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Yahoo buys Flickr 156

FLickLover writes "Yahoo is buying Flickr for an undisclosed amount. The rumors of the deal have been doing the rounds for weeks now. On the Flickr Blog Ludicorp folks are talking about the deal and how it impacts the community. "We can finally confirm that Yahoo has made a definitive agreement to acquire Flickr and us, Ludicorp. Smack the tattlers and pop the champagne corks! Woohoo! " This is the third high profile Blog/RSS related buyout of 2005. Live Journal was bought by Six Apart, while Ask Jeeves snapped up Bloglines." Update: 03/21 12:49 GMT by H : And my favorite comment on it comes from Ben Hyde's blog. Genius.
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Yahoo buys Flickr

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  • by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Sunday March 20, 2005 @06:52PM (#11993447) Journal
    that makes all the photos Flash? Drives me nuts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 20, 2005 @06:52PM (#11993449)
    Now it's Fl!ckr
  • Yarrrrrrrr! (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    There be new bubbles to burst in thar sea!
  • by NoGuffCheck ( 746638 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @06:52PM (#11993452)
    Prepare ship for Ludicorp speed!
  • by Rick and Roll ( 672077 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:03PM (#11993524)
    It's really amazing how a couple of good ideas and some initiative can turn into such a big buyout. I haven't signed up for an account, because I don't do much picture-taking, so I don't know about all of the features that helped them to make it. What I do know is that there have been many companies trying to make money of the same concept for several years.

    I think the difference between them and I is partly that there was more than one competent computer scientist and partly that they understood the users so well because they were users. I can't imagine someone putting together such an excellent photo suite that wasn't into photography.

    The one thing that I have in common with them is that I can think of clever ideas for implementation.

    So basically, their achievement was a combination of having an excellent development team, being users (domain knowledge), and being able to utilize the latest and greatest technology to create a truly innovative product.

    Anyway, I am a little jealous, but if the creators of Flickr are reading this I would like to say "Congrats."

    • Well, it seems to me to be a web implementation of Photo Album from Adobe, with some Web cruft slapped on.
    • Perhaps this is a "big buyout", but I honestly don't think so.

      The Ludicorp people themselves speak of their money troubles (on their Typepad, no less, weblog) "It means that we'll no longer have to draw straws to see who gets paid."

      So, my take is that while they do have a vibrant, growing, etc. community of photosharing/social networking, they do not have a sustainable business model.

      A lot of energy and buzz, no profits.

      I.e. Yahoo might not have paid through the nose for Flickr. And now it'll b
      • Perhaps this is a "big buyout", but I honestly don't think so.

        The Ludicorp people themselves speak of their money troubles (on their Typepad, no less, weblog) "It means that we'll no longer have to draw straws to see who gets paid."

        So, my take is that while they do have a vibrant, growing, etc. community of photosharing/social networking, they do not have a sustainable business model.

        They may not have a sustainable business model because they never needed one. This isn't Stewart's first buyout:

        • Yeah, it is a business model in itself of course - creating something that has "potential (possibly)!" written all over it, and selling it to the highest bidder.

          Well, if they're doing something neat (which I think flickr is) and are having fun doing it, more power to 'em.
    • You're right about them having an excellent development team. One of the founders founded the 5k prize which was a contest to see who could create the coolest web app in 5k bytes. That contest has since been absorbed by SIGGRAPH.
    • They didn't just understand *users*, they also understood *communities of users*.

      A lot of companies tried to make money in the same area, but few had the same concepts: build something for the user experience, make it easy for users to share, allow users to create their own taxonomies, open wide your API... this isn't about luck or coding smarts- although they certainly were necessary. I would describe it as a different philosophy or ethic.

      Seems there's money for us enterprising geeks, if we quit creating
    • I'm jealeous too of course, but I think these folks deserve it. And I take heart, as I too am working on a new web technology (sorry no link, "stealth" mode still) in a related area.

      I don't take many photos but I finally signed up for a Flickr account simply because I think their app is really, really cool. A couple random notes from my notes file:

      WHY FLICKR ROCKS (or at least seems to)

      + entered a *crowded* space (photo sites)
      + with a *new* trick (tag-based organization)
      + and a *non-sucking* version o

    • While I completely agree with you, I think you're missing out on a rather key element of their success.

