sublime1 - 4:48 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)
This is a most optimistic and human appeal, and I salute it!
I have been working recently in a far more naive, and less mercenary world, where people link to other sites because those other sites provide actual value in their content. They also are doing Facebook and Twitter stuff that provides a nice mechanism for forward linking.
The sites in our domain "pay it forward" without any expectation of reciprocation, and without thinking of links as currency, but as value to users.
It sounds incredibly simplistic, doesn't it?
But it works, at least today. We're in a market that we're hoping will exist some day soon. (Really soon would be nice :-). The link love is phenomenal. Many of us know each other. Emails are discussions about the state of our business, not about tit-for-tat.
Having come from the more normal mercenary world where any outbound link, or even non-critical inbound links would be nofollowed in order to maximize juice, I think: isn't there indeed a kinder, gentler world where even competitors could recognize that you get what you give?
Yet as our business grows, and our visibility improves, and our SERPs rise, and all gets better, the flow of stupid link requests increases. While all my positive, new age feelings of goodness make me want to reward those with restraint, my more base instincts of years of "links as currency" makes me want to do whatever I can to penalize the idiots who think they will get anywhere with formulaic link requests.
Google has the power to discredit all but the most relevant outbound links, and also to identify and penalize the bogus links (like the ones I used to buy and sell). I would love to see then wield that power.
Great post, Wheel.