Ya know what, I did miss that part. I think I may have misread the part where you said that "we have decided to leave the issue alone for the time being" to meaning that you might ban the stuff anyway.
Aaaanyway. Your position is pretty clear on this stuff and it pretty much jives with my own: I hate spam, spim, SEO 'sploits, spyware/adware/whateveryouwannacallit, (D)DoS, h4x0rZ1nG 1337 k1dS, and stuff like that. I will, however, fight for the SEO 'sploiters right to ignore Google rules about what legal content Google thinks they can post on a website. I will also fight for Google's right to ban these SEO 'sploiters, by the way. My world is a funny place; it ain't black and white, and "us" and "them" aren't so clearly defined all the time. See, once you start deciding whose content is ok and whose isn't, you're that much closer to authoritarian Internet where every website must be approved by a censor.
So, anyway, Jeff, don't take what I write below as in any way questioning your character or integrity. I'm writing this stuff because there really are people out there who think that all Internet content should be controlled by a single entity like Google.
There's a difference in scope and ramifications, sure. But is there really such a difference in concept? The fun part about Internet is that you're free to say pretty much anything you like as long as it's legal and you're not slamming anyone. And if you live somewhere where your freedom is oppressed, Internet's a great media to get your word out. If you're a dissident in China you can publish stuff on a server hosted in the United States, and your government can't shut the server down. If you're someone living in a small town somewhere in the Midwest U.S.A. where all published media is controlled by BigHugeMedia Inc. who doesn't like criticism, you can still get your criticism out to the public via the Internet because what you're saying isn't illegal. Are you saying that if that company had a rule that anyone critisizing them should be shut down, Dreamhost would gladly kill of their site if they hosted it? Or does that just apply to Google? Remember that Google is a company, not a service although it sometimes looks like one.
Let's say that you browse to a website whose operator expresses views that are completely legal and ordinary but which you do not agree with. You have a rule against such content because you're obviously the center of the universe, so you tell their webhost about your rule and ask them to pull the site. Should the webhost pull the site?
Where do you draw the line? Whose content is acceptable and whose isn't?
Yeah, SEO stuff is useless crap. The problem is that most of the Internet is useless crap. I bet you've been around the 'Net long enough to notice this. How many useless sites have you found? How many blogs are there that really are a waste of perfectly good bandwidth? How many sites are there with the theme "Hi all my name is Jared and I'm 15 and I like chocolate and I'm 1337?" I'd wager a bet that most of Dreamhost's $10/year accounts are full of totally useless content -- if you can call it content to begin with.
Ya know what, that content is still out there. It has the right to be out there. Passive SEO stuff, ultimately, has the right to be out there too. If Google's system can be exploited, then it's Google who should fix their system instead of everyone else adjusting their content to suit Google's whims. For crying out loud, it's Google's spider that comes to YOUR site uninvited not the other way around. If the SEO stuff would go and actively try to game search engines, it'd be different. If the website contains illegal or truly harmful stuff like virii and trojans, it'd be different. But passive SEO stuff is showing harmless text to a spider that comes to the site out of its own volition. That kind of SEO stuff just disappears in the sea of other useless crap out there.
I agree. SEO stuff sucks monkey b***s, there's no question about that. Spam does, too, while we're at it. Just be sure that if you ban something, you ban it because of the right reasons. Just because you or Google doesn't like the passive content of any site should that content be banned. There's a place and purpose for bannage, but this isn't necessarily it.