      Blogosphere support

      Yes, I know uttering the word "blogosphere" is going to make many people deeply, deeply irritated (and perhaps with good reason), but I don't think Flickr (and Ludicorp) would be anywhere as successful without the frequent linking and press from popular blogs like these:
      • BoingBoing
      • Stop Design
      • Adaptive Path's Blog
      • The founder's of Six Apart
      • etc...

      It's kind of like Googl

      • Agreed. And let's not forget that Flickr was founded by two A-list bloggers, the kind of people who could mention something in passing and have it linked to from dozens of sites. They had a ready-made way to get publicity. Heck, that's how I found out about Flickr.
    • So basically, their achievement was a combination of having an excellent development team, being users (domain knowledge), and being able to utilize the latest and greatest technology to create a truly innovative product.

      Most importantly, they were more interested in creating something that they wanted to create than they were in making money off of it:

      "The game and styles of playing the game are what matter because they produce identities people care about. Likewise, a business develops an identity by p
    • This reminds me of the excellent documentary [].

      I recommend it to anybody who's interested in seeing from the inside what the glory days of the dot com bubble looked like. Starting from nothing with a cool idea, getting millions from venture capitalists, and then the fall from grace.

      Great stuff.

      In another vein, I recommend the other [] documentary by the same girl.
  • Makes Sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nzgeek ( 232346 ) * on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:07PM (#11993553) Homepage Journal
    I think this makes a lot of sense. First Oddpost (for desktop-like webmail), then Flickr (for desktop-like photo management). If they can pull this together, I can see it being pretty cool.

    I've been curious about Google's attempts to do email (introduce a new paradigm and confuse users), and photo management (buy a desktop product - wtf does Picass have to do with web?), but I can see some sense of coherence with Yahoo's (both web-based with slick/easy UIs).

    Interesting times.
    • Looks like you're unaware of the Picasa-Hello-Blogger triangle, probably the easiest way to maintain private photo collection and put part of it on the web (in your blog ;>).

      The rest of Hello seems bit pointless - picture chatting? Come on.. But the nice desktop picture management combined with easy blogging of selected pictures is nice.

      Web interface ISN'T everything and Picasa is closest thing to iPhoto on wintel PC.. and if you're some Linux nut who thinks that everyone wants to use KDE/Gnome progra
    • Re:Makes Sense (Score:3, Informative)

      by alphakappa ( 687189 )
      "I've been curious about Google's attempts to do email (introduce a new paradigm and confuse users), and photo management (buy a desktop product - wtf does Picass have to do with web?)"

      Care to explain how gmail confuses users? Google's stated motto is to organize the world's information. For me, Picassa helps organize my photos and it does a kickass job of it. If you still need a connection between Picassa and the web, there's their 'Hello' service that lets you blog your pictures directly.
      • I'd argue that mom and pop email users would be a little confused by the conversation thread collapse thingy in Gmail. If you haven't seen oddpost, it's very very similar to outlook/express/thunderbird, with a tree for folder navigation etc., but all done in jscript & css.

        Sure, I think Google's tools are cool, but I think Yahoo has the better ingredients for something totally integrated (if that's what people want...)

        Think of an outlook-style web interface (oddpost), with folders for search (Y!), ima
  • by jbum ( 121617 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:08PM (#11993562)
    I'm a big fan of Flickr, which if you haven't heard of it, is a community-oriented photo-sharing service. Their photo-sharing API [] has enabled me to quickly assemble some nifty things such as this Colr Pickr [] and photo mosaics []. However, I must admit I have mixed feelings about this acquisition, perhaps due my experiences in the late 90s, in which I found myself in a continual battle with new corporate overlords.

    If you read the posts that founders Stewart and Caterina have been making in the Flickr Blog [], and elsewhere [], it's clear that they truly believe that this acquisition is for the best, and I don't doubt that both the Ludicorp folks and the Yahoo folks have the best of intentions.

