Planet13 - 3:59 pm on Jun 13, 2011 (gmt 0)
For what it's worth, my modest link acquisitions seem to be helping my rankings. My process is less risky than most, though;
I usually ask that they link to the home page (using the title of the site or the domain name as anchor text), or to an informational article. This article has no products on it, but it does have links to some of my preferred categories, along with other articles.
Most of the links to the article page are from sites that are relevant, and they also link out to other sites besides mine. I have a few .edu links, and the rest of the incoming links are from non-commercial sites.
I'm not trying to gloat. I am just trying to say what links seem to be helping.