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What makes a site blackhat?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Nosence, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. Nosence

    Nosence Senior Member

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    What is the real difference between white hat and blackhat? I really only use scrapebox what does that make me?
     
  2. oinky222

    oinky222 Regular Member

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    Any site in which you build your own links to is thus officially black hat. If you are using Scrapebox for blog commenting, that is a form of linkbuilding, and thus you are a black hatter. "White Hat Link Building" is an oxymoron because linkbuilding by definition is Black Hat. The only true form of "White Hat SEO" is just to produce really high quality content and hope that other people are generous enough to link to you without you knowing cause they like your content so much. In theory this does sound good but in the real world Black Hat SEO is necessary if you ever want to rank well
     
  3. lexblast

    lexblast Junior Member

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    Is it that really cut and dried?

    deal making with other sites to carry links couldn't be considered blackhat as every major site would be blackhat, so there is a legitimate form of link building. Buying banner space is a form of link building, Adwords is a form of link building, and are all white hat.

    using scrapebox to identify high pr sites to comment on is at most greyhat, not commenting manually is blackhat, as is any automated process where you expect a human.
     
  4. wrangler

    wrangler Regular Member

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    How about this for a litmus test - if you have something related to / at the site, for which you could be criminally prosecuted or civil-sued, you're probably leaning toward the dark side wouldn't you think?
     
  5. WizGizmo

    WizGizmo Super Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

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    For the most part, black hat is not necessarily illegal. It is simply a more aggressive way of marketing. It uses automation tools and finds loopholes and ways of "gaming" the search engines. Sometimes the methods are what might be construed as unethical, buy rarely are they illegal.

    Most blackhatters use a combination of White Hat and Black Hat.

    Cheers! - "Wiz"
     
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  6. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    That just isn't true.

    If it were true, then Google would be advocating blackhat techniques in all the information they give about the type of linkbuilding webmasters should do. :cool2: LOL

    It's totally possible to promote your site with whitehat linkbuilding. You can go to blogs and leave comments that you have a great site and people should visit it, go to forums and create profiles and tell those people about your site, go to article directories and submit articles about your site, set up profiles on bookmarking sites to bookmark your pages, make accounts on social networking sites and make posts about your great website. All of those things create backlinks, and none of it is blackhat. What makes it blackhat is when you start creating additional fake accounts on all those sites in order to make it look like more people are promoting your site on their own.

    There's also a difference between a fake account and a pseudonym. Many times people will create a fake persona in order to protect their true identity, writers, actors, etc have been doing that for thousands of years. Using a pseudonym, or even multiple pseudonyms doesn't make you blackhat. On the other hand if you're creating fake accounts for the sole purpose of making it appear that many different people are all promoting your site or offer then your using a blackhat method. If your creating a fake female account for the purpose of making straight men be interested in pursuing you in order to take advantage of them then that would be a blackhat method.

    Basically what makes the difference between whitehat and blackhat is whether you're violating the TOS on the sites you're posting on. For example - most websites don't allow the use of automated scripts, so if you're using SB to make comments then your violating the TOS. Google adsense TOS prohibits the use of MFA websites, so if you make a MFA microniche site then you're violating the TOS.

    So the simple answer is, if you're method involves violating the TOS of any websites or companies you're using or working with, then you're using blackhat methods. If your creating fake accounts and profiles for anything more than protecting your true identity, then you're using blackhat techniques. If your doing anything with the intention of misleading people so they'll do what you want them to do instead of what they'd normally be expected to do, then you're using blackhat techniques.

    It's also important to remember that using blackhat techniques doesn't mean you're doing anything illegal. Scams and other illegal activities most likely use many blackhat methods, but scammers cross a line past what is meant when people talk about being a blackhatter. That's why you'll find the mods on this forum will ban scammers whenever they find them.
     
  7. lexblast

    lexblast Junior Member

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    I agree Greywolf, but you cannot look at sites like google or any other sites TOS for that matter to draw these boundaries as far as white and blackhat.

    Google for instance frowns upon scraping and duplicate content, but scrapes and dupes just about every single website thats ever existed (google-bots and google-cache). Google wouldn't rank and would probably de-index itself if it followed its own rules :).

    You can't be King following the sitting Kings rule, and isn't almost every mammoth succes stories based on theft? (lycos->google, friendster->myspace, mac->windows, xerox->mac etc, etc.).

    Its easy to start making rules once you achieve success and want to prevent anyone from stealing your marketshare using your own service and ideas. Fortunately the world doesn't work that way.

    I say utilize these services the best you can to grow your business, they all did..
     
  8. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    @lexblast - I didn't say whether you should follow the rules or not. The OP asked the question about what makes a technique blackhat, and the simple answer is whether the techniques abide by the TOS of the various websites and companies you use and work with.

    If you aren't violating any TOS or rules at all then you're running a totally whitehat business. If your violating a TOS, but choose to do it anyway then your doing something blackhat, at least for that particular thing.

    I'd say it's unlikely to find any business that's totally whitehat by that definition, but if they overall try to conform it would still be safe to call them whitehat.

    If a business is more concerned with achieving success whatever it takes, ignoring or circumventing any rules that might be in their way then overall it would be safe to call them blackhat.

    I'd say most businesses on or offline fall somewhere in between the two extremes.


