Reno - 4:47 pm on Sep 11, 2011 (gmt 0)
It's clear that one of goo's goals is to make seo an unprofitable and unworkable solution
Yes yes yes. I posted years ago that one of the most stupid and destructive Google penalties (there are so many) is for "over optimization", which I read as "you're doing TOO GOOD a job". Google was rewarding mediocrity back then and they reward it now. In the process of killing off SEO, they could not tell the forest from the trees, so they've killed off or seriousy injured millions of really good content sites. A self fulfilling prophecy, as far as I'm concerned. Google purposely decided to burn the village to save the village, and the current mess is what they have left.
Addendum: Were there / are there sites that use black hat SEO and thus deserve to die the death of a thousand cuts? Absolutely! But for every one success, there are ten failures. By "failure" I mean that black hat is still ranking; or, a good, clean, well designed, decent content white hat took a bullet.