How to Make Money Selling eBooks

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One of the best ways to make money online is to sell eBooks. There was a time when this was one of the best ways to make money after affiliate programs. Well its still great except now the competition is fierce. You will find someone selling an eBook on virtually every subject on the net. So if you want to sell an eBook you will have to be smarter than others out there. If you are not – no one will buy your eBook and you will lose all money in writing, designing and marketing your eBook.

In this article I will discuss what are the important steps you would take to make sure you succeed in selling eBooks online.

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The benefits of selling an eBook:

1. You can share your expertise in a field with someone willing to know and pay a price.
2. You make money without doing any work. The systems are all automated. You just write the eBook once and the system takes care of the whole thing from taking payments to delivering the eBook to the buyer. You only need to make sure you are doing the right marketing.
3. You get free time to spend it anywhere you like. Remember money is abundance, time is not. You can spend time with family or friends or go visit a place you always wanted to see.
4. Financial freedom.

Some people make amazing money from selling just eBooks. I have never written any eBook but I was once an affiliate of a eBook seller. I got 75% commission from the sales. Since the author had no other expense, they can offer such high communions form the sale. I know I was just one affiliate giving him 3-4 sales a day. Just add sales from his own efforts and other affiliates. We are talking about hundreds of sales a day. EBooks have a near 100% profits (except affiliate sales). Imagine the kind of money you can make by selling eBooks.

You can even charge extra from people wanting to get a hard-copy of your eBook. Getting a hard copy is easy too. You can get on-demand printing from many service providers online. The on-demand printing service provider will take care of everything like printing the book, and sending it to the person through courier. They can be in any part of the world – they will get your book.

How does it work?

If a customer wants a hard-copy of your eBook you charge him extra. You send a part of the cash received to the on-demand publishing house. They take care of the rest. They have your eBook in PDF format. They will print it out. Make it a nice looking book and send it to the person who ordered it. You don’t have to do a thing. Of course you will have to pay the publishing house. You can pay from the money received from the client.

You got to write the book:

Most people who read this end up not writing the book. Why? If you don’t get started how on earth you are going to finish? It may take time – maybe there months, four months or even more. But the fact is if you do not start, it will never finish. So if you plan to sell an eBook – start writing now.

How to write the eBook:

Well you should have a “book-map” before you start writing the eBook. In a piece of paper or notepad write what you would like to write in your eBook. Write the topic of the chapters that you want in the eBook. Write a small summary in front of the topics so that you understand what you may write in those topics later when you sit to write. A book-map can also contain deadlines that you want to put up for yourself. Yes deadlines work especially if you are up against something yourself.

Tools that you need:

If you have a writing editor like MSWord, that is great. Else even free software like Open Office Word, Google Docs will do. The idea is your writing has to be well formatted with page numbers, headlines, sub-headlines, some text in italics, bold, bulleted text wherever required, images – you get the idea. If you are not able to format the text – the text will look very boring.

What fonts to use:

You should use easy to read fonts like Arial, Veranda, Times etc. Veranda is the most readable font. The size is important too. You don’t want to write an eBook with so small font that people find hard to read. The font size should be at least 10px. Yes do not make it very big as well. Even very big fonts are very difficult to read.

Let’s not get into the details of how to write the eBook, because that’s not what this topic is about.

But here are some important points before you start writing the eBook:

1) Know your audience: You should know for whom you are writing the eBook. If your eBook is written for college going grads, the language and style should match what the readers are looking for.

There are some websites that can help you to know the kind of people that may read your eBook. https://www.quantcast.com/ is one such site.

Further you should also visit some competitors website to know what they are writing about in their site. You should also buy their book if possible to know the topics they are writing about.

Your goal is to make a better eBook on that topic. If you make the best eBook on that topic online, then why people won’t buy?

2) Pricing: You should do some research before actually setting a price on your eBook. You just cannot write a 10 page eBook and ask 75 dollars for it. The price should be reasonable. Not very costly that people cannot afford to buy, nor very cheap that people think it doesn’t have any value. Pricing is a very important factor. Make a list of eBooks in your industry and their prices. See if you can offer a price better than what most people are asking. You must understand that less price does not necessarily mean more sales and high price does not mean less sales. Correct price is the best price. However you may need to test to find out the best price for your eBook.

