Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The FriendsReunited Conspiracy (?) - Part 9 – Latest Update

If you haven’t been reading this series of blogs then catch up at

This blog is an update of a few developments to bring you right up to date.

I am going to rush through the communication we have had with these people since they sent their document in August.

We were completely shocked by that document and its allegations against us. But more shocking were the tactics they had used for the past 7 years without our knowledge. Don’t forget that in their last communication back in 2005 we were told they “won’t pester us again”.

Of course this was completely untrue, as you have seen from my previous blogs. The continual insinuation and calling us liars I can sort of cope with. My strategy after meeting them was to ignore them from then on. However, seeing the tactics they had used – such as engaging Private Investigators to follow, snoop on, stake out and harass friends, as well as people we do not even know – was appalling in the extreme: it had to be stopped somehow. Whenever we went out, we started looking over our shoulders and started to suspect PI’s at every corner. Paranoid maybe, but that’s what these people have done to us.

Therefore my first approach was to go legal. I had never ever gone legal personally in my life, but our pursuers’ activities raised many legal questions and I haven’t even started to discuss these yet. I asked them for information about the use of private investigators, fraud squad officers and other professionals, and of the illicitly taped conversations they had made without permission, and much more. I wanted full disclosure of their practices.

Here’s what happened – we received a reply, unsigned, and from whom we don’t know, saying we were now harassing them, together with plenty of other self-serving comments.  It included the wonderful statement that they are:

“currently finalising negotiations for a global publishing deal for a book which will be presented as the UK’s version of Social Networking.”
(Fellows: it’s called ‘The Social Network’ by the way!!!)
It was this 2-page reply that resulted in my decision to start blogging about these events. The legal options could wait for the time being.
So, as you may or may not have read, I started blogging about this last month.
From my first blog I invited them to put their claims as comments on my blogs or start blogging themselves. That was always their desire – to get it out in public.
Over the last month a few things have happened.
Because of my blogging, some people who knew nothing about this have contacted me with further insight into our pursuers’ tactics. I’ll leave these for another time.
On 12th November, our chief pursuer sent an email from a new email address. However, the new email address included their old website’s name, and (possibly because that website no longer exists) it went into my lawyer’s junk mail folder. [Never has the term junk mail been more appropriate.] Because we didn’t reply to the email, they sent another one on 22nd – we managed to pick this one up and hence found the earlier one. Sorry about that – these things happen. I suspect the content of this paragraph will get incorporated into their conspiracy somehow.
That second email was amazing. It was sent after my factual blog last week – but even after all those facts had been clearly disclosed it still included statements like this:
“Were they actually involved in the start up?”
I have got to say I found this staggering.
We didn’t reply and we’re not going to – since they still maintain that they are going to publish their own documents. Fine – we want them to.
This week I got an email sent directly to me.  Lots more of the same but with this:
“you are welcome to a preview of a response to your Blog which you may post or withhold at your own discretion”
Why would I want to do that? Just publish your own stuff.
As I know that our pursuers are reading these blogs, what follows is my message to them.We are not going to reply to any of your direct emails. One of the reasons for this is that anything we say or write in response is twisted, turned and manipulated to conform to your mooted conspiracy. Therefore:
  • ·      Just reply or blog away
  • ·      At the same time publish your document
  • ·      Put live your website (seems to be something unrelated at the moment)
  • ·      Let everyone know who you are. Each of your last three emails has been sent anonymously, which is odd behaviour for people who claim to be seeking nothing other than the truth.
  • ·      Once done I will even help promote your document through the social media I use, and encourage comments on it.

Come on – stop talking about it and JFDI.


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  1. You should take them to court. Surely this is harassment?

  2. It is also disconcerting that details outlined in your recent blog contradicts with information and figures that were released previously; why is there never any consistency? You’ve now had 15 weeks to review the research, but have unsurprisingly failed to pinpoint any error more serious that a typographical one. Chris and Alex are two different investigators; there was also one called Steve. Then you mentioned Chorver - when Mr Black was involved Densitron was linked to Chorver, so their name was current and relevant in 2004. He merely made an assumption regarding the possible availability of information from Chorver / Densitron.
    Worryingly, you seem to be the only person who fails to appreciate the quantity of interconnected evidence we have uncovered; after reading the same summary, even one of your own technical team stated: “…There are certainly a surprising number of coincidences that give good grounds for suspicion…” Why does this fact seem to escape only you when we had genuine cause to initiate and then continue this valid investigation? Nothing was straightforward at the beginning, why? Why not buy the Domain online? Why have a meeting? How did you get 30 days free credit? How did you launch before the cheque even cleared? How could Happy Party launch before you – or is that another error? Why was the length of term in years not stated on the invoice?

