Frequent Questions

 

 

General Questions

Monitoring Capabilities

Using ChangeDetect

ChangeDetect Basic Service (FREE)

ChangeDetect Member Billing




What is ChangeDetect?

ChangeDetect is a FREE service that saves your favorite web pages, monitors content and sends an automatic email notification to you whenever these web pages are updated.

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What is a web page?

A web page is a single document. Here are some examples:

http://www.changedetect.com/links.asp
http://www.postonce.com/INFO/PODN.asp
http://www.changedetect.com/

A "web site" is a collection of one or more related webpages. Here are some examples:

http://www.changedetect.com/
http://www.csus.edu/
http://www.uncf.org/

Note that "http://www.changedetect.com/" is the home page of the website and therefore references a webpage and a website.

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How do I unsubscribe from web page monitoring and email notification?

To stop web page change notifications by email, ChangeDetect users simply follow the instructions at the bottom of the web page update notification sent by e-mail when a web page has changed.

ChangeDetect power users signup for a ChangeDetect membership which allows add, edit and delete operations from a convenient, online control panel.

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How do I report third parties who use my email address without my permission to signup for ChangeDetect web page monitoring?

If a third-party has signed you up for ChangeDetect web page monitoring without your permission, then please contact us. ChangeDetect is secure and our staff has the technology and inclination to track down and deal with individuals who abuse the system.

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How do I monitor web pages on my intranet or behind a firewall?

We now offer ChangeDetect Enterprise Solutions which allows you to monitor the web and intranet content from behind a corporate firewall.

Less elegant and somewhat effective alternatives involve selective publication of content and the use of the ChangeDetect browser tag.

Before we developed ChangeDetect Enterprise Solutions, these are the methods that we recommended to our users who wanted to monitor fire-walled content:

We do not know your exact configuration, but we have users who successfully monitor web pages on their intranet. Firewall configuration is required and would be based on the ChangeDetect browser tag.

If for some reason, this option does not work, consider publishing the titles of the key web pages to the internet. And then automatically or manually update this index page when the underlying documents change. Then your users can use ChangeDetect to monitor the index page on the internet and click through securely to the actual pages in the intranet.

The only other alternative we can think of is your starting and maintaining an internal mailing list. And depending on the number of users, there are significant costs associated with that option.

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How do I allow ChangeDetect entry into my IP restricted directories?

We currently have a dedicated IP address for our web page monitoring script and it has not changed for some time.

However we would like maximum flexibility to change our IP address when needed as there are legitimate and ongoing reasons to do so.

As such, your allowing or denying ChangeDetect access to your website by IP address is not an ideal security method from our perspective. However we understand how you work and can offer a few alternatives.

ChangeDetect clearly identifies itself with a unique browser tag.

Your first alternative is to monitor the web page listing the ChangeDetect IP address. And then if in the future we change our IP address, you will be notified immediately.

Your better alternative is to instead check browser tag only. If your site visitor is the ChangeDetect bot and is using the proper browser tag, then allow entry.

For additional security, check the browser tag and the IP address, but do not block a ChangeDetect browser tag with an unfamiliar IP address unless you investigate.

If the browser tag matches ChangeDetect, then allow entry. And in this case if the IP address does not also match, then still allow entry but log the IP address for manual review (in this case, we may have changed our IP address).

Using the browser tag is the best method to avoid any costly web page monitoring errors.

The only other alternative we can think of is your starting and maintaining a mailing list. And there are significant costs associated with that option.

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Who developed ChangeDetect?

ChangeDetect was originally developed as an internal tool for the online research projects of our software development organization.

ChangeDetect online market researchers grew weary of continuously checking web pages for content changes.

After learning that keeping up to date with web page changes was a common problem, we published the monitoring tool online and made it freely available to anyone with a web browser and an e-mail address.

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How can I support ChangeDetect free services?

Some advanced features of the ChangeDetect service are offered by membership, but all of the original ChangeDetect features are still free of charge.

Everybody loves free service.  However if you use the free webpage monitoring service from ChangeDetect, the only thing that we ask is that you offer some form of support. We have made it very easy to contribute:

ChangeDetect web page monitoring services are a free alternative to the website update notification services from such sites as netmind, mindit, spyonit and URLyWarning.

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Does ChangeDetect monitor all web pages within a website or operate as a domain spider?

