Robert_Charlton - 8:43 am on Jun 9, 2012 (gmt 0)
...people like Robert Charlton are now acknowledging "algorithmic penalties".
indyank, thanks for catching that. Actually, that two-word combination was a slip of the tongue. Sort of like saying "canonical tag". It happens. ;)
There's been quite a bit of confusion about the Penguin algorithmic drops vs the "manual actions". They came close together, and both may have involved links. The best guide I've seen to which is which is that Penguin hit around April 24, and those affected by the "manual actions" (previously known as "penalties") received WMT messages. I'm assuming that the manual actions were more severe and included an extra punitive component.
My thoughts about the "chess game" still stand... anyone hit by either Penguin or by manual actions because of bad links may have to guess about which ones to remove. That's always one of the problems with paid links... you don't necessarily know which ones are helping... and Google is currently taking advantage of that situation for reasons that Shaddows eloquently describes here...
Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt - Why Google Penalises Paid Links
IMO, smithaa02 isn't giving Google quite enough credit for right-hand/ left-hand coordination, but I think he correctly identifies what is likely to happen if you artificially try to build links to get out of the problem (my emphasis added below)...
Sure...Cutts may infer that cleaning up your webspam will help your rankings, but another algorithm probably monitors statistical anomalies in your link acquisition and/or attrition rates... and adjusts your rankings accordingly to compensate for what they deem is unnatural.
I doubt that there's a hit for fast attrition, assuming of course you're deleting only links that Google has already identified.