Thursday, December 25, 2008

Best viral videos from 2008 - the Silicon Alley list

Here's the list of the best viral videos for 2008. Let's not forget that millions of videos never even surpassed the 10,000 view mark, so these here are truly special. And here is my favorite viral video from the 2008 selection:


Let's hope that "We can" in 2009 and that the US government manages to bring the country back on track. Happy Holidays everybody!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

How to get your viral marketing campaign off the ground

Marketingsherpa has done a useful survey of the best promotional tactics to get your viral video/ widget/ other campaigns off the ground. Contrary to some myths, it's definitely worthwhile spending $ on getting your viral promotion going, unless of course you already have massive distribution. In my experience, a strong Youtube channel is a key part of any viral video campaign.
Here's the chart:



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Friday, December 12, 2008

Blogger Finally Allows Imports and Exports

Might be time to finally make the move to Tumblr - they just raised money so will be around for a few years and is just an easier blog engine to use...

Blogger Finally Allows Imports and Exports

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

7 great reality checks from Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is one of my favorite entrepreneur/VC bloggers and I also highly recommend his latest book. This list of 7 things are a must read for every entrepreneurial type out there right now and I highly recommend them. If I may, I'll add a #8 to the list: don't reinvent - if someone already built it (e.g. wordpress, a CMS, video serving, analytics), don't try to build it yourself - just use it!



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TAKKLE is the largest high school sports community: our blog

Reblogging this from the Takkle blog:



Do you want to play sports in college? Are you looking for an athletic scholarship? Whether you play football, basketball, soccer, baseball or you are a cheerleader or runner (or participate in any of our other 40+ sports), Takkle is here to help you get discovered! A lot of our users have been asking for help with college recruiting so we have built the best free tool for you! We know that economic times are tough so we want to help you and your family save some money!Takkle Recruiting lets you create your free Takkle RecruitMe sheet with all your stats, highlight film, academic info, degrees you're interested in and favorite colleges! And once you're done, we help you get in front of thousands of coaches by submitting you to the NCSA Recruit-Match directory which is accessed by thousands of college coaches from across the country!Check back frequently as this is only the beginning of Takkle Recruiting and please let us know your thoughts!Christian Busch, TAKKLE is the largest high school sports community: our blog, Dec 2008



You should read the whole article.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Direct Marketing spending to outpace traditional ad spend in 2009 (again)

Interesting article from one of my favorite marketing news source - Marketingcharts.com - the Direct Response industry will outpace traditional spend again in 2009. What's more interesting is the breakdown by channel (source: DMA, 2008)
dma-power-direct-marketing-ad-expenditures-vs-total-us-expenditures-2008.png

The overall lead by DM is really caused by Direct Mail (not surprising as branding Direct Mail is notoriously expensive and inefficient) and by new media spending. According to this data, almost 3/4 of online advertising expenditures are still driven by Direct Marketers. Not surprising considering the superior tracking ability. On the flipside - why is the traditional marketing industry still spending about 50% of their budget on TV, magazines, radio and newspapers; all traditional one-way channels?

I would expect a continued shift of traditional AND direct dollars towards online in the next few years and as newspapers and magazines continue to decline, the new media row will only get bigger - lots of room to grow considering that it's still only 13% of total spend!



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Monday, November 10, 2008

We're running out of water - what entrepreneurs are doing

No drinking water, prohibition sign D-P005 acc...Image via WikipediaFascinating article about how entrepreneurs are addressing the looming global water shortages. Addresses storage, distribution, desalination, purification and some other interesting twists.

read more | digg story



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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Flixster is spamming me - how not to do opt-in marketing


This morning when I looked at my gmail, I found about 30 emails from Flixster, a site that I once signed up to in order to test their Facebook Connect implementation. When I signed up, they asked me to import my Gmail contacts, which is fairly common practice right now. Once that was done, the spamming started: they preselected all of my gmail contacts for an "invitation" - consequently, I invited no one. Now it gets worse: although I never authorized this, Flixster remembered my contacts for me (not good practice!) and now sent me these lovely emails suggesting I "might know" these people - of course I do - they're in my gmail address book....
I'm a big fan of the viral loop, the famed viral coefficient and the power of referrals - but please play by the rules, don't abuse the trust that people extend to you and most importantly - don't spam people!

