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Matt Cutts was on hand at Pubcon to issue the annual State of the Index address, sharing insight on what Google’s done this year, what webmasters should know, and, this time, to also announce a new tool for webmasters. Look alive!
If you didn't get one of those little warning gems in your WMT account and your rankings are "steady as she goes" - then I would not tinker around.
Google have become a paranoid mess.
In fact I can see people booby trapping their backlink profile.
Keep in mind that Matt Cutts said that links should only be disavowed if you received an unnatural links notice.
Today we’re introducing a tool that enables you to disavow links to your site. If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on “unnatural links” pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue. If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about.
If your site was affected by the Penguin algorithm update and you believe it might be because you built spammy or low-quality links to your site, you may want to look at your site's backlinks and disavow links that are the result of link schemes that violate Google's guidelines.
More info from that disavow tool beta tester:
From his metrics graph, you can see the site was hit hardest from the unnatural links notice, then it got a further push down from what looks like the May Penguin refresh.
I've never received a notice from Google, and I've never paid for a link, but I did a search of backlinks, and included were one or two adult sites, a few that contained malware, and some poorly rated scraper sites. Even though it shouldn't be my job to clear this up, and may make no difference whatsoever, I have added them to my disavow list.