Fribble.. good list. I would like to explain why "reciprocal link request pages" may be a signal of crap.
Many junk sites utilize reciprocal linking because they are desperate for traffic and link exchange is their equalizer .. junk sites have few choices for generating traffic and they choose link exchange because it's available to them.
But just because the crooks do it doesn't mean its bad for everyone!
I have said it here and I will say it again:
NOT ALL SITES THAT EXCHANGE LINKS ARE LOW QUALITY SITES. Pick your favorite hobby and then search those keywords including "submit link" or "link request" and you will find hundreds of thousands of quality sites that have ongoing active link exchange campaigns - many of which use link management software to handle the data management chore that reciprocal linking comes along with.
I think paranoia abounds in the SEO community because many SEO's think that reciprocal linking is useless as an SEO tool. Who said link exchange should be an SEO function? I have never stated that here nor will I ever.
Link exchange, when done in low to natural volume with relevant sites is a perfectly acceptable (and search engine friendly) method of generating quality traffic entirely apart from SE returns. Link exchange should be conducted as a branding and traffic building function. Never as an SEO function.
For those of you who have been on the web pre-Google, you know that link exchange has and always will exist.
What you should avoid is reciprocal linking services that offer FULL DUPLEX link exchange products.. FULL DUPLEX means the software auto-links you to (sometimes irrelevant) sites in high volume in a short period of time that have no benefit for your end user without any editorial discretion on making links.
If you read Google's patents, you would know that Google wants you to obtain links using editorial discretion.
There is good link exchange and there is bad link exchange. If you decide to pursue a reciprocal linking campaign, use an EDITOR BASED software so that you maintain full editorial control on who you link out to.
For those of you who are rolling your eyes now, here's some undeniable proof from one of your favorite search engines:
Go to Google's webmaster guidelines read the FAQ "How do I add my site to Google's search results?" Google answers by saying "Although Google crawls billions of pages, it's inevitable that some sites will be missed. When our spiders miss a site, it's frequently for one of the following reasons ..."
Google goes on to list four specific reasons why a site may not have been indexed. The first of these reasons, the VERY first is "the site isn't well connected through multiple links to other sites on the web." To be "well connected" you need links "TO other sites." That's Google talking, not any self-proclaimed SEO guru. Those are Google's own words: The site isn't well connected through multiple links to other sites on the web.
Note also that Google specifically says "connected through multiple links TO other sites." The word "to" means out-going, forward. You are linking to someone, as opposed to receiving a link from someone.
How many forum posts have you read that claim forward links are bad, that only one-way incoming links are good? Google doesn't seem to agree. Google outright says that to be "well connected" you need links "TO other sites."
Here's another reference from Google: The question this time is "My site's no longer included in the search results. What happened?" After explaining how sites can sometimes be dropped because of "fluctuations" in data-center processing, Google says this: If your site is well-linked from others on the web, it's likely that we'll add it again during our next crawl.
There's that "well" word again. "well linked - well connected." In response to this question, Google is saying your site should be "WELL-linked FROM others." In the answer to the first question they said your site should be "WELL-connected through multiple links TO other sites."
The search engines have NEVER stated "don't link exchange". They have blogged (even recently) to watch high volume and relevancy. But they will never tell you to not link exchange because link exchange is what makes the web a web.
Sites that link exchange with proper relevance and in low to natural volume excel in both terms of the traffic they generate from those links, and whatever link juice those links provide in rankings. In my ten years of managing link exchange campaigns for literally thousands of clients, I have never seen a single case of reciprocal linking hurting a site in rankings with a couple of exceptions when the site was linking to a vast assortment of genres that may have been viewed as irrelevant.
Link exchange is a data management challenge - thus the link request forms you are used to seeing more and more often. As long as the form allows the receiving webmaster to maintain editorial discretion, there is nothing wrong with link management software.
I know why many of you are anti link exchange.. you are tired of seeing it abused. However, do know that not everyone exchanging links is abusing this time tested marketing vehicle. Link exchange - reciprocal linking.. whatever you want to call it. It's what makes the web a web and to expect new sites to "obtain one way links from quality sites" is not realistic for most small to medium businesses.
Link exchange works when not abused.
Getting back to the 25 indicators for "crap" ... judge a site based on it's overall quality and benefit to the end user, not how it markets it's site and builds its traffic.