3) Format of the eBook: Most people prefer the PDF format. Acrobat Reader is required to read a PDF book. It works in any operating system. The reason PDF is preferred is that the file size is small, its easy to convert any document to PDF, navigation links is possible, linking to other websites is possible, images can be inserted etc. Its just like a hard copy of a book converted into a soft copy where links work. Of course you can use other formats as well. But PDF is the best format for selling your eBook.

4) How to collect payments: If a visitor wants to buy your eBook then how they can do it. The best way is that if you can make the whole process automated. It means right from the payment to delivering of the book, the whole process should be automated. How bad it will be if they deposit the money in your bank account and mail you the details. Then you send them the eBook via email. Nobody will buy the book if the process is not automated or cumbersome.

Note: You will find many merchant account providers online for website owners. Do a research and get the cheapest one with good service. For the same sale you will make less if you get a merchant account provider that costs too much and take a lot of commission per sale. You don’t want to pay this commission, and should be able to keep the maximum from a sale. Some examples are: Ejunkie, PayPal, Clickbank etc.

5) Most importantly how to market the eBook: This is the most difficult part. Everything else is very easy. You can set up a website. Get it designed. Write content for the website. Write the eBook. Get it in a good downloaded format. Set up a merchant account. But after all this if you cannot sell your eBook – all your efforts will go in vain. You should know how you want to reach people who may buy your book. This can be done through good SEO and/or PPC advertising and/or social media advertising. There are thousands of advertising networks in the US alone. But the idea is to make sure you are profitable. Its important you don’t buy junk traffic. Lots of advertising platforms in the US are very cheap but they will send very bad quality traffic to your site. You may lose money so be careful there. Chose a reputed advertiser.

Note: The most popular form of online advertising is Google AdWords – but its costly as well. But there are thousands of longer-term keywords that you may try that may not be very costly. Bing advertising is another way to get traffic. Its slightly cheaper than Google Adwords but it lacks volume like AdWords. You may need to test a few advertising platforms before finalizing one or two where you want to advertise and scale your sales. Depending just on free traffic will be risky as its getting increasingly difficult to get websites ranked well organically. It may take years before you see your first sale. The choice is yours.

Another great way to market your eBook is to have affiliates sell your eBook. But frankly the top affiliates charge very high fees. They may demand 70-80% of the sale. If its a high priced book and selling well you can negotiate. Many affiliates search clickbank for selling eBooks. You can advertise your book there. But for that you may need to have a clickbank merchant account. Remember good affiliates charge more, but they sell more as well.

For other affiliates you can fix a lower commission percentage. Remember if the commission in terms of dollars (not percentage) is not attractive, not many affiliates will try to advertise your eBook. You have to give them the maximum possible commission.

Note: If you can make eBook selling a profitable business model, you may then start writing more eBooks on similar topics. You can sell these eBooks to your people who are already your customers. If you have written a great eBook chances are that they will buy another eBook from you as well. You will make 100% profit from selling this second eBook. You can then try writing your third eBook as well.

Have you ever tried selling an eBook online? What was the experience? I would love to know if you are still profitable or not.

What Content to Write in Your Website

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Till now we have learned how an affiliate makes money, how you can make money from affiliate programs, how to get a domain name, and how to get a reliable and cheap web hosting company to own your first website.

If you haven’t read the above articles I highly recommend you read them first before reading this article. However if you are familiar with the above topics, you can continue reading this article.

You see you have got a great domain name and you have bought hosting for cheap. You got your website designed and it looks great. Now its time you write something in your website that people can read, learn or enjoy.

The idea is to write something that makes sense and leaves an impression that the writer has enough knowledge on the subject. The reader should feel that what is being written is coming from an expert.

You see there are millions of websites out there. One more website makes no difference to the universe of websites. So how does your website stands apart? Remember if your website doesn’t stand apart it will be lost in the galaxy of websites that never see the light of the day.

The biggest search engine in the world – Google, is very smart in recognizing a good website from a bad website. This includes everything – domain name, design, content, images, coding, download speed, social signals, back link quality etc.