No.  Each ChangeDetect monitor you create only monitors one web page at a time. ChangeDetect is not a domain spider and will not search a web site for additional web pages. If you would like to monitor multiple webpages within a website, then create multiple ChangeDetect monitors.

Keep in mind that it is OK to monitor the home page for a web site, if the homepage contains the content you want to monitor.  But do not enter the home page of a website and expect ChangeDetect to monitor the pages buried underneath in different files or subdirectories.  

To correctly set up a monitor, you must click through the web site until you find the web page of interest. With ChangeDetect you must enter the address of the actual page of interest (i.e. product announcements, price lists, employment opportunities, news releases, etc).

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Is ChangeDetect a "website monitor" for uptime testing and reporting?

No. The use of ChangeDetect as a website monitor is not practical because ChangeDetect only periodically monitors web pages.

Unlike a website monitor, the ChangeDetect monitoring system does not run at a frequent enough rate to report useful uptime or connectivity status for a website.

Website Monitoring

You should use a website monitoring system to monitor web sites for connectivity and uptime.

Keep in mind that almost all website monitoring services are subscription based and do not have extensive content checking features.

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Can ChangeDetect report web page changes the minute a web page changes?

The basic ChangeDetect service for free users automatically checks web pages weekly. In addition ChangeDetect free users can request web page change detection on demand. On demand web page change detection for free users schedules all web pages for immediate processing and is limited to one request per day.

For ChangeDetect members the web page checking frequency can be increased to automated change detection schedules of daily or twice-daily (every 12 hours). On demand web page change detection is also available to ChangeDetect members and the number of requests per day are without limitation.

Anything beyond twice-daily for web page checking is resource intensive both for ChangeDetect and the computer system serving the web page(s) being checked.

If you have a need to monitor web pages more frequently than allowed by your free ChangeDetect membership, then upgrade your account to ChangeDetect for daily or twice-daily web page monitoring.

For a web page monitoring frequency greater than twice-daily, your best bet is consider a website monitoring solution.  It is always best however to contact the webmaster for the site in question to work out a solution.

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Can ChangeDetect monitor pages with data that changes all of the time (active content)?

Yes. With a ChangeDetect membership you may configure advanced web page monitoring with keyword triggers. Keyword triggers fine-tune web page content monitoring and eliminate the reporting of irrelevant content changes.

Refer to the example of a page with active content. You will see a web page with active content that increments the date, rotates images and manipulates other dynamic content to display a page that interacts with the user.

Note that if you monitor a page like this and do not have a ChangeDetect membership, you will receive false "page has changed" reports, because the date and other active content changes every time the page is loaded. In this case, ChangeDetect detects these as changes.

So if the web page of interest has active content and you do not have webmaster support to add "ignore tags", then the only way to successfully monitor the web page with active content is to sign up for a ChangeDetect membership and setup keyword triggers.

Without taking these steps for web pages with active content, you will receive a daily stream of meaningless change notifications.

new You may now also use regular expressions to remove irrelevant content like ads, timestamps and hit counters.

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Can ChangeDetect monitor pages with FRAMES?

Sometimes... If you know what you are doing. ChangeDetect can very easily monitor the content pages to which a frames page links to or references.

Review the detailed frames example to learn more about frames pages and how to enter the correct URL for monitoring frames page content.

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Will ChangeDetect work with web pages that redirect traffic?

Probably not.

But there is a workaround solution.

When you type the name of certain web pages into your browser, control may pass to another web page.  Webmasters design websites like this for a variety of reasons. The important thing to know is that if you want to monitor a web page, be sure to copy the web page with the content and not the web page with the pointer.

An example should help. Here is a web page with an internally coded pointer that redirects control to another web page:

http://www.changedetect.com/cd_redirect_to_b.asp

When you click the above link, (watch your browser's address bar) control is redirected to the following web page:

http://www.changedetect.com/cd_this_is_b.asp

In this example you would create a ChangeDetect monitor on the second file, "cd_this_is_b.asp", because the first file, "cd_redirect_to_b.asp" is only a pointer and does not contain any data.

If you create a ChangeDetect monitor on a redirect script like in the first file, ChangeDetect may not be able to return any information to you.

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Can ChangeDetect monitor pages that require login with username and password?

Yes.

ChangeDetect successfully monitors password protected content.

Unlike other urlminder services, ChangeDetect monitors virtually all web accessible content.

ChangeDetect even monitors the invisible web, content unknown to search engines.

