A group of addiction treatment 'experts' called Narconon, which has ties to the controversial Church of Scientology, has performed a wholesale rip-off of the popular urban75 Web site, which is devoted to raves, general partying and mirth-making, photography, sport, satire, and common-sense advice for drug users along the lines of, 'it's probably bad for you, but if you must, here's what you can expect from substance x').
For example, Ketamine, we are told, "may turn you into a gibbering, spaced out bore, mumbling and slurring away while your dancing may begin to resemble Bill and Ben on acid."
The Narconon people have a good deal less humour and a good deal more revenue generation in mind with their pitch, claiming a success rate of 76 per cent for a programme originally developed in a large US penal institution.
"The key to the successes of the Narconon program is the Drug Rehabilitation Technology developed by author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard," the pitch explains.
According to urban75, the "thieving bastards at Narconon (drug abuse 'charity' owned by the Scientologists) have ripped off a previous version of urban75 in its entirety: the navigation, the graphics, the code, the style sheets, the layout - everything - changing just the text and photos." A Web page with comparisons can be found here.
The pages are indeed virtually indistinguishable, though one significant difference is Narconon's rat-your-friends form, enabling surfers to send their own, or someone else's, personal details as a drug abuser to the cult. The page comes up when the "contact us" link is activated.
The site has no privacy notice, so it's anyone's guess where such information might end up. ®