All of the above matter, but the most important signal is the content. If your website can get respect from Google, I bet it will automatically get respect from people who visit your website. So do not try to fool Google or the real people visiting your website. No short cuts will help. Good and sensible content will always have an edge in the long run with any search engine for that matter.

If you write good content right from the very beginning in your blog, you need not bother of any algorithmic changes Google (or any search engine) may introduce in its ranking algorithms. Your website will survive them all, until you start cheating or start taking short-cuts.

As you may have read in the article how to chose a domain, you probably know on what topics you will be writing your articles on. You already have a fair idea of the niche that you want to write about. Now is the time to do some research on this to make sure there is a market for this niche.

In fact this should be done before buying a domain in that niche. But I always believe every niche possible on earth has a market. Its is the marketing guy who should know how to market. The only thing is that your niche should make a marketing sense, or there could be related niches that you can diversify later.

To know whether there is a market or not head to keyword tools provided by Google. You may have to have an adwords account to get inside the tool. You will get many keyword tools online but its better to rely on what Google is saying as it is the one search engine you shall be targeting to get traffic.

If you don’t have an adwords account or do not want to create one, I would suggest buy an online service provider of keywords search data especially for Google.

Bing also has a keyword tool and it should help you to get ideas, but knowing the estimate search for a keyword in a month in Google is very important. You should try to write for keywords that have at least 1000 searches a month in Google to get some meaningful traffic from every page on your website.

However it is also possible that there may be some topics that you may want to write on but may not find enough searches in a month in Google. You can still write on those topics, but make sure you link these pages from the popular pages on your site and also from related topics.

Why is this important? This is because the things you know about matter a lot. It is important that people read these pages as it is the only way to make sure you get regular visitors. Until and unless people don’t perceive you to be an expert in a topic they will not be interested in whatever you say. The situation will be like shouting on top of a car and people walking around thinking that you are mad.

Once your website visitor read things that you really are an expert of, they will flock to your site for new articles. Else they will never return.

By now it should be clear that you should write on topics that are

1. Highly searched in the search engines especially Google, and
2. Known to you thoroughly and they should be linked from the most popular pages on your website so that people read these pages.

Now lets now know about the articles themselves.

How much to write?

There is no fix rule, but you should write at least 4 articles in a month. You should try that at the end of one year your website should have at least 100 articles. But frankly you will never be penalized by Google or any other search engine for writing too much or writing too less. There are many bloggers and website owners who write one article a day. And there are very popular sites that does not get updated for ages but still get traffic.

For example some online newspaper publications publish many articles in a single day. Whereas some newspapers online publish new content only once a day. People who are very popular like celebrities publish content once in a month or less and they still get traffic.

But for starters, the more you write the better, except if you are writing garbage. Google will reward you for writing great content, not for bad one. In fact for bad content your website will be penalized.

You should therefore maintain quality and quantity. In my view quality is more important than quantity. If you cannot write more than one article a week, so be it. But make sure whatever you write is of high quality.

I know many websites that have hundreds of thousands of pages but no visitors because they were dumped by Google and other search engines for poor quality content.

Remember, content, is, was and will remain the king. So make sure your content is of very high quality.

What should be length of the articles?

For some very strange reason Google does not like short articles. In fact it now shows in depth articles separately in some of their listings. Which clearly indicates that Google loves lengthy articles.

But the question is how long?

Try to write at least 1500 word article. 2000 words is better and 3000 words even better. I agree that writing high quality lengthy articles is difficult. But you have to give it a try. If you think you cannot write 3000 words articles every time then let a few articles on your website be 3000 words, a few be 2000 and rest be 1000 word article.

A mix and match approach will prove to be great.

Believe me with practice and time you will find it easier to write lengthy articles. In fact it will be fun to write. And once you start making money from your website you will feel like writing whenever you are free.

Do not worry about ideas. One article will give birth to many ideas and you will eventually have more ideas and topics to write than you can handle.

If you are somehow stuck in a writers block, just take some rest and brainstorm ideas by either looking on the internet or by asking your friends or relatives or reading books. You will never be short of ideas to write if you have the motivation to write. Here are some articles to overcome writers block:

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-ways-to-overcome-writers-block
http://www.cws.illinois.edu/workshop/writers/tips/writersblock/
http://fictionwriting.about.com/od/writingroadblocks/tp/block.htm

People who make money from their website, have the motivation to keep writing on their website almost on a daily basis. And you know what most of these famous bloggers have been in the business from the last 5 to 10 years. How on earth do you think they get ideas to write each and everyday?

