This question has been lingering in my mind for quite a while. I just finished reading a book entitled Predictable Irrationality and in relation to the question I am asking, it hit the nail right on the head. The book discusses human behavior, economics, and some pretty clever marketing techniques. Anyhow, there was one chapter in particular discussing immorality, dishonesty, and cheating. A test was conducted to test human behavior. This is what happened. As the students at MIT cafeterias finished their lunches, they were interrupted and asked whether they would like to participate in a five-minute experiment. All they had to do was solve 20 simple math problems. And for this they would get 50 cents per correct answer. The experiment began similarly in each case, but ended in one of three different ways. When the participants in the first group finished their tests, they took their worksheets up to the experimenter, who tallied their correct answers and paid them 50 cents for each. The participants in the second group were told to tear up their worksheets, stuff the scraps into their pockets or backpacks, and simply tell the experimenter their score in exchange for payment. But the participants in the last group had something significantly different in their instructions. They were told that they had to tear up the worksheets and simply tell the experimenter how many questions they had answered correctly. But this time the experimenter wouldn't be giving cash. Rather, she would give them a token for each question they claimed to have solved. The students would then walk 12 feet across the room to another experimenter, who would exchange each token for 50 cents. The participants in the first group (who had no way to cheat) solved an average of 3.5 questions correctly. The participants in the second group, who tore up their worksheets, claimed to have correctly solved an average of 6.2 questions. Since we can assume that these students did not become smarter merely by tearing up their worksheets, we can attribute the 2.7 additional questions they claimed to have solved to cheating. But in terms of brazen dishonesty, the participants in the third group took the cake. They were no smarter than the previous two groups but they claimed to have solved an average of 9.4 problems - 5.9 more than the control group and 3.2 more than the group that merely ripped up the worksheets. What a difference there is in cheating for money versus cheating for something that is a step away from cash! What does this tell us? If it is a step away from cold cash, it is very easy for someone to be dishonest. However, if the only step away is cold cash, people wouldn't succumb to dishonesty as easily. Does this sound familiar? It's like blackhat marketing. Dishonesty and stealing is much easier when it is a step away from cold cash. If you're a blackhatter, there are MANY steps away from the cold cash. These steps include the interenet itself, anonymity, not reading e-mail responses, virtual numbers sitting in our CPA accounts, waiting for the CPA check, etc. All these steps make it extremely easy to commit to blackhat marketing because we don't feel guilty when steps are removed from the cold cash. Remove all the blackhat marketing steps in between and it's basically cheating ---> money. However, would you guys rob an old lady of her purse? I say not. With all the steps away from getting to the cold cash, dishonesty is very easy. I'm not bashing blackhat marketing in any way. All I did was find the answer as to why unethical blackhat methods are so easy to put into action. But I still love the blackhat cash.