Written by Don Reid on May 4th, 2011 Posted in General

Having been in the entertainment business for forty (40) years, there are little tricks and treats of the trade that you tend to make good use of for the betterment of your business.  And any entrepreneur will tell you the most important part of their business, besides their product, is their name.  A good name must be nurtured and protected above all else and at all times.  There used to be services out there that would track your name daily for a fee and each week send you a listing of all the papers and magazines in which it appeared throughout the world.  This way you could not only account for how many mentions you may have gotten that week but also you could monitor how it was being used and what was being said about you. This was very useful when a new album was released or a new tour embarked upon.  To many of you I’m sure this sounds very archaic and cumbersome, but trust me, many national companies and entertainers used this service to track and protect their good name for many years.

But then comes the Internet!  And like the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, Blockbuster and telephone booths, this little service quickly becomes an antique.  An antique no longer needed and no longer able to be found.  And why should anyone even miss it when you can replace it and all it did with the double click of a mouse or the striking of a key?  Enter my son, Langdon, again.

Langdon, always looking out for his old man and thinking I should have the benefit of whatever new is being offered in the gadget world, emailed me not long ago and said, “Dad, you need to check out Google Alert.”

Thinking this might be a new contestant on “American Idol” or a Lady Gaga rip off, I asked for more info and was supplied with the web address that instructed me in how to use it.  Sure enough, it was just a cyber-version of the old newspaper/magazine service I was familiar with from long ago.  I was told to just sign up, click ‘ok’ and then ‘enter’, and my name would be tracked with no further input from me whatsoever.  The results were immediate.

Within the hour I was inundated with coverage from all over the United States.  Don Reid mentions were dinging my email bell all through the night and into the next morning.  Don Reid did this and he did that and they just wouldn’t stop.  What a magic and wondrous accommodation this was.  And so immediate and responsive and detailed.

The only problem was….none of the stacks of emails had anything to do with me.

There was a Don Reid who writes for a newspaper in the Midwest.  I got everyone of his stories that he got a byline on and he must write a dozen a day.  There’s a photographer out there in the near west also, who publishes family pictures and a lot of them.  A Don Reid Ford dealership in Florida – and do you have any idea how many ads he buys in the newspaper in a week’s time?  And as if this wasn’t enough, I started getting all of Senator Harry Reid’s mentions. The last one I just got informed me he had fallen and dislocated his shoulder. (So sorry, Harry.)  And I don’t know what to do with all this useless information that keeps crowding my inbox.  I’m just thankful that Don Reid, the basketball player for Detroit, Washington, and Orlando retired the same year I did or I guess I’d be getting a ding every time he dunked a ball or missed a shot.  And there’s even an actor out there sharing my moniker who has made three or four movies.  But I guess what finalized my decision to terminate my Google access, was when I started getting Tara Reid’s clippings.  The pictures were something to behold but I didn’t know what to do with them.

So I have double clicked on the unsubscribe button and no longer receive random notices of every one in the country named Reid. I am content with not knowing what is being said about me in that loftier space called the Internet.  So if you come across a besmirching statement or even an occasional praise, don’t bother to send it.  It probably ain’t me anyway.    

                              —–Wednesday, May 4, 2011     6:35pm