How anyone could read that discussion there and then conclude that you can't do that to just about any URL owned by an average Webmaster here
I didn't read everything but the above quote - "you can't"
@Fathom - with all due respect, You Can!
I agree that I couldn't possibly harm Coke or McDonalds websites because they're so huge and even if I spent 10,000 a month on junk links, I wouldn't be able to harm their "natural link profile".
However, with smaller webmasters who have recently launched a website and have, let's say just 200 backlinks, if I use spam tools and fake blog networks and build 100 "unnatural" links each month over a course of the year, they will have 200 natural links and 1200 unnatural. Will it not trigger the penalty? Mind you, doing that, won't cost a fortune, so I could as well target 10 new webmasters in my niche. Or maybe do a JV with one of my established competitors and take out 100 new sites?
Here's why I can say what I just said.
I just analyzed link profiles of several websites that I know have been penalized for "unnatural links". These are not my sites and the webmaster of these sites is actually guilty of building a few bad links... nothing too horrible to be honest. BUT...
I noticed many links from medical sites (totally unrelated to his niche) and low quality directory links.
Then I asked myself a question: Could I just take this link report, replicate the link profile and apply it to my competitor's site?
the answer was YES!
I'm not here to argue with you, @Fathom, but please challenge me. What makes you say that you cannot harm the new competitors?
When Google cannot tell who developed the link... they merely discount the links.
How can Google or anyone ever tell (and most importantly PROVE) who developed a link?
This is potentially very very dangerous. I normally avoid criticising Google but this in my oppinion is not a clever idea. Many small webmasters won't be able to survive the penalties making way for the Web 3.0 AKA the Branded Web.