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Archive Monthly Archives: March 2017

Kanye West Announces TLOP Tour & Explains Why ‘Can’t Nobody Ever Disrespect’ Kim Kardashian! See What He Said!

Kanye West is hitting the road once again!

On Tuesday, the Ultralightbeam rapper revealed he’s “working on” ideas for his upcoming tour set for this fall — in support of his latest album Life of Pablo!

Calling into Steve Harvey‘s morning radio show, Yeezy said:

“You know my tour game is strong. My tour game is unprecedented. So we’re going to go out in September, I believe, and we’re just working on some of the ideas right now.”

AH-Mazing! We can only imagine the abstract concepts Ye is cooking up during these brainstorming seshes!

Photo: Kanye Signed Lorde’s Cast At The Met Gala!

The artist explained that as he evolves in the worlds of music and fashion, his purpose is to inspire a younger generation by putting out “positive, positive, positive concepts,” adding:

“As I said before, I’m trying to literally inspire these kids the way Disney inspired me when I saw the original Star Wars.”

Disney didn’t make the original Star Wars — but we get what you mean, Ye!

But Kanye was just getting started on the real talk — he even dished on his Twitter beef with Wiz Khalifa earlier this year, explaining:

“You know how you would feel if someone was talking about your wife. Did I take it too far? You know what? I’m from 79th Street Chicago. I can’t say that if someone says ‘F you,’ I can’t say I’m not gonna say the exact same thing back.”

And as for why he gets so defensive over Kim Kardashian West, the 38-year-old explained that he had plenty of reasons to bow down to his wife.

Photo: Kanye Wore Silver Contacts Alongside A ‘Blingy Sexy Robot’ At The Met Gala

He gushed:

“She broke boundaries with fashion where designers weren’t trying to make clothes with women with shape, and now they’re all about embracing and empowering women. [She’s] empowering women in a matriarch society where women can make money. Like when she said, ‘OK my husband might have invested everything he had into fashion, everything he had into creativity for breaking boundaries, but I put the money in the account.’ All of those statements, means that can’t nobody ever disrespect my wife, period.”

Awwww!

Say what you want about his egocentric Twitter rants, but it sounds like Kanye is really trying to spread some positivity these days!

Take a listen to his full interview (below)!

[Image via WENN.]

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NFL Power Rankings: Have The Giants Supplanted The Cowboys In NFC East? – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

NFL Power Rankings: Have The Giants Supplanted The Cowboys In NFC East?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
The Dallas Cowboys were kings of the NFC East last season and the #1 seed in the 2016 NFC playoffs. As such, they spent quite a few weeks ranked #1 or #2 in power ranking polls, usually switching off with the New England Patriots. Of course, while the …

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Living life as a university blogger – The Southland Times


The Southland Times

Living life as a university blogger
The Southland Times
Callum Tokorangi was one of 10 first-year students selected to write for the University of Auckland's official blog The Inside Word. Every fortnight one of his posts, written on anything from life in the halls to exam-time stress, will be posted online

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New Privacy Deal May Not Actually Stop U.S. Snooping

A new deal reached between the United States and European Union Tuesday would allow American companies like Facebook to continuing collecting personal data from people who live across the Atlantic.

While this might make business easier for corporations, experts are worried that without reform of surveillance laws in the United States, the new arrangement — known as the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield — could still leave people vulnerable to the prying eyes of the American government. 

“While the agreement should provide some increased privacy protections for the personal data of EU citizens, ultimately without reform of U.S. surveillance law, Privacy Shield will not be enough,” Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, the director for European affairs at the nonprofit Center for Democracy & Technology, told The Huffington Post in an email.

There’s A Complicated History Here

The deal is supposed to prevent “indiscriminate mass surveillance” of the data transferred to the U.S. from Europe. In other words, a European citizen using Facebook in Germany should feel confident that the U.S. government won’t be able to access their photos and posts.

