TheMadScientist - 11:53 pm on Feb 28, 2011 (gmt 0)
I'd say that's an unfair assessment - even though I do see it quite often. It's not even accurate in this case because Demand Media is a high profile public company and if the anaonymous report is accurate, then Google is going after them.
I personally know of many cases where Matt Cutts, John Mueller and other Google staff have done a lot to help a small scale webmaster with problems.
Yeah, that's true, but I can see where people get that idea from: It's because of how it looks ... And when you just look at the results and the numbers like the ones you posted it LOOKS like they're in bed together.
I mean I'm with ya on the size of the job they have to do and the help they've provided webmasters (they used to do a WAY better job of it, especially here, imo) but those stinking 'fake' links are screaming 'manipulation', to me at least.
If they're not penalized, does that mean we should all start doing it? I don't think I would, but it sure is tempting if that's the 'cool' thing to do these days and not a violation of G's TOS...
How much more obvious does it get?