    Just as small children sometimes accidentally mistreat beloved pets, large groups of people with the best of intentions sometimes break things. Flickr currently has the feel of a 'mom & pop shop' and it is hard to believe that this state of affairs will continue with the influx of more money & extra management. But let's hope so!
  • I'm waiting for the "I'm surprised Google didn't buy Flickr" posts. Think about it... Blogger and Picasa with a Hello link to Flickr... it only makes sense. I guess next we'll see the "Google announcing Flickr-like service rumor"
    • I was about to say something like that.

      It has interested me that over at (a Google property) they haven't immediately come out with their own photo-blogging spin-off. Google mean time acquired another photo company (who's name I forget) that only works for Windows (Hence I don't use it) and they have been recommending that non-Windows users use Flickr instead (which I have).

      Now I wonder what Googles response will be? Continue recommending a Yahoo product?

      Seems to me there is significant r
    • Google should definitely be looking into FotoFlix []. Similar service to Flickr but enough uniqueness to add value to Google's line of products (orkut & blogger).
    • oh ho ho, just give it a few months and google will come out with a simplified looking version of a similar idea, and we will have a minimum of 50 slashdot articles talking about this ingenious new google product and how its so much better cuz it uses javascript and xml, and then 20 more articles talking about how they work their magic, and finally 10 more articles about how france is suing them for creating such a product because it allows unauthorized pictures of the eifel tower or something.
  • I'm confused (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by netdur ( 816698 )
    what the differents between and ?
    • by Colol ( 35104 )
      what the differents between and ?

      Flickr isn't used almost exclusively to host members' amateur porn. ;)
  • zerg (Score:2, Funny)

    How do you get bought by Yahoo and then scream "Woohoo?"
  • I'm only somewhat interested in flickr, but i'm more interested in what's a good server/platform for photos on my own computer. Is there something with all the flickr features?
  • by Lewisham ( 239493 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:16PM (#11993604)

    The Flickr guys say that they'll remain separate. I fail to see how much say Ludicorp have left seeing as this appears to be a total buyout.

    Yahoo! will do what they have always done, and subsume the functionality into their own, and slap it's own design on to boot. Unfortunately, unlike the Borg, Yahoo! does not look cool. The design of Yahoo! is as poor (both in ugliness and usability) today as it has always been. One of Flickr's many strengths (apart from the obvious technological ones) is that the designers always seemed to recognise the importance of *white space*. Flickr makes my photos look good. It looks professional, but it doesn't take the focus away from the photo. If Yahoo! forces the its unique brand of boring, cluttered onto the site, the usability and visual appeal is going to go down the drain. And isn't visual appeal part of why we take photos?

    Geocities was no looker [] that's for sure, but at least it looked like it had some creativity left in its soul.

    Yahoo! stopped that cadaver kicking [].

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Woah there. I'm not sure what part of Yahoo you're refering to, but in general Yahoo is one of the better designed websites / portals.

      Their web applications (mail, calender, address book) are superbly designed - and their content pages (,,, etc) are very clearly laid out and easy to read. Compare and contrast the equivalent pages to MSN or Google and you'll see the difference. I also like that they use consistently simple color schemes - generally black text on
      • I'm referring to the Yahoo! that has a front page which is entirely made of links, and the Yahoo! that has half page adverts. They simply don't seem to understand...

        MSN is a nightmare, no doubt about that one. I don't understand you comment about Google, I find it excellent.
    • by lavaface ( 685630 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @10:48PM (#11994942) Homepage
      Geocities was no looker that's for sure, but at least it looked like it had some creativity left in its soul. Yahoo! stopped that cadaver kicking.

      Sorry, but I think in this case Yahoo's presentation is cleaner and more usable than the old geocities site. I know people 'round here like to jizz all over Google, but the fact is that Yahoo has improved the clutter greatly. Google is still my primary search engine, but I visited yahoo the other day and was fairly impressed. Compare their current page with this [] or this. [] Their yellow pages/maps served me better than google's offerings for my most recent visit *gasp*.