European citizens didn’t have that confidence until last fall, when the EU struck down the “Safe Harbor” agreement. The terms of Safe Harbor allowed the free exchange of data between the U.S. and Europe, which the EU ultimately wasn’t cool with. The whole kerfuffle started because an Austrian citizen named Maximilian Schrems sued Facebook for holding on to his data in the U.S. even after he’d deleted it in his home country — which in turn meant it could be accessed by U.S. public authorities.

If your head is spinning, you’re not alone. This exchange of data is a complicated mess in part because the policies governing the old Safe Harbor agreement originated in the 1990s, before the Internet was a) in everyone’s pocket and b) full of multinational companies trying to make money off your status updates and photo uploads. Schrems essentially helped officials realize how much the world had changed.

Marco_Piunti/Getty Images
Pictured: spying, possibly.

What This New Deal Actually Means

In theory, the Privacy Shield agreement should protect European citizens from having their data picked apart by government agencies across the Atlantic. But there’s concern that the pact won’t be upheld without an actual overhaul of U.S. surveillance law. 

“Both the U.S. Congress and EU Member States should act quickly to reform their surveillance laws and practices to be more aligned with international human rights norms,” Jeppesen told HuffPost.

He wasn’t alone in expressing skepticism. Edward Snowden, the famous whistleblower behind the 2013 National Security Agency leaks, blasted the move on Twitter.

The Privacy Shield agreement rests on “written assurances” about surveillance given to Europe by the U.S. There’s a new “joint review” process to help ensure that everything’s aboveboard. European citizens will be able to file formal complains, and there will be a “new ombudsperson” to manage it all.

You’d think privacy advocates would be elated, but it’s unclear what any of this will mean in practice, as U.S. law still allows the surveillance of foreigners.

Given that, you can probably expect the deal to be challenged, if not rejected altogether.

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Has celebrity feminism failed?

It has become fashionable to identify as a feminist in Hollywood, but a social and political force needs substance, not just award-ceremony speeches, to refocus the spotlight

At its simplest, the difference between celebrity-branded feminism and a feminist movement as a social and political force is that one is about individuals and the other about systems. Individual celebrities are great at putting an appealing face on social issues. But the celebrity machine is one that runs on neither complexity nor nuance, but on cold, hard cash. How much can celebrity feminists do if their prominent voices emanate from within systems the film, TV and music industries, for starters in which gender inequality goes generally unquestioned? Emphasising the personal empowerment of individual actors, comedians and pop stars whether for itself or in relation to others only serves to pull focus from the ways in which their industries make money from stereotyping and devaluing women.

Is it celebrities responsibility to fix those industries single-handedly? Of course not. But it is also not ridiculous to suggest that publicly taking on feminism as a pet cause should ideally be more than just basking in the media attention you get for taking that stance. Again, paragonhood is not the goal, but at the very least, boning up on current feminist issues and perspectives will prevent more unfortunate incidents such as Patricia Arquettes wage-gap fiasco.

In continuing the dialogues about equality and representation, small shots of honesty and transparency go a long way. Actor and comedian Amy Schumer is among the celebrity feminists who have been tagged as problematic, but she has also been refreshingly unwilling to buy into the women-are-on-top-now! media spin thats been amplified by her own speedy ascent to Emmy-winning fame. In the autumn of 2015, as Madonnas Rebel Heart tour took over Madison Square Garden, Schumer served as Madges opening act and promptly took aim at the idea that its a new, exciting day for women in Hollywood.

Why would it be exciting? she asked. In an industry that judges you solely based on your appearance, when you know that every day youre just decomposing, barrelling toward death while smaller, younger starlets are popping out, and you know youre just six months away from having to wear a long white button-down and trying to fuck Michael Douglas at a Thanksgiving party? No. Its not an exciting time for women in Hollywood. Are you serious? The bit echoed her instantly viral 2015 sketch Last Fuckable Day, in which Schumer finds Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, and Patricia Arquette lunching in the woods to commemorate Louis-Dreyfuss passage from, in casting terms, believably fuckable female roles to ones where you go to the wardrobe department and all they have for you to wear are long sweaters.

