wheel - 5:58 pm on Nov 27, 2011 (gmt 0)
* A special thank you to wheel.
Thanks for the kind words. I'm really starting to feel like I'm a dinosaur, nobody builds links like this anymore. So now there's me and apparently.....you :).
A spree is a good description of the way I build links. I put a lot of effort into background research during which time I attract no links (and no natural links either). Then I'll spend a month or two when I spend a good part of my time asking for links. nothing, then links! nothing, then links!
I have never been penalized for this, and can't imagine why they would do that. But a link spree for me might be 20-50 links, not hundreds. So if I had to guess, I'd say that the risk with a spree depends on the type of sites you're getting links from. If they're all good quality sites, then I can't imagine this being a risk.
In terms of timeframe, I've actually never measured it, and if I've paid attention it wasn't recently. I wouldn't expect a gradual rise though. My best guess is that at some point in the next 2,3,6 months Google does a small update and boom, up you go. And if you've got the right type of links, then that new level should be the new baseline for your site.