work = unwind times. I recently completed a campaign for a business where we scheduled 8 posts a day for 14 days straight, including promo videos and how to do demos; mixed in with some funny stuff and we grew his page by +485% being constant in your delivery works.
    6. Boosting - Boosting your page for additional likes is a good idea for starting out, especially if you only have a handful of page likes. Pick your demographic - aim for big mobile device user countries (USA, Japan, Canada, Australia etc)you don't have to spend big money to make a difference, you can start off with $5 campaigns to slowly work out your market.
    7. Responsive - be responsive to people that like your stories, leave comments and generally get involved on your page. Answer their questions, be polite, and most of all = be engaged with your audience! They will move on if it feels like they are not part of a community. As your page gets bigger, people will naturally engage each other, but you must nurture this, especially at the beginning.

    TIPS?
    • Stay up to date with Facebook trends - the video portrait i mentioned earlier is a great example. If you keep your page modern, people will notice.
    • Fill out your business profile in it's entirety - add links, about info, and fill out every field you can (NOTE - your personal info is your choice on how much you add here)
    • Respond! - Be engaged with your audience.
    • Don't Cheat - Its easy to go to a place like fiverr and buy 10,000 likes. But people notice that you arn't getting any comments on your posts, and Facebook is paying more attention to this these days, including banning accounts. So don't cut corners.
    • Boost - Depending on your budget, boosting articles, your page and other parts of your page can see tremendous growth for little output of cash. But plan your campaigns carefully to co-inside with your spending, so you get good return for your cash output.
    • Communities - Join community pages, and also be engaged on them. Being part of a community and bringing up your own work in a subtle way is another way to gain traffic towards your page.

    These are only short articles, you could literally write books (and people do) on these subjects - I am open to questions, corrections and enquires into helping create your empire.

    Cal is Director of MackDavi Creative - A company that specialises in social media marketing, web site building & mobile app development (both games & informative)
     
  5. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    APP ICON

    We'll skip over twitter & Pinterest this week as I had a question this week about app icons and thought I would answer him here with some great pointers to follow. Your all probably thinking - 'wow, theres actually alot more I have to be doing than just making a game' by now. And the truth is yes, roughly 50% of your time should be put towards marketing for it to have any chance to have ROI.

    An App icon is essentially a book cover, you are fighting for customers to pick your book off a shelf in a library. Customers generally know what they are after, they will go to a specific genre - but from there they will start scrolling through apps until something catches their eye. And while there are numerous items that helps catch a customer, the very first thing to consider is your app Icon - just like a book cover.

    1) Start with shapes - Pick a shape that scales well, app icons will vary in size on how they are presented, so picking a shape that scales well and is easily identifiable is a great start.

    2) Colours - Choose a limited palette. Its easy to get excited and make something elaborate, but by sticking to a few colours you will aid your icon in appearance without overwhelming the customer. Some App icons use alot of colours with great effect - but this is very hard to pull off without experience and budget to test multiple looks.

    3) No Photos - Try not to use real photos, the impact of them will be lost when they scale small. Instead recreate the image as a vector graphic. It will appear more crisp and scale better.

    4) Avoid text - Do not use text in a general rule. The only exception is single lettering, think Facebook or Pinterest icons as examples. The problem is that words do not scale well.

    5) Portray the environment - for example if you have a fishing style game, try out bubbles and blue colours, splashes etc to see what works. This links the icon directly to the game allowing customers a general idea of what to expect in the game itself.

    6) Test Test Test - for every app, you should probably make at least twenty knock up app icons and play around with them until you reduce this to 3. Once you are down to three approach friends to see what they would go for. Ask for honest opinions, and don't feel offended - remember its to appease your customers, not to appease you.

    These are only short articles, you could literally write books (and people do) on these subjects - I am open to questions, corrections and enquires into helping create your empire.

    Cal is Director of MackDavi Creative - A company that specialises in social media marketing, web site building & mobile app development (both games & informative)
     
  6. wesam_badr

    wesam_badr Miniboss Boxer

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    keep going your posts really useful. can you talk about game marketing...
     
  7. energizerlithium

    energizerlithium Avid Boxer

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    This is great stuff man keep writing your awesome posts, very very useful:)

    Yes, please discuss some things about 2016 and marketing strategies. Like promotion for games etc!

    Thank you!
     
  8. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    No problem guys, next article i'll write up chapter 10 - launching your app. I will cover the two weeks lead up and things to have in place for it. All the other articles are parts of marketing, steps to make throughout the build of your game.
     
  9. Rebel Studios

    Rebel Studios Avid Boxer

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  10. Christoph

    Christoph Miniboss Boxer

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    Thanks Cal. I would love to see number 9 first, because that's all what we want to achieve in the first place. And if we fail, well then, number 10 is what we need to know.
     
