but what about the client that does listen, optimizes, develops content, hires copywriters and still finds himself competing with someone that has 100 domains, interlinked to build PR, uses hidden and tiny text, uses link farms and remains in the index month after month?
It is still the same choice. Do they want to take the risk and possibly degrade the site to bump up rankings and make more money in the short term or tow the line and maybe not make as much as they could right now but still do just fine until the right spam filter drops into place at which time the may be rewarded?
It's kinda like that game show, Let's Make a Deal. Is a bird in the hand worth 2 in the bush? How much is enough?