brianp - 3:23 pm on Oct 18, 2012 (gmt 0)
While shortly post-Penguin I would have disagreed with the statement that it wasn't working, clearly now something has changed.
I am seeing sites ranking for top three position on extremely competitive keywords on nothing more than link spam with exact match anchor text.
I suspect either another update is in progress, or something has been turned off Penguin wise.
FWIW, my traffic is highest point of the year with a stable and consistent conversion rate. I just watch things enough to see when stuff pops up that is manipulating Google and the past few days has had more of it than previously.