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  1. #1
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    White Hat vs. Black Hat
    Preface: I don't support anything that involves messing with peoples computer settings, spamming, or stealing others commissions, but this blog post made me say hmm, especially the part I underlined.

    I'm not trying to have the swords start flying but I do think that this makes an interesting discussion.

    So the terms “White Hat SEO” and “Black Hat SEO” were born. Neither have much real meaning, but both are thrown around quite liberally. It’s kind of silly, really. The self proclaimed “White Hat SEO” will try to build inbound links to his website by manually visiting related blogs and making comments on them with his website’s url in the comment. Someone more clever than him will write a program to automatically post comments on all related blogs with the push of one button, and the “White Hat” screams “BLACKHAT!”.

    That’s really what Blackhat SEO boils down to. It’s just a term thrown around a lot by idiots who are continually 1-up’d by people more clever than they are. It’s pretty much meaningless.
    Source

    Thoughts....?

    Is there really a difference between the two if the motives are the same but the methods are different?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Rehan's Avatar
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    The self proclaimed “White Hat SEO” will try to build inbound links to his website by manually visiting related blogs and making comments on them with his website’s url in the comment.
    Errr...no. If that's his definition of white hat, no wonder he's saying there's no difference.

    What a white hat SEO would do is to build great content that people would link to themselves, perhaps with some prodding...but not by spamming other blogs. That's vastly different from blackhat tactics.
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  3. #3
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Black hat is so much more than that. I spent a couple of hours at a known black hat forum a while back. I figured that in order to know my part of the game I had to know the tactics that were used against me (even the ones that aren't publicly discussed here at ABW.) So I took a look at who the major players were, what their tactics were, and how they rationalized them. I can tell you without a doubt that gave me one of the grossest feelings ever. It made me sick to see how many were out there working in ways that were not only unethical, but in many cases nothing short of pure evil. The "tools" they sell or steal and pass from one member to another are an example of that. They use their "tools" to steal from myself and my friends here at ABW. Not much can get me more steamed than that.

    We are up against a huge enemy here. Take everything you read at ABW and multiply it times 10 on parasites, BHOs, unethical behavior and more. Of course I am not going to get into details, but if you ever visit...you'll feel like you need a shower afterward just to get the corrupt data off your body. I was there one day and have never been back since. I learned all that I needed to know in that one visit. The enemy is real. The enemy is greedy. The enemy is efficient. Don't be the enemy.

    -sfcom


  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    That's an overly simplistic definition of WH vs. BH. Spamming blogs isn't black hat, it's idiocy. There's a difference.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

  5. #5
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    Black Hat is alive & well & thriving.

    As for that definition of White Hat, I have never once "manually visited related blogs".. "making comments on them with website’s url in the comment". That's a ridiculous comment.

    While I realize there is much more to the definition of Black Hat, in my own mind it's always been about content building vs. scraping.

    I dealt with scraping by moving my sitemap to a hidden spot (from all but select search engines), and shutting down my rss feed. My commissions have since increased. A coincidence, perhaps, but my own bottom line is what motivates me....

  6. #6
    Full Member Jim Guinn's Avatar
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    That definition of wh/bh is rather simplistic. Until I came over here...discovered this forum...I spent a lot of time on a few other forums that black hat tactics and advice ran rampant. Talk about slimeballs with no ethics! These people are the ones who truly give affiliate marketers/ing a bad name. I feel whatever you can do to discourage/fight black hat tactics and participators is almost obligatory if you are a white hatter who believes in AM.

    Jim

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Boom or Bust's Avatar
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    The blogger's musings failed to even scratch the surface. He seems to have a very simplistic view of the whole WH/BH concept. And as stated above, to suggest that WHatters are spamming boards for links, regardless of their method, is just plain wrong, at least from the perspective of the ABW caliber of WHatters.



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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boomers
    The blogger's musings failed to even scratch the surface.
    I agree. BH SEO is for BH sites, which is a whole different ball o' wax. White Hat SEO is for WH sites. Don't use one with the other as a general rule. It's a pretty fluffy article and I have doubts that the person actually dabbled in BH. Maybe spammed a couple of boards and considered himself daring perhaps.

    And WH people vs BH people's motives are vastly different. It's ranking vs indexing.

  9. #9
    Newbie HazelB's Avatar
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    And there is no honor amongst thieves. There was a youtube technique for making money with hentai that spread like wildfire amongst blackhatters. It got crowded and stopped paying well because of all the competition so some of the original abusers were reporting the others to youtube staff and getting them banned while taking their traffic.

