Neither blackhat nor whitehat, can guarantee risk-free results in the SERPs. State what you want but Google’s Panda and Penguine updates have certainly proven that.
A large part of any SEO strategy, whitehat or blackhat, is about risk-management. Its all about knowing what the risks are and putting in solid contingencies to manage and control that risk.
Google is free to change its policies, rules and algorithms at any time and the “whitehat” techniques that were acceptable and risk free are suddenly made riskier and unacceptable to many causing well established online businesses, who conformed to Google’s TOS, to lose all their traffic over night causing them to fold.
Put simply, whitehat SEO is now just as risky as blackhat SEO.
The convoluted debate that blackhat SEO is risky and whitehat SEO is safe is ludicrous to the extreme. There is no guarantee by Google that whitehat SEO will provide you good long term rankings and traffic. Like there is no guarantee that if you have good rankings, Google will ensure that you enjoy ranking consistency after an update.
The Google coined, “ethical” or whitehat behavior only makes sense amongst equals. So, as an online business, are you really an equal to Google? No, you’re not – the odds are stacked solidly against you.