Thanks for the 'welcomes'. I used to be on here a few years ago but since I stopped visiting, I think my account was deleted, so I'll start over. Thanks though! I've always found the folks here to be knowledgeable.
As for the links . . . we're just speculating, so I'm not afraid to look at all the sources. Since it's not clear exactly when they're rankings were boosted, don't you think it's worth considering links acquired 2 and 3 years ago?
As for being mentioned on User Generated Content (UGC) sites, would we be correct in assuming G only gives you favour there if they've established that you're a known brand? Otherwise, spammers could easily influence rankings w/ stuffed content on UGC's.
O is beyond link influence? Then how can we explain why O is outranking Amazon?