If you want a website that has a million words you need to write the first word to get there right? So sit now and start writing. Do not wait for the perfect time to write because that perfect time will never come. Even if it comes it will be once or twice in a year. That way you will never be able to write a million words in your life time.

Balance it.

It is important to balance your writing habit. Discipline is important in every sphere of life, and its important in writing as well. Sit back, relax and think how much is good for a day – 300 words, 500 words, or 600 words? Once you decide make sure you stick to writing that many words a day on an average.

For example I write 500 words a day, five days a week, every month, year after year. And I have many websites so I balance it among all these websites depending on how important they are to me.

To start with you can write 100 words a day. Once you have some experience you can increase the amount of writing. But make sure it doesn’t get boring else you will quit writing. Go slow and pick up with time. It is not as difficult as it sounds.

Conclusion:

1. Write lengthy articles. At least 1000 words. No less. Let some articles in your website be 3000 words, and some be 2000. Mix them well.

2. Quality over quantity. Just because you should write lengthy articles does not mean you throw garbage in your articles. By doing that you will do more harm than good to your site. Even one bad article can take your site deep down the search engine rankings.

3. Link the relevant articles. If you have written on something that people don’t search often, it should be linked from the popular pages of the site.

4. Write everyday. This will ensure your work is balanced and you don’t get bored.

5. Enjoy your work.

I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I will be glad to answer your questions in the comments section.

Have a Website Designed For Free and Be Proud

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We just finished reading about “how to get a domain name and a website” for newbie and “how to get a reliable and cheap web hosting company“. All this is continuation of the series on “how to make money as an affiliate“.

Now that you have a domain and space to host your domain, it is important to get your website designed. Good professional website designers cost a lot to get a website designed. But we are discussing make money as an affiliate on a shoe-string budget, right? Obviously you cannot spend thousands of dollars on website design. So what do you do?

First we should learn what type of websites exist in this world.

There are basically two types of websites:

1. Static Websites: They do not allow visitors interaction. Which means your visitors can only visit the pages, read and take action like clicking a link. But they cannot leave a message anywhere in your site. These types of websites are in extinction as website owners find it very beneficial to their business when people interact with them on their website on a regular basis. This helps the website owner to know what the visitors (or their future customers) feel about their business and want from their website.

As you can see the benefits are too much to resist, any webmaster who is serious about their business wants an interactive website. That does not mean that static websites do not exist. They do, but are less in number and are virtually getting thin in numbers.

Note that some business create static websites only. For example any informative website of a company whose sole purpose is to inform their visitors about certain policies of their business, may not need an interactive website. But an interesting point is, even these websites are build on platforms that can be switched to interactive if need be. It is just that visitor interaction is not allowed.

It must be clear now that in the long run you will need a website that will help you to interact with your visitors. This is important for the health of your business.

2. Interactive Websites: You already know about them. They allow a website visitor to interact with the other visitors and website owner. Most people call these type of sites as Web 2.0. But in simple term what they are telling is that it is an interactive website.

Conclusion: For the long term success of your business, you will need an interactive website.

Now to create an interactive website there are two three things you can do:

1. Learn HTML, PHP, MySQL and other coding languages required to design a website that allows the visitors to comment or interact. Of course you can just learn HTML and make a static website. But that is not a good idea as you already know why.

Of course you can learn HTML, create a static website and get started with a website. And slowly when you start making money, pay a web designer and get it transformed into an interactive website. You can, but whole process is very cumbersome and full of hassles. Also time taken to learn and do HTML coding may be very long. This depends on person to person. Though HTML is a basic and easy to learn language – it will still need significant time to know the advanced coding to make an attractive looking website.

The choice is yours.

And if you want to make an interactive website on your own, count the other languages as well that you may need to learn like PHP, MySQL and others. This will take about six months or more depending on the person and his educational background.

