Motivation. Motivation is one of those slippery things. You can't always grasp it. It often seems within reach, easily understandable, but in reality, someone's motivation for his or her actions are very likely to be completely different than what you or I may think.
Bloggers are motivated by...what? The obvious answers would include things like fame, publicity, traffic, linkbait, ego, altruism, etc. We tend to jump to conclusions when assigning motivation to a blogger's post. Hey, that's human, I suppose, but that doesn't necessarily make it "right".
What is the motivation of a blogger who raises issues with Google? I've seen nearly all of the above answers listed although "linkbait" is the one I've seen most often. I don't have a clue what Aaron's motivation is. As SEO's, I'm sure linkbait is ingrained within us, so that's probably a part of everything we do, even if it is unconscious. But is that the primary motivation behind Aaron's recent posts? Maybe...maybe not. What "reward" does Aaron receive for bringing these issues up? Regardless of his motivation, are his points valid? Are they worth considering? Should they be asked? Should they be answered?
What is the motivation of a blogger who takes offense at someone who raises those issues? What if that blogger is a prominent Google employee? Does that make the motivation question different than if Joe Schmo, SEO were to take offense with those issues? Why indeed would Matt make an issue of this? It seems odd, doesn't it? What "reward" does Matt/Google receive for drawing attention to Aaron's posts? Is it merely a matter of hurt feelings? Frankly, that was my very first impression and the one that is hardest to shake. That doesn't mean I'm right, however.
As a blogger and an SEO, it's easy for me to at least think I understand Aaron's motivations. It's our "job" as a blogger to voice our opinions about our topic of experience, and since SEO is that topic, and Google is the big cheese of search engines, it only makes sense that we would voice our opinions about Google. Sometimes, those opinions are negative. So it seems natural for an SEO blogger to write the occasional negative blog post about Google. The motivation in that would seem to be as simple as "being recognized for doing your job".
As a blogger and an SEO, it's more difficult for me to understand Matt's motivations. Why make an "issue" over Aaron's posts? Why point out that he once "did some extra work to help Aaron last year"? That's the one statement that makes all of this sound personal to me - as though Matt had his feelings hurt. But leaving that aside for now, I can't quite come up with a reasonable motivation for asking readers how to respond. Frankly, that smells more like linkbait than anything Aaron has ever written. But is it? I don't know. Why would Matt Cutts of all people need to worry with linkbait? The truth is, he doesn't.
I don't have the answers. I have no way of knowing what the motivation is behind either Aaron's or Matt's posts. But the quick assumptions that others are making really don't feel right to me.
Personally, regardless of Aaron's motivation, I think he makes some valid points, and raises some important issues. I don't even know what to say about Matt's side of it. I just stare at his post and wonder what the heck it's all about.
Motivation. What's the motivation behind this post? Probably a little of all of the above and who knows what else, but my primary motivation is simply to question...and ponder...and spend a little time thinking.