    Recently you made the following blog – “…I managed to boot up an old laptop… I found an email from these people from 2002. It was in a pile … of emails to do with FR received in 2002. We got thousands of emails a day – many like their, so it had just been passed onto me for information only. It was an email from them asking us if we wanted to purchase their website! When I met him and asked about it, unbelievably he seemed to have forgotten about it. So they contacted us to try and sell us their business, and they can’t remember that fact. A little careless, wouldn’t you say?” Well it would be if that was true, but that’s not what happened:

    We remembered the e-mail and had never forgotten about it – during the meeting we actually expressed our astonishment that you had retained a copy; you told us you did not reply to it and failed to even discuss it with your fellow directors, as you were obliged to do, why not? With so many e-mails why didn’t you bin it? You also failed to tell us it was found in your old laptop, why? Quite incredibly you didn’t even bring this vital laptop to the meeting – why on earth not, it is absolutely key? Since this e-mail was sent 3 years before you were first approached by the investigation, how did you find it 10 years later amongst thousands of others? If you really want to prove us total wrong, then why not release the laptop for our review, right now?

    You also laugh at the fact two directors wrote up details regarding a scheduled meeting with their web designer, you say we were suspicious even then: No, yet again you are wrong, we were not at all suspicious then, these notes are called “minutes”, they are taken at meetings to record action points, it was only a few months later that the link with his family friends (that ran a children’s party company) suddenly looked suspicious, can you guess why? This comment initiated the entire investigation, but only months later.

    1. I love the fact that saying you saying "Chorver sent their first invoice to Happy Group in January 2001" when Chorver didn't even exist is merely an "assumption". Yet Julie incorrectly called Aflex by the name Densitron and we are all liars!!!!

    2. Again I love " failed to pinpoint any error more serious that a typographical one." - You guys have done 12 years of doing just that. The hypocrisy continues over and over again.

      And we'll come back to the Chorver error some other time I think

  3. Your own, behaviour continues to intrigue us; no other noteworthy entrepreneur would have bothered to have respond directly, they would have delegated any communication and simply ignored us. Then where you feel accused of specific wrongdoing on a specific occasion, instead of sticking to the basic facts and explaining or apologising, you’ve wasted hours trying to be clever and nit-pick over innocuous details of the summary, a document you were sent just as a pre-release. This is not what people do to defend themselves.

    All we have sought, since this investigation first launched, was the truth, this has been impossible to achieve because of a series of errors, omissions and lies by a number of individuals involved. We have been polite, we have been patient, we have been objective and yet we have been treated with contempt and condescension. The fact that your actions during the course of this investigation do not make very comfortable reading is not our fault. The insinuations you protest about are simply implied as a consequence of the investigation itself, they are merely as a result of a collection of factual research that speaks for itself.

    Finally, we’re surprised that you feel an approach with a few letters and one meeting every six years is “...never leaving you alone” and do you really believe sending us just a single PDF in the last seven years is remotely helpful? Would you also remind us precisely when you “…let us into your offices…” because this never happened. All this ambiguity just goes to show that perception is not always reality.

    1. I am sitting very comfortable by the way. At least I am not hiding.

    2. I love the opening line 'your behaviour continues to intrigue us'. Come on, you know and I know there is no 'us'. Its you in your little room alone you crackpot!

  4. Below is a copy of the letter sent in August 2005 straight after you surprisingly told us you had retained absolutely no evidence of the launch at all:

    Dear Steve

    I am writing to thank you for taking the time and effort to contact me so promptly, I really am most grateful for your personal intervention. You sound very genuine and I want ever so much to be able to take your word as given; but it is my sole objective to prove irrefutably that the series of coincidences I have uncovered are totally unconnected.

    I further appreciate that as a potentially blameless third party in this development, you are not remotely obligated to prove your innocence, so I am indebted to you for any inconvenience and more than happy to cover any expenses. While trying to establish that you do not know someone is almost totally impossible, linking you to the original registration date of 30th June 2000 for would certainly finalise things.