Does that makes sense? To me it doesn’t. Of course in due course you should learn these languages. But that is just to make sure you do not waste time doing a small change in your website if need be. For a small change if you start outsourcing it will take significant time and money to get things done that would have taken a minute or two.

Initially you want a website that you can start using immediately rather than waste thousands of dollars in design and other aspects. I will tell you how to get that.

2. Another choice is to hire a freelancer. As discussed earlier, freelancers will charge a hefty sum. If you hire someone from Asia like India, Pakistan or SriLanka you may well get a design for less than 250 dollars, but I am not sure if the quality of that design will be great.

Even if it is why spend so much in web designing when you can always use this money while marketing your site. Remember marketing is more important than the design itself.

Of course experienced web designers in US, UK or even in Asia charge a lot. You wont get a very experienced designer for less than 1000 dollars in the US.

Remember a custom designed interactive website takes a lot if time and you need to be prepared to spend than much.

Since we are in a shoe-string budget this is not recommended.

3. Use free templates you get in BlueHost. This is your best choice. No by free don’t think that you will get a bad looking site. For starters this is the best option as you can save a lot and still get a decent looking website. If you can login to your BlueHost cPanel you will see “Software/Services” section. There you will see the “WordPress” icon.

Click there and then click install. Make sure you chose the latest version of WordPress and your domain where it needs to be installed. Mostly you should install it your root domain i.e. yourdomain.com.

You will need to give a name to your blog and also give username and password. Keep this info safe as you will require this to login to your site’s WordPress interface.

Once the WordPress is installed, yippee… Your website is ready to add content, images and whatever you want to say.

OK so I assume you have successfully installed WordPress in your site. Why I am emphasizing on WordPress is that it is by far the best platform to create an interactive website instantly. No programming skills required, no programming knowledge required. Just press a button and voila your website is ready.

When you go to your website you will see a free template already loaded. This is the default template WordPress uses whenever someone installs WordPress in their website. However it is a very basic looking template.

You can choose from thousands of free WP templates you will see online. But most of them will not be suitable to your business.

I recommend “Thesis WordPress Theme” by DIYthemes. Why am I recommending this? It is because I myself use Thesis in all of my websites and am totally happy with the outcome.

It is search engine optimization friendly and also user friendly. Its very easy to use and create a basic to very sophisticated looking site. Thousands of webmaster use this theme.

Moreover its not very costly. And its features are so many that you will get total value for money. It has its own very easy interface where you can change the look and feel of your site by the press of a button. All these things you will not get in a free template.

But the choice is yours. You can still start off with free templates WordPress has to offer.

Once you install Thesis, instantly you will notice the change in the look of your site.

I do not recommend any other paid WordPress theme. Either they are very costly or they are not user friendly. Moreover the professional version of Thesis can be used in unlimited number of websites.

So its just one time investment. You can visit the Thesis website here.

One more important step I forget to mention. You must get a banner or a logo designed for your site to give it a professional look. Again head to Fiverr.com and order a banner. Your cost? Only a grand 5 dollars. I hope that is something you can easily spend.

In 2-3 days time the designer at Fiverr will give you the banner. Use this in your site and wow you have a very professional looking website.

Now is the time to start writing articles for your site to get visitors. This is the most important task of your entire affiliate marketing career. We will discuss this in the next article.

If you are already a webmaster which theme do you use?

How to Get a Reliable and Cheap Web Hosting Company

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Note: This is part of series of articles on how to make money as an affiliate. To read from the start please click here.

If you have read my last article you would have by now known how and what type of domain name you should get. If you have not read I recommend that you read the article first. Once you have read that article you can start reading this one.

Now that you have bought a great domain you need to get a web hosting service to host your website. This article will discuss how to get a reliable and a cheap web host.

You know when you are starting your first business online out you should invest as little as possible. If at all you should spend more money and time in acquiring knowledge. Slowly as you learn the ropes you can start spending more on the business and other promotional events.

Why am I asking you to buy an affordable and reliable web host is that I myself started with very little investment mostly from the pocket money I got from my father. And I can tell from experience that for starters this should be more than enough.

Right now you are only going to own one website with almost zero traffic. Why should you spend a lot for that? Once you start getting a lot of traffic you can always shift your website to a dedicated web hosting provider.

