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Black Hat/white Hat Article
Posted 03 November 2004 - 11:51 PM
I just wanted to say I looked forward to your article when I read the title...Black Hat / White Hats - however, I did not get what I expected and maybe that was my own expectations based on that title.
You stated that neither was right or wrong? And you questioned that your being a White Hat made you better at what? Quoted -
"Neither one is necessarily right or wrong -- just different."
"Does this make me better than those in the Black
Hat category? I guess the question would be, better at what? "
The only place I saw the use of the term "Ethical" was in your initial definition of what a White Hat was... after that I did not see it again. IMO that word alone "Ethical or Ethics" covers both the question and the statement I referenced above. I did not see a reference to the words Ethical again.
By SE rules, one is right, and one is wrong. By ethical standards white hats should be all there are. Now where I know this is not the reality, it does in no way make black hat practices right or ethical (because they are not).
I look forward to the panel discussion you mentioned... because I do not see a need or a place for the Black Hat practices we speak of.
It was just my own disappointment, and I thought it started out great but then went totally neutral on the topic. I just had to disagree. Your practices make your company ethical! This is better. There is a difference, one is right by SE standards and one is wrong and annoying and costly. Not to mention Un-Ethical.
Thanks for allowing me to disagree,
Posted 04 November 2004 - 12:09 AM
Thanks for your comments. I've had a few glasses of wine tonight, so hopefully this will make sense, and if not, I'll clarify in the morning!
It's funny that you bring up ethics because for some reason people always think that I talk about ethics. Yet if you look up ethics in a search in my articles or here on the forum or anywhere, in fact, you'll see that it's not something I generally discuss in terms of SEO.
If people want to spam the search engines to rank highly for viagra or penis pills or whatever, so what? It doesn't make them unethical, it makes them enterprising. It's certainly not anything I'd be interested in doing, nor does it have anything to do with SEO as I do it.
That's my whole point of the article. It's kinda silly for us all to be called SEOs when there's really nothing similar in what we do.
<added>Just put it up in the archives so those few poor souls who don't subscribe to the newsletter can read what we're talking about!
Black Hat - White Hat
Edited by Jill, 04 November 2004 - 12:40 AM.
Posted 04 November 2004 - 12:10 AM
Not to bring out a dead debate, but "place" in what respect? I can imagine a client that is going down the tube, for whom balck hat, pink hat, mauve hat, whatever it takes to save the business may be considered.
Posted 04 November 2004 - 12:13 AM
I am with you Jill, but for that to work, perhaps your stytle of SEO needs be the one to adopt the new name. How about SE Traffic Improvers (SETI)?
Posted 04 November 2004 - 12:56 AM
I am glad you had some wine though...
I do refer to ethics, and I do my very best to be that way in all my business and even personal actions.
Php - If you're trying to save your business by using "any" practice, Black Hat, Purple whatever... I can make a pretty good guess as why they were going out of business to begin with.
IMO - We choose to be ethical or not - with every practice and every action. We all have a choice though, and it is a conscious one.
I recognize there is no other job like the one we have chosen... I don't even like to refer to myself (my company) as SEO - I am a Website Marketing Professional (consultant) and SEO is a part of what we do. I did not claim that you were speaking of ethics, but I was. Ethics does absolutely have to do with the topic title... otherwise, there would be no black hat. Because you do not approach it or discuss it does not mean "Ethics" in our business does not exist..? It does, and each of us and our company's make a choice as to whether we are ethical or not - to me that helps select the color of the hat we are wearing.
I love the input here, I have an excellent article published on "Ethics in Business" and it has found a great number of homes online... but then again I very much believe in the need for it... I believe if we did business with only ethical companies...- we would have a lot less unethical companies in business.
Everyone has their own opinion, but I believe we do choose to be ethical in doing that business or we do not. You can remain impartial Jill, but I still think you're "ethical" - just maybe not liking the label?
Our industry needs this (ethics) - it is the only thing that will kill-off some of the stereotypes the industry has garnered... no?
(ducks the flying bottle of Chardonay)
Posted 04 November 2004 - 01:49 AM
I totally agree with you that there should be different names for the two approaches because they ARE NOT the same thing.
Regarding morals/ethics, I remember some gosh-awfully-long thread where Ian (mcanerin) posted a great essay on the distinction between morals and ethics and considerations with respect to personal & business actions. Whatever he said made a lot of sense at the time and I think it might apply here. But, I can't remember the crux of the message.
Lol! I just read this post and it boils down to me thinking some things, but not really knowing what I think...and I haven't had ANY wine!
Oh, I just discovered the problem...its 12:45 in the morning. My brain cells expired two or three hours ago. Goodnight, folks.
Posted 04 November 2004 - 01:57 AM
As someone that takes a radically different view from many of the members here i'd be most interested to read it
>>By SE rules, one is right, and one is wrong.
That's over simplifying. It assumes that the SE rules are clear and without ambiguity...
Posted 04 November 2004 - 03:15 AM
I do not so much mean morals here... Ethics was key. To me, It's doing the "right" thing in business. In this case, the SE's speak to what is right in what they approve of. In business it is more general, but definately applies to how you choose to do SEO (or any business), and it is a choice. I was under the impression this is what SEMPO was going to attempt to provide our industry... it clarifies doing "good" business vs. just whatever it takes to make a dollar. Wearing a Black Hat is a choice...not one I agree with, but nonetheless - a choice. It's actually one I have to fight, and it does have a direct cost... to everyone in the case of Spam.
Here is my Ethics article on general business - I was flattered when the University of Southern Australia referenced it in their International Business and Ethics Course, among many other sites carrying this article.
