Dropshipping advice, tips and tricks for people that are new or have failed(probably long ass read)

Billy Batts

Elite Member
Dec 16, 2016
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This post will be about dropshipping through a website.

Since I've been here I've read many fail stories, have spoken to many of them and trying to help or give tips, wanted&unwanted (can't help it I'm a critic by nature) publicly and privately.

I often get PM's for Skype requests to help guys out but I really don't have time for that, BHW is cutting already enough in my time schedule as it is so I'm just going to post some tips that I would have given otherwise.

When I spoke with people that failed and read the fail stories they all have a lot of similarities so I will dig into that a bit.

Now I'm not an expert like some on the forum so this will be mainly for beginners.

Dropshipping is not my main focus at the moment but I got 2 shops online that are completely finished.

I only did a couple of test promotion methods but they are in passive mode and still they make some sales because I came prepared plus many principles are the same for niche websites which I am currently working on.

What will I be talking about:

  1. Basic things you need to know before you start or you' ll fail
  2. How to pick a niche
  3. Your website, domain name, hosting
  4. Platform to use your webshop with
  5. Theme layout and setup
  6. Other things you need to set up
  7. Dropship sources and their pro's and cons
  8. Promoting your shop and products.
  9. MISC advice & Some motivational crap
Alrighty let's begin.

1.Things you need to know before you start or you most likely will fail
Now what I've observed is that many start with no real plan at all. They read some success stories and keep in mind some of them are marketeers to sell their product and then it hits you..! The Infamous false hype feeling.

You read those success stories, see screenshots of big amounts of money, nice lifestyle and how successful their store is. A lot of people including myself in the beginning get all pumped up!

It's a psychological thing, remember when you were a kid and you went to see a TMNT movie or you saw a Bruce Lee or some kind of action movie you got all hyped up, feeling like you can do this too to find out it was harder to do than it looked.

This is the same false hype feeling but the adult version, it looks simple, register a domain, add a website and some items, make a FB ad and that's it, thinking that you will make sales and earn big bucks from the start and find out it wasn't as easy as you thought. Several people even literally told me this.

But sure, it's easy to start but it's hard to make it work because if it weren't everyone would be doing it and banking hard but even though some succeeded from the start most won't and fail.

So how can you make sure you at least have a good start and decrease your chances to fail?

First off make a plan, don't get all impulsive and jump straight into it, you will be just another statistic. Research your niche! (more about it in 2.)

Have a budget!

Sure you can set it up with low costs but you will need a budget! I often get the question " how much budget?" There isn't a static number for this but IMO you need at least about $500,-.

Can it be done with less? Sure but it will be a LOT harder and again, the people that have succeeded with almost no startup money are very very very rare! It's just like a physical shop if you open a physical shop you start this without any budget or any planning? Same deal.

IDC what anyone says if you are new you simply need money!

For example, did you know that PayPal can and most likely will freeze your funds depending if you can provide good tracking for up to 21 days for the first 180 days?

If this happens to you, how are you going to pay for the item your customer bought on your website when your funds are pending? Wait till funds are cleared? The customer will have to wait forever and you will have a bad reputation fast and once you got a bad REP on the internet it's hard to get rid off.

So for that you need some money saved up or have a valid credit card to deal with that situation.

When you really serious about dropshipping consider that you will need to register a business because many payment gateways will ask for a VAT number otherwise they don't lift the restrictions from your account which can hurt your business. Even when I was testing a BTC gateway they asked for a VAT number :confused:

So these are just some basic things you need to keep in mind, don't act hasty or impulsively or you're likely to fail.

2.How to pick a niche
A question I see and get asked on a regular basis "How do I pick a niche?" or I read sentences like "I want to dropship but I don't know a niche".

Let me put aside my thoughts why someone would even want to start a dropship adventure if you can't even come up with a niche :D but most people are really overthinking it.

Now, I rarely talk about my niches because I like to keep those things very private and before someone(anyone) asks, No I will not link you my website as it is currently in standby mode but one of my niches is computer hard&software.

Now almost all my businesses are international but this webshop I run in my own country through a local dropshipper. So why did I choose this niche?

