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USB2U Reviews – After 2,500 reviews on Trustpilot customers rank us as “Excellent”

Posted by USB2U on 16th December 2014 | Permalink

Do you or don’t you. It’s not a straightforward decision for any business to actively encourage reviews of your products and service on 3rd party review web sites like Trustpilot. Deep down you know you ought to give your customers a vehicle to openly and constructively comment on what you do but unless you are able to somehow “skew” the results you do leave your company open to the risk of negative feedback which in turn is likely to lead to fewer sales.

Of course the whole point of a trusted and independent 3rd party review site is that it does give an unbiased perspective on a business from real customers who have actually experienced the service (and or products) being sold. This then helps to inform other prospective customers and assists them in making their own buying decisions. So arguably if you do get poor or negative reviews and lots of them then you probably deserve it and prospective customers will and should take heed.

At USB2U we’ve amassed 2,500 reviews in a couple of years. Of course not every customer will leave a review but all are encouraged to do so and we don’t vet any before they are posted. Inevitably when you get this many reviews you’re going to pick up the odd one or two where we’ve dropped a catch and quite rightly our customers have let us know. Whilst we don’t like getting poor reviews (who does) where the customer is making a fair and reasonable point we do everything we can to put things right and learn from what went wrong.

USB Sticks from USB2U

USB Sticks from USB2U

Where review sites like Trustpilot are frustrating is when the results are “manipulated” by competitors. Some companies can achieve a certain “trust ranking” or score by just asking a handful of selected customers to post comments – this gets them a high ranking and then they stop. It’s interesting that we have competitors ranked closely to us who barely ask for (or get any reviews) but claim to be global companies with thousands of customers. Equally we know of others companies we compete with whose ex-staff have claimed they actively manipulate the results and reviews. Tut tut!

The problem with this is that the temptation to “manipulate” the results on sites like Trustpilot is high because the stakes are high – businesses live or die on their reputation and nowhere is a reputation more visible and exposed than on a high profile review site.

At USB2U we’ve always taken the view that we want lots of real reviews from real customers and because of this our team are encouraged to ask customers to post reviews. We obviously always hope for great feedback but we know that in an imperfect world we won’t always get things right. When we screw up we fix it and we focus on delivering a great experience. After 2,500 reviews and with an overall ranking of “Excellent” and a “Trust Score of 9.6 out of 10 we’re reasonably happy. Clearly there is still room for improvement but at least anyone looking at our reviews can be confident of their legitimacy.

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USB Condom – Keeping you Safe

Posted by USB2U on 4th December 2014 | Permalink

Come on own up how many times have you had unprotected power ups from a 3rd party USB port. You know the scenario your smart phone is on its last legs and you urgently need to connect it to something, anything, just to give you a quick blast of power to satisfy your hunger for more social interactions.

Of course we all know that plugging our smart phone (or tablets) into any random USB port just to give it a power boost is risky (don’t we?). The problem is that when you connect your phone or tablet into using a USB cable you’re not just saying “please charge me” you’re also saying (whether you realise it or not) oh I while I’m connected feel free to help yourself to whatever data you fancy on my phone or tablet!!

Any USB cable that you use to charge your smartphone is designed to do two things – transfer data and transfer power. At the moment you can’t get one without the other because both functions are built into a single six strand cable. Even more worrying is that the data-transfer is two way so not only do you put your data at risk of being copied but you could find that malware is transferred to your phone or tablet – Oh the price of a quick, cheap charge!

It’s not impossible to see a scenario where some unscrupulous people might deploy fake charging stations purely to harvest data from unsuspecting users.

There are two simple ways to protect yourself:

  • Don’t ever plug your smartphone or tablet into any PC or charging station (via USB) unless you are absolutely sure that it’s safe to do so.
  • If you absolutely have to plug in to a 3rd party source the use a USB Condom.
Xipiter USB Condom

Xipiter USB Condom

What on earth is a USB Condom I hear you asking yourself! Well, some very clever people at Xipiter have developed a handy little device that you plug your USB cable in before you connect it to any untrusted PC or charging station. The USB Condom (aka SyncStop) blocks access to the data wires in a standard USB cable but still allows the power cables – effectively it puts a safe sheath over the end of the USB connector, hence the reference to it as a “Condom”.

