Stefanie of the Google Search Quality Team in Dublin posted yesterday an Update on SPAM Reporting. She detailes what Google does with the spam reports. Of note is the statement that: "Currently, we investigate every spam report from a registered user". A registered user means someone who files their report using the forms within Webmaster Central (you have to be logged in, so they know who files the report). You can file a report without being logged in, but there is no guarantee that it will be looked at.
There are two things that this tells us:
- If you are using practices that are in violation of Google's Webmaster Guidelines then beware - your competitor may report you. In fact they have every incentive to do so.
- Be careful that you don't file frivolous spam reports, expecially while logged in to Webmaster Central. This itself is a spammy activity, and you best believe that they will know who is filing "bad reports", and who is filing good ones.
Of course, this is good news for those webmasters who adhere strictly to the Webmaster Guidelines. After all, it gives them a chance to level the playing field.