jimbeetle: Are YOU implying that you can create a website which does EVERYTHING opposite of what G recommends and get anywhere on their search results? Try leaving out an H1, a title, a meta description and direct link to 100 unrelated s-x sites from a single page about baking cookies while advertising to add anyone who pays monthly, and see if you show up anywhere on G. What is your point?
It HAS been assured in various interviews that linking with the company name or URL is ALWAYS safe, and no other recommendations that I know of, so go with what is KNOWN and stay away from any other less-than-knowns.
We've had this discussion many times before e.g. [webmasterworld.com...] see the patent referred to and the discussion starting around page 6 of that thread.
OF COURSE a site needs to follow the G rules (unless of course you're doing new blackhat that G hasn't discovered yet, or have an inside connection) if it wants to safely stay near the top indefinitely. Of course it's not easy when G changes the rules every day.