Xipiter is currently raising funding via KickStarter so if you want to jump on board early the go check them out. In the meantime have fun but stay safe when charging.

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Where Can You Get Printed or Engraved Flash Drives Delivered in 24hrs

Posted by USB2U on 19th November 2014 | Permalink

Pfft – we spit in the eye of delivery promises of 6 days. If you need your flash drives printed, data-loaded and delivered quickly then quickly is what we do! We don’t mess around talking days we prefer to talk in terms of hours. So, if you find yourself (for whatever reason) of needing some last minute promotional drives then firstly don’t panic and secondly pick up the phone and call us (or submit a quick quote enquiry via our web site and we’ll get back to you in 15 mins or less).

We’re based in Northampton in the UK. We hold tens of thousands of different USB sticks in stock in a wide range of styles and memory capacities and we print or engrave IN-HOUSE. No outsourcing to a local printer, no restricting you to one type of product and limited memory size options – we always have stock and we control the process from start to finish using our own team and as a consequence we can (and frequently do) take orders in the afternoon for delivery the next day across the UK, Europe and the USA. Don’t believe us then check out the reviews from thousands of happy customers on Trustpilot (many of whom will make reference to how blown away they were with the speed at which we delivered their order). Here are just a few examples from the last few days:

Beyond the ordinary!

We needed some premium usb sticks in presentation boxes for an event. The production team were even able to make up x100 usb sticks and boxes within 5 hours! To meet our tight deadline – which is beyond what is advertised on their website. I am very grateful and they look superb.

Great service and very speedy turnaround

Very impressed with the service from USB2U. Within 24 hours we had our USBs – they look great, the process was very easy, and everyone we dealt with was extremely happy. We’ll definitely buy from them again.

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy !

The ordering process was very simple and the attention to detail excellent. It was an urgent requirement and the sticks arrived promptly.

So, if you have been challenged to find someone who you can trust to deliver a last minute requirement for USB memory sticks with your logo printed on them and with your data files pre-loaded onto them then please do get in touch. It doesn’t matter if your based in the UK, the USA or Timbuktu providing UPS deliver there on a next day service and providing you get in touch reasonably early in the day (ideally before 2pm) then we can normally help.

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

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Professional Photography USB Flash Drives – New Package Goes Live

Posted by USB2U on 17th November 2014 | Permalink

Never ones to let the grass grow green under our feet we’ve been busily working away on a range of new packages for the professional photography sector. Today we’re delighted to announce the launch of our Wooden USB Twister Stick and Wooden Flip Box bundle. More will follow over the course of the next few weeks!

Today’s exciting new package offering includes the ever popular capless “Twister” USB memory stick but instead of the body being made from plastic (like the vast majority of twister sticks in the market) the body in this package is made from an attractive light wood. To compliment it we’ve combined it with a matching light wood flip style gift box and to top the whole thing off every box is supplied in a black velvet style drawstring bag.

Wooden-USB-Twister-Package

Wooden-USB-Twister-Package for Professional Photographers

With prices starting from £6.70 per unit they’re not going to break the bank and this price includes the USB sticks, the gift box, the drawstring bags and delivery. There are no artwork set-up or origination charges to pay and our in-house design team will happily work with you on multiple iterations of mock-ups and samples to make sure you get exactly what you need (we don’t charge for design support unless we are re-drawing your artwork from scratch!)

The USB sticks are printed but the boxes can either be printed or engraved – you decide. There is no difference in the price whichever option you choose.

In putting these packages together for professional photographers our focus has not only been on who great they look but also on the quality of the core components. For example we don’t use standard “promotional grade” USB memory or controller chips in any of our bundles because we know that they’re simply not going to be up to the job. When you’ve moving lots of large, high quality images around you need a USB stick that is going to be up to the job, is reasonably quick and will survive over the years. For this reason we always supply upgraded memory and controller chips so when you are comparing prices do bear this in mind.

