When Cryptomundo appeared on the Internet several years ago, I was quite interested, as it seemed like a worthwhile resource for news about cryptid animals. As the years went by, things changed. I started noticing lots more ads, in particular audio “pop-up” ads. One onerous message announced “congratulations, you’ve won” automatically when one logged onto Cryptomundo. At that time, I still hoped that this could be fixed and I sent Loren Coleman an e-mail asking that the audio pop-up ads be turned off. I received a response to the effect that “I just work here, you need to talk to the owner.”
For a time several years ago I posted on a crypto message board also moderated by Coleman. I remember writing a long post comparing John Green’s advocacy of a particular trackway to Ivan Sanderson’s advocacy of 15 foot penguins. Coleman refused to publish this entry. I suspect, but don’t know, that it was refused because calling out Sanderson as a crackpot is a no-no for those promoting Cryptozoology as serious science.
As the years went by, the dual themes of pathological advertizing and Coleman’s repetitive censorship would become apparent to many others besides myself. In addition, Cryptomundo began to really go over the edge into the land of bad taste by linking Cryptozoology to 9-11, and repeatedly posting photos of sexy women. What in the hell does 9-11 or sexy women have to do with unknown animals? It was obvious to me this was a shameless attempt to game the search engine rankings of Cryptomundo, and I’m not the only one who believed this.
Coleman’s reputation took a big hit in 2002 regarding the means in which he obtained photographs from Bigfooter Peter Byrne in the late 1990’s. The damning account was published in 2002 in a Northwest newsletter called the Track Record. Similar accounts were published by Daniel Perez in his newsletter Bigfoot Times in the October-November 2005 issue. But now it’s 2011, and these days Coleman doesn’t have to physically obtain photographs to publish them. He simply finds them on the Internet, claims “fair use” then throws them up on Cryptomundo. I’ve had two photographs of mine “scraped” this way. Note that I’ve included screen grabs of Cryptomundo, as Coleman is fond of historical revisionism, either by editing or redacting information.
Coleman’s “fair use” claim is amusing in light of his own claims of copyright on photos he obtained of what is called the Myakka Skunk Ape:
Coleman’s use of my photographs is galling because Cryptomundo is not just a labor of love, but a for-profit business. One that now regularly functions in a morally onerous way. At one point Cryptomundo even published a topless photo of Natasha Henstridge in an article about the Chupacabra! As is Cryptomundo’s style, the photo was quickly redacted. Then came the chronic begging, or as it’s sometimes known on the Internet “bleging.” If Coleman had lost his leg in ‘Nam, I would have some sympathy, but I really have no idea why he does this.
Today we had another little kerfuffle, though it seems that Coleman has redacted his entry once again! As we see in the Cryptomundo caption in my photo, Coleman likes to label his opponents. Today he lashed out at Sharon Hill as a “scoftic.” What makes this incident rather bizarre is that Cryptomundo linked to an obviously satirical blog entry. Coleman is not stupid by any means, so I find it inconceivable that he wouldn’t notice that it was a parody site. Why would he press on, as if it was a genuine thing? Again, I think it all comes down to SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Here is a screen capture from the yet-to-be-redacted Cryptomundo feed of Bigfoot Forums:
As you can see, we have a large photo of Sharon Hill. I suspect, but cannot prove, that it’s all in the search engine optimization of the photo tags. Here is the result of a simple test I performed today. I entered the term “bigfoot sexy” into the Google Image search. Lo and behold the photo of the sexy woman in the black swimsuit is from Cryptomundo!
How else can one explain why Coleman chose to publish such an asinine blog entry? I’d like to propose that the text around scraped photos of sexy women that appear on Cryptomundo is just so much Loren ipsum…
Coleman has put himself in an untenable position; he wants to be respected and taken seriously as a “Cryptozoology expert” yet at the same time he engages in repetitively pathological moral behavior.