But do the top sites employ these techniques?
Occasionally, I do see this in the very top sites, but only VERY occasionally. Big corporate sites do often walk a fine line (but BMW got slapped) but I doubt you will find open, obvious black-hat techniques in, say, the top 5 listings.
I think you have to decide if you are ever going to be a top site, or are content to run somewhere in the middle of the pack.
I contend that if you employ black-hat techniques, you ruin your chances of EVER being a top site.