President Elect Obama Victory at Times Square

Last Tuesday night was a wonderful time to be on Times Square. Exuberant people celebrated the victory of Barack Obama. The mood was festive yet peaceful and there was definitely hope in the air. Let's all do our share to make sure the hope becomes reality!




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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Werewolf Bar Mitzvah

Gotta love Tracy Morgan from 30Rock!

Monday, October 20, 2008

What's your impact on the planet?

"The carbon footprint - so hot right now!"
Calculate your carbon footprint in seconds—and find out what you can do to REDUCE your impact and save energy.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008 is today

KivaImage via WikipediaThis is the second time I'm participating in Blog Action Day; this year's topic is poverty. The idea of blog action day is to use the power of social media to increase awareness for the issue of poverty and to encourage a discussion. I'll use this post to promote Kiva, one of my favorite financial websites. Kiva supports entrepreneurs (mostly women) in emerging economies by providing peer-to-peer microcredits. The money is provided interest-free by people like you and me and is distributed and tracked by Kiva. I've made my first reinvestment on Kiva this year, after my support for a Popcorn maker was paid back in full. I encourage you all to support Kiva - with support from a lot of people they just won a $300,000 grant from American Express but they rely on people like us to keep them going.



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Monday, October 06, 2008

The power of emotion in communicating your value proposition

I just came across this beautiful little Spanish video (it's subtitled) explaining the value of appealing to emotions rather than the analytical mind.




Make sure you read the analysis here at FutureNow.
As a Marketer, appealing to emotions can be highly beneficial, but as Jeff Sexton points out, it's hard to do without a great copywriter. I've had the pleasure to work with several good copywriters in the past, yet I've recently had a hard time finding a great freelancer who's still affordable. Therefore, if there are any strong copywriters out there who understand the value of appealing to emotions, drop me a note by leaving a comment!
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Friday, September 26, 2008

WaMu is already JP Morgan Chase



Seems like the designer at Washington Mutual was up all night - when you go to their homepage, you're already welcomed to JP Morgan Chase! I'm not sure what the Whoo hoo(TM) is but the employees must definitely have felt it after this overnight takeover/ liquidation of the company.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Smart labels keep your wine (or other perishables) under control

What a great idea by Paksense of Boise, Idaho. These new labels can be attached to a case of wine that is being shipped and tell the buyer right away whether the wine has been maintained at the correct temperature. I could imagine this going into pharmaceutical shipments as well - and even things like steak or oysters. Here's the full story.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Yoursphere.com launches as a paid social network for teens

Anastasia over at Ypulse just wrote about Yoursphere, a new social network targeted at teens that just launched. The "interesting" twist about it is that it's actually not free but $4.95 a month! In exchange, kids can enjoy "no creepers", contests and rewards on the site (the rewards are for surfing the site and probably completing tasks.
This sounds like a total flop to me as the kids will certainly not take to it and even if some parents will fork over, the kids won't start using this.
I'm a big believer in the subscription model for social sites, but only if they provide actual value (i.e. premium features such as more storage, features). Having your parents on board certainly doesn't count as added value...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Blog action day 2008

This morning I got an email about blog action day 2008; I participated in this great initiative last year and decided to do so again. The idea is to use blogging as a means to highlight good causes. I will highlight two financial-related websites that I participate in: Prosper and Kiva. Whereas Prosper allows people with low credit scores in the US to solicit loans from others, Kiva enables micro entrepreneurs in the developing world to access Western capital. I've made loans on both and so far have received all the principal plus (in the case of Prosper) the interest back as promised. They're both great sites to make an impact with little capital and on Prosper you can probably make real money from giving out loans to well-performing borrowers. Another interesting play in this category is Virgin Money which faciliatetes lending from people you know and administers the process for you.
Enjoy these sites and good luck blog action day!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

