I read the recent Times article on the "Dirty Little Secrets of Search" with great interest. One of the ways that Google and other companies could combat "black-hat" search engine optimization is by creating a second search results list (perhaps accessible via a small link on the main results page). This would rank the results without trying to correct for nefarious optimizations. The differences between the normally obtained search results and those on this second list could be highlighted; they would directly rank organizations by the degree to which they have unfairly tried to influence search results. Perhaps revealing this true black list would act as a public disincentive to those trying to game the system.
Mark Gerstein, New Haven, Connecticut
Above is an unpublished letter in response to
The Dirty Little Secrets of Search
NY Times, By DAVID SEGAL, February 12, 2011
Added this as a "comment" to the article, viz: