diberry - 3:28 pm on Oct 29, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't believe BaseballGuy is lying. I believe he is accurately reporting the facts. I think what may need to be considered is that the sites BaseballGuy defeated were not in a competitive niche and likely had a flimsy backlink profile. Naturally it would be easier to defeat a site like that AND not "see this happening all over." The two viewpoints can be reconciled.
Excellent point. Remember also that the sites Baseball Guy targeted had engaged in dodgy SEO to rank quickly for the girl's name. Baseball Guy's negative SEO probably got a boosted effect from the fact that the sites were already doing dodgy link schemes.
I don't believe there's anyway for a computer to distinguish whether bad backlinks are coming from you or your competitors. But since we have clear indications that negative SEO can work, my guess is that it's a sliding scale something like this: one batch of bad backlinks alone won't get you in trouble*, a mild continuing pattern of bad backlinks will be weighed against other signals your site is sending and could go either way depending on the quality of those other signals, and a really obvious pattern of bad backlinks throughout the history of your site could hurt you badly all by itself. It's that third situation where Baseball Guy's negative SEO came in.
*This may be exactly the situation the new WMT messages and disavow tool were designed for, in fact.
(Edited because somehow I had repeated a chunk of text.)