John McCain asks his Linkedin network for help


When I logged into Linkedin this morning I found this featured question by John McCain - Campaign '08 (a second degree contact of mine!): The question was posted 23 hours ago and has already received 825 answers as of right now. This seems like a smart campaign by the McCain camp and will certainly engage a group of educated, active Linkedin users. It's the first good example of social networking tools that I've seen from the campaign and it's a pleasant surprise that it's not yet another "Obama equals Britney and isn't ready for office" type campaign. I'm curious whether Linkedin played a part in this (for example, made him second degree friends with everyone/ featured it) or whether it's just smart campaigning. At least a glimmer of web 2.0 from McCain.
P.S. John McCain's linkedin profile is currently down - probably due to popular demand!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Latest research reveals fingers used in anger

<a href="http://graphjam.com/2008/06/16/song-chart-memes-fingers-used-in-anger/"><img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-1774" src="http://graphjam.wordpress.com/files/2008/06/funny-graphs-middle-finger.gif" alt="song chart memes" /></a><br />more <a href="http://graphjam.com">graph humor and song chart memes</a>

Fun Wall (the facebook app) for sale on Adonomics


Either Slide got bored with Fun Wall, or Adonomics doesn't really check its listings - according to their site, Fun Wall can be had for only $1,000,000! Here's the link. In case someone bought it for less than the estimated value of $9MM (I wonder how Adonomics comes up with that), here's a screenshot:





Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bringing accountability to the TV screen

Tivo and Amazon team up to deliver you an integrated HSN-style experience- when you watch any program. This is an interesting step in the continued blurring of the lines between TV and the Internet - it actually resembles the Google/Videoegg overlay ads very closely - just that there's only one "bidder" - i.e. Amazon and the medium is your TV. As this is limited to Tivo at this point, it will remain an interesting experiment, but I'm expecting this sort of overlay integration to become mainstream within the next 3 years. The big remaining question will be whether the merchants will be able to push this to a CPA model or whether the TV gods will insist on traditional CPM pricing. As usual, Tivo boldy steps forward with this attempt.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Twitter buying summize - let's hope it was mostly equity

A year ago Twitter consisted of 5 guys in a tiny shared office. Now they're apparently big and bold enough to buy 5 guys in an office for $15MM according to Alley Insider. Seems pretty frothy to me - couldn't they have hired 5 guys for $500k a year and done this themselves? Well, congrats to the Summize folks and all the best to Twitter.

Facebook Apps starting to open up new revenue streams

I just logged back into Biggest Brain for the first time in a while and found that they've now launched a premium version of the product that you can upgrade to right within the app. It's only $10/year - but given the marginal cost of nearly $0 that's pure profit; Kudos to Playfish for exploring this new revenue channel as an early mover. I'm a strong believer that during the course of 2008/2009 we will see significantly more advertising-supported businesses open up incremental channels besides banners, sponsorships and lead generation. I'd be curious to get my hands on some of the click rates for this attempt. As a marketer, i'm a big fan of having an upsell on the backend as it makes it easier for me to assign a budget towards getting more installs/ signups on the frontend.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Apple launches Itunes Applications for Iphone

Here's an article from Macrumors about the now live store and below is a screenshot. I'm very impressed by the broad selection of applications across several areas. There's loads of free apps but also a good amount of paid offerings. A screenshot of the health/fitness section is a here. Blackberry should get started on something similar soon if they want to maintain/ increase their market share for casual smart phone users. This is another huge step for Apple towards dominating the lifestyle smartphone users.



