bobmark - 2:35 pm on Jan 10, 2003 (gmt 0)
Having spent a lot of my early working life in large organizations, my guess is that what GoogleGuy says is 100% correct BUT the spam method has to fit the Google spamming guidelines unequivocally. Otherwise, the individual Google empolyee who investigates may tend to take no action, refer it to a superior, put it on a watch list, whatever as his/her authority would extend only to removing sites that clearly break the guidelines.
To take a couple of examples:
If hidden text is in the guidelines, I assume any substantial use of same colour/background text will get you a penalty. However, since Google says they do not index alt image tags (which are often used as a sort of hidden text with hundreds of keywords stuffed into them) presumably the abuse of them may not get you banned.
Or - to use the example I gave earlier - using a dynamic indexing system designed to produce virtually identical pages may not be a clear violation of the guidelines in that they are not quite exactly mirror pages - in the sense that duplicate static pages are - and may be given the benefit of the doubt.
This is not a criticism of Google. A large organization needs to have clearly defined guidelines and insist employees apply them fairly. You don't want a situation where individual Google employees have the lattitde to ban sites that fall into a grey area on a whim or their own personal biases (can you say dmoz?).