It's not really an argument, it just exists. However, I still believe we make a choice in our business when we choose how we do business. Good or bad, right or wrong, we choose our level of ethics (and if we care to have any at all). The darker shades of Hat choose to make dollars more important - that's their choice, we don't have to agree with it.
Besides, I really like my White Hat, and so do my clients. Thank goodness we can still accomplish great results with that hat on...
Posted 04 November 2004 - 05:25 AM
are indeed looking for the types of products and services that Black
Hatters specialize in. There is a huge demand for their black magic.
As much as I hate lousy search results, as long as the Black Hats are
doing their thing to the types of sites that I wouldn't be seeking out
anyway, then it really doesn't bother me; it's the search engines'
problem to get rid of it.
I do have a small issue with that: Many blackhat techniques provide astonishingly relevant serps. If you put aside whether or not you agree with the practices used to get to the top, many many cloaked sites for example provide the searcher with exactly what they are looking for.
reason to gamble with their site. I cannot stress this enough. When
I've written in the past on how spamming the search engines is bad and
unnecessary, this is what I'm talking about. Most people don't have
Websites in industries that need to go the Black Hat route. Those
that go to the "dark side" anyway often regret it later. (They like
it while it's working, of course!) But seriously, even though it may
take more lead-time, the White Hat method is a lot less stressful, and
quite frankly a whole lot easier. I can take a look at almost any
site and know exactly what needs to be done to it to help it achieve
For most webistes that's spot on, of course. I recently took great pains to persuade a would be client that they would be far better off spending their money on other seo efforts than what they were asking me to do for that very reason.
recommend their techniques for most brand-name companies and the like.
It's simply not worth it, and in nearly every case it's unnecessary.
Point made. Many blue chips however employ the "shadow domain" method. This is where a secondary domain is set up to use high risk methods, if it succeeds, (and they often do if done well) then the shadow domain will redirect to the target domain. Many people feel this is the best of both worlds. Ralph Teigtmeir of fantomaster talked about it extensively in the cloaking 101 thread over at SEW recently.
Another area that blackhat marketing is prevelant, useful and indeed in some cases essential is in the affiliate marketing game. As jill has pointed out, selling viagra for example will take more than white hat practices just to get into the top 100! Im currently in the process of building a cloak enabled cms/blogging system for just such purposes
At the end of the day, it's all horses for courses and there is NO right of wrong unless of course you are targeting phrases kids search for and providing p*rn - that kind of scum should be shot IMO
Those that practice high risk techniques have just as much integrity, honesty and personal ethics as anyone else in the industry, they just have different views on what thier personal code of ethics is all about.
Edited by BobetteKyle, 04 November 2004 - 02:38 PM.
Posted 04 November 2004 - 09:31 AM
The search engines tell you not to employ a method, that method is used, is this wrong? The simple unarguable answer is YES it is wrong. It is wrong, because it cuts across all form of business ethics. You have agreed to use the services of a search engine, and agreed to abide by their guidelines. Immediately you break those guidelines, you become unethical in your business dealings.
There are people out there who say " the search engine is not my client, I have no deal with them" This IMO does not cut it. going by that argument, it is ok to send a radioactive Isotope via first class mail, as the mail is not your customer. Regardsless of the fact the mail says no hazardous materials. I had to laugh on another forum, wher a website owner was complaining like hell that some ****** had reported him (grassed him up was the actual term) and as a result the web site was removed from ODp and other directories, as well as being banned from Y & G. This guy, who had used bait and switch tactics to get into an easy cat in odp etc, who had used cloaking, and just about any other form of marketing he could, was now complaining that someone had done the dirty on him.
He truly argued that it was wrong to grass up a site that was cheating? Poetic Justice I call it. Do I break the law? Sometimes, I think we all have at some time or other, we drive to fast knowingly, yet when we get caught speeding we do not argue with the cop, we just accept it.
You can fool some of the people all of the time, or all of the people some of the time. You can't fool all of the people all of the time, and it is this that the professional black hat will know, and build a strategy upon. For a black hat SEO is war, and in every war, there are losses, and the good general ALWAYS has a fall back plan, an Emergency RV point to regroup, eveluate, and act from.
Posted 04 November 2004 - 09:49 AM
I couldn't agree more. But that's not what my article was about. It wasn't meant to be an article about ethics.
And that I think is wrong, bad and just plain dumb, dumb, dumb!
That actually WAS the point of the article. To me, do all the black hat SEO you want if you're trying to make some quick big bucks off of viagra, etc., but do not even think about it if you have a REAL company that is in it for the long haul.
Posted 04 November 2004 - 09:55 AM
In every industry, there are the people who cut corners, who try to game the system, who take more than their share. Builders who use cheaper materials, lawyers who file the minimum paperwork and skip details, people who will sell you cable descramblers and black-market movies, heck, even companies who use more copies of software than they paid a licence for! There are ALWAYS people who want to cheat.
I'm not saying that makes it right, simply that there is a market for it. People are willing to pay for a ticket to the top of the SERP's and other people are willing to use their knowledge to get them there.
I don't think it's a legitimate part of our industry any more than I think the scam telemarketers are a legitimate part of the phone sales industry. But they exist and they aren't going away.
It would be nice to have a distinction between the sides- I consider myself and most "white hats" to be website optimizers; improving the entire site and making it search-friendly and more valuable as a whole.
Rankers, or people who only care about getting a site (or shadow site) to rank well, typically do nothing to improve the site for people. They don't optimize anything- they simply employ techniques that the search engines will reward. Today, anyway.
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