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Welcome to the INKTOMI forum of WMW!!! If I am reading you question correctly Incoming and outgoing links are a benefit. The closer to the topic of your site the better with the INKTOMI portals. As you move this question to say Google, it's best for those links to be on topic.
I do not think (just my opinion) ramdom links from just any site are much help. Or, at least not as good as "on topic" links
Also, if one is an onmibus site of several topics, how do you get around being say 33% relevant for each?
a) page age. Their pages have been in the system longer and are well established.
b) they have so many links pointing at them, that the site is considered somewhat of an authority or hub by Inktomi.
c) they have killer listings in all the major directories like Yahoo, the ODP, Looksmart, and about.com.
You have done well to get links with them. You haven't decreased your real relevance, you have helped it enourmously by linking with them.
I've given up working out why and echo the sentiment that Inktomi should let us all know what the new deal is going to be so we can pay up and get on with life!