      Say what you want about Yahoo, but I work in a university computer lab and I see people spend oodles of time over at launch (remember when they were a cd mag?) and YahooGames. They've got more eyeballs and spend more on R&D and more profitable than Google. See? []

      Having said that, it's hard to see how they could possibly integrate Flickr properly but don't discount them offhand because they are not "teh g00gle"

  • The major search engines will pick up the majority of RSS/Blog based tools this year to intergrate or just to 'have'.

    I predict FeedBurner [] will be one of the next to go
  • Do some nifty programming in a scripting language, and name my company something ludicrous, something related to insanity or laughter.

    I will promptly rename my company:
  • Tragic? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Free_Trial_Thinking ( 818686 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:20PM (#11993624)
    Am I the only who thinks this is a tragety(sp)?

    Flickr was cool because it wasn't too commercial and wasn't in your face with signing up for shit. I can only picture what will happen under yahoo ownership ...

    (fade into fantasy sequence 1 year from now)

    You go onto Flickr, there are links everywhere for signing up for yahoo junk. I try to upload a photo, but instead I am taken to a page where I am solicited to sign up for something called "Yahoo groups". I try to do a search for a certain tag, but instead of pretty pictures, I get half a page of junk ads and then maybe some layout of pictures that's unusable for some reason. I could go on and on.

    I just hope my beloved never sells out.
    • Agreed.

      I am not fretting what sort of Yahooisms will invade Flickr. How does this affect my account? Will I now have to go to "" to see my pictures? Will I have to have a Yahoo account?

      Etc. Etc.

      Independence (like ignorance) is bliss.
    • I thought Flickr's tendency to turn images into flash objects to be unncessesary and evil though.
  • "Live Journal was bought by Six Apart, while Ask Jeeves snapped up Bloglines."

    This makes me pause and ponder the imact blogs in general have had in recent years. Suddenly, many previously supressed voices are jumping out into the world via the web and companies like Flickr, and large corperations such as Yahoo are jumping for the opertunity too buy them up. I remember not so long ago blogger/blogspot were bought out by Google. Interesting perspectives from places you wouldn't usually see them are now sud
  • Smack the tattlers and pop the champagne corks! Woohoo!

    Not Woohoo.. Yahoo. You're so not making a good first impression with the new bosses.

    I won't even ask what a tattler is.

  • Any rumours on the grapevine for what the buyout price was? And what the terms of the deal were?
    • What the hell, I'll start a rumor for "the grapevine":

      price: 20 bucks
      terms: yahoo pwnz flickr

      Pass it on.
  • by mcc ( 14761 ) <> on Sunday March 20, 2005 @07:44PM (#11993725) Homepage
    Perhaps I'm excessively cynical, but I can't help but wonder if along with Flickr Yahoo is acquiring any patents that could be used to chase competing photo-sharing products out of the market... like Yahoo is doing to XFire [] already...
  • Or just dumb. This is like watching a train crash in slow motion, for the second time. Blogs don't do anything, they don't matter, they serve no purpose other than to make their writers feel better about themselves (and each other in that great big mutual back-pat that is the blogosphere). In other words: they're just like all those great investments that fuckwits made in the .bomb bubble.

    Corrected headline: "Yahoo waves goodbye to pile of cash"


  • Yahoo is damn well a stronger brand than Flickr is at the moment - and they are saying it is to be kept separate. And it's not as if Flickr's functions are patented or as if Yahoo didn't have the infrastructure to pull it off themselves. I fail to see what they gain by buying Flickr, instead of making their own YImages or something. Anyone?
    • And it's not as if Flickr's functions are patented

      Can Yahoo now patent Flickr's functions? If so, they may not have bought Flickr. They may have bought prior art (had they tried to patent Flickr's functions people could shout "prior art". It's likely there is prior art anyway, but Yahoo probably figured the crazy US legal system wouldn't care).
  • So, will they ever get out of beta stage? :D
  • It's 25.6 million [] US dollars.
  • Along these lines, I bet the horribly named [] is next. It's a a kind of like Flikr for bookmarks, which could actually be a lot more useful than something for photos.
  • Here's my prediction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by melted ( 227442 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @09:26PM (#11994357) Homepage
    Yahoo service will not be all that successful and Yahoo management will drive it into the ground. A year later MSN will release something similar, but it will be a half baked unimaginative piece of shit that's 10 times worse than Yahoo Flickr (or whatever its remnants are called). Then Google releases their own picture gallery service and eats their breakfast, lunch and dinner with their first public beta.
  • Does anyone know of another photo hosting site with similar capacity (infinte storage, decent monthly upload) to Flickr?
  • Before the Fouth of July OS X will no longer work on Flckr.