Schumers cutting honesty is an exception that she is able to get away with in part because her medium is comedy but, more importantly, because, with her own successful movie and Comedy Central show, she has more control over her career than many of her Hollywood peers. Former romantic-comedy mainstay Katherine Heigl is an example of a woman whose honesty about the treatment of female characters hasnt gone nearly as well. After her breakout role in 2007s Knocked Up, Heigl told Vanity Fair that she found the films plot a little sexist in its portrayal of the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight while the men are lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. She was promptly branded difficult with even ostensibly feminist websites such as Jezebel frowning on her bad form and her career foundered. Who knows whether Heigls relatively tactful criticism would go over better in the brave new, slightly more woman-friendly film environs of today, but at the time, her treatment in the media served as an effective warning to other women to keep their lid on their opinions.

Several years later, the spotlight was on another woman who was deemed insufficiently grateful: although she didnt call out the films content, Precious star MoNique was pilloried for her diffident approach to promoting the film and campaigning for the best supporting actress Oscar which she eventually won. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, the actor recalled Precious director Lee Daniels telling her that she had been blackballed in Hollywood because of her unwillingness to play the game you know, the game of cuddling up to an industry that regularly erases or sidelines women of colour.

Cautionary tales such as these might help explain why celebrity feminists (and the media that flocks to them) seem more comfortable with feminism as an identity than with its substance. Then again, there arent many media outlets pressing them to talk specifics. If youre a celebrity, youre able to capitalise on the zeitgeisty moment that feminism is having in popular cultures, notes J Maureen Henderson, a writer and self-described millennial expert. You can say, Im a feminist, and were not really going to ask you to put your money where your mouth is, to look for that in practice in the roles that you choose or the collaborators that you work with or the songs that you write. Its enough that youve self-identified that gets the headline, and living the practice is much less interesting to us, it seems.

Furthermore, theres no real incentive for celebrities to back up their identities with action. Sure, some corners of the feminist blogosphere might want to hold their feet to the fire, but the feminist blogosphere isnt paying their bills or casting their next project. Shortly after her HeForShe speech at the UN, Emma Watson announced that her next film was a live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, the most heartwarming Disney tale ever to be based around Stockholm syndrome. What a great opportunity for the newly crowned Top Feminist of 2014 to make connections between her global cause and a story about a woman who falls in love with man who overpowers her and locks her in a castle! Cant wait to hear what she has to say!

OK, so Watsons individual belief in feminism isnt compromised by taking on the role of a kidnapped princess, just as, say, George Clooneys activism on behalf of political and journalistic ethics didnt preclude him from voicing Fantastic Mr Foxs very unethical eponymous animal. With feminism as both a Hollywood buzzword and an identity she has taken on, it is not illogical to think Watson would want to speak to how it informs the roles she chooses. But, again, the media outlets that have made her feminism a focal point of coverage arent asking. Its a pretty good illustration of the fact that while most celebrity feminism is no doubt individually well-meaning, it often has no tangible connection to the images and fantasies we pay those celebrities to construct.

In writing about the celebrity-feminist phenomenon for this newspaper, writer and cultural critic Roxane Gay, who authored 2014s Bad Feminist, put it plainly: So long as we continue to stare into the glittery light of the latest celebrity feminist, we avoid looking at the very real inequalities that women throughout the world continue to face. We avoid having the difficult conversations about the pay gap and the all-too-often sexist music we listen to and the movies we watch that tell womens stories horribly (if at all) and the limited reproductive freedom women are allowed to exercise and the pervasive sexual harassment and violence too many women face. We avoid having the conversations about the hard work changing this culture will require. Its as though feminists are becoming part of a celebrity movement, rather than celebrities joining up with a feminist one.

As with branding, celebrity isnt about complexity, but about offering up an enticing package that the largest number of people can understand with the smallest amount of effort. Which is why it seems important to approach and query celebrities in a way that corporate media will never do. Instead of asking celebrities how they define feminism, we should ask how they enact it in their work and their communities. Rather than focusing on the clothes they wear when agitating for causes, we can find ways to amplify their messages.