It’s not enough to simply look for “Grade A” products either because you can get Grade A promotional flash drives but these are likely to be much slower at handling data, they’ll typically have a shorter expected lifespan (they’ll support a smaller number of read/write cycles) and they may not be able to handle video footage! If you’re a professional photographer of videographer then your start point should really be a company that specialises in the supply of products to your sector and one that really understand your particular needs. Buy standard promotional Grade A products at your peril or at least understand the risks when you buy them and then think about whether you want to risk your hard won reputation with them.

At USB2U we’ve been around in the UK since 2002, we have dedicated account managers that only look after our photography clients, we invest heavily in new products specifically for this sector and we are a regular attendees at shows like the Photography Show at the NEC. But don’t take our work for it check out what other photographers are saying about us on TrustPilot.

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Promotional USB Memory Sticks – European Resellers Wanted

Posted by USB2U on 12th November 2014 | Permalink

Are you looking to become a reseller of promotional USB Memory sticks? Perhaps your recent supplier terminated their re-seller program and left you unable to service your own clients (we know of one high profile name in the industry that has recently given notice to many of its international resellers because we’ve been approached by lots of them!)

Whatever your motive is we’d love to work with you. We’ve been at the forefront of the supply of branded flash drives for over 10 years now and today we’re one of the largest and most respected names in Europe.

We give all of our USB resellers the right tools and prices they need to win business and we’re incredibly respectful of the relationship they have with their client(s). Where we also differ is in the amount and range of stock we hold locally. This way instead of promising lead times of 1 or 2 weeks we can supply in days or hours if needed!

USB2U European Resellers Wanted

USB2U European Resellers Wanted

We print and engrave our USB sticks in house in Northampton in the UK and we use UPS to ship around the world on a next day service. So if you’re a partner in say Germany and you need printed USB sticks delivered tomorrow to Berlin then providing you have your artwork ready and we can get everything approved by 1-2pm then that should not be a problem!

We also have our own in-house design team which allows us to provide mock-ups, proofs and concepts within a matter of hours – if you want these delivered in your own “template” so you can simply pass these straight through to your clients then again this is not a problem.

At the heart of our business is a bunch of people who are passionate about branded and promotional memory sticks. This passion translates into a focus on delivering great customer service to all of our resellers and to their end customers. We know price and margins are important but we also know that we and our partners are judged on our collective ability to deliver on our promises and that just one failure can lead to the loss of the business and the relationship to a competitor. As you can see by the 2,500 reviews we’ve accumulated on Trustpilot we’re not in the habit of letting customers down!

Here’s what you get if you choose USB2U as your partner:

  • Named account manager who will look after you and get to understand your business and your requirements.
  • Competitive and discounted pricing.
  • 30-day trade terms (subject to credit application and approval).
  • Free design support, mock-ups and creative consultancy on bespoke USB jobs.
  • Artwork optionally delivered embedded in your own branded PDF client approval documents.
  • Free and approved use of our very large image catalogue.
  • Free origination.
  • Free pantone matching on a wide range of memory sticks.
  • Free sample packs.
  • Discounted data loading service.

If you’re interested in becoming a USB2U approved reseller then simply send an email to sebastian@usb2u.co.uk and we’ll get right back to you with details of how to get started.

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Why Buy Your Promotional USB Sticks from USB2U

Posted by USB2U on 13th October 2014 | Permalink

It’s not an easy decision determining where to place your order for promotional USB memory sticks but at USB2U we thought we point out a few reasons why we think we’re the preferred option for thousands of customers every year and more importantly why lots of these customers return to us time and time again.

We could wax on lyrically about having our own USB factory in China or about our world domination of the flash drive market and how we only ever supply products that no other supplier is capable of supplying. We could even boast about our swanky offices in London and our offices in the USA but you know what we’d rather focus on a few facts and why we think we’re the best supplier of promotional USB sticks in the UK.

Fact 1: Experience – We set up our little company in the UK in October 2002. We’re now in our 13th year of trading and in this time we’ve supplied millions of flash drives to tens of thousands of companies, schools, universities and public bodies in the UK.

