Boom or Bust – The Future of Proximity In-Store Marketing

Boom or Bust – The Future of Proximity In-Store Marketing

Proximity Marketing

Not too long ago I tested out a number of proximity based apps in a few of New York’s larger retailer stores. As consumer habit continue to move towards mobile tech integration business are looking to get as up close and personal with shoppers as possible. Tailoring your in store experience based on where you are comes with a number of potential benefits. Below is the opening excerpt of a great piece discussing In-store proximity marketing. Check it out then hop over to the full post at the end.

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Today’s constantly connected consumers are using smartphones in-store more than ever. A recent Google survey states that a staggering 80 percent of shoppers are using smartphones to make purchasing decisions. Retailers and start-ups have taken notice, and the concepts of mobile location analytics and proximity marketing are emerging out of that.

Publications like Techcrunch and Adweek have articles of retailers launching Bluetooth beacon pilot programs almost on a daily basis. Some recent examples includeTarget, Country Market and Urban Outfitters. But when you clear away all the buzzwords, what exactly is this shift we’re seeing? It’s the world customizing itself to you. The world is reacting to your presence, specific to you as an individual.

Proximity marketing is an exciting concept, but a lot of people are worried they’ll be inundated with spam if they opt in.

That is an exciting concept. Talking about this out in the world will get you varying reactions, from concerns about privacy issues to the idea that your phone is going to spam you with Viagra ads non-stop, but if you boil down the idea, there are some really compelling concepts here.

Personalization Is A Key Benefit

Let’s take a look at a form of personalization we all know about today. A husband and his wife have individual key FOBs for their car. When the husband gets in the car, the mirrors adjust, the seat slides back, and the radio station changes to his favorite morning radio station. When his wife uses the car that evening, the car returns to her preferences. That’s an example of very useful personalization. Now, imagine if a retail store could do that for you.

We’ve seen online personalization become more and more sophisticated over the past decade with platforms such as Google AdWords and the Facebook Audience Network, and the addition of proximity marketing technologies is making it possible to expand that personalization in-store, effectively bridging the gap between digital and physical environments. There are both exciting and scary possibilities to this.

So, why can’t retailers live without it? The retailer will now be able to understand shopper behavior beyond POS data. Retailers currently have the ability to analyze traffic patterns, deliver personalized offers, measure dwell times, build on customer loyalty profiles and even A/B test physical displays. And what does the shopper get? By integrating this technology into a retailer’s app, the shopper gets an ultra-personalized experience through customer-specific offers, location-specific coupons and contextual information such as maps and menus.

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But the question that keeps coming up is: Will shoppers adapt to this kind of experience? If users don’t adopt the technology, hockey stick graphs will never happen for retailers. I think of a Sheryl Sandburg story I’ve heard during her presentations several times. When Caller ID first came out, users were scared by it. They thought the concept of knowing who’s calling before you picked up was creepy. Now, 20+ years later, we don’t pick up our phones without knowing who’s calling.The user’s perception of the technology completely flipped over a couple of decades.

It seems a general consensus among investors and marketers that someone will figure out and win the proximity marketing race.

***See the full Article Here via Topal.com***

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SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY NEW YEAR W/ THE 2017 MITSUBISHI LANCER

SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY NEW YEAR W/ THE 2017 MITSUBISHI LANCER

#SamuraiRides

Another year is in the books and I’m sure it comes as new surprise that I brought in the new year bouncing with another edition of Samurai Rides. Taking me into the year 2017 was the new Mitsubishi Lancer. It’s been 2 model years since I last got behind the wheel of a Lancer. Previously, Mitsubishi helped me navigate the streets of Miami for Art Basel. Their 2015 Lancer was a solid ride that got me all around the beautiful areas of southern Florida with no issue. Their 2017 model doesn’t stray far from its core designs and functionalities.

Letting the sun in and ready to hit the road.
Letting the sun in and ready to hit the road.

