diberry - 2:34 pm on May 26, 2012 (gmt 0)
"Google has been pretty clear that they are against links that manipulate page rank, whether paid for or not."
The problem is, all links do "manipulate" the algo - it's just the natural ones don't do it intentionally. Google thinks they can determine intent, but let's get serious: nothing could be 100% accurate in determining what someone intended a link to achieve. Heck, when I get a good inbound, I'm thrilled about what it'll do for my SEO. I didn't ask for the inbound. I did absolutely nothing to make it happen. But if you read my mind, you might even think I had deliberately manipulated it.
So like I said earlier, I'm okay with Google banning a company that openly advertises "We'll help you screw up Google's business model for your profit." What I'm not okay with is the punishments Google hands out for any linkage they *think* may not be organic.