Fact 2: It’s all about quality and price – Our focus since 2002 has been on supplying the best quality flash drives we can at a price point which customers are willing to pay. To achieve this we have “partnerships” in place with a small number of key USB factories who we trust and who have passed our rigorous due diligence tests.

We prefer to have multiple factory partners because this way we can ensure they compete with each other for our business, which in turn ensures we always, get the best prices possible (for us and for our customers). There is also the added advantage of having back up options in the event of local problems (capacity issues, power cuts, local shipping and customs issues etc.)

Fact 3: Keeping overheads to a minimum – We operate from a warehouse located on an “edge of town” industrial estate in Northampton. It’s not glamorous, its certainly not swanky but it is relatively inexpensive (certainly when compared to London) so being based here allows us to keep our costs to a minimum.

Fact 4: We let our customers do the talking – A couple of years ago we started encouraging all of our customers to leave feedback about our service on TrustPilot, an independently run 3rd party review site. We don’t vet the reviews because we genuinely want to hear what our customers think about the service we provide (good and bad). We’ve been delighted with the results – from over 2,250 reviews we’ve been rated as “Excellent” and have achieved a score of 9.6 out of 10.

Fact 5: UK product and print - Over 50% of our Promotional USB memory sticks are either assembled, printed or engraved by us (in-house) in the UK. No other UK supplier carries more stock in the UK or finishes more of their products in the UK than us. This allows us to be uniquely flexible when it comes to meeting customers requirements and in particular those to support those customers who need their flash drives in a hurry.

Fact 6: Delivery from order in 24hrs – A growing number of our customers are taking advantage of our unique “Rush” service that allows them to buy their USB sticks the day before they need them. Not necessarily recommended for the faint of heart but it’s a service that encompasses over 20 different models and a wide range of memory sizes and packaging options.

Fact 7: Guarantees – We offer a 10 year guarantee on all of the flash drives we supply and in the event of any failures we’ll pick them up from you at our cost and arrange replacements with as little fuss as possible.

Fact 8: Lost or missing shipments are not a problem – We know from painful experience that occasionally things go wrong. Customs checks can delay shipments, volcanoes can erupt without warning and human error can result in orders being sent to the wrong address! Whilst we do all we can to mitigate against these risks ultimately if things do go wrong then we’ll simply re-print your order from our UK stock and rush it to you on our 24hr service!

Fact 9: Our staff are brilliant – we love them and our customers seem to enjoy working with them as well. We’re a relatively small team of around 20 many people some of whom have been with us for nearly 10 years! If you want to see what a companies employers think about them then check out Glassdoor.com – it’s where employees say what they think about companies they’ve worked for and they give some interesting insights into how the company is run and how they view their customers.

Fact 10: We really do value your business – Although we’ve been doing this for over a decade we love what we do and we’re 100% committed to our customers and making sure they have a positive experience with us. If things go wrong (as they occasionally do no matter how good you are) we’’’ front up and work with you on a resolution and being based in the UK with UK production and print capabilities we can always find a solution.

USB2U - Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

USB2U – Your Trusted Supplier of USB Memory Sticks

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And Relax. Promotional USB Stick Supply Returns to Normal

Posted by USB2U on 10th October 2014 | Permalink

Now that the Chinese National Holiday and Golden week is over our factory is open again – hooray!

Whilst it’s not quite business as normal it’s pretty close so we can once again breathe a little easier, change out of our brown trousers and remove our bicycle clips! It’s always a challenging time when systems that work flawlessly for most of the year get interrupted by a mass holiday that lasts more than 1 or 2 days. Unfortunately in the case of these “national holidays” it’s not just the factory that closes but pretty much the whole country. It’s analogous to our Christmas and New Year week when pretty much nothing happens apart from families getting back together.

The staff are back and working hard to clear the backlog that any break of more than a couple of days inevitably creates. Thanks to their efforts the lead times on orders of promotional USB memory sticks are now back to days rather than weeks but we do have the capability in the UK to assemble, print, engrave, data-load and deliver USB sticks in as little as 24hrs – ideal if you’re in a hurry. It’s not the full range of products but we do have around 20 different designs in a range of memory sizes that we can offer on our next day service.

