Posts Tagged ‘Cynthia Flash’

My `Google problem’ and how I got my name back

November 5, 2014

Google photoAfter meeting with a large public relations firm for a project two years ago, one of the principals – a former Associated Press reporter – politely pulled me aside to ask me about my “Google problem.”

“Huh?” I thought as I pretended to know what he was talking about. It quickly became evident that he had Googled me before the meeting and instead of focusing on my  Flash Media Services business website that highlighted my business capabilities, he was drawn to the other website that boldly carried my name, cynthiaflash.com.

My name has served me well as a professional journalist and publicist. It even set off bells around the world when I started working for United Press International.

But a few years ago, I discovered that a female escort in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., had grabbed it for her business. Yikes! She was beautiful and buxomy and nearly naked. Not bad to look at – if you are a guy! But this was not the image I hoped to portray for my very above-board public relations company.

When I found that someone was using my name to sell sex I immediately called my high school friend, who is a local police chief. She suggested I call the Fort Lauderdale police to see if there was anything they could do. I called. They couldn’t help.

So the nefarious cynthiaflash.com continued to prominently populate the Internet. It usually popped up as no. 1 through 3 when I searched my name. My business website, http://www.flashmediaservices.com, was there as well. But for some reason I feared it wasn’t getting as much attention.

Occasionally I would share this little tidbit about my name with friends. The women groaned in sympathy. The men – including my husband – snickered. They offered no attempt to conceal their interest. I’m sure many of them went straight to the site after meeting me.

And some, including the former AP guy, probably were a bit disappointed when they met me in person after stumbling across this other website.

Over the years several writer friends suggested that I write about it. But I couldn’t. While some believe “any publicity is good publicity,” I couldn’t go there in this case. I just couldn’t see how a Fort Lauderdale escort would help my PR business.

I even convinced my brother, who shares the same last name, to buy domain names with his name and his children’s names so this couldn’t happen to them.

But I wished there was something I could do about it. I stepped it up a notch after the conversation with the former AP guy. He offered his company’s services to try to bury the site to the second page of a Google search. I asked my own web designer if there was anything he could do. While he doubted he could bury it, he checked to see when the domain name registration on the site would expire. It was expiring shortly, it turned out. So he tried to buy it. Unfortunately, that didn’t work. The current owner paid up.

That was two years ago. I continued to try to ignore it.

Then, out of the blue, I received an e-mail from my web guy back in June. “Good news!” he said. He had placed a backorder on the domain and when it expired and was not renewed, it went up for auction. The service we paid to keep an eye on it automatically bid for it and I won my name back for $50! What a deal. And it all took place automatically.

Thank you, Reiner Perry and Web Studio Seattle for getting my name back for me. And to all of you who searched www.cynthiaflash.com while reading this, you’ll know by now that it has been redirected to my Flash Media Services website.

As for the Fort Lauderdale escort? I have no idea where she is. I wish her the best of luck in her business dealings. Just don’t use my name!

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Once a writer always a writer

October 21, 2014

By Cynthia Flash

Have you ever talked to an artist or an engineer? They really can’t talk without holding a pen in their hand and drawing something to illustrate the point they’re trying to make. They need to use a visual to explain themselves. It’s part of their makeup, their very being.

I’m a bit like that. But I don’t use the pen to draw pictures. I use it to write. I’ve been a writer since I was a young girl. I would write stories for fun in my spare time. I used to write long letters home from camp. I used to hide out in my closet – my own little fort – and fill notebooks with doodles and thoughts.

When I had to choose a career to explore while in 8th grade I remember talking to my father about it. I told him I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t think it was practical to be a novelist because the chances for success were pretty slim. He encouraged me to consider journalism. I didn’t even know what a journalist was; I’d never thought about who wrote newspapers or magazines.

I took his advice and spent the day with a reporter for the Seattle P-I and became hooked. I joined the junior high newspaper, wrote for the high school newspaper, applied to J School and became a journalist. Easy as that! Well, not really. It was tough, but I stuck it out.

Now that my career has shifted away from journalism to media relations I still write a lot. I write and edit blogs for clients, create news releases and newsletters, ghost write columns for busy executives, and still write under my own byline every once in a while.

But I miss writing for myself. So, this blog will be an outlet for my own writing – and a few other things. I may offer commentary on my life, on life in general, or on the news. It won’t follow a particular format or schedule. It’s just a way for me to keep writing, to showcase my work, and for friends, clients and potential clients to peek into my head.

I welcome your comments. Thanks for reading.

 


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