  11. heathclose

    heathclose Miniboss Boxer

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    @calmackay79 thanks for your effort on all this man, I hope to see all the numbers you listed but tackle them in whatever order the spirit moves you... I look forward to them all
     
  12. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    KEYWORDS

    The first step in reaching your audience after your icon is your title and keywords. For your title & keywords utilizing the correct words & maximizing the space given can really help in searches and downloads.
    One site I like to use is Appcodes. This site really does make this process alot easier for both functions, and while this is not a plug - I do like recommending services that make life easier. There are other sites you can use, so feel free to look around.

    TITLE
    Your game title needs to be something unique, yet catchy. And unless you have the backing of a publisher or a well know developer, you should utilize this space wisely.
    First off, you get 25 letters to fill, but after a certain number the rest get 'cut off' and cannot be viewed in the search pages until you open the app page to read its details. This approach looks messy and should be avoided, and easiest way to test this is with appcodes, you can see how your title will appear in their heading simulator. This allows you to do two things (1) optimize your name and how it appears. (2) add to your title some descriptive words that won't be seen in the search title, but will show once someone clicks on your app in the descriptive page.
    You are probably wondering why do this? the simple answer is that your title makes up keywords that are used in the search engine algorithms. They are essentially 'free' keywords that are separate to your keyword list (more on that soon).
    The next thing you want to remember is that once you choose a name - never ever change it! The only exception to this is if your app is bombing, and only getting a few downloads a day. The reason for this is that your app will be removed from search engines and be 'reset' in the system. I made this mistake a few years ago when trying to push one of my games =

    I was new to apps and one of my titles suddenly had alot of interest in China, it was blowing up and got me very excited - but how to keep it growing? I quickly put an update together, but in doing this I also adjusted the name - putting a few extra words on the end.
    POOF! it went from thousands of downloads a day down to 2-3 by the end of the week. It was a very big lesson for me, one that could of been avoided if I had just taken some time to research the subject......yes I shot my golden goose when it started laying golden eggs.

    KEYWORDS
    Next is your keywords. In Itunes you get 100 letters so you need to use this space in the best possible way. Three things to make sure you do for your keywords =
    1) Use a coma between each word. DO NOT USE SPACES, they will count towards your total letter count.
    2) Test each word - Once again I use appcodes to do this, it shows me my competition and how the words rank. Also sometimes using popular words is bad for placement (Huh you ask?)
    An example of this is if all the people that made a platformer game use 'platformer' in their keywords then your market competition is massive, thousands of game makers fighting for the same thing. However - if you look up the word in Spanish and use that (plataformas) you suddenly engage two markets, and have less of a struggle gaining customers (Spanish speaking people is still a huge market on app stores)
    Check every single word you intend to use in different ways to maximize your reach.
    3) Use every letter! - if you find your word choices equal 97 - then you need to go back and change some to make exactly 100. Sounds petty - but the market does not leave room anymore for being lazy in these areas.

    With a site like Appcodes you can go back each week and check the metrics of the words you used - this allows you to dump the ineffective ones and try new ones - this is ongoing, and you should plan a monthly keyword assessment.
    By doing these small things that your competitor doesn't lets you rank that bit higher than others - good luck!

    These are only short articles, you could literally write books (and people do) on these subjects - I am open to questions, corrections and enquiries into helping create your empire.

    Cal is Director of MackDavi Creative - A company that specializes in social media marketing, web site building & mobile app development (both games & informative)


    Feel free to contact me through this site for any enquiries.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  13. buman

    buman Boxer

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    Love this post. thank you
     
  14. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    MONEY
    'How to manage your spending & time'

    The very first thing you should do before buying anything, that includes art, software = anything! is get yourself a small ledger to detail costs and your time. It blows my mind how 99% of people don't do this simple business step!

    In order to work out your profit/loss ratios's you need to measure how much is going out - this includes your time, you need to work out how much your time is worth.
    A simple example is this -

    Paul wants to build apps for a living, so he maps out his spending, he plans on launching 10 games with (you guessed it) Buildbox in his first year. He budgets $500 worth of art per app and a $500 promo boost.

    Buildbox = $2600
    Broken down over 10 apps means that each app is already in debt by $260

    Art/PR = $10000
    $1000 per app

    Utilities = $300
    Basic costs of electricity etc for his spare bedroom business, this can include light bulbs, new mouse etc. add another $30 to each app.

    Time = $8000
    This is his biggest expense, Paul is a smart guy - he's building up his app empire around a full time job, so he's planning to work 20 hours a week on each app for a month each. He's decided to base his 'wage' at the low level of $10 per hour to start.
    So based on 80 hours to make an app and market it this adds $800 to the base cost of each app.

    TOTAL
    Paul now knows that he needs to clear $2090 per app, based on 10 apps in order for an app to be declared a success.
    Its not the best wage in the world to start, but if he repeatedly turns a profit on apps he can give himself a pay rise to reflect the situation.


