Shaddows - 11:27 am on Apr 12, 2012 (gmt 0)
Conjecture doesn't mean it happens. Conjecture doesn't even mean it was ever attempted.
What skill-level would you need to do this?
In a low money, low competition area, you can still get a site on to page 1 in a short space of time, using techniques that mean it probably wouldn't stay there anyway.
You can also get it knocked off for a few hundred quid by hiring an incompetant SEO firm. Its not throw-away cheap to do, but it is easily demonstrable. And the person paying the bills could be anyone.
Of course, its only demonstrable on a weak site.
Whether it is a penalty or not, it is clear that the affect is clearly negative for the website owner, and POTENTIALLY positive for their competitors. Just the fact that there would be a potential "expected value" in this equation and on this scale makes me uneasy, I dunno about others
Yes, but all that happens is the links get evaluated more rigorously. If you start appearing in the top three postions on competitive SERPs, or get enough total SERP exposure, or otherwise come to Google's attention, your links get that level of rigour anyway.
I'm fairly sure the idea that the idea of a 2-tier algo is controversial, with some thinking its obvious, and others that its impossible nonsense. If you want to start another thread, feel free, but lets not add ANOTHER debate to this one