What do you guys think about this scenario and its effect on Google rankings:
A forums site (or any other type that accepts user-generated content for that matter) has spam posts with spam keywords and spam URLs mentioned in text but not converted into actual HTML links. Despite there being no actual links back to them, spammers still link to the pages from a few junky places. Not sure what they are trying to do - probably the whole process is automated and no one actually knows that there are no links to them or there is another angle I just don't know about.
So, it's a classic parasitic hosting scenario except the perps don't gather backlinks this way hence "Lite"
Are there people in this great group that think this could be reason enough for a real harsh Google penalty? I am investigating a case that involves 10+ sites that lost 95% of their traffic because most (thou not all) ranking keywords were pushed back -200, -300 or removed from SERPs altogether. This sort of parasitic hosting is one of the very few things that is similar about these sites.
I should mention that there might probably be 20 spam pages like that on a 50,000+ posts forum - to give you a sense of scale of the spam infestation I'm talking about.
Also, anyone has a success story to tell about submitting a recon request for a problem like that? The external pages that link to me are exceedingly hard to document - some show up in WMT, some in Y! links search but I doubt it covers all. What sort of info would you submit to Google in a reconsideration request like that?