Friday, November 16, 2007

Two new social networks provide diabetes support

Two new social networks provide diabetes support

Social networking is getting a disease-specific spin with two news sites devoted to diabetes. from The HealthCentral Network aims to help diabetic teens connect with each other online and provide information about type 1 diabetes. The site features blogs written by diabetic teens and an advice column. Users can also create their own diabetes blogs. The other new site is the Canadian-based Wellocities. The online community, available for free throughout Canada, combines a national Web directory of health services with social networking. Wellocities says it features Canada's first and only nationwide health directory of traditional and nontraditional health services and private and public providers. Click the supporting links below to read more about DiabeTeens and Wellocities.

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Pharma: Reach out to Alzheimer's caregivers online

Pharma: Reach out to Alzheimer's caregivers online

November is Alzheimer's Awareness Month, and now may be a good time for pharma to reach out to Alzheimer's caregivers online, suggest new Manhattan Research Cybercitizen Health v7.0 data. "Consumers who are caregivers to someone with Alzheimer's are much more active than the average U.S. adult in terms of their health information seeking, and are especially active in their pharmaceutical info seeking online," says Meredith Abreu Ressi, vice president of research at Manhattan Research. In fact, half of this population is online for pharma information, compared to about one-third of all consumers. Also, nearly 40% have visited a pharma product or corporate site, and they're almost twice as likely as the average adult to have requested a prescription drug in the past 12 months.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

eMedTV Unveils Web's Largest Library of Original Health Education Videos

eMedTV Unveils Web's Largest Library of Original Health Education Videos

Market Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

SEATTLE, WA, November 13 / MARKET WIRE/ --

eMedTV ( today unveiled the only health information Web site to empower consumers through a mix of straightforward, conversational language and access to nearly 3,000 original health education videos covering hundreds of medical conditions, procedures and treatments.

The site's impressive library of original health educations videos -- the largest available on the Web today -- is combined with eMedTV's growing collection of more than 16,000 easy-to-understand print articles covering more than 2,000 health topics. In turn, eMedTV helps its users not only better understand their health, but also play a more active role in planning their healthcare with their physician.

"For many consumers, getting straight answers to medical questions -- whether from a physician or the Web -- is intimidating and complicated," said Dr. Art Schoenstadt, founder and president of eMedTV. "eMedTV is truly health information brought to life. We give you the option of reading articles or watching the Web's largest library of original health education videos available online so you can make more informed and confident healthcare decisions."

Many health Web sites license the majority of their content from the same small handful of sources, Schoenstadt said. This results in a lack of fresh perspectives and a cookie-cutter approach to health information that prioritizes marketing and profits ahead of what's best for consumers.

"Original content is another area where eMedTV is different," Schoenstadt said. "We go well beyond licensed content to offer original videos and articles, all produced by health, fitness and medical experts."

eMedTV's vast library of multimedia content has been used by the National Institutes of Health and top medical centers within the United States and overseas.

The breadth and depth of eMedTV's health topics also make it an essential site for any patient, including those who are low-literate or illiterate. Unlike most online medical information -- which is text-heavy and loaded with jargon -- eMedTV's easy-to-understand videos and articles allow patients to learn about thousands of health topics at their own pace.

In addition to its health education videos available in English, eMedTV also offers a selection of videos in Spanish, German, Czech, Polish, Turkish, Dutch and Swiss-German. The site will also feature up-to-date news, as well as tips and facts of the day.

To further enrich its multimedia offerings, eMedTV also plans to launch an online community of both patients and healthcare professionals in the coming months. Upcoming features will include an "Ask an Expert" section, message boards, blogs, polls and quizzes.

About eMedTV:

eMedTV is the only health information Web site that combines straight talk from medical experts with the Web's largest library of original health education videos.

eMedTV provides consumers with thousands of short videos and articles designed to quickly and easily educate them about a wide variety of diseases, treatments and procedures. The site's award-winning original content has been used by the National Institutes of Health and top medical centers both within the United States and overseas.

eMedTV is health information brought to life, online at:

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More women are entering the blogosphere -- satirizing, sharing and reaching a key demographic

More women are entering the blogosphere -- satirizing, sharing and
reaching a key demographic

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

By Mackenzie Carpenter, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A self-portrait of Elizabeth Perry, of Friendship, who posts sketches of
her daily life on her blog, at

They post reviews of the latest Wilco concert at the A.J. Palumbo Center
or deconstruct cupcake stores in Shadyside. They complain about Luke
Ravenstahl's golf outings and Troy Polamalu's indifferent attitude
toward fans.