    This is a real basic sample - you need to know where your point of profit is if you want to make apps for a living, and you need to work hard to reach it.
    Around this you also need to set a deadline to maintain this - sticking to goals will see your new profession move forward, its important to know how much cash is going into your venture vs the reward its giving you.
    Reviewing your plan every year is also important, in Paul's case he would review his business after the 10 apps have been complete and all live for at least two months each. He would total their revenue and divide it by 10 to see how he was progressing with his plan.
    At this point - he would either lower his wage to accommodate the losses, or give himself a wage increase for the next year with a bonus if he did extremely well.

    I know some of you may be thinking 'I just need that one hit!' and also 'the more I build, the more money I make' I wish this was so - but truth is, you need to have luck alongside hard work to make this happen like any business to be successful.

    In the meantime, planning your budget and expenses is the smartest way forward.

    These are only short articles, you could literally write books (and people do) on these subjects - I am open to questions, corrections and enquiries into helping create your empire.

    Cal is Director of MackDavi Creative - A company that specializes in social media marketing, web site building & mobile app development (both games & informative)


    Feel free to contact me through this site for any enquiries.
     
  15. heathclose

    heathclose Miniboss Boxer

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    killing it
     
  16. mmo822011

    mmo822011 Boxer

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    These series of articles are really helpful to me. By the way, I see top notch apps on the app store all has very engaging video trailer. They are not only just throwing screenshots into the trailer, but they do it much more like a movie trailer. This kind of stuff really entices users first hand. Any one know where we can hire people do these for us with an affordable price?
     
  17. Christoph

    Christoph Miniboss Boxer

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    I do. If you are interested send me a pm with your idea and budget.
     
    mmo822011 likes this.
  18. calmackay79

    calmackay79 Boxer

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    Paid Reviews - Are they Worth it?
    Hello everyone, its been awhile between drinks, I've had a pretty hectic schedule making some games (you might start seeing getting some sneak peeks soon) As well as some huge client jobs my free time has been very little. I'm also flying out to the Med tomorrow to begin a new seasonal job as I do most years (also work as a marine engineer on luxury yachts in my spare time)
    So all in all - things should start to quiet down as I'm not taking anymore clients on for a bit as I'm gearing up for BB2 launch (yay!)

    Enough on me, lets look at this weeks subject - Paid reviews.
    A Paid review is where you actually pay for one of three things to promote your app -
    1. Paid review/rating in store - 5 stars and great comments always looks good
    2. Paid downloads - boosting your numbers always catches the eye
    3. Paid Professional review = websites - getting someone to do a write up on your app.
    First up, none of this is a good idea - the only one I could sit on the fence with is the professional website reviews, but lets go through them and why.

    Paid review/rating in store
    Bad idea - as someone that has always dabbled in all areas, I actually tried this in the early days - Apple don't mess around, all my reviews I paid for were removed and they threatened me with 'do it again and we revoke your developer license' - It made me pukker up quick and conform. I've heard google play are easier to do this on, but once again you are meddling with your license and for the next reason its just not worth it.
    With the above point, it just does not work - thinking people are stupid and will fall for this method is crazy, you might catch one or two but the average person that reads the reviews will see them to be fake, some are so off the mark to your game its just insulting, also the amount you would need to turn heads would cost a fortune and negate any profit you hope to gain.

    Paid Downloads
    This is pretty much identical to paid reviews. You pay for downloads in order to give your app an impression of a false economy. The stores catch on pretty quick, and so do most customers.

    Paid Professional Reviews/write ups
    This is the only one I am on the fence with. When you are starting out getting some nice write ups can be handy to use reviewers quotes, videos, and links to help gain attention. They are by no means real and should never be portrayed as such, but reusing this information from professional 'reviewers' can help gain a little traction in the early days.
    It is not a means to an end, and after initially starting out using these services, as you grow they become redundant. Also you may find using them they are more willing to give you 'free' reviews on your future apps during quiet times to entice your business.
    As your app empire grows, you will find you no longer needs these services, but for starting out, it may be helpful.
    Just make sure you do your homework on them, watch their old videos, see how much attention they get, and please please please, check their grammar.

    All in all, paying for all these items is a dead rubber, you may have some luck, but the costs vs risk to your licensing just makes it a no go zone. You are better off getting your friends, families & grandparents leaving reviews - they will sound genuine, and more important, be genuine.

    These are only short articles, you could literally write books (and people do) on these subjects - I am open to questions, corrections and enquiries into helping create your empire.

    Cal is Director of MackDavi Creative - A company that specializes in social media marketing, web site building & mobile app development (both games & informative)


    Feel free to contact me through this site for any enquiries.
     
    miguelnievas and Christoph like this.
  19. heathclose

    heathclose Miniboss Boxer

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  20. hunttrader

    hunttrader Boxer

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    Awesome post!

    Any new posts here?
     

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