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I'm pretty sure Google can spot a $5 link bomb from Fiverr by now.(don't feel it's necessary to quote who has said this - this is a general discussion here, and it was a very interesting comment).
Can we look at the disallow side of GWT as a tacit admission by G that they CAN'T figure out all the back links? For webmasters the disallow side is all about proving a negative, ie. fighting scurrilous scum.
The debate is more about how easy or hard is negative SEO. In my experience when people talk about it they tend to state their personal feelings as fact. Few people back up their claims with real data which is unfortunate.
The disallow tool... exists to help sinners return to the fold.I don't think helping sinners is the primary goal.
Can Google spot really obvious N-SEO, and care about it? I think they can and do, because they don't want spammers winning, even just through last-man-standing.
If this were true, do you have any explanation why negative SEO services are displayed at the top of both organic and PPC SERPS?
Anyone can post "Google can spot this that & the other", the proof is in the pudding.
So, if anyone has a great website that has never been affected by any updates (as some on here claim) it would be nice if they would step up to the mark & take this offer up.
Google is not in to supressing results.
The debate is more about how easy or hard is negative SEO.
If you're already living on the edge, in terms of penalty risk factors, isn't it reasonable to assume that you'd be more vulnerable to negative SEO than a site that has a clean record with Google and high authority for its topic?
Proving it's nseo or the site owner's own doing is impossible I think. But the effect of the toxic links are the same.
Can we look at the disallow side of GWT as a tacit admission by G that they CAN'T figure out all the back links?
SEOmoz [moz.com] already did this. The results were inconclusive. Moz said there was no impact, the spammers claimed a victory, nothing was resolved.
The disallow tool... exists to help sinners return to the fold.
I don't think helping sinners is the primary goal.
In short, the Link Disavowal Tool (like penalty notices in Webmaster Tools) is may be a kindness toward sinners on Google's part, but it suggests that Google is more interested in helping site owners who push the limits of SEO than in rewarding site owners who follow the Webmaster Guidelines.
The net is being scraped and spammed on a level I don't think you fully realise.
Your underlying assumption is that 99% (or let's say, the vast majority) of links built are from site owners "trying to game Google" and the other 1% (or let's say, tiny minority) are unsolicited.
Because of that, site owners who haven't committed any sins may feel that the very act of using the tool sends the wrong signal to Google
would I calmly turn the other cheek, or nuke the most likely offenders back into the stone age?