Chris, I mentioned it in part to see if it made any sense, really. My thinking is that backlinks are just one small piece of the puzzle, so I can't see how someone creating thousands of "spammy" or "questionable" backlinks would necessarily have a significantly negative effect on a site.
If you're doing all the other things right, why would even a few thousand questionable links make any difference?
I've always wondered about backlinks anyway, because how in the world can you control who links to your site? You can't. So why would Google be dumb enough to penalize your pages for something you have no control over?
Where's the intersection of myth and truth on this one? If there are unnatural backlinks, is it because those links are created within a short time frame? It would be easy to see that a site that's indexed one week most likely wouldn't have thousands of backlinks the next. But then again...not necessarily. If you promoted your site a bunch, you might just have lots of links.
Yes but would you spend a lot of time and money trying to sabotage something that may not exist in the first place, and may not even concern the 'competition'??
Just because person 'A' chases rankings doesn't mean that 'B, C & D' also do.
Not everyone is obsessed with SERPs, one of our hosting clients pays absolutely no attention to SEO, doesn't have "Twitter", "FaceBook" Etc. Etc. accounts, never checks 'rankings' and treats 'organic' results as a lucky bonus. They have two websites that do NOT link to each other despite them selling the exact same products because one site is unpriced for trade accounts and the other sells to to Joe Public.
If somebody got them a whole bunch of links hoping to sabotage 'rankings', they would probably send a "Thank You" note for the extra traffic and sales they gave them.
It sounds to me like they are very wise folks. They're focusing on their business and results.