Fortunately the next holiday is several months away so hopefully we can now enjoy an extended period of calm and normality – that is unless the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland decides to misbehave and erupt and bring chaos to international travel and cargo flights (fingers crossed).

The one remaining negative is the weakness of the pound (GBP) against the $ (USD) – over the last couple of days it’s drifted between $1.59 – $1.61, a fall of just over 6% from its peak of $1.70 just a few weeks ago. With all USB sticks being purchased from the factories in China in dollars any weakness in the pound against the dollar is directly reflected in the unit cost that end customers pay. It’s this price volatility that prevents most suppliers (including ourselves) from publishing prices on their websites.

In an ideal world we’d have some certainty on prices looking forward for a couple of months because this would allow us to fix our prices and actively promote them to our customers but unfortunately that’s not the world we operate in.

To get the latest prices on any of our promotional USB memory sticks just call us or fill out the enquiry form on our website – one of our team will get back to you (normally within the hour) with prices and lead times and if you’ve got your artwork ready we’ll work up some examples for you (free of charge).

USB2U and relax

USB2U – and relax

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Chaos in China is causing delays in supply

Posted by USB2U on 24th September 2014 | Permalink

If you’ve got orders in with any UK supplier of promotional products at the moment and you’re against a hard deadline then now is the time to cross your fingers, get your hard hat ready and start worrying whether your order will turn up as promised.

Most promotional products supplied in the UK ultimately come from China and whilst this isn’t normally a problem because the usual turnaround times are often days rather than weeks right now it is.

Suppliers of promotional gifts that have gotten used to painless and quick shipments are currently facing what can only be described as a “melt-down” in China and specifically in the Shenzhen region. The problem is that there is not just one problem but multiple issues that have all come together to create a monster problem the size and magnitude of which most of the suppliers will never have seen before.

The events that have led to this are:

  1. The launch of the latest Apple iPhones and the unprecedented demand for them. This is turn have caused stresses and strains on the infrastructure in and around Shenzhen (China) where they are made (and many other electronic promotional products are made and shipped from).
  2. Alleged thefts of iPhones whilst in the hands of the forwarding agents and couriers which in turn has lead to increased security and customs checks (read delays!)
  3. Money laundering and the shipment of “cash” out of China – a recent high profile case has led to further checks in Customs in China (again read delays!)
  4. Holidays – next week is National Holiday and Golden Week in China so in the lead up to the holidays (when all the factories close) pandemonium breaks out as everyone tries to get their shipments out. The increased output in turn puts more pressure on an already overburdened customs and transport hub – (again, read more delays)
  5. Severe weather events in Hong Kong and the Shenzhen region have resulted in cancellations of some flights resulting in shipments being offloaded and rescheduled (read delays on delays)
  6. Increased nervousness on the part of the Chinese that anything carrying a recognised brand is a fraudulent copy – Customs Officers are now being instructed to seek written approval from the brand owners before they can allow any goods with their brand on to be shipped. This includes any branded promotional product. The issue is that requests for documentation are often not asked for until the shipment is with customs and so any request of this nature leads to delays.

The overriding message is that all of a sudden the slick and smooth “machine” that moved promotional goods (including promotional USB Memory sticks) from China to Europe in a matter of days is on the edge of being “broken”. Orders are missing their “must have by” dates and disappointment reigns. Unfortunately there is very little that can be done other than to hope things sort themselves out but an early resolution looks unlikely.

What Problems - Printed USB Sticks in 24hrs

What Problems – Printed USB Sticks in 24hrs

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Money Laundering, Customs Issues, Crazy Weather, Currency Weakness & Factory Closures

Posted by USB2U on 18th September 2014 | Permalink

All we’re missing at the moment is a volcanic eruption in Iceland and that’ll top off an interesting and challenging few days. Perhaps it’s best not to speak too soon because the Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland has been threatening to cause major travel disruption for the last couple of months so we’ve got everything crossed that it won’t add to the current list of woes.

