mhansen - 7:18 pm on Feb 14, 2011 (gmt 0)
Until Goog finds an alternative to link popularity in the ranking mechanism, paid links (even as obvious as these were) will continue to work just fine. Otherwise, anyone can just fund the same type of scheme against their competition websites to rank well, then report them.
The penalty at this point is most definitely only manual (and not equally applied) as well... just visit some of the other sites buying links on the same pages as the JCP links. Many of them still rank very well... for anchors right next to the same ones JCP is being penalized for.