They can be snarky, satirical, nurturing, idealistic. They can be shy,
fiercely guarding their anonymity behind monikers like "PittGirl" or
"Agent Ska," or bold, like Justine Ezarki, a k a "iJustine," who, with
the help of her camera phone, enables readers to follow her virtually
every hour of the day.

Pittsburgh's women bloggers either define themselves through the lens of
gender -- as do the members of the Pittsburgh Women's Blogging Society
-- or, like PittGirl at the popular The Burgh Blog, as simply bloggers
who happen to be women.

When blogs -- cyber-shorthand for "weblogs," or online journals -- began
popping up on the Internet in the mid-1990s, their practitioners seemed
to be overwhelmingly white and male. But slowly and steadily, women
bloggers have been increasing in number, reflecting a national trend in
female social networking that has ignited the interest of politicians,
companies and the media who see chances to harness the buying and voting
power of this well-educated and affluent demographic for profits and

One survey in March, by a blog advertising firm called Blogads, reported
that the average consumer of such content is a 29-year-old female with
an annual income of $70,000 who taps into five blogs a day and spends
four hours a week on them.

It's impossible to know how many women blog -- it's probably in the
millions, and at, at least 10,000 women bloggers are listed
in all permutations, from food and drink blogs to astrology to sports.

One of the hottest categories is the "mommy blog" -- and the networks
that list them, providing one-stop shopping for women looking for
information or a shoulder to cry on or just to share laughs.

Other networks include Ladies Who Launch <> ,
which targets "mompreneurs," and the newly unveiled Mom Blog Network
<> , which boasts of "a proprietary system of
algorithms to reveal what topics, blogs and users are the 'hottest.' "

Locally, there's The Motherhood <> , a mommy
blog network, but with a twist: While allowing mothers to share
parenting experiences and information it also provides them with a
chance to engage in the wider world, banding together as an online
community to support maternal health initiatives or action on Darfur.

"We really are dedicated to mothers finding each other to make a
difference in the world, not just 10 points on potty training," said
Cooper Munroe, a 41-year-old Fox Chapel mother of four who, along with
Emily McKhann, a colleague and business partner who lives in New York,
launched the site in July.

The Motherhood gets a couple of thousand hits a day and was named site
of the month by Parents magazine in September. Its incubation period
dates to 2005, when Hurricane Katrina prompted Ms. Munroe and her
friends to organize, through a small online blog they'd started called
BeenThere <> , an 18-wheeler truckload
delivery of clothes and food to victims in northern Louisiana.

"It was a real epiphany," she said. "I thought, 'Oh, my God, I can
really make a difference with a baby in my lap and a computer.' "

Ms. Munroe then began to think about the Internet's possibilities as a
way to bring mothers together "to make the world a better place," while
balancing the demands of a family.

" is personal, political, kitchen table stuff in a new
form," she said. "We call it 'big picture parenting.' We could all use
big-picture views of what we want for our kids and ourselves."

Another site, Woolgathering (, a
"sketch" blog by Elizabeth Perry, takes a more miniaturist approach. A
technology integration specialist at The Ellis School in Shadyside and a
mother of three school-age children, Ms. Perry, 51, of Friendship,
learned to draw a few years ago.

"People told me that the way to learn to draw was to draw every day,"
she said. "So I did."

Ms. Perry hasn't stopped since. Every day, she posts a watercolor or
drawing, delicate yet sharply observed, from her life: a glimpse of her
feet on an ottoman, a sunflower losing its petals, the Clarion County

"I follow G.K. Chesterton's philosophy, which is, 'If a thing is worth
doing, it is worth doing badly,' and this sketch blog is a thing
profoundly worth doing, even when I do it badly," she laughs. "I believe
that sitting still and simply looking at something allows me to slow
down and appreciate my ordinary surroundings in a new way. Drawing daily
lets me take chances, make mistakes, and model that process in public."

