I haven't tried it myself - but I want to add that Google mentions in at least one patent the possibility of using the quality of advertisers to influence the quality measure for the site hosting the ads.
Many months ago I launched a batch of new sites all selling red square widgets. All but two of them I linked to an equally new site which was acting as the merchant and the other two to a well established merchant.
All the sites I linked to that new site tanked. I changed the link to that same recognised merchant two months ago and they have stayed tanked. The two sites I linked originally to the recognised merchant have thrived, as expected. All sites enjoyed roughly the same promotional methods.
My conclusions; (1) yes indeed, the site you link to is vitally important and (2) any penalty can last a long time, at least for a new site.