I choose this niche because it is something that I have knowledge about and enjoy. I've been around since the first commercial PC's and for years I have been building my own systems and every now and then as a side hustle been building systems for clients. My other niche is also something I enjoy and have knowledge of.

So think of something you know and/or enjoy and see if you can turn that knowledge and enjoyment into a webshop.

Still got no clue? Go check out sites that are flipping websites and see which kind of websites were sold for a nice price and see what the niche was. You might turn that niche into a webshop for yourself or get inspired by it.

Also follow trends on google trends or buzzsumo etc, for example take the fidget cube and spinner, people that were on that straight from the get go have been and some still banking hard.

Go check some crowdfunding websites to see what's going on.

Of course if you got a niche do a bit of research about it, not going into detail on how to do that, google it but check out your competition and your keywords.

If you STILL:mad: don't have a clue which niche you need to pick you might consider something else than dropshipping.

3.Your website, domain name, hosting
Ok then, so you got a niche you want to go with, you set a plan, did some preparations now it's time for the most important thing, your webshop!

This is something I know a bit about as I sometimes have been freelancing as a webdesigner for a couple years to hustle a bit of cash when needed.

Your website is the MOST important part of your business, humans are a visual orientated race so if your website sucks, you suck and so will your business. It is vital in most cases that you standout from others and yet I constantly see the same mistakes!

For example take shopify, most beginners use the free templates, OK, I can understand that this is your first impuls to do and it doesn't have to be a bad thing per se if you tweak it a bit with plugins and custom CSS but to my surprise most use the default layout and then even worse they take one of those dumb premade shopify logo's.. They SUCK and have been used over and over and over and over again!

The worst beginners don't even host their domain name on separate hosting but use the shopify hosting so you get a link like thiswebsitesucks.myshopify.com..

OK let's recap what has been said and look at it through the eyes of a potential customer.

What do you think when they look at your webshop that has a shit URL like that, a dumb stupid logo, a basic layout they have seen often and a footer that says powered by Shopify?

Believe me, it's not good! Maybe your customer already has some bad experiences with other dropshippers that have the same setup as you with just another name and niche, people automatically link that bad memory with your website, bye bye customer o_O

What I am trying to say, Be original! Be creative! Be Different! Be innovative and think outside the box!

If you are not willing to put in the time, the work, the effort it will show and you will lose potential customers because why should they buy from someone who isn't fully committed?

Now here comes a part of your budget into play.

Host your own domain name and website if you use woo and redirect your domain if you use shopify. Take a name that is catchy or niche related or a combination of both, try always to take the .com extension, the new ones are cool but people still are most familiar with .com and it is still the top authorit of course if you run your webshop locally take the extension that is most popular in your country of residence.

Don't (I made this mistake also in the beginning) use a - AKA hyphen in your domain name. For example if billybatts.com is taken don't turn it into billy-batts.com. First off it doesn't roll nicely of the tongue plus they might go to the wrong website. Be original.

If you have a keyword and need inspiration to put something in front of it or behind go check out sites like:

The logo. Don't pick some shitty premade logo man, they just suck! You need something that has your style or fits your niche originally. I don't recommend the cheap fiverr logo gigs, those are usually existing logos or also premade logos with a little tweak. I usually do everything myself but I outsourced my logos right here on BHW.

There are some really nice deals and creative people on BHW and you contribute to keeping the forum active.

Normally I tag the guy who made my logoss and even thought they were bad-ass as I even got compliments from competitors I won't this time because you (yeah you logo boy) never like my posts when I promote you so suck it!:cool:

The website theme. In contrast to the logo you could make an free existing theme work if you just tweak it a little bit and do a bit of custom CSS. If you have no clue how to do that, outsource it ;)

To check out what BHW has to offer take a look over here for graphic design like logos:


And for webdesign you can take a look over here:


It might feel like it all cost a lot in the beginning but it's an investment in the future man, YOUR future!

If you want to build a house but never done it before, would you rather save till you got the money and outsource it to pro's so your house is build the right way and will survive bad times or would you think like, I can do it all myself over time? Yeah if you choose option 2 it might feel like in the beginning that you are saving money but in the long run you will lose money, storms come, destroying what you build up from the ground so you can start over again. Be smart!

A little bit about hosting, I'm not going into too much details of which hosting you should choose, shared or VPS but always research the company, find reviews, ask questions before going with one of them.

