A month or so ago I was intrigued to read the following:

The Shadow Internet | Wired

About the scene / topsite system

I was aware that there were groups of people with stupid ascii art insignias who perhaps competed to write keygens and stuff, but I had no idea at all it was this organised: I assumed they just uploaded onto private torrent trackers, and the content eventually filtered through to public peer-to-peer. Surprised at my ignorance of something so massive online.