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Or, people like HIM are PAYING for the Internet.

Personally, I think it's people who like to tell other people how much they're RUINING the INTERNET that are RUINING the INTERNET, but I spend a lot of my Internet time on message boards, so I'm probably biased. It's probably bad recipe sites that are RUINING the INTERNET.

Here's why I say ruin. Remember when you could do a search for product reviews, and actually get product reviews, instead of a million template link bait sites?

This is like pining for the old days when all the world's microcomputer hackers fit into the same room at Stanford and you could ask Steve Wozniak to teach you how to solder.

Sure, when Google was new and had relatively low traffic and relatively few people were trying to game it and the web was orders of magnitude smaller than it is today (largely because Google itself was a force that made the web much larger) the SERPs were different. Arguably better. But we can't go back there. Time marches on.

If it were easy to go back there Google would have more effective competitors.

You can try to simulate the old days by creating a smaller network of trusted friends or sources and only following links from them. This is a hot strategy now; we call it "social networking". But I wouldn't assume that social networks, even those limited to your immediate family, are immune to commercial "SEO". Experience suggests otherwise. Just wait until a family member starts shilling for Amway or Cutco, or (less annoyingly) your teenaged nephew comes to your house selling band candy or magazines.

The social-network spamming has already started. On my last trip to the cinema I saw a teenager get a discount on her ice-cream in exchange for posting something on Facebook.

What does Patrick's advertising technique --- really, think about this --- exactly what does it have to do with Google SERP pollution?

Nothing, in and of it self. My rant was more at this whole group of grey/black hat SEO, a group he most defiantly IS in.

If you think Patrick is a black hat SEO, you don't really know what a black hat SEO is.

It's defiantly at least gray. He openly admits to trying to trick visitors into thinking the ad is organic content. That's well over the line in my book.

I think, as respectfully as I can be on what I think is a thoroughly stupid thread, you are "defiantly" naive about what it is that black hat SEOs actually do. "Tricking visitors into thinking ads are organic content". Heh.

Black hat SEO is so much worse than anything we ever talk about on HN threads about advertising.

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