Affiliate Marketing Blog by Geno Prussakov - Geno talks about affiliate marketing, leadership, etc
Geno Prussakov on December 7th, 2016

Win an ASW17 PassEvery year (since we started doing this in 2010) we hold a Christmas drawing whereby we give away passes to the upcoming Affiliate Summit conference, and this year is going to be no exception.

With Affiliate Summit West 2017 being just around the corner, you want to hurry to enter for your chance to win one of the Networking passes that we have to give away.

This will be my 16th time speaking at Affiliate Summits and mine will be one of the opening speeches of the conference this time. On January 15, 2017 I will hold a one-hour Advertiser’s Crash Course in Influencer Marketing. The qualification for the drawing is directly tied to my topic.

Task: To get your name entered into the draw, using the “Comments” area under this post submit your definition of influencer marketing.

Prizes: 2 Networking Passes (each giving you access to keynote speeches, Meet Market, Exhibit Hall, “Ask the Experts” round tables, online access to slide decks of all presentations, and more)

Deadline(s): With the conference being just five-and-a-half weeks away, make sure to submit your definition no later than the end of day of Thursday, December 15. I will announce the winners on December 16, 2015, giving you a full month for travel arrangements.

IMPORTANT: Regardless of whose names get drawn in nine days, the best definitions (and their authors) will be given substantial visibility in my future work (conference presentations, teaching, writings, etc).

So, looking forward to your entries now!!

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Geno Prussakov on November 30th, 2016

Affiliate marketing industry is already more than twenty years old and, as it is with every professional field, it’s got an array of its own terms and abbreviations.

Wrong wayIndustry people use them understanding their precise meaning(s). Outsiders, however, can (and do) get easily confused by some of the words and phrases in which we operate. No wonder why… Connotations of some of these terms, actually, do differ from pure semantic meanings of the same; and in some case more than in others.

Below you may find a compilation of the ten affiliate marketing terms which are often misunderstood by those who are new to the space. The order is merely alphabetical.

1. Affiliate

Traditionally used to denote an “affiliate marketer,” this word is often being used synonymously with “affiliate marketing” as a way of marketing.

Affiliate

2. Affiliate Channel

A widely-spread way to call “affiliate marketing” which portrays it as a single channel of marketing. Throughout the years, I have repeatedly argued that affiliate marketing should not be equated to a marketing channel (or even a sales channel). It always encompasses an array of different ways to market a product or service, and is cross-channel in nature [my thoughts on this here].

Affiliate channel

3. Affiliate Management

Not only “management” of an affiliate program’s creatives, offers, or even existing affiliate relationships; but also: onboarding of new affiliates, activation of stagnant ones, compliance policing, competitive intelligence, and much more [see my video and post on it here].

4. Affiliate Manager

A common way to shorten “affiliate program manager” or “affiliate marketing manager.” Literal understanding of this phrase often leads to a (dangerous) top-down approach, and attempting to manage affiliates instead of the affiliate program [more here].

5. Affiliate Network

Unlike many advertisers think (especially those new to the space), it is not a “network of affiliates” you automatically get to tap into as soon as you launch an affiliate program on one. While some networks do present advertisers with internal affiliate recruitment opportunities, they are, first and foremost, technological platforms for running affiliate programs, tackling such key components as tracking, reporting, and payments [see this post].

6. CPA Network

A way that sub-affiliate networks like to call themselves. “CPA” or cost-per-action/acquisition is the core principle in which all affiliate-advertiser relationships are rooted. Traditional affiliate networks provide the core support of infrastructure (see above) while “CPA networks,” generally, bet on profiting from sub-affiliate relationships [details in my 2008 article here]. Confusing one for the other can be dangerous.

7. EPC

A metric that answers the question of affiliate earnings (as tied to the clicks referred to the advertiser) but in the United States it predominantly stands for EPHC or Earnings Per (One) Hundred (of) Clicks; not Earnings Per Click.

Sears EPC

8. Link Cloaking

Affiliate practice of managing tracking links via URL masking/shortening. Read more about it in Rae Hoffman’s post here and take into serious consideration Matt Cutts’ below advice too.

