Ukgimp I can appreciate the frustration you express. Luckily for those of us that read and follow here daily, although we may not be happy with the advice we hear about being careful with our linking, we at least have been made aware.
There is enough information to be found here that anyone who has set their mind to it could devise their own fantastic linking strategy and then create really specific and focused campaigns. Thatís the key as I see it. Yes we have shared our theories, ideas, and experiences and have made recommendations and there are some real gems to be found. What it comes down to though as I see it, people want automation. They want their linking to come easy as a push of a button. You see though that those easy programs are the ones getting caught out, though the inconsistencies found during research when itís obvious not all have been caught out. Take link farms for instance. There are still many link farms out there and I have seen link backs where the link farm actually appears to carry some weight with great PR even. Itís not an absolute science.
Weíre trying to show the risks though along with the tricks and then as in all decision making it becomes the responsibility of the site owner to determine the direction their strategies will take.
There are two things that help me. One, is to take each site as an individual and then see where it fits in itís industry and to what audience it appeals to and use that as the basis from which to build a plan. Two, I have to know what the purpose, plan and direction the site has in mind for itís future. Linking strategies for a highly competitive affiliate site are quite different than for a CPA just coming on to the web from the brick and mortar world.
Itís obvious though and I think inherent in your ponderings Ukgimp, that we continue to want to make this linking thing automatic and easy and Google particularly intends to thwart us every step of the way.