You can go to various auto review sites for specs and industry rankings. When I do Samurai Rides I try to give you real life applications for the cars you drive. That means where did I drive it, how did I feel and what type of people I think would benefit from this car.

In the final days of 2016 I made a few round trip runs home to New York and back to Philadelphia. With a little over 2 hours each way, it’s gives me a good space to get a feel for the ride in terms of on road handling and interior features. The exterior appearance was sharp and clean. The Diamond White finish and the 2-tone 16 inch alloy wheels were a good look. Standard LEDs, Halogen headlights and fog lights set things off nicely.

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I liked the Lancer immediately as soon as I pulled out. It has just enough power under the hood to navigate these often aggressive Northeast highways but not so much that I’m tempted to break any speed records.

You have the option of Sirius XM radio and navigation. Even when I’m making trips along routes I know in my sleep, the real time traffic notifications are always welcome. You’ll be thankful when you avoid getting stuck in an oncoming 30 min traffic backup and can continue smoothly on your way listening to your favorite tunes.

Rockford Fosgate has been the consistent audio sound system of all the Mitsubishi cars I’ve dealt with. This one sounded like it had a little more kick in the bass so that is pleasing to the ear. Again you have your full expected audio options of radio, cd, Bluetooth compatible linking, AUX cord and USB.

Brought Harlem to Philly. Sounds nice in the 2017 Lancer. #DriveMitsubishi #SamuraiRides

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Over recent years I’ve seen the rise of vehicles adding various sensors and on road warning indicators for blind spots, lane shifting and approaching objects. These are all great preemptive safety features. You don’t get those with the Lancer but in all honesty that didn’t take away from my driving experience. I didn’t feel less safe without an additional bell or buzzer going off. The Active Stability Control is solid as it works with the braking system to support tire griping on slick surfaces. Basically you just need to drive and keep your eyes on the road just as we all did for years before. Outside of the extended Summer season the winter holidays can be notorious for bad/dangerous/reckless driving. The Lancer got me home and back without issue. You can check some of the other safety features of the Lancer here.

The Lancer is a nice ride for the everyday person not looking for too much flash. This car isn’t made to remind you of another more luxurious brand. It provides you what you would need to effectively travel the roads at reasonable cost. You can select from 4 model trims that range in price from approx. $17K – $22K.

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I definitely would suggest the Lancer to a friend looking for something affordable for their day-to-day needs. Hop over to the Mitsubishi site and have a good look around. I think you’ll find what you’re looking for. See you soon with another editions of Samurai Rides.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

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The new year is underway and as you set out to execute your business plans it’s always nice to look over your presence online and make sure your business is being represented to the best of its abilities. From the proper dimensions on your profile images to the ideal time to post content, there is a science to this digital world. Fresh from the good people at SWM. Here’s a convenient cheap sheet you can cross reference your activity with to get the most out of all the major platforms. Just hit the jump for the full sheet.

You’ll also want to check out this collection of apps and tools that will add tons of value to your social media activity. I use more than half of these tools and can vouch for them. See the link at the end of the jump.

Continue reading 2017 Social Media Cheat Sheet

Notification Overload – So Much Streaming So Little Reason

Notification Overload – So Much Streaming So Little Reason

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2016 will likely be remembered as the year that streaming exploded. What started with  Meerkat and Periscope evolved to Facebook Live and Instagram Stories updating their platforms to try to capture the lightning in a bottle of Snapchat. In the progress, we’ve enabled an entire generation to share their world with the world without filter. So, as my notification log fills up with messages about you, you and you “going live” I can’t help but wonder if it’s really a good thing?

Must we go live via streaming to show that we are actually living? This is a question I ask myself regularly as live video stream notifications light up my screen. I’m not simply curious about why everyone’s doing it but also why now? Video isn’t new. Vlogging is the organic heart of Youtube. Before every major media brand got it’s on channels it was person people content that ruled. When Periscope hit from the outside you’d think everyone was using it and the new wave had arrived. Truth be told, only a small % of people actually streamed on Periscope. The majority of people connected to watch others. Periscope links via Twitter so the “sign up” was easy. This is the point that caught my attention and it’s what I think is really at the heart of this “going live” movement.

