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.

Advertisements