    As previously mentioned, the registration details are cloaked in uncertainty and having now contacted Julie & yourself, you both explained that you did not buy the domain name directly saying: “Densitron were looking after all our ideas at the time” - As I then revealed to you, Densitron were not actually the original ISP for this Domain name, so you should not have purchased it from them at all. And it seems that FR weren’t then even invoiced for a further 6 months, which again seems most unusual.

    This is sadly characteristic of the ambiguity I have uncovered throughout the last 5 years. Nothing is straight forward; nothing seems to add up, except that my Mr. xxxx is obviously trying to hide something, but what exactly and why? Perhaps he has been malicious with his intentions from the outset, deliberately involving FR to cause problems?

    Please feel free to call me again at any time, I would be very happy to meet with you in London, Kent or Barnet (totally at your convenience) if it means putting this entire scenario behind me once and for all. In the meantime I patiently await your response till after your holiday.

    1. Why print one correspondence that suits you. Print your whole document and all correspondence. Stop doing this continuous selective representation of yourselves.

  5. For some reason you insist on deleting the beginning of our response to your blog... perhaps you would like a copy?

    1. Nothing to do with me "Anonymous" - seems Google's Blog site truncates. Suggest you register and link to your own blog then you will have unlimited space. Sorry about that!

  6. Please publish your full document so everyone can see what you have been up to in the past 7 years. That is the harassment I am talking about - following people, calling at houses and lots lots more I have uncovered. And why not name yourselves whilst your at it.

  7. Hi Steve.

    It seems like an escalating case of sour grapes I think. These people came up wit an idea which you came up with first. They couldn't accept this, and didn't have the dignity nor the imagination to accept that and look for new business avenues. The only new idea they had was to try to discredit you and to steal your idea.

    Sadly there's lots of pondlife like this in the world - people willing to invest time an money to steal the work of others. If these people were willing to spend as much time doing something worthwile, the world could be a better place.

    My sympathies are with you and your family Steve, and I wish you all the best in your ongoing dealings with these people.

  8. I would love to see all the investigation undertaken by Anonymous. We all know who Steve is, I think it's appropriate that the accusers release some more information about themselves. I would also like to see anonymous release a document detailing exactly why they feel their claim is justified. Give us a breakdown of the key points of your investigation. After all, if you're going to be offering a £250k reward for information, you're going to have to release more to the public so they can assist your investigation. MT

  9. Anonymous. You, not me, that is. How about you put the tin foil hat down, and get on with your life. This really isn't sane behaviour, it's quite mad in fact.

    It seems that if you'd put as much time and money in to running a business as you have running a conspiracy, then... well, who knows what could have come of it.

    Make a new years resolution for yourself. Repeat after me "All the effort I put in to stalking a bloke that is more successful than me, I'm going to divert in to effort to make myself more successful"

    p.s. I have evidence that Steve was on the grassy knoll.

  10. "We have been polite, we have been patient, we have been objective and yet we have been treated with contempt and condescension"


    There comes a point where patience becomes insanity, being polite becomes intrusive and persistance becomes harassment.

    You Sir, have over stepped that mark.

    As one other mentioned in the comment;

    "Give us a breakdown of the key points of your investigation. After all, if you're going to be offering a £250k reward for information, you're going to have to release more to the public so they can assist your investigation."

    Then we can all, collectively put your worries to bed and you can channel your focus elsewhere. TN

  11. Anonymous. Irrespective of any suspicions you may have generated; I think the key bit of information you have to disprove is here:

    Is your assertion that Nominet have colluded with Steve to alter their historical records? If so for what benefit to Nominet? You are going to need strong evidence that such collusion took place, if you want to give substance to your accusations.
    Without this evidence, nothing else you appear to have found, discovered or proved, relating to subsequent events, is of any consequence. was registered before you had the same idea.

    I sincerely hope you have not spent as much money, as it appears you might have, in your pursuit to date. Might I suggest you either publish your evidence, particularly relating to collusion with Nominet, or give up?

  12. In the mid 90s, we had this idea to hook up supply & demand for properties via a network of real estate agents. We did market research, spoke to many estate agents. Everybody was excited about it but the majority of real estate agents had no PC or website yet. Then suddenly Rightmove was launched, executed well and did an IPO.

