CainIV - 9:21 pm on Mar 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
I would agree Tedster - there might likely be a hybrid process, which might take into consideration the total number of spam results submitted - which then triggers a 'semi automated' process which focuses more cycles on any particular website.
If more flags are raised, the website is then processed into another queue - the manual review.
As well, particular verticals would have more workload focused upon them due to the nature of the vertical itself - health being one example. More sensitive genres might see a website then reaching a manual review faster than others.
The algorithms are built to simply not value links that violate search engine guidelines.
Demotions generally only occur when a larger pattern of violations is found.
The problem with this statement is that in "million dollar" verticals both statements conflict.
Competitors ARE able to spend money to create a "larger pattern" of inbound links to a competitor site especially in the case where the competing site is in those very lucrative top 3 positions. I am assuming this is what we are referring to in 'violations'