These are not unreasonable requests, but weve been conditioned to think they are by a mediated celebrity culture. If celebrities truly have a stake in feminism, it can no longer be about who is bravely embracing a maligned word. Weve spent enough time patting actors and pop stars on the back for redefining feminism with their beauty and appeal, or changing the game simply by showing up and agreeing that, yes, totally, we should all be equal. Media and pop culture have to help change the narrative whereby simply claiming a feminist identity stands in for doing work in the service of equality. It can no longer be about who says they stand for feminism, but about how they stand for it. Like past Hollywood stances on Aids awareness, environmentalism, antiwar activism and more, celebrity feminism may well fade out to make way for the next big thing, but while its here, we have a small chance to refocus the spotlight.

Extracted from We Were Feminists Once (17.99, PublicAffairs), published on 19 May. Buy a copy for 14.39 including free p&p at bookshop.theguardian.com.

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Ask LH: How Much Money Can I Make From Blogging? – Lifehacker Australia


Lifehacker Australia

Ask LH: How Much Money Can I Make From Blogging?
Lifehacker Australia
Another survey, this one of 1500 ProBlogger readers who said they're trying to make money by blogging, found that 9 per cent make between $US1000 and $US10,000 a month, and 4 per cent make over $US10,000 a month. But the vast majority makes less …

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Spotlight On The Cowboys Ring Of Honor: Don Meredith – Blogging The Boys (blog)


Blogging The Boys (blog)

Spotlight On The Cowboys Ring Of Honor: Don Meredith
Blogging The Boys (blog)
“Dandy Don” Meredith is generally credited as being the second member of the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor even though he and teammate Don Perkins were both inducted at the same time. This is for no other reason than alphabetically speaking Meredith …

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China’s latest startup battle isn’t about cars it’s about shared bicycles

Mobike bicycles lined up
Image: Screenshot/Bloomberg

In Chinas internet warzone, theres a road map for success: find a rich backer, get lots of money, burn it to buy market share.

The latest chapter of that playbook is being written by two young entrepreneurs each offering an update on a former icon of Chinas communist party the bicycle.

In one corner is Dai Wei, 25, whose Beijing Bikelock Technology Co. cycle-sharing startup, known as Ofo, won about $100 million backing in September from investors including the venture fund backed by Xiaomi Corp. founderLei Jun and Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing giant that just beat Uber Technologies Inc. out of China. The funding is said to have valued the startup at $500 million.

In the other is Hu Weiwei, who received similar funding days later for herBeijing Mobike Technology Co. from a group including Tencent Holdings Ltd., the nations biggest internet company and, ironically, a long-term backer of Didi.

This is the trial by fire of Chinas internet landscape, where alliances change in days and startups bleed billions of dollars offering freebies to get customers, only to merge months later so they can take on the next upcoming competitor.

Tencent and Didi each picking a different winner makes the competition much more unpredictable and interesting, said Cao Yang, Beijing-based analyst at internet consultant IResearch. It really comes down to which founder can adapt faster and leverage resources better.

Bike-sharing is hardly new. There are about 600 such operations globally, with a market that could grow by 20 percent a year to generate as much as $5.8 billion in revenue by 2020, according to consultancy Roland Berger.

Most, like Pariss Velib or Londons so-called Boris Bikes are run or set up by the local government, often with corporate sponsors, and bikes are available from racks at set locations. What differentiates Ofo and Mobike is that users find and pay for bicycles via a smartphone app and then leave the vehicle wherever they want.

Each company is targeting a different market. Mobike has gone for high-end branding with bikes that cost as much as 3,000 yuan ($440) to build and have snazzy orange wheels, solid-core tires and satellite navigation. Ofo is targeting students with bright yellow two-wheelers costing only about 250 yuan that dont have GPS and rent for just 1 yuan per hour, typically half that of Mobike. Beijings public bikes are free for the first hour and then 1 yuan per subsequent hour.

Mobike locates its vehicles via an integrated GPS. Ofo so-named because the word looks like a bicycle does so by tracking the smartphones of its riders and sending a code to unlock the bike.

These guys all think they can be Amazon, hoping to burn money first and then make money later, said Rawen Huang, Hong Kong-based founder of Petrel Capital, which invests in Chinas internet space. Will we look back in five years time and say Oh my, I cant believe they got funding at that valuation? Probably.