4.Platform to use your webshop with
There are many platforms you can use for your webshop, woocommerce, shopify, magento, open cart etc.

Magento is the most popular but mostly used by commercial companies so I will be talking about the 2 most popular among marketeers and that is shopify and woocommerce.

I've used both and currently I am running my shops on woocommerce but they got both positive and negative things.

Let's start with shopify, what I absolutely hate about them is that everything is based on monthly subscriptions, if you need some plugin it often comes with a subscription and costs can go up real fast.

As I'm a marketeer that does many different things within the IM spectrum I already have enough subscriptions as it is. Sure, many things start free but they are always very limited so if you want to upscale you need to pay.

Also when it comes to design they are limited, they don't have a lot of themes and I wanted to type that their paid themes are very expensive because last time I checked they were around $100 but I just took a look and they are now $140-$180.. Holy shit!:confused:

I understand why as shopify keeps growing in popularity but DAYUM!!

So yeah, prices can go up very fast within shopify so are there any positive things I can say about them?

Of course, from my own personal experience they got a very good customer service through chat, email and phone 24/7. You can pretty much ask all kind of things and they really try their best to solve your problem.

If I forget the financial part for a moment shopify is very noob friendly besides their excellent customer support they got many resources, tools, videos, podcasts, blogs, guides and a forum to help out.

So if you got the cash to invest but don't have much knowledge about CMS, CSS, HTML you should go for shopify.

Then you got woocommerce which I'm currently using which is a free wordpress plugin. As it's open source it doesn't have excellent customer support like shopify. They do got a ticket system but that only works if you subscribed to wordpress.com which is a paid service unlike wordpress.org which is free and open source.

On the other hand it has a big community so plenty of info to be found on the Internet.

Woocommerce has a more steep learning curve but it's free, works with a LOT more themes, is more customizable and works with a lot of free plugins and paid plugins are usually OTO.

Go with woocommerce if you got the time and dedication to DIY and want more customization options and freedom to build your shop or if you're already familiar with WP and HTML/CSS, once you know how it all works it's very easy but it takes time to learn ;)

5. Theme layout and setup
OK, now that you got all that done and made your choices you make sure your website is clear and easy to navigate for your customers.

That means for example that you have a navigation that makes sense! Let's say you are selling clothes, I need a navigation where I can actually click what I am looking for so if I am looking for men's shoes there should be a option that I can select men's shoes.

Now some may laugh because it's the logical thing to do but you have no idea how many people have just one button named shop, inventory etc and when you click it you will be dropped on a page that has different categories all cramped together. That is a shit example for a navigation and you WILL lose customers because of some stupid little thing like that.

Also stick with your niche and sub-niches, it makes no sense if you are selling fashion clothes and fill the website also with hunting knifes because you think it's cool. Another funny example but I've seen it!

A clear and accessible layout is very important as are the terms of your shop. So customers need to have easy access to the refund policy, delivery info, payment options, contact info, about info, FAQ, TOS and the privacy policy.

Always offer free shipping as most items you can dropship are free shipping but if for some reason it's not just include it in the price ;) customers will still think it's free shipping, don't feel guilty, every company is doing this.

Also don't start with just 5 items or some dumb shit like that, that only works if you are one of the first that has access to a viral product like the fidget cube but if you run a niche webshop make sure you got enough niche items for them to choose from and also make sure that some of the items look like they are on a special discount so you got a higher chance of an up-sale.

If you only have a few items, shitty layout etc customers will assume this website is either broken, bullshit or work in progress.

I also read that a lot of people are struggling with empty carts, shopify and woocommerce both have plugins that can help you with that.

I won't discuss in detail how to set those up because that info is easily found but just google for " abandoned cart plugin".

What these plugins do is send your customers & logged-in customers an email reminding them about their abandoned orders. It is proven that it helps with conversion.

Also always provide excellent customer service, if they want to refund something for which reason whatsoever, don't argue with them just take your losses it will contribute to a good reputation.

If your website is in English and English is not your native tongue, you better make sure that the grammar is near to perfect. People outside English countries may not be too bothered with bad grammar but people from countries where English is the native language will judge your shop for it which means less $moolah$ for you!

