CNET News posted an article yesterday in which Matt Cutts of Google, as well as others, discussed a waning trend in black hat search engine optimization and an increase in white hat design and techniques. First, a clip from the article: While Cutts is certainly not insinuating that the gig is up, we find it odd that CNET, and potentially Google themselves, are interpreting their position as "ahead." Quite frankly, and this has been true since the inception of internet search engines, the black hats, or those who choose to exploit chinks in the armor of search engines will always be ahead; it is the nature of their existence. We're not implying that all people who consider themselves to be on the edge of black hat SEO are experts, but certainly the individuals who do consistently seek out and act upon easier ways to gain higher rankings have a certain understanding of the underpinnings and business practices that cannot be obscured by changes in algorithm. To assume otherwise is a foolish and has the potential to be a dangerously arrogant perspective to hold. For every fresh-faced college graduate who gets hired at Google to fight spam, new SEO techniques, or any other number of "nefarious" activities, there are hundreds of equally talented young engineers, computer scientists, and enthusiasts who are struggling in an increasingly competitive, modern economy. Many of these individuals find themselves at a critical juncture. They must decide to either take an often low-paying, unsatisfying job in any number of industries or find elegant ways to support their lifestyles. Luckily for the black hat community, many of these individuals are choosing the latter. To be a black hat is to be more than an exploiter of computers systems; it is to be an explorer of the unknown. It is to follow the foot steps of previous explorers and to allow one's own personal imagination and intuition to guide them passed the comfort zones of most inhabitants of this dynamic organism we call the internet. Most importantly, it is to have an understanding and a connection to how it is changing in a way that most people will never be cognizant of. To say that black hat SEO is waning is to say that the potential for the thrill of financial freedom is coming to end, for what the black hat represents is the most key component of any functional capitalist society, market change. Black hats are some of the most integral agents of change that exist in this marketplace and without them the stagnant conditions that have forced many to the Internet in the first place could just as easily arrive here. Is black hat SEO waning? We don't think so, but if a time ever comes that these key members of the Internet community do begin to disappear, we fear that it will mark not the beginning of a Golden Age, but rather the beginning of the spirit of capitalism online resigning. This article was also posted on the blackhatzen blog.