People that really have invested valuable in their message were saying it before and they got better as the technology improved. They were on Youtube, Blogger, Vimeo, etc……Today, people stream not because they have important things to say or share but because it’s easy. It’s a feature now plugged into spaces they were already active in. You can think of this as the “I do it because I can” crowd. People want the SnapChat effect without having to build a new audience on SnapChat. Don’t get me wrong because there are many who are putting streaming technology to good use and are delivering real information content. You just have to weed it out via the new wave of look-at-me-do-nothing material. Streaming in many ways is just amateur hour cable television. How many shows do you have to cycle through to find the one that makes it worth your time?

Every time something crazy happens to a person folk say, “Man my life needs its own show.” No, it really doesn’t you need to be happy that something worse didn’t happen and try not to end up in that position again. We all don’t need shows about our lives. Like all things in this social media based world the initial hype will fade as the truly committed users continue to push through the masses with their messages.

I my humble view, existence should be measured by how you live life not by how many folks see yours.

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Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

nashhid

In 2006 Hip Hop was a very interesting place. While powerhouse names like Eminem, Jay-Z and Kanye West were still dominate, the mainstream is fully in the midst of a revolution led by the new music makers of the south. Lil Jon’s Crunk movement was turning out ultra energized club hit after hit. Atlanta’s Trap had invaded the scene as artists like T.I, Jeezy and Gucci Mane were just as well known in a city like New York as Jadakiss or Camron. And let’s not forget Ludacris and his DTP camp who would occupy multiple chart slots at a time. The Hip Hop landscape was changing and it was not going unnoticed by one of Hip Hop’s greats. In the view of Nasir Jones, he would tell you “Hip Hop is Dead.” I remember my personal excitement awaiting that release of this album. My Hip Hop taste is very NY for all the good, bad ad ugly of it. Nas’ attempt to being things back to the essence was a rallying cry for many even if it was short lived.

10 years since it’s scene shaking release Nas looks back on the Hip Hop Is Dead album that many rallied behind while even more rallied against. Unintended regional tensions resulted from Nas’ claim that the core elements of Hip Hop, music, wordplay, storytelling and lyricism had been given up for childish, hooks and low grade concepts. Linking up with Google Play and Mass Appeal, Nas delivers a 4 part digital documentary on the this controversial album.

“In retrospect, I missed the mark by miles,” he admits. “I didn’t want to pick people apart. I felt like that was for a younger artist to do. I thought the title was enough — to say it’s dead it was to say, ‘I don’t know where to begin, I don’t know where to start.’ But at least I’ll name it this and we’ll see what goes from there.”

Hit the jump to view the other 3 installments of the doc. Watch as Nas speaks on everything from the album title, his long anticipated collaboration with Jay-Z, to his current view of the culture and his present role in it.

Continue reading Hip Hop is Dead…10 Years Later Nas Looks Back

2016 The Year That Changed It All

2016 The Year That Changed It All

Digital Daddy, Social Media Samurai
Is this the end of the Social Media Samurai

Look around. Admittedly things have been a little quieter around here than many of you may be used to. The year 2016 was a monster for many people for a lot of reasons. While the theme of high-profile death has dominated the conversation recently, it’s been a focus on gain and new life that has been the signature of my year. From self-centered to selfless, my life went from 0 -100 with the May 27th arrival of my son, Maximus Xaiver Francis. Nothing was the same since.

Max’s birth came with me relocating to Philadelphia and a drastic shift in how I operated. My networks were changed, my access to certain levels of business were reduced and overall it was if I had just hit a mega reset button on my life. I’ve never been a person that took things and people for granted but the new perspective of my situation immediately made me see my daily New York routine in a different light. The small things that brought balance to my life that were no longer available weighed heavy on me for much of my time away from NY.