Politics of blogging

Ms. Perry is one of 15 women bloggers who belong to the Pittsburgh
Women's Blogging Society, a generally left-leaning group affiliated with
the Thomas Merton Center.

They include 2 Political Junkies <>
, which closely follows, analyzes and satirizes politicians residing
from Grant Street to Pennsylvania Avenue; Pittsburgh Lesbian
Correspondents <> , which focuses on gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgendered issues; and Ms. Adventures on the
Mon <> , political satire by Frances
Monahan, a 41-year-old Brentwood mother of three and a freelance writer
whose work is often found in the City Paper.

While Ms. Monahan admires some local political bloggers, "I look at some
of them and say, 'Boy, some of these are really awful.' From the get-go,
I wanted to do something different from the diatribes and manifestos, so
I try to employ my favorite weapon, which is humor."

With liberal use of videos and photos, Ms. Monongahela attracts "maybe
100 readers one day, other days more than a thousand hits," and has
plans to podcast Nov. 14, "when we'll be talking about issues, not Ellen
DeGeneres' dog."

Overall, though, it's not clear how many women blog in this region., a social networking site that tries to list every new
local blog, holds a Blogfest four times a year so computer-bound members
can meet each other face-to-face. At its August meeting, the number of
men slightly exceeded women who showed up, said Christina Schulman, one
of the site's co-founders.

"But that's probably an unscientific sample, since we held it at a bar
on a weeknight, and more men than women are probably going to come out
for something like that," she laughed.

A few women bloggers do stand out from the rest of the pack, said Ms.

"PittGirl on The Burgh Blog [] is my favorite, if it
truly is written by a woman. People aren't sure, and everyone wants to
out her. She's very articulate, well-read and informed, yet she has
managed to find that common denominator that appeals to everyone from
the yinzers, and I'm not saying that pejoratively, because I am one, to
the yuppies."

Despite the growing popularity of BurghBlog, Ms. Monongahela and other
female bloggers, true digital diversity in the blogosphere seems still
out of reach. At this year's YearlyKos Convention, an annual gathering
of bloggers, policy makers and liberal political activists, only a
handful of the 100 panels and seminars were aimed at women or

That's why the addition of more women bloggers can only be a good thing,
Ms. Monahan said, given what she says is the slightly seedy reputation
of the blogging community as a "bunch of Cheetos-eating guys sitting in
their pajamas in their mother's grungy basements."

Women bloggers in Pittsburgh may wear pajamas, too, but they add a
different voice to the mix, even if their blogs aren't necessarily
well-designed, well-written and therefore worth reading.

"We're just kind of at the beginning stages, and we're still finding our
groove," she said. "It's still very much a grass-roots effort. Heck, I
don't accept money because my blog is not worth paying for."

Maybe not, but it's still certainly worth doing.

"Blogging is like that secret diary every girl keeps when she's a
teenager," Ms. Monahan added. "You kind of want everyone to stumble upon
that little journal you've been keeping, you want to share that angst
and you do, and then a great weight is lifted and there's some kind of
connection and, maybe, the world understands you a little bit better."

Mackenzie Carpenter can be reached at or

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Marketers Reach Key Demos Via Mobile

Marketers Reach Key Demos Via Mobile

by Gavin O'Malley, Wednesday, Nov 14, 2007 7:00 AM ET

MARKETERS STRUGGLING TO ENGAGE ELUSIVE 18- to-24-year-olds need look no
further than mobile devices, according to new findings from market
research firm InsightExpress.

Members of Generation Y now use their mobile phones to take 76% of all
personal calls, according to an online survey of some 2,000 young mobile
device owners in October, conducted by Stamford, Conn.-based

Over half of the Gen Yers--or 56%--report spending time looking for new
things to do with their mobile phones. That engagement leaves the door
open for marketers to reach young consumers with short attention spans
and busy digital social lives.