9. OPM

Originally standing for “outsourced (affiliate) program manager,” this abbreviation is now frequently applied not only to individual “managers” but also “agencies” to which brands outsource the management of their affiliate programs.

10. Publisher

Sometimes also abbreviated as “pub” (especially in colloquial speech) this one is synonymous with “affiliate (marketer).” I, personally, prefer to use the latter term, because examples of “publishers” who aren’t really “publishing” anything are plentiful (tools, domainers, and a number of others mentioned here).

 

I hope you find this article of help; and, as always, if I have missed anything, please do chime in with your comments using the respective area under this post.

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Geno Prussakov on November 23rd, 2016

It’s that time when the next year’s budgets are being finalized and professionals interested in affiliate marketing are contacting us about the conferences they should consider attending in 2017. The reason being that every year since 2009 we’ve published our lists of all affiliate marketing conferences and events known to us — throughout the globe. There are still a couple shows yet to take place in 2016, but the time has come for us to put together the list of conferences, trade shows, and events to consider in 2017.

This list will get updated throughout the year (as news on new conferences come out). So you may always count on seeing the most up-to-date list here. As always, do not hesitate to suggest more shows for this list using the “Comments” area under the list.

2017 Calendar

Affiliate Marketing Conferences & Events

Last updated: 12/2/2016 at 4:30 pm ET

In the course of the past 10 years, I attended, keynoted, and spoke at many of the above-mentioned conferences (running the two highlighted ones myself). So, if you have questions about any specific show, do not hesitate to post it below.

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Brandon Leibowitz on November 9th, 2016

Note from Geno Prussakov: Ladies and gentlemen, below you may find the first guest post by our newest guest blogger, Brandon Leibowitz

So you’ve decided to launch an influencer marketing campaign. But you still have some doubts about which social network you should use for the campaign. While it would be ideal to be able to market your brand through every platform available, you have to consider the most cost-effective yet high-ROI option. If you are going to choose only one platform for now, Instagram may be your most viable option. And if you have doubts about this option, here are some of the reasons why you should use Instagram for influencer marketing:

1. Massive Reach

The first reason why Instagram is such an excellent choice for influencer marketing is because of its large audience. As of June 2016, the platform has 500 million active users on a monthly basis, making it one of the most popular social networking platforms. The number of users has increased by 100 million within just nine months, which shows that there is significant growth in its popularity.

massive-reach-instagram-influencer-marketing

And more than 67 million Americans are actively using Instagram. With such a massive audience, you have the opportunity to reach out to a large audience through influencers and boost your visibility.

2.   Influencers Favor Instagram

Influencers themselves love Instagram and consider it as one of the best social networking platforms. In fact, it ranks second to Facebook as the best social media channel for influencer marketing. So if the people you’re planning to work with are in favor of it, that’s a good reason why you should launch your campaign through Instagram.

influencers-favor-instagram

Influencers are considered experts in their respective categories and it’s likely that they know what they’re talking about. If they are considering Instagram as one of the best social networks for launching an influencer marketing campaign, it’s because they know that campaigns launched through the channel have a high chance of success.

3.   High Engagement

Back in 2014, people were spending an average of 21 minutes every day using Instagram. The social media platform continues to engage audiences across the globe, making it the perfect channel for launching an influencer marketing campaign. And compared to other social networks, Instagram has the highest engagement rate according to Locowise.

In a study conducted by the Locowise team, Instagram’s engagement in February 2016 dropped by 11.58% since January 2016. However, it still continues to outrank every other social media platform in this metric. So if you’re planning to engage your audience better, this platform could be your best bet.

high-engagement-instagram-marketing

A Forrester study also supports this data with their 2015 study that shows Instagram as the top social network for user-brand interactions. Their study showed that user interactions with brands were especially high on Instagram at 2.3%. Even the second-ranking platform, Facebook only had 0.2% user-brand interactions.
high-engagement-forrester

4. Best Platform For Follower Growth

Another good reason why Instagram is a great channel for influencer marketing is because brand follower growth is the highest on the platform. According to a TrackMaven study, brands on Instagram experience a 6-8% average increase in number of followers every month. And follower growth doubles every year on Instagram while follower growth on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter averages at 1/4th annually.

