pageoneresults - 8:24 pm on Feb 17, 2011 (gmt 0)
You're reaching. You can make any link about cash if you look hard enough.
You're right. But, certain links are clearly manipulative. In this instance, there is blend of both. When you have that block of text with links appear on a blog that really has nothing to do with the overall theme, then it becomes somewhat questionable. Personally? I typically don't even discuss links unless it is to downplay them. Too many folks focused on that one aspect and missing the entire picture.
I will say this, OS have done a good job of diversifying their link profile. Those pdfs are genius. I typically won't discuss those either as they are a prime source for high quality links that are evergreen and they are counted in the equation.
Those offers on .edu and .gov are just fine. They've milked it for everything you can from an anchor text perspective and there will probably be more than a handful of folks who would call that a bit manipulative. The anchor text is inline, it is fairly well written (SEO'd) and could easily be construed as manipulative. I think we all know that OS have a pretty aggressive campaign going on there to get those types of links from high quality TLDs.
It looks a little too "forced" and unnatural upon first inspection. The harder you look at it, the more it becomes blurred. ;)