Ok this is going off topic with the magical mystical link idea. Google ranks links according to weight of site giving the link. Simple as that. It does not measure click through rate, it does nothing else but crawl the link. OK! Lets move on.....
I agree completely with this, but how do they weight a site?
Do the risks now out way the benefits from link building?
Sorry for posting too may responses too quickly, but I just saw this. I would say that the risks certainly do not outweigh the benefits. However, it is like anything in else in life are you willing to pay for it? Whether the payment be time, relationship investment, or money. Heck even the price of creating something worth reading in your niche.
There is a difference between out way and outweigh, I know you know the difference. Link building is similar in that two people can build independent links to their sites, one person's links may have value while the other person's links won't show results for a long time, if ever. The little things can make a difference.
Your acknowledgment that all links cost something is a good one. They do cost, it's just a matter of what currency.
I sometimes use time as a value of potential link worth. In the past, I've outsourced link building where GG won't find links for 6+ months. I tend to believe there's a little more value in links that GG finds within a few days of the links being placed. It obviously requires keeping track of link placement and discovery dates, but it's one of those detail things many people won't do.