Sand - 11:12 pm on Aug 27, 2012 (gmt 0)
This is absolutely NOT true. A lot of good websites got hit by Panda and Penguin. And I have websites 2-3 years old ranking well with only a handful of links. For those websites acquiring thousands of spammy links in a day would = oblivion.
If you aren't focusing on making your site a brandable asset, you're going to left behind. That's the direction Google is moving in, and if you're not doing everything you can to get there, you're going to miss the boat.
With that aside:
From what I have seen, Penguin isn't purely about link volume. It's about having a certain volume of inbound links that are designed to manipulate search engines through optimized anchor text. I have not seen a site hit by any link penalty when the anchor text was [siteName.com] (or a variant there of).
Since DMOZ requires the anchor text in a link to match the domain, based on what I have seen, I absolutely do not believe that you would run into any problems unless your site name is keword1-keyword2-keyword3.com. In which case, your day is coming anyway (it's not a brandable asset).
For more anecdotal evidence, I have many sites listed in DMOZ, some of them with only a handful of 'real' backlinks (rest are from spammers). The many links I've acquired from spammers over the years haven't hurt me at all. Ever. No unnatural link reports, no penalties, nothing.
Regardless of all that, it comes down to this:
If you are depriving your site of *legitimate* exposure because Google has you feeling paranoid, then at best you are doing yourself and your site a disservice. At worst, you are quickly going to find yourself behind the 8 ball.
You will never get a site to succeed long-term if you play defensive.