A Sensible Debate on SEO Ethics?

Source Title:
Black Hat vs. White Hat Search Spam Debate
Story Text:

I know the black v whitehat discussion has been done to death but this is a great e-mail discussion then published at seomoz.

It's a perfect explanation of how a lot of the arguments are entirely pointless - the majority of the time the goals are totally different - something which I think both sides tend to forget in the heat of most of the forum threads.

I wanted to find bits to quote but really you do need to just read it...



On some occasions the BH WH thing is almost like a football "derby".

That debate is one of the best I've read for some time though. Made me almost proud to be a SEOChat member LOL.

BTW I stumbled upon the same transcript on http://www.syndk8.com/interview_with_a_black_hat_seo.php They can share the dup content penalty (?) in good harmony...

thanks gurtie, good read.

thanks gurtie, good read. i'll only comment that most of my friends seem to practice in a jekyll & hyde fashion now --some sites black, some sites white. personally, while i've gone white i felt that rand lost the argument.

I've tried subscribing to

I've tried subscribing to rand's feed a few times but there's something wrong with it, it's contantly showing a dozens (up to 100) of updated items - so i open the 'search' folder in my reader, only to discover there's no new content at all.. most annoying.

I should email him really, maybe he'll see this comment though...

I'm not sure there was a winner as such

I just thought it was pretty balanced. If you're not comparing like with like in terms of targets you can't really win the argument in terms of what's best....

>best i was looking at the


i was looking at the money/ROI side of it.

money side?

...of having a debate or changing your hat colour (from warm grey to cool grey?)


I'm glad people enjoyed the debate - I know I did. I really didn't know that much about how the black hat operation system went, and learned quite a bit. Different goals is really what it turned out to be - short and long term, and a different approach to building a business or earning an income.

Nick - I'll work on my RSS feed. I'm not sure why it's wacky, but hopefully I can fix it by tonight.

>short and long term Perhaps

>short and long term

Perhaps it's the company I keep, but many of them have been churning through black-ish strategies for going on 10 years now. The individual sites may be short term, but their business isn't.


brand or non brand is a better terminology?

If you build a brand then the darker stuff is less suitable. If you're starting a company from scratch then you have a choice as to which you do but when a companies been around for 20 years already and you're taking it online then you don't have the luxury of choice in the same way.

I really think it's a different mindset - I have absolutely nothing against blackhat stuff but talking to some of you guys I can tell you we naturally think totally differently - when you've been living and breathing brand based for years it's almost impossible to get into the 'disposable' way of considering stuff without really forcing your mind into it.

thanks for posting

that was a great discussion, and it was really good to see people discussing the issue without every other message being "google sucks", "i hate scrapers" type noise.


...style of debate. Very interesting points on both sides and regardless of the hat I choose I think I would learn something and probably consider adapting a few strategies from one another.

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