Newsweek Magazine has a write-up in the December issue about the world of SEO (talk about mainstream coverage!). Quote:
[Search engines] deplore the so-called black-hat SEOs who use unsavory techniques, like spamming the Web with dummy pages full of links, in an effort to make their sites appear popular. But they are increasingly tolerant of ethical or “white hat” SEOs like Fishkin, who primarily help their clients knock down the virtual walls that prevent search engines from fully indexing their site. … It’s good for Google and SEOs: better-organized sites increase the amount of content in Google’s index, while improving SEO rankings.
Matt Cutt’s, the Google employee interviewed for the story, has some additional information in this blog post. It seems, Google was already aware of the “black hat” SEO featured in the story, and actually used them as an example in a workshop, just days before the story appeared!