POD by any other name would still smell . . . (as sweet?)

With absolutely no disrespect to anyone in any area of publishing, I want to know why there is such a dispute raging over the internet about whether one is really ‘published’ if one has gone down the POD, vanity or self-publishing route.

I am wondering if it might be a semantic issue, over ownership perhaps of the word ‘to publish’.  If one is published by a publisher (independent), printed by one of the top printers in the world, has a distinct ISBN, is being disseminated through the Amazons, Barnes and Noble and any other electronic retailer, is available through bricks and mortar retailers both on the shelf and as a POD . . . is that not being ‘published’?

Nothing that I’ve read on the net so far has answered that question satisfactorily.  It’s still two polarised arguments.  One is the mainstream side of publisher/agent.  The other is the writer who has gone to the alternate side.  Is there not someone out there . . . some learned, impartial and easy-going commentator who can give me a definitive answer.  And yes, for the record, I am an Australian writer who has been published POD by YouWriteOn.com in the UK, but who hopes that she may secure mainstream publication one day for her new works.  But after all that I’ve read, I’m beginning to think that I’ll be penalised for opting for the independent route with the first books.

Cripes, I hope not!  All I can say is that I have learned heaps from the experience and it has given me a grounding and maturity toward the world of the book that I mightn’t otherwise have had.