Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Well, I was feeling quite pleased with myself this morning when I came downstairs. But not for long. There was an email from Gavin Lloyd Wilson over on the newsblog to tell me that the blog had been deleted. I checked with blogger.com and apparently our new Press Releases blog has gone the same way.

I received notification from blogger on both accounts reading:

'Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What is a spam blog?) Since you are an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy and we sincerely apologise for this false positive.

'We received your unlock request on 29 December 2009. On behalf of the robots, we apologise for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.

Find out more about how Blogger is fighting spam blogs.'

Spam is certainly a problem, and as events stand at the moment, one cannot take issue with blogger for having done what they have done. That is ASSUMING that normal service is indeed resumed as soon as someone realises that a collection of over 2,000 press stories, and another collection of 38 press releases are hardly spam in any sense of the word.

However, there is another more disturbing possibilty. Gavin asked me:

"Do you think someone may have maliciously 'reported' the blog?"

And I am afraid to say that I think that it is very likely. For various reasons (some of which I know, and others of which I can only guess at) we have fallen foul of various movers and shakers within the crypto-community. These people have, for the last year or so, done their best to cause us (and me in particular) as much trouble and distress as possible. Presumably this is working on the principle that they believe that if they carry on tormenting a manic depressive like me, then eventually I shall crack and close the CFZ, whereby more people will buy their books, and attend their conferences rather than ours.

That is what it all boils down to... money.

But it is not going to work. I am tougher than they think (I shudder as I write this, knowing that it will only heap more coals of opprobrium upon my head) and I have a bloody good team behind me. So bring on your worst. The CFZ is here to stay.

NB: Oh, how I hope that I am being paranoid, however, and that this latest problem is merely the result of an over zealous anti-spambot.

Watch this space.


Dale Drinnon said...

You are not alone. I have had one email account deleted because of false reports to Yahoo and have had to come back with diversified alternate accounts to combat the problem. My main Cryptozoology discussion group (and ONLY that one, out of the 200 or so Yahoo groups I own) has a recurring problem in that messages are routinely labelled as spam, especially from me as the group owner, but also from Dave F and the other regular contributors and even further down the line.

One insidious development of this is that my emails to Jon have been routinely blocked or had their photo attachments stripped off-for much of the past year and from several alternate identities. I have several outstanding complaints about this that yahoo email is working on even now.

Oll Lewis said...

If this is the work of an individual (or individuals) with a grudge then they are being very stupid and childish indeed.

If it is somebody bearing a personal grudge, I do suggest that they get checked out by a qualified mental health practitioner at the least. I can imagine a person getting all hett up about some imagined slight that happened more than 5 years ago but to try to take that out on people like me, Gavin, Lizzie, Max, Corinna and a host of other people they probably have never even met or met briefly does sound a wee bit like they are dribbling into their porridge.

If it borne out of jealousy for the fact that the CFZ are successful when they are not why don't they try to channel their efforts into actually improving their own output instead of sniping at people just because they are better than them? The reason the CFZ are so good at what we do is that we actually do things and put in the hours rather than just sitting round and thinking about it.

G L Wilson said...

Why on earth is this "rival" crypto group resorting to dirty tricks like this?

Why should different groups be rivals anyway? We all have the same interests, why can't we work together?

I suspect it has nothing to do with cryptozoology at all. It's just that some people are complete arseholes.

Oll Lewis said...

I agree with you Gavin.

I have never knowingly tryed to upset anyone in my life. To insult someone or to have a vendetta because of the fact that someone is better at what you do against them is the act of a fool in my opinion.