buckworks - 9:42 pm on Jun 19, 2010 (gmt 0)
about clothing and fashion, not info technology
Those links shouldn't hurt you in terms of any kind of penalty, but they wouldn't be much help for spiders trying to determine what your pages are about. Not harmful, but not much support either.
It's as if google cares more about the PERCENTAGE of links that are from relevant sites, than the sheer number of links to a site.
I agree with that. It would be hard to prove, but it makes intuitive sense and that thought has been one of my guiding stars for several years.
Imagine a spider trying to identify "signals of relevance" amidst a lot of "thematic noise" in your backlink profile, and ponder how your signal-to-noise ratio would affect their perceptions. The tipping point is unknown, but spiders can sift through a lot of noise as long as there is a clear enough signal in there somewhere. SEO-wise, our mission is to strengthen that signal.
I think the OP is on the right track, despite some ups and downs, and if the OP stays focused on relevance and quality the new site will stablize and make good progress.