tedster - 1:03 am on Mar 12, 2011 (gmt 0)
I agree with that assessment, Whitey. And unless there is a lot of exposure for the URL, the spam promoted results don't affect Google users all that much.
Its as though you guys are saying - yeah - we know its fine.
We're saying sites can rank even when they don't follow Google's linking guidelines. But the ticklish part is how long that might be in any particular case.
Make no mistake, Google can and does penalize for spammy backlinks. Recently this tends to happen in big sweeps through major parts of their web graph. Then you'll see a Google blog post say something like "We changed the way we are scoring backlinks" or something cryptic like that.