Thursday, July 03, 2008

My first post from Scribefire

This post isn't going to be very meaningful, it's just the first time I'm testing Scribefire as my blogging interface. It's actually very easy to use. You should give it a spin. There's a handy tutorial here. Scribefire has also recently launched an ad optimization service (see: Rubicon Project); I'm not sure yet how this ties to the Firefox plugin but we'll find out. Happy 4th of July!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Germany Turkey - the redux

Germany won against Turkey on Wednesday in an exciting match. This is a pretty funny illustration of the event:



for the non-Germany speakers - it says "Failed to enter Vienna in 1529, 1683 and 2008 - admit it, you'll never get in!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Facebook adds phonebook - what it means for you

When I logged into Facebook a few mins ago I was presented with a feed item stating
"Name of friend" has changed her phone number to "123-456-789" - It's been added to your phonebook. This seems to be a new feature to me and definitely an interesting addition. It raises two questions to me:
1) Does this change the way we make friends on Facebook? I currently have a "friends plus network" policy on Facebook - and all these people could now get orderly access to phone numbers; unless you mark yours private (which, quick estimate, only 1/3 or so of my Facebook friends have done). Interesting privacy implications
2) In principle, this is a great feature - but can I sync it with outlook/entourage/plaxo/etc.?

I hope Facebook will keep on expanding this, integrate Jajah and really turn it into a "utility" feature. Let me know your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Prelude to an upcoming Facebook post

Just found this video on a blog, it's not as funny as the "here comes another bubble" video but still entertaining. I will post a longer post on how Facebook is too stupid to make money from companies right now. In the meantime, enjoy:

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Contextual targeting at its best - congrats Youtube and Google

A buddy of mine just sent me a link to this Youtube video about John McCain and the word cunt... It's somewhat funny although not great. What's more entertaining (at least to me) is the McCain campaign ad appearing to the right of the video; goes to show the power of the contextual targeting engine deployed by Google along with its unintended site effects!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oops - Google can't keep its own videos on Youtube


I was just going to watch the Google Sites announcement on the official Google blog - alas, Youtube had taken down the video! Might this be showing up on the newly started Youtomb, the inofficial Youtube graveyard already?
Here's the screenshot:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Is Microsoft the new All Advantage/ Zotspot?

Microsoft announced this week that it's going to give back advertising revenue to users when they make a purchase after conducting a Microsoft Live search. Ad Age has a good write-up. Does anyone remember All Advantage?http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif Or zotspot? A quick search reveals other players such as Slashmysearch, Blingo, Winzy and Luckysearch. You might wonder, what do all of these have in common? They fail. Why? Because the economics of search require the search provider to make money somehow - and to have great search results. None of these players ever gave 100% of the ad revenue to the searcher but Microsoft is doing just that. If I was a Microsoft shareholder, I'd rather have them buy treasury bills than throw money at users - this really reeks of a desparate attempt to regain some lost search market share from Google.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

1,000,000 little WiFis covering San Francisco


A few weeks back I attended Web 2.0 in San Francisco. It was great seeing some old friends and meeting new ones but overall I thought the show wasn't that useful to attend (the free exhibition floor pass is the best way to go). Thankfully, the folks at O'Reilly have released a lot of the presentations here and I recommend sifting through some of them. What really struck me is this image from Ryan Sarver's presentation on Skyhook Wireless. It shows the density and quantity of WiFi networks in San Francisco - riches are awaiting those who can figure out how to really weave them all together. Fon is an early contestant but i'm sure that someone will ultimately figure out a way to make money of this.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Dogster cooperates with Lifetime on orginial content

Former vertical social network and now self-proclaimed "vertical portal" Dogster has launched a cooperation with Lifetime in which they're featuring some pretty neat videos that show "doggish" twists on movie classics. This is a great example of a niche specialist cooperating with a larger, traditional broadcaster on content generation, syndication and engagement. I think we'll see more of these types of partnerships evolving in the future as old media and new media converge. Here's an example:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Brickfish creates easy-to-share contests

I've started talking to a company called Brickfish about doing contests for Takkle. They have just put out a new campaign with North Face centered on the "never stop exploring" theme. Here's my entry (vote for me!) - this took me about 10 seconds to create and syndicate, a really powerful platform for web 2.0 style contests. I'm curious whether veterans like eprize will catch up with this soon.

