fathom - 7:14 pm on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)
fathom, I get what you are saying, but I don't think you quite understand what is being said.
IF you can purchase links (you being anyone with a website) and point those links at yourself and cause harm then ANYONE can purchase those links and point them to ANYONE and cause harm.
Google cannot know who purchased those links and with what intent.
I know of people who have done exactly this. I don't condone it, but if you've been in this business long enough, you meet both white and black hats. It works, it happens, it happens more than most would realize and now it's gotten easier.
I understand things perfectly.
You say "Google cannot know who purchased those links and with what intent."
But to start with (in this thread) we do know by the OP own admission that the website owner purchased the actual links...
So in this specific instance you want to take a leap of faith and imply that the a competitor did it. Well the evidence (in this case) is 100% against you.
IMHO the paid links have nothing to do with the loses suffered by the OP... but because he open the door on the subject... it must be true.