  • Anyone else think of boogers when reading Flickr? Maybe it's just my disgusting self. On the other hand, I'm sure there are some illuminating pictures of the activity on the service.
  • Crap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bronz ( 429622 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @09:47PM (#11994479)

    I for one do not welcome Flickr's Yahoo overlords. I was actually flirting with the idea of subscribing to Flickr after trying it over the last few weeks. Now I fully expect to see a dramatic decrease in the site's responsiveness and a dramatic increase in obnoxious ads.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just hope Flickr doesn't go the way of... well, everything else Yahoo seems to get ahold of.
  • Is, so much for folksonomies, or other cool stuff happening.

    Don't worry, soon Yahoo will have it choked up with ads, code that only runs in IEWin, and any notion of community, folksonomies, or some other cultural shift by design is GONE forever.

    Hooray to SixApart for adjusting their license model -- they are keeping the spirit alive, allowing their creation to continue to cause more of a cultural shift, by design, than many others. OK, I know you like WordPress... and it's fine too but it's still totally
  • by also aswell ( 781190 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @10:22PM (#11994728) Journal

    What Yahoo says is not what Yahoo does. Take the case of Geocities. What was once a thriving sprawl similar to the one reaching from Boston to Atlanta with spots of brilliance scattered everywhere is now a homogenized mangle of hit or miss. To quote Caterina Fake at the Flickr blog...

    What is going to happen to Flickr?
    Flickr will be continuing on the path it's on -- to Flickr 1.0 and beyond. We'll be working with a bunch of people that Totally Get Flickr and want to preserve the community and the flavor of what is here. We're going to grow and change, but we're in it for the long haul, with the same management and same team.

    I would mod this as Funny if this were a post at /.! I met the guys that were starting Geocities back in the old days at a CA conference here in New Orleans and found their new idea of an online community exciting (I suggested side streets or allys to give them more space in the developed areas.) I learned html on Geocities and still have a couple of pages there (which I cannot get into). But their company has gone into the blender that is Yahoo.

    You're not going to become a bunch of suits?
    No, no, no! The precious DNA we've got -- that of the Ludicrew -- is on side and revving up for building Flickr. Having the team building out the team's vision for Flickr has been stressed as our number one priority, and keeping us around -- in spite of our wiseassery, tomfoolery and tendency to hoot spontaneously -- is crucial for preserving the Flickrness that is Flickr. They're not going to replace any of us with suits, nor induce us to wear them. Lapel? I don't know what you mean.

    The target stores circular in todays paper had some nice ties with ...s and ooos on them and at a good price. Better stock up. You may not be replaced, but you may very well become suits. "Just for this one important meeting" is how it usually starts...

    Are you going to become Yahoo Photos?
    No. Yahoo Photos will get a lot of Flickr features, and there are alot of other areas around Yahoo that will also be Flickrized where Flickrization would be good. Yahoo Photos and Flickr have different kinds of users with different needs, and will remain separate for the foreseeable future. Flickr would also suffer from a sudden deluge of LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! omg! so we're going to grow it carefully.

    It took about a year for Yahoo to totally digest Geocities. It's just a word now that is internet history.

    Do I have to have a Yahoo ID to use Flickr?
    No. In the future, you'll be able to log into Flickr using your Yahoo account, but you can continue logging on as before.

    I'll bet it'll be less than a year on the ID thing. Yahoo is looking to sell you to the advertisers and the ID is the hook, look at what you get. It's a lot. I use my yahoo personal page for a great news feed, totally customizable and with lots of features and look forward to a Flickr module in there aswell.

