fathom - 11:10 pm on May 26, 2013 (gmt 0)
In the niches I have experience in, brands invest plenty in inorganic links. Just higher-end ones that "indies" can't afford.
If you are shooting in the open is it easy to get picked off... if you are shooting from cover it is far more difficult to determine where the shots are coming from let alone be able to do anything about it.
e.g. Brand based domains have plenty of cover for the reason even you suggest retort... "they are brands".
The cost is immaterial.