jakebohall - 9:13 pm on Aug 28, 2013 (gmt 0)
Wanted to chime in with a few quick thoughts.
In many cases that it appears there is overt spamming, etc.. and we feel like the bigger companies are getting away with it, there is a question of whether those things are what is causing the rankings. If it is determined their rankings are important for the search results, or that the actions of keyword stuffing, spam links, etc. have negligible contribution to their rankings, then devaluing the benefits of those actions will not result in visible consequences.
Moral of the story... make sure you have enough diversity and natural occuring links, rankings, etc... and other things may be overlooked. For offsite stuff, we have seen some of our large brand clients hammered with spam links from other companies trying to take them down. Since they already had rankings before this occurred, the spam links had no impact.