Tracking content changes to high value web page monitoring targets is made easy with ChangeDetect, because even secure content protected by any of the following security is available for URL minding:

Change monitoring for password protected web pages is an advanced feature and is available for ChangeDetect "Plus" web page monitoring plan subscribers and above.

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Can ChangeDetect monitor .pdf documents?

Yes.

Portable Document Format (PDF) files are non-standard web documents. However with ChangeDetect you can monitor PDF documents.

PDF documents are coded in a proprietary data format controlled by their software publisher.

Change monitoring for PDF documents is an advanced feature and is available for ChangeDetect "Professional" web page monitoring plan subscribers and above.

If you do not currently maintain a ChangeDetect Professional membership, then you may have a few additional options to setup monitoring for PDF documents.

Option 1 - Indirect Web Page Monitoring

The first way is to indirectly monitor the PDF document by monitoring the index page which contains the listing of all of the PDF documents in the catalog.

But this requires a well designed website.

If the site is not designed with a nice index (in a standard web language like HTML) then you will have to contact the site's webmaster and ask that he create one.

Then you and other users will be able to successfully monitor the index page.

Option 2 - ChangeDetect Monitor this Page form

The second approach also involves the site's webmaster.  You can contact the webmaster and ask him to add the ChangeDetect "monitor this page" form to his website.

The obvious advantage of this approach is that the technical complexity for PDF document monitoring resides with the site's webmaster.

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Can ChangeDetect monitor .doc or .rtf documents?

Yes.  ChangeDetect can read Microsoft Word documents (.doc, .dot and .rtf formats), however these files tend to be very large and consume significant resources.

Change monitoring for Microsoft Word documents is an advanced feature and is available for ChangeDetect "Professional" web page monitoring plan subscribers and above.

Document monitoring is setup by special request.

If you are a ChangeDetect Professional member and would like to monitor Microsoft Word documents, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will set up document monitoring for you.

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What other file extensions are supported?

ChangeDetect monitors virtually any and all web-accessible content for changes.

However current limits are placed on very large files and those files that consume significant resources. Examples of these types of files are as follows:

However these limits do not usually apply for ChangeDetect "Professional" web page monitoring plan subscribers and above.

ChangeDetect is pre-configured for automatically monitoring the most popular file extensions.

If necessary, ChangeDetect can accommodate special web page monitoring requests from our members on a case-by-case basis.

Our goal is to monitor all web-accessible content.

More details about ChangeDetect web page monitoring file support are listed on the features page.

If you are a ChangeDetect Professional member and have a special web page monitoring target in mind, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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What are the file size limits on web pages acceptable for monitoring?

None. Zilch. Nada.

ChangeDetect monitors any web-enabled content for changes and notifies you the moment it changes.

The vast majority of web pages are sized anywhere between 20K bytes and 40K bytes (not including images). It is very rare for web pages to be larger than 100K bytes. As such, we consider web pages larger than 200K bytes to be large web pages.

Previously ChangeDetect rejected large web pages for monitoring, but our developers have now found a way to support web page monitoring for document contents of any size.

quote openThere are now no limits on the size of documents for web page monitoring with ChangeDetect.quote close

Keep in mind however that full support for monitoring large web pages may be limited based on your current subscription type.

How It Works

Highlighted web page monitoring (cd-diff) and other advanced web page monitoring features may not be fully supported.

When ChangeDetect detects a change to your large web page, you will be notified of the change. However it will be up to you to visit the web page and determine the type of change.

Learn more about text highlighting with cd-diff.

Note: Most web browsers offer a web page "properties" option in which the size of a web page can be determined.  For example, with Internet Explorer, the "Properties" option is available under the "File" menu. For Mozilla Firefox you can click the "Page Info" option under the "Tools" menu.

Note: File sizes are also available by viewing a web page monitor under the "Log" section of the "view monitor" option from the ChangeDetect member control panel.  Of course this only applies to existing web page monitors and represents the last known file size determined by ChangeDetect.

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Please explain the abbreviations and symbols used in the control panel.

Within the control panel, some column titles are abbreviated or referred to with symbols.  This data is displayed in the manner as a way to increase readability and conserve viewable space.