In the capitals electronics heartland of Zhongguancun, where high-tech heavyweights like Lenovo Group Ltd. rub shoulders with startups and malls crammed with gadgets, two of Ofos yellow bikes stand in the hallway outside an apartment, which Dai has converted to a makeshift office.

In the early stages of a company, expanding is more important than defending, says Dai, echoing the insights imparted by his mentor Cheng Wei, founder of Didi. The faster you use your money, the more efficient, the more money you raise, the stronger you become. Then you control the market.

Its a strategy that helped Didi beat off more than 30 rivals. At the height of its battle with Uber, both companies were burning through $1 billion a year, mostly to subsidize fares. Didi now handles more than 11 million rides a day across about 400 cities. While Didi has yet to become profitable, Dai said Ofo is already making money.

Bespectacled and soft spoken, Dai gained the support of Didis early investors Wang Gang and GSR Ventures Allen Zhu. The Peking University PhD dropout founded Ofo with four other students, ditching their original project on cycling tourism to focus on bike-sharing.

Wang was instrumental in helping Ofo find a big tree to lean on, securing not only financial backing from Didi, but also potential access to its 300 million users.

A 30-minute bike ride away, in a technology incubator called 768 Creativity Shejiyuan, Hu Weiwei landed an even more powerful ally. Tencents WeChat instant messaging app has more than 800 million users and already integrates things like Didis car-hailing service and JD.com Inc.s shopping function.

The 34-year-old former journalist said the two companies are starting to coordinate on certain technology aspects.

In a second-floor office down a dark passageway, next to a communal toilet, Hu speaks in a low octave, punctuating her key message: The fact that Tencent is investing in us shows that we share the same philosophy about products and technology.

The investment from Tencent, along with Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital, couldnt have been more timely. Following Didis announcement it would back Ofo, users like Shanghai-based Mike Huang began unsubscribing from Mobike to get back their 299 yuan deposits on concern the company would shut down.

It just shows you how important the big companies are for the survival of startups in China, said Huang, an entrepreneur who has a womens health app. He resubscribed after hearing about the Tencent investment. Chinese internet companies are still in that phase of burning cash to win market share and the brutality of competition is even worse than Silicon Valley.

Ofo and Mobike will need more than discounts to win users, they need bikes.

Mobike said it has about 30,000 bicycles spread across the major cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, which have an estimated combined urban population of more than 74 million. It aims to stock at least 100,000 bikes for each city by year-end and expand to other cities.

Compare that with the more than 66,500 public bikes offered by the public transport corporation of Hangzhou, a city of about 8 million.

Ofo says it has more than 85,000 bikes, mostly on university campuses, and expects to take its service to other places in China. Both rivals are eyeing markets in Europe.

The ride-sharers are trying to reverse a decline in cycling in China, which spent the past two decades promoting cars. China had 670 million bikes in 1995. By 2013 it had 370 million.

For some Beijingers, the billion-dollar fight between Ofo and Mobike comes down to which happens to be more convenient.

I dont care whose bike it is, Ill use one if I spot one and feel too lazy to walk, said Guang Geng, who works in the Zhongguancun area. Honestly I just tell them apart by color.

With assistance by Tom Mackenzie, Yuan Gao, Brad Stone, and Lulu Chen

This article originally published at Bloomberg here

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What is it that attracts US investors to the multi-million-pound EPL?

Everton have joined a long list of clubs to be the subject of scrutiny by American investors, says David Conn

The news that Evertons long, public search for investment is attracting interest from two US investors, following Crystal Palaces sale of a 36% stake and Bournemouth a 25% shareholding, extends the incongruous spectacle of English football clubs becoming owned in a country still generally oblivious to soccer. When Malcolm Glazer and his six children started this historic change with their buy-up 10 years ago of that most storied of clubs, Manchester United, they declared that Joel Glazer was an avid fan.

Now that investors are checking out Everton following US purchases at Arsenal, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Bournemouth and Palace seven of the 20 current Premier League clubs there is little effort to suggest the major motivator does not come down to money. The EPL, as the Premier League is known and marketed in the US a key reason why the Football League is rebranding to the EFL – is booming and the latest £5.136bn paid by Sky and BT for the 201619 UK live rights has alerted more potential buyers across the Atlantic.