"It's clear that as an extension of self, these omnipresent devices play
a much broader role in the lives of young people, especially when it
comes to interpersonal relationships, than simply voice or text
communication," says Joy Liuzzo, director of mobile research at
InsightExpress, in a release.

The research firm also outlined new opportunities for marketers looking
to provide users with helpful mobile services. For example, over a third
(34%) of Gen Yers have arranged to have another person call their mobile
device in order to rescue them from undesired social situations.

"The mobile phone has apparently become like a panic button, used for
'rescue missions' in awkward social situations," Liuzzo says. There is
no reason why a brand marketer couldn't just as easily provide this

Seeing mobile's potential, traditional media players, like the big
broadcast networks, are now growing their online and mobile platforms
even faster than pure-play new media companies, according to recent data
from private-equity firm Veronis Suhler Stevenson and its research
partner PQ Media.

Last year, pure-players like AOL and Yahoo spent $32 billion on
platforms, which amounted to a 10.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR),
VSS found, using data from PQ Media. Traditional media, meanwhile, spent
$27 billion on platforms, but at a CAGR of 40.6%.

By 2009, VSS and PQ Media predict that spending by traditional media on
online and mobile platforms will actually surpass the pure-play spend,
according to Jim Rutherfurd, managing director at VSS. And by 2011, the
old guard will shell out $68 billion at a CAGR of 20.4%; pure-players
will spend $63 billion at a CAGR of 14.7%

Gavin O'Malley can be reached at

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Stanford launches searchable clinical trials database online

Stanford launches searchable clinical trials database online

Information about the clinical trials at Stanford University and its affiliates is now available through a publicly accessible database. The database is available at and will contain all interventional studies conducted at Stanford. Trials entered into the new system will also be automatically uploaded to the National Institutes of Health's clinical trial database and published on departmental Web sites within the medical school and can be easily shared with collaborating institutions. Patients can search the database by condition or disease, investigator, department, or a free-text search. According to the university, about 1,000 clinical trials are going on at Stanford at any one time, with about 300 trials beginning and 300 trials ending each year.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Companies opting for social net pages rather than campaign microsites

Instead of building a microsite for a campaign, marketers are
increasingly creating pages on social media sites such as Facebook and
MySpace, reports Mediaweek. Development costs are lower, and sites
created recently by Dove, Chase, and Verizon have been free to
advertisers. And because the profiles are linked to social networks
rather than being stand-alone sites, the campaigns' "friends" act as a
kind of word-of-mouth marketing crew. At least one pharma that ePharm5
has reported on has been in on this trend. In August, Reckitt Benckiser
Pharmaceuticals launched the MySpace page Addiction411 to educate
consumers about addiction to opiates, including prescription
painkillers. As of November 12, Addiction411 had 6,623 friends,
according to its page.

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FDA Week via NewsEdge Corporation :

Genetic testing advocacy organizations applaud the HHS genetic task
force's call this week for FDA and other agencies in HHS to jointly
assess direct-to-consumer advertising of genetic tests and take
enforcement action against laboratories and companies that make false
genetic test claims. The groups are also pleased the task force is
pushing HHS to expand a voluntary genetic testing registry and consider
making it mandatory after a five-year review, but a prominent consumer
group says such a registry should be mandatory immediately.

The Secretary's Advisory Committee on Genetics, Health and Society
(SACGHS) issued a slew of recommendations Monday (Nov. 5) calling for
better supervision of genetic testing to ensure the tests are accurate
and useful. The panel demurs from suggesting FDA or CMS have primary
oversight of genetic tests, an issue some genetic advocacy groups had
wanted the task force to settle.

Task force member Kathy Hudson, director of the Genetics and Public
Policy Center at Johns Hopkins University, says the panel felt both
agencies had jurisdiction.

But regulation is murky: Although FDA only regulates tests sold to other
labs, CMS administers the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments
(CLIA), which assess how well tests perform.

FDA has generally ignored laboratory-developed tests but recently
stepped up oversight in the area. It issued a guidance this summer on
what tests qualify as multivariate index assays (IVDMIAs), which are a
subset of genetic tests patients use to predict whether they will
develop diseases such as cancer. FDA also issued a guidance in 2006 on
its oversight of analyte specific reagents (ASRs), which are the
building blocks used by clinical laboratories to develop LDTs. ASRs
include antibodies and proteins.