What really countered that feeling of displacement was a the beauty and happiness that washes over me everything I saw the innocent smile of my baby boy. Knowing nothing of the insane world around him, he only asks for love and protection. All the cliches’ are true regarding how a child makes you feel and how it changes you. As much as continue to juggle thoughts and feelings around my new status quo, I’ve never once looked at Max with anything but love and pride.

2016 forced me to change. It forced me to prove myself in ways I never thought. Those tests are still ongoing but I feel a renewed power and strength within me for what is to come on many levels. Social Media Samurai is not going anywhere. As I adapt to my new reality the brand will adapt as well. Who I am and what I am about will be revealed more as I expand SMS into new territory. With the growth of my own Tribe I will re-emerge stronger with a determination to get things done no matter what.

The previous 366 days at times knocked me down. There were many moments of doubt and frustration regarding all important aspects of my life, but as the saying goes if you are brought to it then you can make it through it. I’m here and ready to make 2017 a banner year for me and my loved ones. I’m not who I once was yet I’m still me. I’m better. For my son I will never stop evolving.

2017, it’s nice to finally meet you.

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SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY HOLIDAYS W/ THE 2017 MAZDA 6

SAMURAI RIDES: HAPPY HOLIDAYS W/ THE 2017 MAZDA 6

maxda6cover

It’s the most wonderful time of year!! Or it’s the perfect opportunity to get your mind off the crazy happenings in the world. Either way welcome to the holidays. Your Social Media Samurai is riding clean into Thanksgiving and Christmas with new 2017 Mazda 6 Grand touring!!

Mazda has won a very solid spot with me over the past couple years. They’re cranked out a number of great rides offering a little something for everyone. You last caught me driving the gorgeous Mazda CX -9 down in Atlanta for my Nomadness Tribe Reunion weekend. This time we’re turning up the family vibes and cutting down the scale of things. With Thanksgiving dinner seeing about a dozen people followed by some QT with my son Max and my parents, I didn’t need as big a vehicle as the CX-9. My northeast antics were ideal for the new Mazda 6. When a quality 4 door sedan can still drive you that sports car feel you’re in for a good time.

More at MazdaUSA.com
More at MazdaUSA.com

Naturally the first thing you have to ask yourself is whats new about that 2017 Mazda 6 from last years model? If you left it up to a simple eye test you might say not too much. Although with the sleek design of the 6 that’s not a bad thing.  You do get new headlight to front grille trim lighting. It’s a mean look at night but most of the 2017 changes took place inside the ride. You’ll notice the steering well is now the same design as the CX-9 and includes heating functions for those chilly winter nights. The driver info display screen and the flip-up dash design both have been upgraded to color screens from their preciously unimpressive black and white scheme. The real killer in appearance is when you step up to the Grand Tour Premium package. You get the choice of black or almond-colored nappa leather seats with titanium-gray piping and stitching! Not to mention the extra black trimming. Mazda never hands back on luxury interior design options.

As great as that is, now having my son in the ride with me, safety is as high on the priority scale as ever. I raved about the Mazda 6 safety features in my 2016 review. This time around the i-Activsense powered anti-collision sensors are able to identify pedestrians and  smaller moving objects in addition to other vehicles. The auto brake emergency features now is active in a 9mph to 99mph range. That’s up 9mph on the high-end. Mazda has also tightened up steering reactions on corner with their G-Vectoring control system. I definitely felt it and with these other improvements Mazda driver can continue to feel safe on the road.

A photo posted by nightfall914 (@nightfall914) on

Yes, yes all this sounds great but nothing beats that hands on, real road riding. Smooth handling on the 95 north as I head from Philadelphia on Thanksgiving eve set the pace for me. During a very active traffic period the Mazda 6 had me feeling I was in a different place. Heated seats for the backed up Black Friday traffic kept me in comfort. Christmas tunes played on XM radio, setting the holiday mood on BOSE speakers. I had no complaints.

