Phil might I sugges you grab weinberger's book, small pieces loosely joined?
And this might also add some flavor to the conversation: ." (my title not the author's.)
This topic on quality and content is a tough one. Mainly because of the mass subjectivity of it. Let's look at this forum alone. Quality content? What does that mean anyway?
I tend to think of conversations as trash dumps. We throw what we have in and recycle it over and over and over again. I think the problem comes when we believe what we say is not trash.
"Oh no, not what I say. What I say and like is to be offered as a sacrifice to the g-ds." Of course, that too, is eaten by theives and the homeless and wasted out in its own way. How fitting.
Search engine spam is non-existent. Come on, you have venture capitalists and investment bankers for all three engines meeting in the backrooms both prior their ipo and then making phone calls to the executive staff asking for a bump in profit. Those guys meet in backrooms and do "spammy" stuff in order to float the stock in the first place.
So, no, I do not think it appropriate to compare an already tilted windmill to email spam which is push technology through channels that do not carry a profitable margin for carrying said data.
Instead of thinking in terms of "quality content" for the net perhaps choices need to be made for current projects on either a brandable and sellable entity or one that accepts it is just garbage from the start.
Besides, sell of one of your net properties to a buyer and see what you think of it once they hack it up. Ask time warner about that one...