Outsource it, it's cheap!

6. Other things you need to set up
Your website is absolutely the most important thing you need to finish first before hooking up other platforms to your website.

Once you done that you start building social media accounts, for all my projects I set these as default.
  • facebook fanpage
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • pinterest
  • google+
  • linkedin
  • tumblr
Of course there are many other places where you can setup a profile but these are my defaults and most important for me.

I use the same principals for them as for my websites so if you can place a logo, a banner, a photo or a layout, do it! I will always make sure they look bad-ass and I always make sure they are linked to the website.

Depending which ones of those generate the most traffic you WILL need to keep them up to date, it doesn't have to be a lot but make sure that you post something every day even if no one is visiting you yet or leaving comments, likes etc. Why? It shows people you're active and dedicated and if you're a little bit more advanced you can automate a lot of that.

If someone replies to any of your social media posts be interactive and kind with them, again, this will contribute to a good reputation.

Naturally on your website you got all the icons that link to your social media accounts.

7.Dropship sources and their pro's and cons
There are many sources but let's discuss the ones people here and beginners use the most.

Amazon and AE(aliexpress)

What I like about Amazon is that they got quality stuff, they provide good tracking, customer support, fast delivery, easy refund policy and most of the time free delivery but profit marges are a LOT smaller. The reason is obvious, customers will find out that it came from Amazon. Now Amazon items can switch prices a lot so you can hustle a couple dollar per item but if you overcharge big they will see it as a scam and you lose customers.

Make sure in your TOS it states you are using Amazon to fulfill your orders.

Aliexpress, they are used by most for dropshipping and many people are banking hard of them.(even more people are failing too) AE is part of Alibaba and they sell about 15 billion items a year that is almost triple of the items that Amazon sells so people are obviously interested.

AE is cheap! So profit marges are a lot higher! What I don't like is that delivery can take long, certain niches have absolute shit quality and you always have to check every detail because the Chinese are masters in photo manipulation, always check the dimensions and weight. When it comes to refunding, results may vary. You got AE sellers that will always reply fast and you got those that are hard too reach and don't even speak English.

You probably will always get your money back sooner or later but to me it isn't worth the hustle so unless it involves a big amount of money I can't be bothered and take my losses.

If there is a option to send through a Epacket, take it, they are faster and provide better tracking which helps with PP.

Always put something in your TOS or on the website that your warehouses/factories are spread through out the world or something like that so they won't be wondering why delivery can take so long.

You can also dropship through 1688.com but I wouldn't advice that for beginners plus you will need a Chinese agent so I won't go into detail but it's fun to see what items really cost.

There are many agents so it's up to you to research which ones work for you but to give an example of what an agent is and the one I used a couple times, here you go.


8. Promoting your shop and products.
Now there are so many ways to do this that I am surprised that people are even struggling with this.

I will give a couple suggestions, of course I will not tell you my best tricks but I got the ideas how to tweak traffic from topics like this so you will need to experiment ;)

Obviously use all your social media accounts.

A lot of people do FB ads which is very good indeed but don't do this without knowledge and research first. I've seen so many newbies pumping hundreds of dollars into FB ads with zero success and instead of taking a time out and assess the situation they focus too much on at least earning back their money.

So they make another ad with some stupid offer but because they didn't complete the whole process of perfecting the website and social media they lose even more money..Money they could have invested in awesome logo's, plugins, themes, whatever.

On the upside, this way you at least build some experience even though a very costly lesson.

So if this happens to you, stop your campaign and assess the situation and wonder what you did wrong, maybe come here and read this shit and otherwise, if you like spending money and getting nothing for it in return, send it to me! :cool:

Back to FB. Simple and easy, joining FB groups that are related to your niche is still a nice way of generating traffic, you just need to be subtle about it. So in the beginning just like some posts, post some smalltalk replies and every now and then drop a link to your fan page or some special offer on your website.

If you are not sure if it's allowed ask the group owner, sometimes if they don't comply bribe em with something :D has worked for me several times. (that and the promise I will kill his family if he don't comply)JK

So what are more ways of traffic? PPC like bing ads to attract people to your website by promoting your best selling product or a product that you think after some research will sell very good but again, don't do this without learning about it first.

