Planet13 - 5:37 pm on Jun 30, 2013 (gmt 0)
"Are competitors able to hire these sites? How can I find out if that is the case?"
If the links LOOK bad, I think you should ask to have them removed / disavow them, whether your competitors built them or not.
@ Robert Charlton:
thank you in particular for posting the link to the sno.pe page. It must be nice to be able to get someone from google to respond directly to your questions, as the author of that site was able to.
BTW: There is a graphic on that page that says:
"Find your polluted links: Combine WMT and LRT for best results."
do you know what "LRT" refers to?