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I've seen many people using blackhat tools for seo. I wonder if google actually bans them.
Yes ,use the Black hat always dangerous. Suppose your website ban by AKISMET, you are unable to comment in any Wordpress blog.So always use the White Hat method.
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Pardon me for this comment because it looks like you did not read the question very well. The question is about Google banning sites and your reply is Akismet which I think is a tool in Wordpress. Anyway, I have yet to see proof that Google had banned a site because of using black hat SEO methods. As far as I know those talks are just speculations and probably concoctions to scare the public.
It is a risk to take, but you could always take the chance and hope for the best.