best-platform-for-follower-growth-trackmaven

5. Brings in the Most Engaged Traffic

In addition to having a highly-engaged user base, Instagram also brings in highly-engaged site visitors. Yotpo conducted a study on the average time spent by visitors from different channels including Instagram, Facebook, email, search, and more. They found that visitors coming from Instagram are the most engaged, staying 45% longer than visitors coming from Facebook.

brings-in-the-most-engaged-traffic-instagram-marketing

So when you’re promoting your products or services through Instagram influencers, you’re generating high-quality leads that are likely to spend a long time on your site. This improves your chances of driving conversions and an overall improvement in your performance.

6.   Changes in Instagram Algorithm

 Previously, Instagram used to follow a chronological arrangement for displaying posts on users’ news feeds. This means that your posts were getting displayed on your followers’ news feeds based on the time it was created. But now, Instagram has switched to an algorithmic arrangement for post display. This means that it is prioritizing posts users are most likely to engage with.

So people will no longer miss posts created by their favorite accounts and influencers. If users are regularly interacting with an influencer’s posts, they will be able to see more posts by the influencer before they see posts made by a less-favored account. This gives influencers the opportunity to get branded and sponsored content in front of a more engaged audience.

Conclusion

These facts and data should be enough to convince you that influencer marketing on Instagram can prove to be highly beneficial and cost effective. The platform fulfills all aspects of your goals including reach, engagement, and conversions. And influencer will also be more willing to work with you on a platform that they themselves are in favor of.

What do you think about the stats mentioned in this post? Will you be launching an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram soon? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

 

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Regardless of influencer marketing‘s fairly young age, there is no lack of resources on it out there. New researches and white papers, studies and articles come out nearly daily. It’s booming and it isn’t going anywhere.

With many marketers looking for places to study influencer marketing in a coherent “A to Z” way, I’d like to devote my today’s blog post to the three places where you may learn how to leverage this extremely potent (yet, in many ways fragile) type of marketing. All three of the below-listed ways represent the initiatives in which I am personally involved.

1. Video Course

Have you heard of “Influencer Marketing Fundamentals” yet? Released just two weeks ago, this newest LinkedIn Learning video course of mine is devoted to the basics of influencer marketing. It lasts a little longer than an hour within which you can learn about the history of influencer marketing, the types of influencers that you can work with, finding and onboarding them, activating them and measuring the success of your influencer marketing campaigns. Check out the “Welcome” video below:

If you do not yet have an account that allows you to view the course, they offer 10-day free trials too.

2. Conference

There is also a conference which is entirely dedicated to all things influencer marketing. The name is Influencer Marketing Days and I have started it to fulfill the demand for a vendor-neutral professional forum focused on practical implementation of influencer marketing campaigns. It is also important to emphasize that, unlike the above-quoted video course, the conference is devoted to content of more advanced level.

Influencer Marketing Conference

The first IMD is coming to New York City on November 14-15, 2016. Use code GENO while registering to save additional $200.00 off your next show’s pass.

3. Workshop

Finally, on January 15, 2017 I will be holding a workshop on influencer marketing in Las Vegas, NV. The name is Advertiser’s Crash Course in Influencer Marketing and it will be held as part of Affiliate Summit West 2017.

Influencer Marketing Days

If I have missed your favorite resource, please do chime in with it in/through the “Comments” field below.

Otherwise, enjoy these three, and hope to shake your hand in person at one of them.

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Geno Prussakov on October 25th, 2016

Those of you who are frequent visitors of my blog have, undoubtedly, noticed a fairly new “bookmark” featured in its header — one telling about “Geno’s next conference.”

Influencer Marketing Days

I announced the new show right here three months ago.

Time flies and three short weeks from now, on November 14, 2016, right in the heart of Manhattan, I will be opening up this brand new influencer marketing conference, Influencer Marketing Days.

Due to the show’s amazing speaker lineup and the market’s overall strong demand for a solid vendor-neutral conference on influencer marketing, the ticket sellout is now highly likely to happen.

