I was trying to keep spam out of this. But, since Google and Inktomi both categorically state that cloaking is not wanted, it seems they at least think it is spam. The question is, do they think of cloaking in the same terms as Brett's first post in this thread? I don't think they do. Inktomi, for example, even states:
This isn't my definition. We are talking about what SEOs have traditionally meant when using the word "cloaking", and what search engines mean now when they use the word.
This forum was once called "Cloaking - Stealth", and was in "The SEO World" section of WebmasterWorld. When did that stop?
No, not me. :) Look in the WebmasterWorld Cloaking Forum Charter [webmasterworld.com]:
That's a little bit different to some of the things that have been described in this thread as cloaking.
Now look in the WebmasterWorld Cloaking Forum Library [webmasterworld.com] and you'll find a thread from Oct 2, 2000 called Comment on cloaking from a SE [webmasterworld.com]. I participate in that thread, and I'm using exactly the same definition of cloaking then as I'm using now, 2.5 years later. Note how everyone else in that thread is talking about IP delivery and UA delivery to search engines. That's what cloaking was and still is, as far as I am concerned. And I think, from their web sites, that Google and Inktomi at least agrees.