Next method seems a bit unconventional but it does work, share a Ebook about your niche that refers to your website. You can write your own, outsource it or take a PLR one and modify it.

For example, as you could read one of my niches is computer hard&software, so I made a couple Ebooks about the history of the PC, the history of the MAC, Apple, Microsoft and some Ebooks about how to build your own computer.

All with some catchy titles and text and plenty of referrals to my website or a text on the bottom of every page that states something like, " This Ebook is provided by www.mykickassshop.com" then I upload them to many sharing websites and forget about it.

It doesn't have to be a big Ebook even a couple pages work if the content is good and even with shitty content people will check out that Ebook anyway.

Now I am not going to explain how you write catchy titles and I'm not going to provide you all the sharing websites, all the info you can find through google but I will give you a example website to get the idea.


Don't be spamming those sites because they will ban you and remove your documents and your website might get a bad REP.

Another old way but still works great is forums. Now in my case it was pretty easy as in my country I am a member of the biggest computer forum since 2005 so of course I got a nice little banner in my signature and I am allowed to refer answers to my website if it's appropriated.

Join several forums that has something to do with your niche, post a link in your bio if possible in your signature or you could even have a subtle profile photo which refers to your website and post and reply on several messages a day, doesn't have to take up much time but all traffic sources help.

You could also try to make a deal with a top poster and pay him to have your banner for 30 days in his signature or something like that, shout outs on social media etc etc find your own way or use old ways and tweak them :)

Of course there a so many more methods but you will have to figure those out for yourself ;)

9.MISC advice & Some motivational crap
Finally I arrived at nr 9, damn, I don't think I ever wrote something this long on a forum and if you know what ADD is it has taken me forever :D

4,552 words 24,568 characters so far..

I hope at least 1 person found this beneficial to their journey, I'm sure I forgot stuff I wanted to type but didn't (I blame ADD/HSP) shit happens. :D

As you can see, dropshipping isn't as easy as just setting up shop, import items and $$$ ching ching. It's actually hard work in the beginning like any other business that's why so many people fail at it because they underestimated it it big time. (like most things in IM)

Main KW's are dedication, perseverance and patience. If you can survive all this at the start and stick with it it will only get easier from there on but most never make it to that point.

Now after you read this long ass post and think " fuck this shit imma gonna spend me some more cash in ads instead of a proper setup be my guest :)

But keep this in mind, what would you rather do? Waste money in ads and BS with zero ROI or invest your money in the beginning in proper tools, setups, logos etc etc so you will have a higher chance to succeed?

I know a few guys who are totally committed to dropshipping and they have cashed anywhere from 100k upwards to a million+ but they belong to a very small and selective group even though this from where you are sitting looks light-years away it is totally possible!

A lot of guys that made it were just regular guys who stuck with the plan, dedicated a small part of their live and are now reaping the rewards, you can too!!

Just be smart, use your brain, don't be too impulsive and don't give up when the world laughs at you. If you fail 1 time or 10 times, persevere!! Don't give up otherwise you are just another statistic with a fail story!

NEVER put yourself in the position that your life depends on it at the start. If you can't afford to make a good start just DON'T do it!

Save up but don't get yourself in trouble and lose everything! I've been homeless myself a couple times in my life and I can tell you that not a lot of people can deal with that way of life, be smart!

Always keep this picture in the back of your mind because it's the secret to success!


A couple of handy links to help with your quest!

Udemy, has sometimes great courses to start with, don't look at prices like $200,- because every course you can purchase for $15,- if you google it ;) but here are some free options:


Some handy YT videos for FB ads.


And some links to membership downloads that could benefit you, I don't know if the coupons still working so you have to find out for yourself I am way too tired ATM to check that ;)






So that's it, I started this way before 12pm midnight and it's now frikkin 3am :confused: and I'm tired AF so heading to bed! I hope at least some of you found this useful, have a great day/night/morning whatever and GL with whatever path you're taking.

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I have found getting a refund from aliexpress to be straightforward and have not been turned down once.