Here are just a few brands that have already registered:

 amc-new    bfsfcu

capital-bank    lightinthebox

lyft    macpaw

nickelodeon   OUA_Spot_CMYK

survey-sampling-international    wattpad_

If (like these) you are also interested in leveraging influencer marketing to grow your business, but haven’t registered yet, do not procrastinate any longer! Register today. Not only are we now in pre-show pricing (which is $200 cheaper than the “onsite” rates), but you can also combine these already-discounted prices with a coupon code GENO which will discount them by further $200.00.

The code will work up until the conference’s full sellout, but for the deepest discounts it is best to combine it with the pre-show rates (which will be valid through November 4).

Hope to be able to shake your hand in New York City on November 14-15, 2016!

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Geno Prussakov on October 19th, 2016

I’ve got an exciting news to announce. My newest LinkedIn video course is out!

You may remember that my previous course was geared towards aspiring affiliate marketers. Since its release in 2014, it was viewed nearly 200,000 times; and the time has come for us to record a course for brands who wish to leverage the power of affiliate marketing to promote their products (or services) and drive incremental business. Here is my “welcome” video for it:

The course consists of 21 videos and aims at equipping advertisers with everything they need to set up, launch, and build efficient affiliate marketing programs. Here is the course’s full table of contents:

Introduction

  • Welcome

1. Affiliate Marketing Basics

  • Intro to affiliate marketing
  • Core concepts
  • Compensation models

2. Affiliate Program Setup

  • Technological solutions
  • Affiliate program management
  • Program elements
  • Locking period
  • Marketing collateral
  • Affiliate program terms and conditions
  • Program description

3. Program Launch

  • Program announcement
  • Affiliate recruitment email

4. Affiliate Program Management

  • Affiliate recruitment: active
  • Affiliate recruitment: passive
  • Affiliate recruitment: other methods
  • Affiliate activation
  • Compliance policing
  • Communication with affiliates
  • Program optimization

Conclusion

  • Next steps and additional resources

You may view the course here. Enjoy it, and do not hesitate to chime in below with your suggestions on the next course(s) you’d like me to shoot.

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Shane Barker on October 18th, 2016

Note from Geno Prussakov: Ladies and gentlemen, I am excited to welcome our newest guest blogger, Shane Barker. Below you may find his first AM Navigator post.

Are you leveraging your influencer marketing efforts using the right social media platforms? Your choice of social network may depend largely on the type of audience you’re trying to reach. But it’s important to note that each platform has unique advantages. For instance, an influencer may use Instagram to show off a new product. But to provide fans with tutorials on how to use the product, YouTube may be a better option.

The following analysis of the top social media platforms can help ensure your next influencer marketing campaign is successful.

#1: Facebook for Overall Success

Facebook continues to dominate when it comes to social media and influencer marketing alike, with several studies supporting this statement. In March 2015, Tomoson conducted a survey of 125 marketers. They found that, aside from blogs, Facebook was the top-performing influencer marketing channel. Among social media platforms, it was voted the most effective for influencer marketing.

 

image04-2

 

As you can see in the graph above, Facebook was followed by YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter, but their combined total still pales in comparison with Facebook’s effectiveness.

In August 2016, eMarketer shared a study on influencers conducted by a female-focused engagement network called SheSpeaks. The study involved 347 US-based influencers and asked for their opinion on the best social media platforms for influencer marketing.

Based on the report, Facebook ranked at the top again, with 32% of influencers vouching for it as the best platform for influencer marketing. Instagram came close at 24%, followed by Twitter and Pinterest. So, even influencers themselves find Facebook to be the most effective social network for influencer marketing.

 

image03-2

 

Mavrck conducted a more detailed study on different social media platforms and their unique advantages for influencer marketing. This study found that Facebook is the best platform in terms of user base, time spent on network, and web referral traffic. On average, people spend 1,246 minutes every month on Facebook, resulting in 23.9% of web referral traffic.

The study highlighted that influencers use Facebook to show followers what they like and encourage them to like it too. This goes to show that the platform is the most effective overall as it helps brands gain visibility and leads, which can result in higher conversions.