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Max and I had a little photo shoot and the Mazda 6 let Max nap on the way to the studio and back which made things that much easier for me.

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The Holidays get stressful for many people. Crowds, lines and traffic statistically send the road rage incidents up but while some folks lose their minds, I’m moving about with 100% peace of mind in the Mazda 6. Mazda has found a great balance between power, style and luxury. What’s more is that they have done so in pretty affordable fashion. You can hop over to the Mazda website for an even deeper look into the 6. I’m sure you’ll see something you like.

**Check Out My Previous Auto Reviews**

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A Social Media Assist For Cyber Monday

A Social Media Assist For Cyber Monday

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It’s that time of year when the holiday shopping season officially opens up! After all the Thanksgiving food has settled and the left overs are put away you turn your attention to the mega savings in your favorite store on and offline. This is also an important time for entrepreneurs. Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are made for those whose brands operate heavily via digital spaces. That is where I come in. Are you fully maximizing your online activity? How is your engagement with your followers? There are so many thing people often overlook that can make so much difference in the business they generate. Starting today, Cyber Monday and running until Christmas, I’ve cut my most popular service the Social Media Audit by 33% so for $100 I will dive into your online operations to lay out plans and real attainable goals for you and your business. You won’t be disappointed.

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Management & Consultation

The Social Media Samurai is always ready to help you. Are you looking for guidance with your digital strategy? Perhaps you need someone to speak to your organization about navigating social media in today’s ever-changing business environment? I can provide that and more. I’ve cut my audit service down for the holidays so it’s even easier to get started on the road to more success.

Contact me via contact@thesocialmediasamurai.com

At the very least make sure you stay connected with me across these Internets.

Hit the various links below to follow me on social media.

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The Sky Fell And We’re Still Here – Election 2016 1 Week Later

The Sky Fell And We’re Still Here [Election 2016 1 Week Later]

t00

It’s never been my way to rush to comment The bigger the issue the more time I give it so I can digest and really figure out what I’m feeling. Last week most of us were either waking up to news of the elections results or we were waking up wondering if what we witnessed election night was a dream. Nope, I wish I could say it was but 11/8/2016 saw the total shattering of the U.S political system as we know it when majority electoral votes won Donald Trump the U.S Presidency. There are an endless number of fingers to point if the blame game is your thing, but at this point I just want to look at us in terms of what next and what can we do with the cards we’ve been dealt, The rules of the game have been forever changed so it’s time to adjust.

Everyone’s lives are different. How folks exist day-to-day varies so individually there is self assessment of resources, plans and goals that need to be fine tuned. The new players in town aren’t here for us. It’s arguable that most of the old players weren’t here for us either. Making moves outside of the norm is becoming more essential with every passing day. Being able to do more with less has always been a key survival key and even those in steady financial standing should understand that stretching a dollar is good business in any case. We don’t fully know what Trump has in store for us but even now rumors build of tax hits and aid cuts to single mothers and lower-income families. Sharpen your skills and be open to earning opportunities outside the usual channels. Every dollar counts.

While getting the flow of funds in order there are other more immediate results from this election that are already in motion within our society. Trump’s win has put the super charged battery in the back of blatant, no punches pulled ignorance and racism. To say that people have been emboldened would be an understatement. There is already an increase of hate crimes, bullying and assaults and we’d be fooling ourselves to think it’ll get better anytime soon. With that being said I think there may just be an opportunity here for us. It’s been proven that the system is not for us. It never has been so in these times if ever it was essential for true unity and community building it’s now. Be your brother’s keeper, look out for the neighbor, step up when the ignorant and wicked make their presence felt in our space. One of the biggest things about America is that the basic level of comfort so many of us have makes us apathetic and slow to act when it’s most needed.  I honestly think this is the space where we can do the most good in the quickest amount of time. Showing that we will not be bullied, disrespected or violated is essential to the time we’re entering.

