Crush, in another recent thread you said something to the effect that "we just spam them" referring to how you contact sites via email for link exchange. Plus, you admit you seek links from link pages
I do a lot of link exchange myself, as you know, but I don't seek links by spamming, and I don't seek links from pages with lots and lots of links going out from them.
I think your problem is you lack of standards. You are like a girl that will sleep with anyone complaining you can't find a permanent boyfriend.
As for links from relevant sites. I jumped on that bandwagon years ago and wish I had not committed so hard. Links from related sites can help more than links from unrelated sites, but not much more. You can only give a link 100% value. How much of that is given by anchor text? How much by description? How much from the general content of the page the link is on? How much from the general content of the site the link is on?
I'll also verify that on the 10 days to full impact. I would say 11 days is closer.