#2: Pinterest to Create Desire

Pinterest may not be among the top three most effective social media platforms according to the two studies from Tomoson and SheSpeaks. But the Mavrck study found that people spend about 638 minutes every month on the platform. Additionally, it generates the second highest web referral traffic at 5.72%, which is still far below that of Facebook but way above all other social media channels.

If you look at the chart below, you’ll see that other platforms aren’t generating nearly half as much site referral traffic as Pinterest. Considering these two metrics, this platform is among the top social media channels for influencer marketing.

 

image00-2

 

The study also pointed out that Pinterest helps influencers to show their followers what they want. The fact that an influential individual desires a product can stimulate the same desire in an audience, which can turn into potential conversions.

You can collaborate with Pinterest influencers to co-create content or products, which they can promote to their followers. Take for example how The Land of Nod collaborated with Oh Joy to create an exclusive collection of kids’ bedroom and home décor products. The influencer’s Pinterest board for this collection has more than 800,000 followers, with many of the posts getting 1,000-7,000 pins.

 

image02-2

 

#3: Instagram to Raise Brand Awareness

Despite the fact that Instagram doesn’t allow users to add links to their posts, it is still one of the best influencer marketing channels. Users spend an average of about 760 minutes per month on the platform. And with 400 million active users, it can be a great tool for boosting your brand’s visibility.

Instagram is a platform fueled by visuals. High-quality images of your products shared by Instagram influencers can help you raise awareness about your brand. An influencer posts an image of a product and their followers are intrigued, even if they have never heard about the brand before.

Target wanted to promote a new clothing line for kids called, “Cat & Jack.” They decided to work with Instagram influencers to reach their target audience, mainly comprised of parents. For the campaign, they partnered with high-reach parents, including Judy Travis (@itsjudytime), and Luisa Fernanda Espinosa (@luisafere). The influencers created sponsored posts with stunning images of their kids wearing items from the new collection.

 

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Within the first two weeks of the campaign, they managed to reach more than 2.63 million people. They also generated significant engagement, with more than 180,000 likes and 1,200 comments on just 14 sponsored posts. This campaign is just one example of how effective Instagram can be for raising brand awareness. If you’re looking to boost conversions, you can have influencers mention a special coupon code in their image captions.

#4: YouTube to Engage a Huge Audience

The Tomoson study found YouTube to be one of the three most effective social media platforms for influencer marketing, tied with Instagram for second place. However, it ranks far lower than Instagram in terms of time spent on network, with users spending an average of 60 minutes every month. In terms of users, YouTube wins with 1 billion, (compared to Instagram’s 400 million). It also allows influencers to include links in their sponsored posts, and ranks fourth in terms of web referral traffic at 0.06%.

Influencers use YouTube to engage their audience through useful and/or hilarious videos. Some influencers provide valuable content in the form of video tutorials and reviews. Others create sponsored videos with an amusing take on certain topics related to the product. According to Mediakix, entertainment industries benefit the most from YouTube influencer marketing campaigns. This is followed by the how-to and style categories, and then comedy.

 

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Conclusion

Although these are the four most effective social channels for influencer marketing, other platforms may be more effective for specific goals. For instance, Twitter and Snapchat are great for providing live updates.

The key is to customize your campaign for each social media platform, based on what you wish to achieve. Need some help putting together a social media influencer marketing campaign? Let’s work together to develop a campaign that works!

And, of course, don’t miss the upcoming Influencer Marketing Days conference where this and many other influencer marketing topics will be discussed.

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Geno Prussakov on October 13th, 2016

The year’s fourth quarter is already here, and online marketers couldn’t be more excited.

eMarketer predicts that this holiday season retail ecommerce with grow 17%, with ecommerce sales representing 10.7% of total holiday retail sales, and nearing $95 billion. Interestingly though, according to Market Track’s research, 27% percent of consumers plan to finish the bulk of their holiday shopping before November, and a total of 49% should be done with their holiday purchases before Thanksgiving (November 24).

If you haven’t done so already, now is a high time to get your affiliate program dressed up for Q4’s holiday marketing!