Very funny - F.L.I.L.F.

Not so "Real Beauty" from Dove?

Ad Age has a story today claiming that the famous "campaign for real beauty" done by Ogilvy and Dove in fact isn't that beautiful - supposedly all the pictures were airbrushed over. What a blow to this successful "real" campaign!
Dove's 'Real Beauty' Pics Could Be Big Phonies - Advertising Age - News

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Darjeeling Limited is worth it just for this song

I watched the movie last night, nothing to write home about but I love this song by Peter Sarstedt. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

What is best in life?

Gotta love Arny in this scene. My secret ambition of becoming governor of New Jersey in 2024 is still alive - I might have to get a movie gig like this before though... Kudos to Andrew Chen for posting this.

YouTube - Conan - What is Best in Life

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Is Meebo worth the same as Bear Stearns (BSC)?

Another crazy day on Wall Street, another crazy valuation being shopped around in the valley! According to TechCrunch, Meebo, a no-download chat platform combining access to the most popular instant messaging clients is aiming for a $250MM valuation in their latest round.
Don't get me wrong, Meebo is an exciting company and with AOL opening up AIM they might even have a chance to become legitimate (an AOL insider tells me Meebo isn't exactly liked in Dulles, VA). But the same amount that JP Morgan Chase paid for Bear Stearns yesterday - that seems ludicrous to me. Then again, the guys at Meebo probably don't have billions of toxic CDOs tucked away in the server room!

The food fight video

This is pretty funny! Found on

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Social gaming is the evolution of casual online gaming

Mashable last week has a good post covering the emerging field of social gaming that companies like zynga, and SGN are aspiring to dominate. Zynga etc. are the natural evolution of first gen online casual gaming companies like Oberon Media; whereas Oberon went to portals (MSN) for distribution, Zynga etc. go to the social networks. As far as I know, one of the issues that Oberon is/was constantly facing is that the margins on these games get thinner and thinner as the traffic owner (portal/social network) and the game developer ask for increasingly larger shares of the revenues.
It'll be interesting to see whether they can work out rev-share models that make it attractive enough for all parties (developer, zynga etc., social network) to work together and provide value (read: ways to kill time) to consumers on social networks. Another interesting company in this space is Bunchball which offers a suite of products to help site owners drive engagement through games, rankings and avatars.
As someone on the social network site here at Takkle I'm excited about all of these coming to market as they are developing interesting applications to plug into our network and thus serve our users.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The long tail of social networks

Here's an interesting post about some key metrics for social networks. This is an expansion of Compete's rankings released last week. To me, what this really shows is that people use the sites very differently. Whereas sites such as Orkut, Facebook and Myspace clearly get very high repeat frequencies from heavy user-to-user interaction, other sites with lower ratios probably attract more casual browsers. That's not necessarily a bad thing, just something to keep in mind when you try to evaluate these sites.
Joining Dots: Social Networks Long Tail

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Why I am now a fan of Fedex

Yesterday I got a piece of furniture delivered by Fedex. They notified me of a failed delivery attempt by email (you can setup triggers on their site) and when I called them to schedule delivery for Saturday they were very helpful.
The best part follows: a few minutes later I got a call from their driver asking me what time that afternoon he could come and deliver the package. He was very friendly and promptly setup a time. He showed up at the agreed time, schlepped it up to my apartment and left.
That's what i call great customer service - courteous, friendly and fast. I tried to become a fan of Fedex on Facebook - alas! no page yet. So Fedex get a Facebook page, i'll be your first fan!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Great Google maps mashup - follow swiss trains in real time

Check out this great mashup site - it moves trains almost in real time. Good fun and great coding!
Train map

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Facebook disables Break Up app - the danger of gatekeepers

Faceit Apps - a developer of Facebook applications learnt the hard way today - Facebook has disabled their successful Break Up app with the following notice:

Facebook email:

To the developers of Break Up (app ID 15107295388),

You application has been disabled by Facebook because it is in violation of a policy prohibiting an application from notifying a user X that user Y has removed him as a friend unless both people currently use the application and have agreed to allow this notification. Your Facebook-side application data has been preserved, and should you modify your app to comply with policy, please indicate that in reply to this message and it will be reinstated with the user base it had before removal.