    A sweet nerdy guy showed me how he was doing a $1000 plus a day with this. I think he was trying to hit on me.

    Note to sweet nerdy guys: If you want a date, don't show me your mad skillz with selling and editing hentai ten hours a day mmmkay thanks

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador PatrickAllmond's Avatar
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    "And WH people vs BH people's motives are vastly different."

    I think the motives are all the same.
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  11. #11
    Full Member Jim Guinn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BatteryFuelPatrick
    "And WH people vs BH people's motives are vastly different."

    I think the motives are all the same.
    Yes, but it is how you conduct business...and your ethics. There is nothing wrong with having the motive to make $$$$. It's how you go about doing it.

    Jim

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BatteryFuelPatrick
    I think the motives are all the same.
    To a good degree, yes, but there are brilliant people doing black hat who could make brilliant white hat sites. But where's the fun in WH is an attitude, Those who are very good at BH love the challenge from my experiences. Above all, it's the game.

  13. #13
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    I never thought that leaving comment spam on blogs, etc. was white hat, but then again I always wonder what the speaker's definition is.

  14. #14
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostdeviant
    I never thought that leaving comment spam on blogs, etc. was white hat, but then again I always wonder what the speaker's definition is.
    I think everyone has a different definition of spam. Is it spam to use video editors on YouTube to put your website URL in the video? Is it spam when people sign up on Twitter with their website name? Is it spam when someone wears a t-shirt to a baseball game that advertises NIKE in 4" letters? How about the pizza flyers on my door? I once mentioned my website to my brother in law (he works in IT) via an email and he replied, "You are spamming me." Funny thing is that his family is a Quixtar/Amway family. Woohoo... What about when we get Avon, Longaberger, and other home based business flyers/catalogs? I am going to the beach soon. Is advertising via a kite spam?

    Some people consider spam anything that they don't want to be inconvenienced with. Or anything that they don't want to purchase. Or any advertising that wasn't purchased. What exactly is spam?

    I call for a thread split, please. I would love to discuss this more.

    -sfcom


  15. #15
    Visual Artist & ABW Ambassador lostdeviant's Avatar
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    comment spam on a blog is to make a comment which has no value except that a link is included in the attempt to get some traffic from my SEO and content. They are comments that are not trying in any way to become involved or participate in the site. (yes, I know many at ABW are doing just that)

    I don't think that spamming someone's site or forum is white hat. I'd love to see ABW come up with definitions that we can use in discussion.

    I've gotten so much comment spam on my sites that I've turned comments OFF as the default setting. On others I've turned comments off on posts older than 30 days.


    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    I think everyone has a different definition of spam. Is it spam to use video editors on YouTube to put your website URL in the video? Is it spam when people sign up on Twitter with their website name? Is it spam when someone wears a t-shirt to a baseball game that advertises NIKE in 4" letters? How about the pizza flyers on my door? I once mentioned my website to my brother in law (he works in IT) via an email and he replied, "You are spamming me." Funny thing is that his family is a Quixtar/Amway family. Woohoo... What about when we get Avon, Longaberger, and other home based business flyers/catalogs? I am going to the beach soon. Is advertising via a kite spam?

    Some people consider spam anything that they don't want to be inconvenienced with. Or anything that they don't want to purchase. Or any advertising that wasn't purchased. What exactly is spam?

    I call for a thread split, please. I would love to discuss this more.

    -sfcom

  16. #16
    Believe knight01's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    I call for a thread split, please. I would love to discuss this more.

    -sfcom
    I think that'd be good. What is spam? I'm sure each of us have our own definition.
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  17. #17
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I've never really liked the terms "black hat" and "white hat" SEO. There's too much gray, and few agree on where the ends of the gray scale spectrum fall. The author of the quoted bit seems to think comment spam is considered white and automated comment spam black - not the definitions I'd choose. To me they're just different shades of dark gray. For the true black among comment spammers I'd point to the ones who drop links not to their own sites, but rather to spam posts they've made on other people's forums. Building in a scapegoat to take the heat for their spam is well past any question of ethics IMO.
    Eathan Mertz

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  18. #18
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    No one needs to "call for a thread split", just start a new topic and there ya go.
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  19. #19
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    The blogger is overly simplistic.

    But, the anti-BH comments in this thread are just as overly simplistic!!