    Waaaaaaaah!! I don't want Flickr to change!
    Don't forget to breathe. It's not the end, it's the beginning! As the wise woman who taught us The One True Way of Flickr Massage says, the only thing permanent is change. But we're going to stay true to our vision and to the people who made us what we are -- that's you, the Flickr pioneers. Thanks for making the first year of Flickr so wonderful.

    I'm sorry Caterina, but like the old Jefferson Airplane song goes," When the truth within you turns out to be lies, And all the joy within you dies..."

    Of course, we will be happy to answer questions, accept backslapping, and do deep breathing exercises with the Flickr community at Flickr Central.

    Don't count on it. I've tried to get access to my Geocities pages for over a year now and have yet to find an email address or 800 number at Yahoo to talk to someone about getting access there again, but... Sure there are plenty of forms, with standard replies and forums where there i

  • Great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogie ( 31020 ) on Sunday March 20, 2005 @10:28PM (#11994764) Journal
    Now all of those cool 3rd party projects will suddently becomes against terms of service.
    You can also now probably look foward to having to click "skip this ad" when trying to view photos I'm sure.

    The lamest thing that could happen to a cool tech company is to be swallowed up by some big public company. I'm actually not anti-yahoo by any means, I just don't possibly see how this will be good for flickr. And I'm just sure that ipod toting pseudo hipster crowd is going to love paying money to yahoo now.

    And finally worst of all is that I'm sure that the previous owners will convince themselves that somehow they will remain independant and that yahoo will just let them run things "like always". Yea right. Anyone want to buy a bridge?
    • Oh yea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogie ( 31020 )
      Forgot to mention you can read the flickr takeover faq at the flickr blog. Again not being a naive teenager and as someone who has followed yahoo since it began, why should I possibly believe that flickr won't become some sort of ad-filled yahoo cobranded site? They are already talking about how yahoo id's will now work at flickr. What, flickr is going to be the ONE yahoo property where your not assaulted with flash ads and somehow its going to remain independant?
      I will say congrats to the flickr guys. It's
    • Having more fun replying to myself. It's kinda sad to see all the "please don't change" responses here
  • Urg. There's something inherent to Yahoo that is inherently clumsy and kludgy and bloated. I always associated Flickr with Google's sleek elegant power. Now Yahoo is going to come and Yahoo Flickr up and its all going to be all filled with horribleness. *sigh* Ah well. Maybe Google will do something better (like make a storage facility for Picasa/iPhoto/Something for Linux).
  • Too bad. (Score:2, Interesting)

    I just started using Flickr about a month ago and I think it's great. Yahoo is going to ruin it. I don't want people who look through my pictures to have to go through pages of ads just to see them.
  • Does this mean (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zerth ( 26112 ) on Monday March 21, 2005 @01:21AM (#11995753)
    That Ludicorp might finally get back to working on GNE? []
  • by luna69 ( 529007 ) * on Monday March 21, 2005 @02:08AM (#11996052)
    > Smack the tattlers and pop the champagne corks!

    This is NOT GOOD NEWS.

    Yahoo might have some remnant of niftyism about them for having survived this long, but let's face it. Their site(s)

    a) suck
    b) look like shit
    c) use annoying navigation & layout
    d) are too Borg-like to attract people who were attracted by Flickr.

    I just finshed uploading lots of pics to Flickr, and am now considering removing all of them and cancelling my PAID FOR membership, given this news of Yahoo's buyout.

    I joined Flickr because they're NOT Yahoo/MSN/Google/etc. I love the community feel of Flickr, its layout, design, vibe...and I GUARANTEE that Yahoo won't leave it untouched. And even if it did leave the design the same, the changes to the TOS are bound to be evil by definition (as Flickr's were not).
  • Can any photogs out there tell me how Flickr is better than PBase? I've been using PBase [] for over a year, tried flickr when it first came out and didn't see a reason to switch. Pbase is also a community-oriented site, with nice design, and provides a high degree of control over gallery design and layout to its members (good example: any of the featured galleries on its home page []. I log onto flickr and it feels more like a dating site than a photo gallery site. Anyone, anyone?

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