WebSideStory’s black hat techniques?

I was researching for web analytics packages when I came across WebSideStory site that provided questionable content. When I disabled stylesheets on my Firefox browser I saw a collection of text and links found at the bottom of the page. I was shocked because I never thought an analytics company could resort to such technique but at the same time I was not surprised since every site that’s aware of search engine optimization and the benefits of getting pretty good ranks can bring, wants to go on top of search results.

Emphasizing on keywords such us “web analytics”, “search engine”, it’s never bad as long as it’s necessary for the page.

For the record I did not report this to Google. Instead I posted it to several bulletin boards for further scrutiny. However I never got such great number of responses. The most popular in the list edited the details of my thread and no one seemed interested in responding out of the 65 or so page views it got at the time. Not so long ago I was part of the debate on whether Colgate-Palmolive web site employed hidden links disguised in its dynamic menu. One moderator argues it does violate search engine policies and guidelines while I stuck to my argument that it did not; the site was not penalized by Google as far as I know.

The other lesser authoritative forums had replies but not with the quality I would like to read. I was even told to report to Google if WebSideStory’s SEO procedures bothers me. It does not. And I would not care to raise the issue if not because of the reputation it brings. I see a lot of lesser known brands do worse and I leave them to flirt with disaster. But this is a site that is supposed to be a role model in implementing fair and non-deceptive coding. To me this is beyond the desirable content.

With this ‘discovery’ does it seem to show that companies don’t seem deterred by the fact that sites of more known brands like Ricoh and BMW do get banned? Is it easy to trick Google? Just because there is this thing called ‘reinclusion request’, you are forgiven of your sins and you’ll be back on search engine circulation. Would this be a repeating cycle or repeat offenders stand to lose their footing on search results forever?