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Or am I being WAY too paranoid?!?
My preference is to be right up front (or possibly to use "anonymouse" registration options to cut down the spam and junk postal mail.) One related backlink among many won't be a problem for Google. But if the entire backlink profile for a domain looks manipulated, then there can be a problem.
A reason why you should not be paranoid is also that google has become much smarter and it is hardly possible that anyone could push a site with some links from own sites. Such a linkgraph just will not work, it does not even need a penalty for that.
I'm normally more upfront too, but I'm thinking of trying something a little grey, and if it all goes wrong, I don't want my legit sites to suffer. So I think paranoia is the approach to take...I don't want any traceable connection between the two sites.
Anyway, you should not try grey things, it could stick to you for a long time.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 1:56 am (utc) on Mar. 7, 2008]