Sincerely,

Facebook Platform Developer Operations & Support

Seems like Facebook wants to keep unfriending a discrete thing - which in general I would support. From a Marketing and Business point of view this is a reminder for all the developers out there that as long as they operate on different platforms they need to be very aware that the platform owner ultimately writes the rules. This has happened before (Myspace blocked Photobucket before buying them but I think this might be a first on Facebook.

Having worked in the mobile space for a while I'm acutely aware of this problem as each carrier (platform) constantly creates and changes its own rules - the new breed of application developers who now work on Myspace, Open Social, Tagged, Facebook etc should keep this in mind for the future.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Bebo tries an interesting way to engage users in their social network

Here's an interesting attempt by Bebo to activate their users and get them to nominate themselves and get other users to vote for them. It's called Bebo Darwin and assigns a status to users who manage to get their friends to vote for them. It appeals to two of the fundamentals of social networking: narcissism (people want to show off their status) and user participation (in this case: voting). I'd be curious about the results for this kind of initiative.

BeboBox.com - Bebo Darwin

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Poor startup marketer looking for free affiliate summit ticket

More power to blogs and giveaways - i'd love to attend the 2008 Affiliate Summit West but $1,500 is just too much for our Marketing budget. So the friendly folks at John Cow (I love the slogan "making mooney online" by the way) are giving away one for free. So why should I win - well, because I just blogged about this, can't spend the money, love Vegas and would learn a lot (and have some fun).
Yes, this does sound like a shameless payperpost but it isn't. It's the magic of incentives at work joined up with the buzzword of this era- user generated content!

Friday, January 25, 2008

A pharmacy and wine store combined

Some fun for Friday - make my logo bigger!

Check out this little video (unfortunately not embeddable nor shareable on Facebook).
This is a neat campaign that has apparently gained some viral traction - but could have done much better in tying it to the actual product/service (it is some agency willing to code sites for you). It also could benefit from the standard Facebook/Myspace/Addthis/Gigya modules so people can spread this easier (and they could track it easier!). Still, fun 60 seconds for a Friday!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A social network for wine lovers

The other day a colleague of mine and I were wondering who would come up with a virtual wine cellar 2.0 style first. Today I found one that i'm starting to test - it's called snooth and so far so good. It lets you build your virtual cellar and rate and review wines and find similar ones. I will use this mostly as a virtual notepad to write down all the great (and not so great) wines I'm trying. The first little flaw I found is in the catalog - the wine I entered (see example below) came up with three matches that were identical except for one word - but are all the same bottle. They were also missing the label - the critical piece in my eyes as it's the most important visual cue to remember a bottle.

Arzuaga 'La Planta' Ribera del Duero 2005 (SnoothRank: 0/5)
Ribera Del Duero

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Xmas Fun with my Pleo - somewhat

I finally got my Pleo just before Christmas - it's been an instant office success! Everybody loved playing with it. Now I'm an admitted geek and so I had to get one of the first two thousand pre-orders. However, after the office success I must say I kind of got bored with the little green fella. So today I installed the Xmas special mode and here's the result:

Kind of fun, but not really that great! So as a consequence, the Pleo goes back to its cave (Ugobe) and the money back into my bank account - waiting for the next great new toy. I'd definitely get one again, but more at Furby prices than at the current Pleo price!

My mobile slideshow

This is an example of the world's first mobile slideshows created by Cellfish and Fliptrack - I'm pretty proud of this because it's fun, easy and it works! Go to fliptrack.com and make your own now!

My Personal DNA

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