There are at least 7 ways in which you can prepare for it:

1. Develop Holiday Creatives

Whatever performs best for your affiliates, create holiday versions of these. Here are just a few examples of holiday-themed affiliate creatives of select advertisers:

1

2

3

4

5

6

2. Onboard Holiday-Oriented Affiliates

Seven years ago I wrote about affiliates whose holiday earnings frequent exceed a median annual salary of an American, and the point still holds. Holiday-oriented affiliates can be tremendously effective in promoting any advertiser, provided the latter equips them with relevant marketing tools (i.e. the rest of the points in this post).

3. Create Holiday Promotions

Unlike many advertisers may think, “promotions” don’t have to be coupon- or discount-oriented! Any customer-facing offer (be it “two for one,” “buy two, get one free,” “free shipping on orders of $XX or more,” or anything else) can be a powerful conversion booster. So, do plan these in advance.

4. Share Your Marketing Calendar

Don’t keep the knowledge about your upcoming offers and promotions to yourself! Equip your affiliate with the calendar of your plans for this holiday season. Here’s how Walmart.com did it last year, for example:

Walmart affiliate calendar

I encourage you to be as detailed as possible. For your plans no to “leak out” too early, give your affiliates the concrete dates when to expect the details of the promos (without disclosing the specifics). Affiliates can then synchronize their marketing of you and your product(s) with your marketing calendar, ensuring maximum alignment of everyone’s goals and efforts.

5. Be(come) Mobile-Friendly

According to “The State of Shopping Ads: 2016 Cross-Channel Marketing Report” 40% of all shopping ad spend will be on a smartphones. Furthermore, when it comes to affiliates specifically, according to Affiliate Window in Q3 of 2016 as much as 63.4% of affiliate-referred traffic (and 42.1% of sales) originated from mobile devices. Nothing can underscore the importance of landing this traffic on mobile-friendly web pages better than the above-quoted statistics.

Affiliate-referred Traffic

6. Create & Share Shipping Calendar

If something cannot be delivered by a specific holiday, an affiliate would much rather focus on marketing something for the other key date, or something entirely different. There is no way for them to know your shipping calendar unless you equip them with it. Whether it is as fancy as what Pure Hockey put together for Christmas deliveries (see below) or something more generic, share it with your affiliates.

Pure Hockey Christmas shipping

7. Plan for Post-Holiday

Finally, it is important to have a solid post-holiday plan. There are multiple things you can do. Here are three to get your creative juices flowing (i) plan on clearing unwanted stock by discounting holiday-related items, (ii) look into opportunities to up-sell your holiday shoppers, and (iii) see what you can learn from the lists of bestsellers registered during your holiday sales.

 

So there you have it… Seven practical ways to get your affiliate program in shape to perform well during Q4. If I have missed something that you’ve seen work well, please do chime in with your experience via the “Comments” field below.

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Geno Prussakov on October 11th, 2016

Did you know that Heath & Beauty is one of the top 3 affiliate marketing categories out there [more here]? Over the years we set up, launched, and managed over a dozen of affiliate programs in this vertical; and today I am happy to announce the newest affiliate program we have set up (and are currently managing) — that of Michael Todd Beauty.

Michael Todd affiliate programThis company is all about offering luxurious skincare products which are made of natural ingredients, free of parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes, and other potentially harmful additives. All of their skincare products are also made in the USA.

Michael Todd’s Soniclear devices deserve a separate mention too. Since skin exfoliation is essential to having skincare products properly absorb and work effectively, Michael Todd developed facial cleansing devices to help with this.

We’ve set up this advertiser’s affiliate program on Rakuten Affiliate Network, and launched it just last month. Here are the program’s details:

  • Payouts: 20% on new customers & 10% on returning
  • Cookie life: 20 days
  • Full product data feed
  • Dedicated account manager on AM Navigator’s end
  • Possibilities to get products for reviews
  • …and much more

We hope to see you join Michael Todd Beauty’s affiliate program.

Should you have any questions about this affiliate program, do not hesitate to contact us. We respond within 24 hours, if not sooner.

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