FranticFish - 12:45 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
For me the takeaway from this (and the JCPenney case) is that the tactics used in each case worked UNTIL the site was outed and Google took action.
Now, these are both huge sites with significant brand presence, but these were also sizeable link campaigns with a huge acquisition of highly targeted links.
Did this raise a flag at Google? Was it 'clocked' and let go?
Or were they completely unaware?
No proof either way, but my own view is that they were ignorant they were being gamed. At least some of the keywords that were targeted in each case have to be ones that Google would play close attention to.