I, Brian posts a nice blog entry at SEOmoz, titled SEO isn't hacking. I agree. I'd like to also point out that SEO isn't spamming. I recently read a comment on a Digg thread in which the commenter stated that since the article being discussed was written by an SEO, it was, therefore, spam. What a crock of poop!
Spammers are spammers.
Hackers are hackers.
There are dirtbags in every industry, and SEO is no exception. But to equate SEOs with either spammers or hackers is just flat out wrong.
I know some SEOs who I would consider to be spammers. Some of them, I like as people. But their methods are not good for our industry's image, and I'd classify them as spammers, rather than SEOs. I'm sure they would disagree with me whole-heartedly, but I really don't care.
I'm an SEO. I do not hack (destroy) other people's sites. I do not engage in blog comment spamming and the like. Does that make me a saint? No, but I am tired of the general public believing that all SEOs are dirtbags. It's simply not true.