    Yes there are some crooks more rotten than many ABWers seem to even imagine.
    BUT there are plenty of black-hats that aren't actually crooks at all, but get lumped in the same basket, simply because WAY too many WHs think every single act they claim they themselves wouldn't do = murder.

    Is this a product of the so-flawed-it's-evil "zero tolerance policies" which are rotting the schools nowadays?! The inability to distinguish between levels of action? Or in other words, the insane and total loss of PERSPECTIVE!!?

    There are things called "black hat" here that are actually French Vanilla or even outright white-hat. On the other hand, there are things out there that are so black-hat the FBI might care. It is not the same and should not be treated as if it is. Otherwise, if the reaction is the same, why not just go for the max of blackhat? Hacking, sending out virii...

    There is a reason that speeding 5MPH over the limit just risks a ticket (and is usually ignored even if the cops see you), but stealing a car risks jail time!

    Quote Originally Posted by layla
    But where's the fun in WH is an attitude, Those who are very good at BH love the challenge from my experiences. Above all, it's the game.
    Exactly.

    If you (generic "you") want safe, if you want boring, if you want rules for the sake of rules (and/or any cowardice-inspired restrictions) GET A JOB!

    Most holier-than-thou WHs remind me of city-dwellers who move to the country and then want to wreck it with paving and sewer systems. Those who want that should have stayed in the city!!

    The POINT of being online is like the point of being in the country--to HAVE the unpaved roads, the wilderness, the wildness, and the un-pretentiousness.

    If I just wanted *money* I could have aimed to be in a boardroom of some company that's not mine. But that's still just another j*b no matter how much sugarcoat they put on it. If I wanted THAT I wouldn't have come online. I do NOT want the "country" of the Internet citified in any way, shape or form. Keep that pavement out of here!

    Yeah, there is a point I won't cross, and some things that I think actually deserve the term "unethical," but not NEARLY as many as some label that way. It's like some people are shocked that others dare to truly compete with them!!

    ~~~~~~~~~~

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Guinn
    I feel whatever you can do to discourage/fight black hat tactics and participators is almost obligatory if you are a white hatter who believes in AM.
    I strongly disagree.

    *I* believe in freedom, creativity, and opportunity. Those who would straitjacket people from using perfectly legal means of operation, or keep them from taking the risks they see fit, for any reason whatsoever, are a bigger problem than any so-called black-hat.

    "He who would give up a little freedom for a little security deserves neither and will lose both!"

    Quote Originally Posted by teezone
    in my own mind it's always been about content building vs. scraping.
    You're seeing another part of the elephant, but that's far from all of it. You can build stuff that won't sell beans...er..."content" AND use spam to promote it.

    Also, Google = a massive automated scraper site with ads. The only difference between it and any other MFA (Made For Adsense) scraper that bothers to put in a search function, is propaganda and branding! By their own guidelines, they would be banned from themselves. But, apparently in hopes of getting a higher rank, most webmasters pretend they don't see the blindingly obvious.

    And Froogle (Google Base, Google Shopping...), that's a slightly thin affiliate site that forgot to put in the tracking code. (Not that I'm complaining about being able to advertise there free.)

    The reason I mention G is to show that 1) there is no solid definition as to what = spam, and 2) G's definition is not worth the pixels its printed with.

    To ME it's a matter of what the site's users think. On a sales site, the users vote by buying. Stats used by c*ntent sites don't count since they aren't measuring the same things.

    And the competition's opinions, and those of "armchair" onlookers, purists, and any others who are not the target audience...those opinions are to be ignored. They're not your customers. Making the e-pundits happy will not help your site one tiny little bit unless it is a site dedicated to those same e-pundits.

    What your customers respond favorably to, that is what to do (with a few exceptions). Whether someone else calls it "spam" or "black hat" or not is totally irrelevant. The Customer is the Queen of King Revenue.

    Those who do not buy are not Customers. They are not even citizens of the Kingdom. So, like foreigners commenting on a country's election, they get no vote.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  20. #20
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eathan
    I've never really liked the terms "black hat" and "white hat" SEO. There's too much gray, and few agree on where the ends of the gray scale spectrum fall. The author of the quoted bit seems to think comment spam is considered white and automated comment spam black - not the definitions I'd choose. To me they're just different shades of dark gray. For the true black among comment spammers I'd point to the ones who drop links not to their own sites, but rather to spam posts they've made on other people's forums. Building in a scapegoat to take the heat for their spam is well past any question of ethics IMO.
    I agree with the main points.

    If only I'd seen this before I started typing the prior post (I had opened the screen a long time before actually posting it). It probably would have saved me some typing...

