“Good evening and welcome to CRB Evening News. I’m your host Maria Hill. Terror strikes the Middle East, gas prices continue to rise, and scientists successfully clone and re-animate dead grandparents. Those top stories and more tonight, but first an interview with a rising web sensation. Our own Barbara Willis has the story.”
To most, he appears to be an average golden oblong shape, but to writers around the world, Don Gold is very special.
Don Gold: My friends and family call me Gold. Sometimes my son teases me and calls me Goldy, but he knows that if he keeps that up I’ll ground him.
To truly appreciate Don would be to first know his story. Don started off as a flashing banner advertisement on the website www.countrymusiciscool.com.
Don Gold: I was known as “Annoying Banner Boy or A.B.B.” back then. I had a picture of a guitar on my chest along with the flashing words “WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED GARTH BROOKS GUITAR BY CLICKING HERE!” Folks clicked on me and were re-directed to a website selling diet pills. The website installed software on their computers that popped up advertisements. It wasn’t right, and I couldn’t live that dishonest life anymore even if I had bills to pay…
Don migrated over to www.imgonnahaveababy.com. It was there that he met his wife – “Smiles the Emoticon.”
Barbara Willis: Tell us how you met Smiles.
Don Gold: I ended up with a job as a countdown banner on a pregnancy forum. Darla Nichols whose screen name was “PreggoGurl” placed me at the bottom of her forum posts. I counted down the days until her baby was due. A little marker slowly moved across me inching its way towards the 9 month mark.
Barbara Willis: But what about Smiles?
Don Gold: One day I noticed Smiles sitting inside a post above me. I looked up, and immediately became smitten. I watched her for several weeks. Some days she would give me a :P. Other days it would be a simple :) or :-). One day Darla placed Smiles inside a post with me, and the rest is history.
Don married Smiles and they settled down inside the pregnancy forum. When Darla finally had her baby, Don found himself out of work. At the same time, he was also diagnosed with a terrible disorder.
Don Gold: WebMD.com told me that I had the symptoms of multiple personality disorder. I thought my working days were over. Smiles and I had our son – Don Jr. and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feed my family.
Barbara Willis: But through these struggles you ended up getting your best gig yet, right?
Don Gold: Indeed! In December 2003, I interviewed with Scott from Faithwriters.com. We had lunch and he explained to me the official writing challenge that he was about to launch. He needed a rectangular box that could hold multiple critiques and comments on multiple story pages. It’s as if my disorder suddenly became my strength, and I signed on. Soon I found myself being colored gold by one of the website’s programmers.
Barbara Willis: And you became Don Gold, the FaithWriter’s gold comment box that holds comments and critiques on FaithWriter challenge entries.
Don Gold: Yep. Scott helped me find my true purpose in life.
Barbara Willis: That purpose being?
Don Gold: Allowing the reader to interface with the writer and provide critiques and encouragement. The words typed across my chest allow writers to improve their writing and motivate them to keep on pursuing their passion. Its great seeing challenge participants get excited when they get an e-mail notifying them of a new article review. They click the link and see me sitting there with a shiny new golden comment. It’s a very rewarding job.
Barbara Willis: What about the negative critiques writers get at times?
Don Gold: A little constructive criticism never hurt a writer, but with that said, I do not take responsibility for anything written on my chest or the chests of any one of my hundreds of other personalities.
And so the comment boxes keep coming, and Don keeps working hard for the writers and readers at FaithWriters.com. He hopes to be able to pass down his Internet legacy to his son.
Don Gold: He told me that he wants to become the little 500 box that labels a person as a FaithWriter’s 500 member. I told him he should go on to become something greater…like a shopping cart at Amazon.com.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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