We’re a UK based supplier of promotional USB memory sticks and like all other suppliers around the world our core products are manufactured in China. For the most part this is not a problem because we’ve been sourcing products from 2 – 3 key partners for the last 10 years or more so we understand very well the issues and the risks. Until a few days ago our standard lead times of 5-7 days were still being honoured but right now things are very different and the outlook is that it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

The usual delays we expect at this time of year (because of the National Holiday and Golden Week) have been exacerbated and extended. The underlying cause is a range of issues all colliding together to create on monster challenge.

The elements that are at play are a major money laundering operation/scare out of Shenzen and Hong Kong which in turn has led to a regime where customs are now being instructed to be undertake more rigorous checks of all packages. This in turn inevitably leads to delays and backlogs and all of this is happening in the run up to the National Day and Golden Week holiday when the couriers, airlines and customs departments are placed under more pressure to get shipments out before the holidays start.

Add into this mix some of the crazy weather that has been experienced in Hong Kong and Shenzen over the last week (leading to flight cancellations and delays) and you start to get a picture of the near “meltdown” that’s happening.

Of course whilst all of this is going on we have the vote for Scottish Independence taking place oday. This is driving uncertainty into the financial markets and pushing the value of the pound (£) down against the dollar ($) – the net effect of which is to increase the cost of any USB sticks that are able to run the gauntlet of getting out of China!

The only saving grace in all of this is that we’ve been around long enough to anticipate some of these issues so we have lots of blank USB sticks in stock in the UK which we can print or engrave and turn around in 1 – 2 days. As a result we will endeavour to ensure all of our customers get USB sticks for their event. They may not be exactly the model they wanted but at least we’ll be able to offer something!

Printed-in-24hrs

Printed-in-24hrs

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Hang onto your Hats if you’re about to buy Promotional USB Memory Sticks

Posted by USB2U on 15th September 2014 | Permalink

At USB2U we’ve been supplying promotional USB memory sticks for nearly 13 years and because of this we’re pretty good at understanding when things are likely to get challenging in the market.

We’re about to enter such a period and it has nothing to do with the forthcoming vote on Independence in Scotland albeit the uncertainty around this has caused a bit of a spike in prices because of the pound has fallen heavily against the dollar.

No, the turbulence we’re about to experience happens every year and it is holiday related. Not ours but the factories in China that manufacture the flash chips and assemble the USB memory sticks. The holiday in question is one of the biggest taken in the year – The combined “National Day and Golden Week”.

National Day is celebrated on the 1st October and whilst the official holidays break is only 3 days it tends to be extended into the week-end with most factories and offices closing for at least 1 week. This extended holiday allows their staff to return to the provinces to spend time be with their families.

Whilst a week might not sound long the problem is that people panic buy in the lead up to the holiday, the factories get rammed with orders and the whole mess that ensues can take weeks to sort out. Of course when the factories return from their holidays they have the double whammy of trying to deal with orders not fulfilled before their holiday and handing the backlog of orders that have built up during their holiday!

Chinese National Holiday - Promotional USB Sticks

Chinese National Holiday – Promotional USB Sticks

The cut-off day to get an order sent from the factories in China before they close for their holidays is the 25th September. If you miss this date then they won’t start working on your order until the 6th October when they get back to work. The reality is that on this day they’re going to be handling a large back-log so the usual turnaround times will be extended. You could, depending on when you place your order, be looking at a 4 week lead time!

Our advice is to get your order in now. Don’t wait. Get your place in the production queue secured. The longer you leave it the more likely you are to be disappointed. If you wait until next week then beware of any promises you are given on delivery.

Buying locally will de-risk your order and ensure you get your promotional USB memory sticks when you need them but the challenge will be finding a supplier in the UK that holds stock and has the capability to print or engrave them. A small number do but typically those that do only hold a very small range of products and a limited range of memory options.

At USB2U we’ve learnt over the years that customers need support during this period which is why we hold large quantities of USB sticks that we can print or engrave in-house. We also offer a “Super Fast” 24hr turnaround service on a wide range of USB sticks, a service that is designed to get customers out of trouble.

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