    My friend had been talking about this website for sending postcards for ages: "we would print a customized card, put it in an envelop, frank it and send it out... So the customer has to do nothing!" And a few months later MoonPig was launched.

    These things happen all the time and if we would spend a lot of time on finding links between them and us... I am sure that we would find something vaguely plausible. The bottomline is that Rightmove / MoonPig and Friends Reunited had the same idea and made it happen with loads of hard work and late nights. Smart people always come up with similar ideas around the same time and only a happy few have the stamina and skillset to pull it off.

  13. So we just received this...

    "Attached is the reply to SPANKY's blog. It would not load in full.

    He seems keen to publish it, so he now has the opportunity to do so on his own blog.

    The next release will be the entire story, in public with names etc. This won't be until after Christmas."

    I am not going to do the publishing for you. Simply setup a blog and do it yourself. It takes a minute.
    And why wait till after Christmas - please get on with it - everyone is waiting.

  14. I'm sitting around killing time and came across the email last week from these people asking why I had not "pulled my finger out" and got all the FR proof before.

    Well apart from "why should I", I do believe now they have answered that one themselves. Because after all the witnesses and technical proof I blogged about - they still don't believe anything and are still going for it. Thats exactly why - because whatever we do or show is not believed.

    You can answer your own questions next time. Good luck.

  15. Anonymous (we all know who I mean) just sounds like a dog barking at it's own echo

  16. I want to make a statement, one that I have told one of these people face to face a few months ago in an attempt to put an end to all this nonsense. So, just for the record, once again:

    The idea came from MY head in 1999.
    No one else told me of this idea before I thought of it.
    I came up with the name FriendsReunited.

    Yes, I am forgetful and do make minor mistakes - don't we all. I did not realise, when I received the letter from the 'student' who wanted to know more about FriendsReunited, that by making a simple error would cause such an accusation. I remember receiving this letter and feeling happy that I could help someone. I would welcome for it to be posted here along with my reply to it so that I can see the 'evidence' from which this conspiracy investigation initiated. Needless to say, I did not keep a copy.

    I did not minute the conversations that I had with Steve, nor the ones with the many people that I spoke to about my idea before Steve wrote the site in the summer of 2000. Neither did I ask any of them to sign a NDA.

    I am very offended that these people are still insinuating that I have personally lied and more recently are attempting to discredit both Steve and myself publicly.

    Have they ever thought that not everyone is a liar?

    1. I would like a response please.

    2. Of course they are not going to respond to you. You already told them to their faces and they ignored it all and continued to call us liars.

      Now I've got dozens of statements, printed a few, printed screen prints of emails and docs, displayed data from that time and lots more - THEY STILL CALL US LIARS. And they are still going!!!!

      They are intrigued - not as much as I am now. The bit is between my teeth. They are not going to go away - and neither am I.

      Lots of amazing stuff coming up in the next few weeks.

    Mr Pankhurst remains unsympathetically suspicious and critical of the motives for this investigation; he mistakenly believes it is driven by bitterness and greed. It appears Mr. Pankhurst thinks there is no substance to the investigation. He wrongly says it is mendacious and that his own errors are of little or no consequence. The individual responsible for initiating this enquiry has offered to fully submit to the scrutiny of Mr. Pankhurst’s legal representatives, as part of an interview with Polygraph.  If his motives or reasons for initiating this investigation are found to be either malicious or speculative, then he will make a full, unreserved public apology.  All he asks in return is that Mr. Pankhurst corrects his errors, and clarifies a few unresolved issues, under the same conditions.

    1. Dear Mr Anonymous,

      I think any normal person would be unsympathetically suspicious and critical of the motives for this investigation. It seems to me that you have systematically hounded Mr Pankhurst and his family with little or no evidence over a number of years with nothing to show for it.

      Can I ask you where you got the idea of using a Polygraph?

      You seem like quite a character!

    2. Perhaps we should all go on the Jeremy Kyle show whilst we are at it?

      What next - request for DNA tests to prove I am who I say I am? Because I might be lying!

  18. Found this via The Kernel, fascinating stuff, please keep posting Steve.

    I almost feel sorry for these people, they appear to be mentally ill. Still, you've got to love a good conspiracy theory. Titanic, JFK, 9/11...and now Nominet. Someone call David Icke.