There are many types of web hosting, but right now you should know just the two types of hosting:

1. Shared Hosting
2. Dedicated Hosting

Shared hosting is cheaper. This is because the web hosting company will host websites of many of their customers in the same server. Say for example you own mywebsite.com and someone owns hiswebsite.com and both of you buy shared hosting from the same web host, it is likely that your website resides in the same server where hiswebsite.com resides.

Just like a rented house, if you share space with someone it is obvious that you both will share the rent cost. Shared hosting works in the same way. Expect here you will never know who else is sharing the web space with you. Of course that shouldn’t be your concern anyway. You are getting to host your website at an affordable cost and that is what you want.

You must be thinking – Oh God, this is not good. Well, you will be surprised to know that most websites in the world are in shared hosting. Therefore you should not worry too much.

Dedicated Hosting, as you may have guessed by now is a server hosting only one or a group of websites of one owner or a company only. Which means a dedicated server will host all websites of the same customer. Needless to say, dedicated hosting are costlier than shared hosting.

Why? Because in shared hosting a lot of website owners “share” the cost of hosting, whereas in a dedicated hosting the website owner has to pay the full cost of the server – as no one else is sharing his/her web space.

A very important point here is that there is little difference between the technicalities of the shared and a dedicated servers. Modern servers are very fast, it does not matter whether it is shared or dedicated. However shared hosting is good only up to the extend where a website is getting few hundreds clicks a day. Once it starts getting more than thousand clicks a day, its always better to move that website to a dedicated hosting.

So why people pay for a dedicated server once their website starts getting a lot of traffic and their online business is bringing them money? It may be because of several reasons but the most important reasons are – more bandwidth, customized hardware or better hardware than shared hosting, less server downtime (only one or few websites so they do not take a lot of bandwidth), and to some extend speed of the server because of the better hardware. Of course dedicated server means better customer care too. There could be several other issues but these are the important ones.

Therefore I suggest that you buy shared hosting for the time being and move to dedicated once you start making money.

If you are ready to buy, I would suggest you buy hosting from BlueHost. This website for example is hosted in BlueHost shared hosting server and running smoothly since 2004. In fact I have never had to mail the customer care for any interruptions whatsoever. If there were one or two instances, I just did a live chat and solved the issue within minutes.

For newbie’s, BlueHost is one of the best web hosting service providers online and I highly recommend you buy your first hosting with them.

Other than being great at customer service here are some benefits if you host your website with them:

1. You get hosting at less than 5 dollars a month

2. You can host unlimited number of domains in one account

3. You get unlimited space for hosting your websites

4. You can install WordPress for free and with ease and get started your blog in minutes

5. You get a domain name for free for one year

6. You get web based email support and 2500 emails for one account which is more than enough

7. Unlimited bandwidth – means even if your site is getting a lot of traffic and eating a lot of server’s bandwidth, you don’t have to pay a dime extra. Only thing you have to make sure is that it is not a software generated clicks. In that case BlueHost will inform you and stop those bots from accessing their server. If they are real people – you can just shift your site to a virtual dedicated server for a little extra. But you need to bother moving to a dedicated server only when your website is getting a lot of traffic.

8. Unlimited Add-on Domains – Add-on Domains are nothing but a new domain that can be added to the account which works like a completely different website. The only thing is that your first domain is treated as primary domain, rest are add-on domains. For the search engines they are all different unique websites.

9. Free Drag and Drop Site Builder – you can just drag and drop in their builder’s to design a new website for free.

10. You get unlimited file transfers which means there will not be bandwidth issues if you upload large image files to the server.

And many more features and benefits that you should see before deciding. Click here to visit BlueHost.

Once you have bought web hosting – Hurray – you are a website owner. All now you have to do is host your domain there and install WordPress as its the worlds best blogging platform.

Do not worry its very easy. Just read the help files provided there and follow and you should be done.

In the next article I will discuss how you can get a website design for free or for very affordable prices. And then the most important part, that’s is what to write in your website to get real people on your site.

See you there soon.

Disclosure: If you choose BlueHost as your website hosting provider using the links given in this article or anywhere in this website I may get a compensation according to terms with BlueHost. The review of BlueHost is as per my experience as a customer with them. To write the review I did not get any compensation.

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