ergophobe - 9:24 pm on Jun 30, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: ergophobe at 9:47 pm (utc) on Jun 30, 2010]
SK - thanks for a detailed post. For a while I thought I had stumbled into a Twitter stream.
Two small clarifications/elaborations if I may.
As Buckworks keeps saying - the . is a word delimiter, which means that you get pages that mention "www", "example", and "com" as words as well, not just your domain name. In other words, the following searches are all different:
link:www.example.com (special operator)
link: www.example.com (returns pages that mention any or all three "words")
link: "www.example.com" (returns pages that mention your domain name)
As for www and non-www, those are the same in most cases but not all and in some cases, especially large enterprise sites, this is by design. In some cases it's by accident because of the canonical issues mentioned by Sgt Kickaxe, but that is just a common convention. There's no technical reason that example.com can't be my intranet and www.example.com my public-facing website.
[edited by: ergophobe at 9:47 pm (utc) on Jun 30, 2010]