    1. Yes, please do keep posting Steve. It shows this person up for what he is - a small, desperate individual who has little or nothing else in his life other than to make other people's life as miserable as his own.

      Only problem in replying to him is you are making him feel significant.

  19. I would be interested in your motives because I may be being cynical but my first guess would be bitterness and greed.

  20. Actually I have to own up, I'm full of bitterness and greed because I failed hard to execute my idea before FR came into being.

    Of course I have to claim Nominet had to be in a conspiracy with the founders of FR else people wouldn't listen to me.

    Sorry for being so fail. :(

    1. Dear Mr Anonymous,

      I did want to get to bed three hours ago but have been intrigued by this awful story.

      By all accounts, I think it is safe to say that half of what you've done over the years is illegal.

      Dear Mr Pankhurst,

      this is all quite shocking. Why have you let this gentleman get away with this for so long?

  21. Evidence provided through the use of a polygraph is not admissible in UK law, due to concerns over its accuracy. The fact that anonymous suggests using a polygraph demonstrates that he/she has been watching too much television.

  22. I'm no Sherlock Holmes but after a couple of hours reading all this for the first time, I'd say this clearly wasn't your idea Mr Anonymous.

  23. Dear Mr Anonymous,

    I was Mr Anonymous first. How dare you call yourself Mr Anonymous when you knew I thought of it before you. And while I'm at it, the rest of you Mr Anonymouses can clear off too or I'll sue you for impersonating an anonymous person.

    Yours Anonymously
    Mr Anonymous (The Real Mr Anonymous)

  24. What is Stalking?

    The Facts

    Stalking and harassment is behaviour that is repeated and unwanted by the victim. The behaviours may seem normal and ordinary, however, when they are repeated they can be menacing and cause alarm and distress to the victim.

    Behaviours include:
    - Frequent unwanted contact such as appearing at the victim’s home, workplace, telephone calls, text messages, letters, notes, e-mails, faxes, or other contact on social networking sites like Facebook, Bebo, My Space, Friends Reunited etc;
    - Driving past the victim’s home of workplace;
    - Following, watching or loitering near the victim;
    - Gathering information on the victim by contacting people who know the victim, using public records etc;
    - Harassment of others close to the victim;

    Other facts
    • The popular image of a stalker is that of the stranger in the night, something that is suddenly visited on you by some madman. However, most victims know their stalker.
    • The end of a ‘relationship’ can produce some very powerful emotions, feelings of loss, anger or rage. Some people will not want the ‘relationship’ to end. However, you need to feel concerned when the behaviour frightens you or instils fear.

    • Stalking is a crime of power, control and intimidation.
    • The stalker enforces the belief that the victim cannot choose who is in their lives – this is a very dangerous belief.

    What does the term ‘stalking’ mean?
    • Stalking is not a legal term used in the context of the criminal justice system. It is a colloquial term used in to describe a particular type of harassment.

    Types of stalking and motivation
    • There are mainly two types of stalking: unwanted pursuit by a ‘stranger’ and unwanted pursuit by someone the victim knows.
    • The media tends to report on stalking and the stalker as if it were are some sort of special crime or that they are a special type of criminal. However, those who choose regular people as their victims are not. They are NOT from Mars – they are the man our sister dated, the man the company hired, the man our friend married.

    • Motivations for the stalking behaviour can be different. These can include revenge, retribution, resentment, a response to a perceived humiliation, a desire for control, reconciliation and/or loneliness.

    In some cases the motivation will be a delusional belief. In some cases the harassment may relate to the obsessive preoccupation with a particular cause or issue.

    1. Well done, this is this gentleman in a nutshell. Problem is, stalkers see themselves as the victims.

      Is it possible to print this person's name and attach a photo? I'd like to know if he has done this before, as would others I'm sure.

      Run an article in his local paper and let his family, friends and neighbours see what he's really like (though probably a loner).

  25. I've followed all these blogs and for me it comes down to two points.

    a) it doesn't matter who had the idea first, making a company great is about execution. Having said that, the nominet collusion idea is just crazy.

    b) there's a well established method for arbitrating these matters - the courts. I imagine that your accusers have not managed to get any evidence that a lawyer believes would be successful in court, and after all these years the most probable explanation of that is that there isn't any.