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You just can't take very much value from either one, except to say that those links they do show exist. Check out this discussion: Google link: operator - it's not like other search engines [webmasterworld.com], a reference thread that you can find in the Hot Topics area [webmasterworld.com], which is always pinned to the top of this forum's index page.
except to say that those links they do show exist.
No, you can't be sure of this - they might have existed in the past, but might not exist now.
Also Google (and Yahoo) play funny game with redirects - a page that redirects to you will have its own backlinks treated as if they were your own. So if at some point some site that had its own backlinks starts redirecting to yours, then you should see increase in your own backlinks.
What I am talking about is a sudden possitive jump which is against the downward trend for my site and I am talking about the link command ie the Google toolbar.
The backward links on the Google toolbar has reported a slowly dimishing number since I stopped actively looking for backlinks two or so years ago.
So now I suddenly see my links go from 200->600 for no apparent reason. If I am the only one noticing this then it must be something very peculiar to my own back link profile/links age etc... I must say it has me puzzled....