SACGHS states there is a disparity between FDA and CMS regulations and a
lack of clarity on genetic test measures. The panel recommends HHS'
agencies collaborate and with professional organizations on collecting
better data for analytical and clinical validity and developing
standards for applying genetic tests in clinical practice.

Analytical validity is the measure of a test's reliability. Clinical
validity is a test's ability to detect a disorder.

SACGHS also expresses concern about DTC ads for genetic testing. It says
consumers don't understand the ads, claims are unproven and ambiguous,
and there is a lack of trained genetic professionals to explain test
results to patients.

FDA, CMS, the Federal Trade Commission and other agencies, working with
state governments and stakeholders, need to address false or misleading
DTC ads. The agencies also need to consult with states and other
stakeholders to develop an enforcement approach for any misleading ads,
SACGHS states in the draft report.

Edward Abrahams, executive director of the Personalized Medicine
Coalition, says the group supports federal intervention in DTC ad
genetic test oversight because the public is not trained to interpret
genetic risks from tests.

SACGHS also recommends a voluntary, genetic testing database, developed
through a private-public partnership, "to cut down on the information
gap on the number and identity of labs performing tests and the tests

SACGHS recommends HHS fund the expansion of GeneTests, a voluntary
online directory of genetic tests and the labs offering them. The panel
estimates more than 1,100 genetic tests are offered in clinical labs,
based on the information submitted to GeneTests.

No federal agency maintains the site. SACGHS recommends HHS assess the
system after five years and consider making registration necessary if
data is lacking.

Paul Radensky, a lawyer representing The Coalition for 21st Century
Medicine, says a registry could boost physicians and patients'
confidence in clinical test validity. Over time, he says, payers may
look at the registry to determine coverage.

Registration seems to be a good idea, says Vince Stein at the American
Association for Clinical Chemistry. Still, AACC, a professional group
representing lab directors, wants to know whether GeneTest registration
would require test approval before a test is submitted to the database.

Peter Lurie at Public Citizen calls the recommendation and report "very

"It's a rubber stamp for the no-significant action approach the
government has been taking," he says.

SACGHS also states FDA needs to better explain the "nature and scope" of
FDA oversight of electronic systems that interpret genetic data used to
determine physician treatment.

SACGHS recommends FDA work with other agencies, working groups and
stakeholders to come up with a better regulatory framework for clinical
decision support systems. It says FDA should then prepare a guidance on
clinical decision support systems explaining which system features are
devices regulated by FDA.

SACGHS also calls on HHS to recommend additional studies to assess
clinical utility, which refers to how useful the test will be in routine
practice, and says HHS should publish results of assessments on HHS' or
another Web site.

The panel also recommends CMS make sweeping changes to its CLIA
structure to better address genetic tests. One of the panel's larger
concerns is a test measure of how well genetic tests consistently
diagnose patients correctly. CMS rejected a request by Public Citizen
and a genetics policy group earlier this year to require that
laboratories always prove the efficiency of the genetic tests they use.

SACGHS recommends HHS add more tests under CLIA that must go through the
proficiency testing process; develop incentives for proficiency testing
providers to expand their services to more genetic tests; and fund
effectiveness studies for other types of performance assessments. The
task force calls for CMS to consult or contract experts to train
inspectors of genetic testing labs; and use revenues generated by CLIA
to hire staff to enforce regulations.

SACGHS also urges CMS to cover and reimburse genetic tests and
counseling services.

SACGHS wants CMS to prevent labs from performing genetic tests without
CLIA certification. The CLIA program cannot penalize uncertified labs so
CMS must report these labs to the HHS Inspector General.

"HHS should explore mechanisms and seek or develop new authorities and
resources to enable CMS to strengthen its enforcement efforts against
laboratories that perform genetic tests for clinical purposes without
CLIA certification. CMS should step up its efforts to make publicly
available a list of laboratories that have been cited by CLIA for
condition-level deficiencies," the report states.