    I agree that passing the buck onto innocent sites is rotten. Too rotten for me. Although my reaction (if I found it happening to one of my blogs) wouldn't be to whine and call "unethical," I'd be far too busy coming up with a way to return the "favor" for that kind of a shenanigan. They'd get the same amount of respect from me as they gave me
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  21. #21
    Moderator BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sfcom
    I think everyone has a different definition of spam. Is it spam to use video editors on YouTube to put your website URL in the video? Is it spam when people sign up on Twitter with their website name? Is it spam when someone wears a t-shirt to a baseball game that advertises NIKE in 4" letters? How about the pizza flyers on my door? I once mentioned my website to my brother in law (he works in IT) via an email and he replied, "You are spamming me." Funny thing is that his family is a Quixtar/Amway family. Woohoo... What about when we get Avon, Longaberger, and other home based business flyers/catalogs? I am going to the beach soon. Is advertising via a kite spam?

    Some people consider spam anything that they don't want to be inconvenienced with. Or anything that they don't want to purchase. Or any advertising that wasn't purchased. What exactly is spam?

    I call for a thread split, please. I would love to discuss this more.

    -sfcom
    To me all of the ads on TV are Spam.

    I want to watch the shows - not the 5 minutes of ads every 10 minutes.

    However - I have no choice about it. The ads are going to run whether I want to see them or not.

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  22. #22
    Best New ABW Member 2007 sfcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loxly
    No one needs to "call for a thread split", just start a new topic and there ya go.
    Aarrgh... Once again, all of my evil plans go awry.

    -sfcom


  23. #23
    Antisocial Media Expert ProWebAddict's Avatar
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    Since when is commenting on related blogs comment spam? Hmm I thought it was called common sense.

    True there's a difference between leaving a URL in the comment box, and leaving a URL in the URL box but if you think it's spam to comment on related blogs then...dare I say....get a clue.

    As long as it adds to the discussion (i.e. no dhtrhruh cliz my linz pluh-leaze) then why does it matter if I have a list of 50 blogs that I am commenting on for the sole purposes of increasing my traffic?

    Because of my motives? Let's say I post the same comment. If I am commenting because I want to give you an ego boost then it's ok. But if I am commenting to further my own goals then it's spam and unethical?

    Futhermore, I completely agree with Leader.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    If you (generic "you") want safe, if you want boring, if you want rules for the sake of rules (and/or any cowardice-inspired restrictions) GET A JOB!
    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    Yeah, there is a point I won't cross, and some things that I think actually deserve the term "unethical," but not NEARLY as many as some label that way. It's like some people are shocked that others dare to truly compete with them!!
    That's a point to really think about because it seems as of lately a lot of things are being labeled unethical when it's just someone being a little more clever/innovative than you are.

    So instead of trying to focus on your business and how you can improve, the first thought is "This shouldn't be allowed! Someone beating me at my own game is unethical!"

    That's a dangerous line to walk on.

  24. #24
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    Leaving comments on blogs, spamming (bot-based another issue), or an over-abundance of advertising is not black-hat. And interlinking is perfectly fine if the topic is related. And cloaking is acceptable if you clearly state where the link takes the visitor (ie. not false advertising). I lump in scraping with black hat as it's a hacking technique.

    I'm reminded of the new UK advertising law: http://www.outsideline.co.uk/blog/20...ine-marketing/

    .. but that's another topic

    At no time do I take my eye off my own sites & initiatives to whine that someone is doing something unethical simply because they are more successful than me. Heck, maybe I'm in the minority but my issue is with unethical tactics, not innovation.

    As I said earlier, I shut down my xml and rss feed & commissions increased. Since my bottom line is what matters, I'm taking a defensive stance to protect my own sites. That's why I'm interested in this topic...

  25. #25
    ABW Ambassador Daniel M. Clark's Avatar
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    Everyone draws the line at different things, but I, for one, am getting sick and tired of people getting bashed and insulted for drawing the line a little closer to the WH side of things than certain people agree with.

    Everytime a WH/BH discussion or something about ethics comes up, certain people feel the need to bash members who express their opinions just because they won't do anything and everything for a buck.

    I know that writing this won't have an effect on anyone or anything, but I feel that it needs to be said because nobody else seems to want to say it (for reasons that are probably obvious). The people I'm talking about know who they are, and I'm not naming names, so let's not make this personal by coming back at me with a nasty response.
    Daniel M. Clark
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    Greg Hoffman Consulting

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