I’ve watched many people express their feelings about this election cycle. From the moment of Barack Obama’s 1st election win, Republican forces set on a path of obstruction and racially charged disrespect that America has never seen launched at a President. Unbeknownst to them they were indirectly creating the perfect storm that would eventually destroy their own party. Yet the truth is the neither party has ever really been for us. They pander to us for votes when needed then we sit and watch the same status quo play out. This is a wake up call across the board to the entire system.

If the people are ever going to be heard and felt it will be now as the forces of intolerance and hate mount up to ride over all those that don’t fit the twisted vision they have for this world. What makes this all the more concerning is that Trump truly does not know the role he was stumbled into. It’s one thing to be knowledgeable with negative intentions but to be ignorant on top of that creates the most dangerous of situations.

Disturbing times are here and please understand that we need to be there for each other. There’s no other way that this ends well for us. No matter what Trump attempts I truly believe a united people can overcome. Do we have true unity within us? Only time will time.

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In the mean time, while society is doing what it can, I have my young son to bring up and protect. He is priority 1, 2 & 3 regardless of what administration is in charge. It’s never a dull moment out here but we’re ready for it.

 

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If You Think A Cost-Per-Engagement System Is A Good Influencer Payment System Think Again

If You Think A Cost-Per-Engagement System Is A Good Influencer Payment System Think Again

paid-blogging

Businesses are looking to get the most out of their dollars when collaborating with influencers to marketing their brand. You hear it all day about ROI, Return On Investment. What are you getting for the money spent on a respective campaign. The playing field is still very fluid. From the FTC routinely popping up to flex its might and changing views on social media influencer marketing to influencers buying followers to inflate their asking prices it’s really a lawless space. One of the other elements that may be on the rise is CPE payment. Cost-Per-Engagement basically means getting paid specifically on the engagement criteria agreed upon. It could be the number of shares, likes, comments, etc.  Collective Bias SVP Holly Pavlika speaks on this matter and issues it could create a in a recent blog. Lets check some of that out then I’ll add my 2 cents.

There are definitely some pros to this model, so the appeal is warranted. CPE focuses the attention on influencer selection, the quality of their content and the importance of data. It also stops the misnomer that it’s all about the size of the influencer’s following, when in essence, study after study shows it’s the middle tier influencer who gets the most engagement.

This does not mean, however, that influencers should be taking the risk of uncertain income associated with the CPE model. Here’s why: for influencers, CPE encourages fraudulent practices that harm their authenticity and devalue their content. To boost engagement, influencers can game the system and enlist their communities to comment, click on links and share. They might buy traffic and likes, enable repeat-sharing, or even incentivize their audience to engage by using sweepstakes or giveaways. It’s contrived metrics at best.

*See the full Collective Bias Post Here*

As an influencer myself I can tell you it’s not the way to go. I work with Collective Bias and they operate on a variable per post system. Going into any campaign, once selected I know what I’m earning and that allows me to focus purely on the content requested for the job. Be clear of the roles in this arrangement. Brands hire influencers to press their products/service/events with honest engaging communication. Influencers work with brands to build their professional clout and make money. With that being said there is a balance that you aim for in terms of content quality and direct message sending. Anything that could distract from that is problematic. In this case the idea of financial uncertainty connected to the CPE model.

All of our time is valuable. I’d have no interest in putting in the time to research and review a brand only to have my pay left up in the air to the number of likes or shares it may get. Influence is not measured in those metrics alone and it does a great disservice to operate in that way.

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I don’t feel that all influencers would engage in shady operations under CPE but I think more would do so then currently are. Digital influencer marketing is already an uncertain space as is. Putting content creators in the position of counting every share and RT connected to their work seems like a sure-fire way to negatively effect the quality of work they put out. Brands to trust in the research that goes into finding influencers and truly identifying their influence so it’s not such a gamble on their part. No one likes having their money played with

bigworm

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