This is the final part in this 10-part series,
The Rise and Fall of the Narconon Internet Marketing Empire.
The Future Looks Bleak for Narconon
I believe that Narconon is in a desperate place. There are currently 7 factors that demonstrate this:
- Google updates have decimated their websites and organic positioning. Do a search for drug rehab related keywords and look in the organic listings. Where did they go?
- Narconon no longer has a strong FSM referral network. FSMs are essentially gone.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) costs have skyrocketed and, currently, I believe that Narconon can no longer compete in the PPC arena. This is evidenced by their utter disappearance on the PPC charts. Do a search for any drug rehab related search query. Look at the paid search results. Where did they go?
- Black PR has decimated their reputation and destroyed their closing ratios.
- Internal Sales staff are struggling with oppressive environmental pressures, being blamed for falling statistics, and interrogated at a personal level.
- The internet has increased the chances of Narconon clients receiving refunds, due to the power of being able to reach out to attorneys, make complaints, get information, and otherwise leverage the internet in their favor.
- Potential lawsuits, including a class-action, have threatened 3 primary producers of income.
- A fraudulent success rate. They are no longer promoting this as they were.
- Insurance coverage for Narconon. This is in jeopardy as several insurance agencies are investigating insurance fraud.
- Financing clients through credit cards or finance agencies. This is in jeopardy and Narconon is being investigated for Credit Card fraud.
Basically Narconon has found itself in a perfect storm. A complete combination of factors that are removing any edge they had to compete in the industry. The internet, once their best friend, is now their enemy. Thousands of websites are now essentially worthless. Negative reviews, frustrated staff, lawsuits, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, and the list goes on.
Where will they go from here?
As of now, when bad press on one Narconon center occurs, it affects the statistics of the organization as a whole, because the name “Narconon” affects the group as a whole. A raped client at Narconon A gets reported on and Narconon B loses a client when the mother reads the bad press, even though they are two different centers.
The following is simply speculation based upon trending, analysis and outside observation of what Narconon is doing. However, I feel that it is safe to say that the following policies are probably being implemented. I believe that the next “theme” for Narconon Internet Marketing is all about MISDIRECTION…
Speculated Internet Marketing Strategies for Individual Narconons
This is how I believe Narconon will respond:
- Keep the original website containing the name Narconon in it. This is to keep critics focused on the word “Narconon”. All bad press goes toward “Narconon”.
- Create another secondary website and DBA for each Narconon facility without the name Narconon in it.
- Narconon Freedom Center becomes “Freedom Drug Rehab”.
- Narconon Vista Bay becomes “Redwood Cliffs Rehab”.
- Narconon Spring Hill becomes “Suncoast Drug Rehab”.
- On these secondary sites, remove most or all references to Narconon. If there must be a logo, shrink it or place it in the least noticeable place.
- In any press releases or public info, always refer back to the website containing the word “Narconon”. This is to keep the critics focused on the Narconon-named website, as well as the word “Narconon”.
- Build tertiary sites and blogs focusing on any words that include the secondary website name and the terms, “scam”, “review”, and similar terms. Do this to push the negative listings down.
- Focus more energy on building “Large Scale Directory sites” or fake referral sites.
- When referring, never refer to the program as “Narconon” anything. Only use the secondary name that doesn’t include the word “Narconon”.
- Get the family on the secondary website that doesn’t include the word “Narconon”. Guide the family through clicking around on different parts of the site, explaining each part. Take away their independence and become the guide.
- Always hot-transfer the call directly to the Narconon registrar. Keep the families off the internet.
- For registrars, always send out info packets via email immediately so the family doesn’t go on the internet if other family members want more information.
- Offer to lease or purchase individual phone calls from former FSM websites and others who still generate calls but are reluctant to refer to Narconon due to Black PR. Current prices are anywhere from $20-$30 per call.
- Allow off-brand non-Narconon programs to license the tech as is currently being done in Michigan. This way, there will be no mention of the word “Narconon”.
- Create short term spin-offs such as “sauna only” programs or “TR’s and Objectives” only.
- Find some outside agency that will claim independent analysis of the success rate. This way Narconon registrars can refer to the analysis success rate without being directly deceptive.
Again, the previous are all just speculation based upon observation. However, what is interesting is that, given this entire paper, should Narconon head down that road, it opens the door to a serious possibility of racketeering, deception and large scale fraud. In other words, many of the above behaviors appear to be the basic requirements for the RICO Act, or Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
This paper was meant to be a broad overview and give the reader some idea of the time-line and reasons for the success of Narconon on the internet. Within each Narconon there are independent policies as well as individual staff members. Some were, and are, more deceptive; some implemented all of the above practices, whereas others did variations of the above. Some committed insurance and credit card fraud; others did not. However, what is most illuminating is that the overall theme in Narconon internet marketing has been an interesting case study on dishonesty, misdirection and unaccountability. A dance between being both everywhere and invisible. Between lying without recourse… and a world which is holding Narconon more and more accountable.
I thank the readers for their consideration of the above paper, not meant to be complete… but just a way of looking at the broader picture, for if we understand the past, the future isn’t quite so unpredictable. I’d also like to thank those who offered their help in putting this together. Those who fought alone in the early days, and those who have banded together now to help drug addicts and their families. Families who have been so devastated by addiction that they are barely able to fight much of anything but their own addiction problems, let alone Narconon and Scientology.
I hope people continue to stand up for those who are too consumed by their own struggles with drugs or alcohol to try and go on the internet and make a stand, or consider a lengthy court case.
If not you…then who?