    I do agree with you though that most of the big businesses are the worst of the blackhatters. They do whatever they can to achieve their goal and only after they get on top do they create rules disallowing much of what they themselves did.

    The big example I usually use is MySpace. The parent company that created myspace was Intermix Media. Intermix Media was formerly known as eUniverse and was one of the largest spam companies in it's day. It was also one of the earliest companies to use spyware which it included in a free patriotic flag cursor they distributed.

    Everyone was all excited about the Facebook story because they're on top now. But people that really want to understand Internet Marketing would be better off reading up about the Intermix Media, eUniverse and the founding of MySpace. The people behind that have much more in common with the people on BHW than Mark_Zuckerberg ever will.

    So anyway I stand by my statement earlier that the difference between blackhat and whitehat is determined by whether the method conforms to the various TOS of the websites and companies used. I'd also say that if you truly want to succeed online, then you need to accept that you're going to need to be blackhat at least for some things. How much so just depends on what you're comfortable with.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011
  9. wrangler

    wrangler Regular Member

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    Gotta disagree with Wiz - bh is illegal, what you describe is surely greyhat, no?
     
  10. Monrox

    Monrox Power Member

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    BH is anything that will hurt your ratings when caught / identified / linked to you as the webmaster. Another useful definition in my 'milieu' is using a system's own algos to gain advantages that the system is trying to prevent. Fraud is illegal, product reviews are not but both can profit greatly from BH methods.

    As to the rules, they are always subjective because a rule is per definition designed to give something the upper hand: justice over injustice, beating a cop over beating a civilian, hungry children over hungry adults, own country over other countries and so on.

    So it is a matter of conscience and I have 0 problem ousting a webmaster with BH if my content is at least as good as his. Haven't tried to promote crap so far so I don't know if that type of BH is going to put me off. What I find depressive is making a good site that is being ignored by search engines. So until they actually start rewarding the stuff they say they like, I am not changing anything.
     
  11. Longover

    Longover Power Member

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    Hah, Google is the most difficult thing to predict... white hat/black hat/grey hat... just don't do anything illegal...

    They probably think that blog commenting is black hat.

    After all, look at all the crap that Google pulled with PPC advertisers recently. A lot of marketers were legitimate and they completely f***ed them without notice.

    This is business. Building backlinks produces results. And if you look at the alternative... build good content and wait for someone to notice... lol

    All I can say is that you do what works and stay under the radar. Make money and make lots of it.

    If anything, don't feel bad about Google. They are a big dumb company. They would screw every single marketer out of organic and paid search if it meant that they could make more money themself.
     
  12. xboxps3wow

    xboxps3wow Power Member

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    This is really a hard question as different people interpret 'black hat' activities differently. For some creating your own link is black hat (example above) and for some black hat is hacking a site and adding your own links without permission.
     
  13. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Well Wrangler, I've gotta disagree with you!! :cool2:

    BH is not necessarily illegal. It might break the rules of various websites but when it's done right you don't have to break any laws. If your breaking any laws then you've gone past blackhatting. Blackhat methods aren't always ethical, and blackhatters aren't always popular, but for the most part they try to stay within the law.

    It's definitely possible to use blackhat methods to break the law, (and if your not careful with some things like spamming you might cross the line before you realize it), but it's also totally possible to use blackhat methods and stay completely within the law.

    Blackhatters aren't a bunch of criminals. Whitehat marketers work within the rules while blackhat marketers just make their own, but both work at staying within the law. It does you no good to make a bunch of money if you're going to end up in jail and/or have all your money taken away by judgements and fines.

    Like Wiz said above, blackhat marketing is just about gaming the system to your advantage, but blackhatters aren't out to cheat anyone.

    Just go into one of the cpa or ppc forums and suggest creating fake ad clicks or signups, you'll find most people telling you to get the hell out of here. They might game the system to get more traffic to their offers, but the traffic that does convert is legit. If you game the system you might make a lot more money than if you didn't, but if you try to cheat the system you're just going to get shut down.

    There really isn't any such thing as greyhat, although it is a real term. Greyhat just describes someone that sets up a mostly whitehat business and then uses just a few blackhat methods that are less likely to get noticed to get a little advantage over the competition. The methods that greyhatters use are still blackhat, they just use them more conservatively.

    Don't make the mistake of confusing blackhat marketing with illegal scamming. Most blackhatters are very strongly against scamming and will even recommend legal action when it's encountered. Go read a few threads in the shitlist forum and you'll get an idea of how blackhatters feel about scammers.

    The profit is in gaming the system without breaking the laws. Blackhat marketing is about figuring out how to bend, break or even make your own rules without breaking any actual laws in the process. The goal is to save or spend the money we make, not give it back and/or go to jail.


    edit -
    Another thing that's worth mentioning is that people often get confused between ethics and legality. There's a big difference between the two. There are many things that are totally unethical, but not illegal. There's also many things that are totally illegal, but not really unethical.

    Blackhatters aren't necessarily unethical, but they're more likely to cross ethical boundaries rather than legal ones. At least when they're aware of the laws, and most blackhatters do want to know the laws so that they know how far they can push it without crossing the line.

    Ideally even if you're using blackhat methods you would want to live a life in which you remain an ethical person and also not do anything illegal. If you maintain a high level of integrity then you can always be proud of the profits you make. That advice applies for whitehatters as well as blackhatters.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 31, 2011