Blackhat vs Whitehat?

This blog has moved to its new permanent home at http://nomadishere.com.

I’ve always felt strongly about the lines that exist between spammers and marketers. Those lines are constantly blurring and its getting harder and harder to say what white or blackhat marketing is. I prefer “within search engine guidelines” and “outside of search engine guidelines” – however, search engines do not always take the stance they are themselves enforcing. Web marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the changing algorithms and guidelines, and the blind-eye that search engines seem to have regarding well established sites. We all know companies like T-mobile buy text links and rank because of it for competitive terms like “Cell Phone“. If Google were really against link buying as a practice then why would they still be sitting top-ten in 2007? Wouldn’t they have been removed by now? Surely…

Manipulation is wrong, but influence is right? Yes, buying links is against search engine guidelines – but many public relations, buzz and viral marketing tactics are a process of “buying exposure” – and they’ve been going on long before the internet came to be.

This isn’t a black and white issue, and I am not the only one asking questions like this, and there are many more.

“None of us are white hat or black hat. We are people. Human beings. Those hat terms are just used to describe techniques, not people. The techniques we use, the policies we develop and the procedures we instruct our employees in does not define us as a person. It may define our business model, but surely we could at least agree that we are all targeting the same market which makes us all pretty much in the same business.

So if we’re all just people, why does this topic always get so heated? What is it that gets people calling other people names and making “over the top” harsh statements? Why is it so difficult for us to find some common ground as a group all engaged in the same business or at least going after the same customers?

and…

I’m sure we could all agree that we have seen dozens and dozens of posts where someone makes some kind of statement like, “ I’ve bought links BUT, I only buy the ones that can send me traffic” . Or, my favorite of course is, “yes, I do sell text links with the price based on Google PR but only if it’s on-theme”. That boggles the mind, how one person can do the exact same thing as another yet see themselves as completely different from the other but of course, some minds are much more easily boggled than others. That is justification. That is survival.” – via

“Any action one takes to increase one’s search engine traffic is marketing. Any deceptive action one takes to increase one’s search engine traffic, is spam.” – via

At the end of the day, in the marketing world, and in the world in general – there are practices that harm people and those that do not. There are practices that push the boundaries of ethics and integrity. There is always an extreme left and extreme right – the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

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3 Responses to “Blackhat vs Whitehat?”

  1. blackhat Says:

    Did you see the pay per post their charging for now? I run a few websites and I`ve seen competitors beat me by paying for blog posts reviewing their site which include a link. Its highly effective but highly expensive.

  2. nomadishere Says:

    Yeah, PPP is the slimier of the bunch.

  3. Samuel Symes Says:

    There’s a pervading myth in the SEO industry that if you practice “whitehat” or “ethical” SEO, Google will pat you on the head and will reward you with excellent rankings. It’s simply not true and not only does it confuse the real issues involved, it also attracts all sorts of gut level so called SEO experts with religious and moralistic overtones.

    If you rely on Google organic traffic for your online business model, you should realize that there’s a serious conflict of interest at play: your business model requires good rankings to achieve revenues, while Google couldn’t care less about your revenue. All they care about is your labor intense content to expand their database to create more attractive search results. As an online business you’re always being shortchanged: if your business goes belly up because Google updated their algorithms, Google will simply feature someone else in their SERPs without thinking twice about you.

    The convoluted debate that blackhat is risky and whitehat is safe is ludicrous to the extreme. There is no guarantee by Google that whitehat SEO will provide you good rankings. Like there is no guarantee that if you have good rankings, Google will ensure that you enjoy ranking consistency after an update.

    Ethical or whitehat behavior only makes sense amongst equals. So, as an online business, are you really an equal to Google? No, you’re not – the odds are stacked solidly against you. In fact, as long as SEO experts and search engines cannot agree by mutual consent on rigorously enforced TOS, worrying about the so called “ethics” is in reality a mere pastime for self-appointed prophets whom enjoy self-righteously sermonizing others.


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