The following table provides more details about the meanings:

Control Panel Legend

G Action button to browse the web page
  • use this action to download or "go to" the web page
V Action button to view the web page monitor
  • use this action to display all monitor details including the monitor log which details when the web page was last checked and when the web page is next scheduled to be checked
  • use this action to display other fields including error count, page size, etc.
M Action button to modify the web page monitor
  • use this action to personalize web page monitors with a title, category or description
  • use this action to setup content filters, notification options and notification triggers
D Action button to delete the web page monitor
  • use this action to stop monitoring a web page - deleted web page monitors are removed from the control panel - prior to deletion, the user is prompted with a warning message - to avoid accidental deletion the user must confirm the deletion
  • do not use this action if you want to save the web page monitor information - use the silent feature if you do not want to receive any more web page change notifications 
T Action button to test and fine-tune web page notification settings
  • use this action to fix notification problems related to extraneous or excessive email notifications
  • use this action to test keyword settings or view the actual content as ChangeDetect "sees it"
C Action button to check web page for immediate detection of web page changes
  • use this action to schedule a page to be checked immediately
Web Page Display the web page monitor
  • Click this link to sort the list of web page monitors
Last Changed Displays the date the monitor was last changed
  • Click this link to sort the list of web page monitors
F Web page checking frequency appears in the "F" column
  • the web page checking frequency setting is displayed in hours (24, 168 etc.)
S Stealth mode is enabled if the icon () is displayed
Q Quiet mode (aka "silent mode") is enabled if the icon () is displayed
± The color-coded highlights feature (cd-diff) setting is enabled if the icon () is displayed
E The web page monitoring robot encountered one or more download errors if the icon () is displayed
  • use the test action button to research the error

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How do I upload (or import) many URLs with ChangeDetect?

Bulk importing web pages for changes is easy with ChangeDetect.

Simply enter the list of URLs (i.e. http://www.changedetect.com/news.asp).

Then select an existing category or create a new category name.

If you have a html or text file containing one or more URLs, paste up to 5,000 characters of the file contents into the "Web pages(s)" field. ChangeDetect automatically extracts, categorizes and bulk adds your URLs to your control panel listing.

Nothing could be easier.

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How do I activate highlighted web page content changes (cd-diff) for my monitors?

For ChangeDetect notifications, "no highlighting" is the default -- even for ChangeDetect members.

In order to receive highlighted web page content changes, login to the ChangeDetect control panel and select "View Subscription" from the "Account Management" drop down list to verify that you have a valid membership.

Highlighted web page content changes are available to specific web page monitoring plan subscribers and above.

After checking your membership, modify individual monitor records by setting the cd-diff field to "True". A "True" setting for the cd-diff field activates highlighted web page content changes sent to your email address.

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Does ChangeDetect show removed content?

Yes, the ChangeDetect Difference (cd-diff) shows color-coded highlights of what content has been added and removed.

Find out more information about Highlighted web page content changes by email.

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Do you verify member registration information?

Yes, all ChangeDetect member registrations are reviewed by our staff for validity.

We attempt to make registration as easy and painless as possible.

When you register, you agree to the ChangeDetect Terms of Service.

If you have concerns about privacy, feel free to review the ChangeDetect Privacy Policy.

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What are the browser requirements for using ChangeDetect?

ChangeDetect has been tested with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4+ and Mozilla Firefox 4+.

ChangeDetect requires both JavaScript and cookies. If your browser is not accepting cookies, you will need to enable your browser's cookies. You might also try adding ChangeDetect as a trusted site.

While ChangeDetect has been tested with standards compliant browsers, you may need to upgrade to a current browser version with the proper settings enabled to avoid any potential registration or login issues.

You may also want to confirm that your computer's system date and time are current.

Be sure to contact us with any registration or login issues. Note: Any sophisticated use of a proxy, firewall or other anonymizing software is outside the scope of ChangeDetect end-user support.

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What exactly do I get as the basic service and how is this different than a paid membership?

With the ChangeDetect basic service you are able to monitor up to five (5) web pages for FREE.

And for the first thirty (30) days you are automatically enrolled as a ChangeDetect Personal member and have access to all of the advanced web page monitoring features and benefits of the ChangeDetect Personal membership subscription.

After thirty (30) days, your account loses the advanced web page monitoring features of ChangeDetect Personal and the frequency of monitoring for your web pages is decreased from twice-daily checking to weekly web page checking.

If you log into your account after the thirty (30) days have elapsed, you will see the following message:

Your ChangeDetect membership has expired.

You can still log in to the ChangeDetect member control panel, however all advanced web page monitoring features such as:

  • twice-daily web page checking;
  • highlighted web page content changes;
  • one click web page monitoring;
  • priority scheduling;
  • bulk web page monitor creation;
  • keyword triggers;
  • stealth mode and
  • silent mode

have been disabled...