Whereas Chelseas 2003 purchase by Roman Abramovich and the 2008 acquisition of Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi seemed to signal English football clubs would be owned by billionaires as trophy assets, there are only so many sheikhs and oligarchs and they are anyway running their clubs to be break-even businesses. As clubs have been sold,, for a mix of reasons English shareholders wanting to cash in, grounds and squads needing investment principal interest has come from the US, where there are acquisitive financiers and a culture of buying sports teams as investments.

Here for a century, footballs stated culture, regulated by Football Association rules, was that shareholders and directors should be involved to serve clubs, not make money for themselves, but the FA surrendered that tradition from the 80s, just as the money was becoming huge.

Former English owners of these sporting havens, which we still call clubs, then made fortunes selling shares they held for decades. Martin Edwards and family banked £91m selling United and David Moores £90m for the heirloom of his Liverpool stake; Doug Ellis earned £20m for his Villa shares, with longstanding Arsenal owners greatly cashing in from selling to Stan Kroenke, with David Dein banking £75m from Alisher Usmanov.

The US owners aim is to replicate the medium-to-long term holding of US sports franchises, making money on the value of the clubs increasing, from TV, sponsorships, ticket prices and supporter-consumerism. Sports teams are cash businesses too, so owners can also make money as they go along; Arsenal now pay Kroenkes company, KSE, £3m annually for services described as consultancy and advice.

The Glazers approach has famously been the most raw: they put up only £272m of their own money out of £790m paid for United, then loaded their £518m borrowings on to the club to repay. This leveraged takeover, orchestrated by Ed Woodward when he was at the merchant bank JP Morgan, has since cost the club more than £700m in interest and fees, and the debt is still £411m gross.

Woodward, since appointed by the family to run the actual football club, is still struggling with the post-Sir Alex Ferguson succession but the Glazers have made fortunes nevertheless. They made £75m selling shares when they re-registered the club in the Cayman Islands and floated it on the New York stock exchange in 2012, another $200m (£134m) from a sale in August 2014, then Edward Glazer made around £29m that December selling more. This year United announced an annual dividend which adds up to £15m a year for the family.

They remain the 90% owner of United, valued at $3.1bn in May by the US magazine Forbes, which said: No team on the planet has figured out how to make money from its brand like the Red Devils.

The increase in Premier League TV deals, incrementally growing awareness of soccer in the US, and the leagues cost controls aimed at stemming wages, have prompted the latest interest yet further takeovers have been slow. The Bournemouth investment, whose details the club has not disclosed, and the Crystal Palace deal, in which 18% of new shares were issued each to Joshua Harris and David Blitzer for an initial £50m, according to Palace, were the first to complete since Shahid Khan bought Fulham in 2013. West Bromwich Albion, Villa and Everton have been publicly for sale, and others open to offers, yet not concluded deals.

Some involved say a key deterrent is relegation, the time-honoured basis of the football pyramid which does not exist in US sports. Khan, relegated with Fulham, Randy Lerner with Villa and Ellis Short at Sunderland, both struggling despite spending millions, are cautionary precedents.

The two currently doing due diligence at Everton, the tech investors John Jay Moores and Charles Noell, previously negotiated with Swansea, before the deal was called off. There the supporters trust owns 21% and was concerned about the change in culture associated with a financially driven US investment.

Richard Scudamore, the Premier Leagues chief executive in whose tenure so many clubs have been sold, has described the Swansea structure as probably ideal. Their trust is a reminder of heartfelt resistance to accepting football clubs as financial investments, that supporters still consider them homes of mutual belonging, to be cherished, not exploited.

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Important Tips for Starting a Business Blog – The Libertarian Republic – The Libertarian Republic


The Libertarian Republic

Important Tips for Starting a Business Blog – The Libertarian Republic
The Libertarian Republic
Marketing through blog can be simple, if you have a proper knowledge about marketing. Some people start their blogging writing down their own ideas and …

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