SACGHS also calls for CLIA's regulations or statutory authority to be
expanded to cover genetic tests that test for caffeine metabolism or
determine the gender of a fetus.

These tests are "examples of health-related genetic tests that are
skirting the boundaries of CLIA's authority," the report states.

SACGHS is scheduled to meet Nov. 19 and 20 to discuss the draft report.
Comments are due Dec. 21.

buzz this Reveals Top Searches Among Medical Professionals Reveals Top Searches Among Medical Professionals

PR Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation :

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ --, the
specialty-oriented professional medical search engine, today unveiled
the first of an ongoing series of quarterly reports intended to shed
light on the most pressing clinical information needs of doctors. Each
report will include lists of the top 25 cancer, general medical and
psychiatric search queries among medical professionals for the preceding

"The 'Clinical Search Terms' quarterly reports list the disorders,
diseases, conditions and treatments that are top of mind with medical
professionals," said Cyndy Finnie, senior product manager for
SearchMedica. "We've compiled all of the oncology,
primary care and psychiatry searches that took place in the third
quarter to help other medical professionals stay informed of the latest
patient care trends impacting their peers and clarify the online
behavior of medical professionals for those that can apply these
findings to improve communication efforts aimed at medical doctors and
other healthcare professionals."

In the third quarter of 2007, the top cancer related searches among
medical professionals were:

1. breast cancer
2. lung cancer
3. vertebroplasty metastases
4. leukemia
5. recurrent ovarian cancer

The top psychiatric searches among medical professionals were:

1. mood stabilizer
2. unipolar vs. bipolar depression
3. asperger's
4. hypomania
5. bipolar

The top general clinical searches among medical professionals were:

1. cortisol
2. HbA1c/glycated hemoglobin
3. dopamine
4. aphthous ulcers
5. hypertension

"Despite having perhaps the greatest wealth of trusted information
resources available to them offline, doctors go online in droves to
research topics covered extensively in those same resources. When we
asked 6,000 doctors, 77 percent of primary care physicians said they
turned to the Web frequently to find medical information," added Finnie.
"Considering the misleading, erroneous and consumer-oriented information
online underscores the importance of SearchMedica; it provides a trusted
gateway to credible information for medical professionals who use

SearchMedica provides clinicians with a specialist's view of the Web and
an easy to use interface. leverages the medical
expertise of thought leading medical editors as well as practicing
physicians to ensure that every result is clinically sound.

For instance, a Google search on the term "teen suicide," a topic that
has been in the news often as of late, returns approximately 722,000
results, most of which are geared toward parents and patients. The same
search nets 150 results on SearchMedica from some of the most credible
online sources of medical information for physicians and practitioners.

Healthcare professionals are encouraged to register to receive updates
about new content and tips on how to use various advanced tools within
SearchMedica. In addition to ranking search results according to
relevance, SearchMedica also organizes results into categories such as
practical articles and news, research reviews and editorials,
evidence-based articles and meta-analyses, practice guidelines, clinical
trials for patients, continuing medical education, and
alternative-complementary medicine. recently was acknowledged for its outstanding user
experience as a recipient of a 2007 Standard of Excellence WebAward.

About indexes only authoritative medical information,
approved for inclusion by medical editors and a physician editorial
board. Medical professionals receive more relevant, smaller sets of
search results from than from mainstream engines, which
contain consumer-oriented, paid testimonials and other types of
unreliable information. Since is advertiser supported,
medical professionals pay nothing to use the specialty search engines.
All SearchMedica search results are independent and unbiased. They
contain well-known, credible journals, peer-reviewed research, and
evidence-based articles written for practicing healthcare professionals.
SearchMedica is currently available at

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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Abbott Diabetes Care -- Corporations can support chats!

Guest Chat Sessions

Mark your calendars and prepare to take notes. You'll want to remember the tips, hints and advice these guest speakers have to offer. Also, think about what you'd like to ask. You can submit your question to a moderator; and if yours is selected, you'll get the answer in real time.
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votigo - online social media platform, user-generated content, branded social-networking communities, contests and promotions

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