To reactivate any of the advanced web page monitoring features of ChangeDetect, click "Order Now" from the control panel.

Frequent Questions
Frequency Quota

We will continue to monitor your existing web pages on a weekly schedule.

To monitor your existing web pages more frequently:

  • Select "Check All Now" from the "Service Management" menu in the control panel. This action will schedule immediate change detection and update notification.
  • To automatically monitor on a more frequent basis, click "Order Now" from the control panel to upgrade your account.

We will continue monitoring your existing quota allocation of web page monitors.

  • Click "View Statistics" from "Service Management" menu of the control panel to check your quota.
  • To monitor more web pages, click "Order Now" from the control panel.

Thank you for evaluating ChangeDetect.

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How long does the FREE Trial last?

Thirty (30) days.

You may interrupt your FREE trial at any time to upgrade your membership.

Just click "Order Now" from the control panel.

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How many web pages can I monitor under the basic service?

Five (5) web pages.

You may interrupt your FREE trial at any time to upgrade your membership to a larger quota of web pages to monitor.

Just click "Order Now" from the control panel.

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When the trial ends do you automatically disengage my account or do I have to let you know that I am interested in a paid membership?

A few days before the FREE Trial ends and at its conclusion, we will notify you via email with an invitation to upgrade your account to a paid membership.

If for some reason you do not wish to upgrade your ChangeDetect membership, then you do not need to take any action.  The system will automatically downgrade your account to the basic service.

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How are ChangeDetect memberships priced?

ChangeDetect memberships are offered by subscription plans. For more details, click here.

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How am I billed for ChangeDetect membership?

For ChangeDetect billing, we use a third party payment gateway that allows recurring credit card payments. This means that once you have entered your payment information, your account will automatically be charged the same amount every thirty (30) days.

You will only have to enter your payment information once and the payment gateway is secure and guaranteed against fraudulent use.

Login to your control panel and select "View Subscription" from the "Account Management" menu of the control panel to get started.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance.

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Will I need to re-enter my payment information every month?

No. All regular ChangeDetect memberships are charged on a recurring basis. This means that once you have entered your payment information, your account will automatically be charged the same amount every thirty (30) days.

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How do I cancel my ChangeDetect membership?

Canceling a ChangeDetect membership is easy.

Simply sign into your ChangeDetect membership control panel and select "View Subscription" from the "Account Management" menu.

Follow the instructions to cancel your membership.

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My credit card was declined - what do I do?

Unfortunately, there is very little ChangeDetect administrators can do about declined credit card transactions, because we do not handle our own billing.

First-time purchases

One of the most common reasons for declined credit card transactions (for first time purchases) is inconsistent or incorrect billing details.  To avoid this problem, ensure that the name and address you provide on the payment form are exactly the same as the card holder's billing name and address. 

These details are used for security checking.  Bogus or invalid data causes the transaction to be declined.

Recurring Transactions

For recurring transactions, we will probably contact you about the incident. However we will be unlikely to take any action action on your behalf. In the past, we have been able to recommend that our members use another credit card and/or contact your credit card company about any of the following:

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Is it possible to pay for a year at a time via credit card, rather than paying every month?

ChangeDetect accepts and prefers electronic payments.  Online payments through our third party processor keep our administrative costs down which we pass on to our members through the industry's lowest prices. In addition, online payments from our third party processor are secure and guaranteed against fraud with money back in the unlikely event of security breaches.

We understand how you work.  As such, we also accept checks for yearly ChangeDetect Professional and ChangeDetect Corporate memberships.

Additional restrictions apply

If you would like to start a ChangeDetect membership, create an account and/or login to the membership control panel and select "View Subscription".

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Will I be charged sales taxes or VAT?

Orders placed from within the United States will not be charged sales taxes.

For all other orders, the collection of taxes depends on the laws in your country.

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Does ChangeDetect offer a money back guarantee?

Yes. ChangeDetect guarantees that you will be satisfied with the ChangeDetect web page monitoring service.

If for any reason, during the first thirty (30) days of your ChangeDetect membership, you are not completely satisfied, please contact us. We will answer your questions and/or attempt to resolve the issues.

However if you do not want to go through this resolution process or if we fail to sufficiently answer your question or fix the problem, we will upon your request refund the current month's membership fee to your account.  Guaranteed.

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