Also, if I were to use Amazon for dropshipping, wont the customer get a package with amazon branding on it?
You've got my respect bro :) , I'll write you in my notebook so that I will never forget you :D

OP, can you suggest a web hosting for e-commerce for me , your PM is highly appreciated :D
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Recently I just started dropshipping and marketing using twitter and Craiglist ( a forbidden subject of discussion on BHW)
I must say that CL is also another gold mine for quality traffic for dropshippers.
How did you manage when PayPal freeze your account? I always stuck in that position. PayPal want me to give them tracking and prove that the item already received by customer. But I do dropship. I tried it once, send it first, customer get the item, and PayPal get permanenet limited 180 days. WTF!
Thank you very much. You are hero to share this long thread to help us on dropshipping. Appreciate
would love to know more about the 1688 and their chinese agent process. can you quote any legit resource/links?
Very nice guide ! I laughed a little when you wrote psychical shop instead of physical, or was it intended ?
I have found getting a refund from aliexpress to be straightforward and have not been turned down once.

Also, if I were to use Amazon for dropshipping, wont the customer get a package with amazon branding on it?
Good to hear, refunds can indeed work great but it can also work out bad.

I wished I explained amazon a bit more but was too tired.

Customers indeed will see the Amazon branding that's why I will write in the TOS I use amazon to fulfil my orders, that's also the reason why profits are so low because if I would really fuck them over I would surely get a lot of refunds.

If you dropship from AE you should also let your customers know you are shipping from Asia.

I might ask a mod if they are willing to add some text.
OP, can you suggest a web hosting for e-commerce for me , your PM is highly appreciated :D
It's hard to tell as I only tested a few things. But currently I am hosting all my websites on a unmanaged VPS to keep costs low buy I wouldn't recommend that because I had to overcome and learn(I'm a Linux noob) a lot.

Ive heard good things about bluehost.
Recently I just started dropshipping and marketing using twitter and Craiglist ( a forbidden subject of discussion on BHW)
I must say that CL is also another gold mine for quality traffic for dropshippers.
Yes, there are many great sources and methods but I had to find most of those myself through hours of researching and so should others :)
How did you manage when PayPal freeze your account? I always stuck in that position. PayPal want me to give them tracking and prove that the item already received by customer. But I do dropship. I tried it once, send it first, customer get the item, and PayPal get permanenet limited 180 days. WTF!
Yeah, this part really sucks that's why you need a budget and this is also one of the reasons I currently have my shops on standby because currently I'm heavily invested in my other projects.

So yeah, you either need a good creditcard or have a descent budget saved up to survive this process.

would love to know more about the 1688 and their chinese agent process. can you quote any legit resource/links?
There can be found plenty on the subject matter but to give you an idea, this is one I have used a couple times.
Very nice guide ! I laughed a little when you wrote psychical shop instead of physical, or was it intended ?
Ow nooo.:) certainly not intended lol but a part I did on my phone so must have auto corrected it I think, I did read it all twice to correct as many errors as possible but I was really really tired so must have missed it. @Zwielicht @Society Girl safe me :oops:
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fuck this shit imma gonna spend me some more cash in ads instead of a proper setup...jk xD
Nice write up!

Send it to me man!!
Give me your Paypal..I'll fire up my paypal monkey generator v2.1
Jokes aside, There are some good points in your post that I'll keep in mind when i start a dropshipping business..
Give me your Paypal..I'll fire up my paypal monkey generator v2.1
Jokes aside, There are some good points in your post that I'll keep in mind when i start a dropshipping business..
Aww come on man, I already have enough of those monkeys!

Glad you found it useful.
thanks a lot for the reply man.

i read you use a vps to host... if so, checkout serverpilot.io

i use it to host my sites using linode, but it also works great with digital ocean. Just install the required ubuntu version, and give the ssh login details to serverpilot.io

it would setup the entire hosting system, nginx+apache for speed. Full security setup.out of the box.

auto wordpress install available.

best of all, its FREE!

If you upgrade to $10/server plan, you can get free ssl for your domains using letsencrypt which is automatically renewed by serverpilot at the end of every three months.

Only caveat is I have to use an external email provider. I use Google Suite, i prefer gmail interface and I can have the emails in one single app on my phone (coz everybody already uses gmail).

setting up email servers is even more complicated than hosting. installation is only a small part of the whole ordeal... tons of configuration, reverse dns, ptr, fuckkall needs to be configured or your emails will land in spam box. never got the hang of it.
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