Planet13 - 4:54 pm on Aug 6, 2011 (gmt 0)
If you have a good relation with the owner, why no ask to move the link to a different area of the page?
I like this idea. Or move to a different page altogether. Maybe this is an opportunity for submitting some content to them (not so much a blog post, but maybe ghost writing some of their content)? With the understanding that they won't put any other links on that page?
Or maybe you could ask them on a new page to link out to a couple of HIGH QUALITY non competitors as well? I know this would "diminish" Page Rank, but at least your link would be in "good company."
But I was also a bit put off that another site in my niche (that's low end, all they do is buy crap links) might somehow become similiar to mine in Google's eyes.
Off topic, but I have to ask: Does the competitor with the crappy bought links rank well? (The sites ahead of me are either small businesses with crappy links, or mega-sites ebay and amazon - who recently vaulted on to to first page).