I think its depend with your effort. If you over optimize using link building, I think will destroy your site early, one example is de-index by search engine.
I think link building is destroying the websites, i was searching for a software on net and as soon as i pressed enter in Google there is list of unnecessary blogs ,or sites which are irrelevant. i tried to download the software from there but of no use nothing concrete was found. as i required it urgently i moved to 3rd [age and there i found the official site and was able to download the same. SEO is necessary in this time but we should think about content also. generally people do not search more than one page and get disappointed on not getting the data.
Link building is still an efficient strategy when it comes to improving rankings and traffic shares of websites on nearly all search engines but what you say is gathering tons of low-quality links that will definitely damage credibility of the websites.
When it comes to doing link building properly, even gathering a bunch of authority links will be enough to notice big improvements in organic positions of websites. Relevancy of the links to the targeted niches, the anchors used, ages of websites, contents they have and the ages of links can matter.
You need to get links where there is a significant editorial policy set and maintained by the site management. Links that anyone can just go out and get are not very valuable and most definitely can harm a site if in volume.
bogart (4 January, 2013)
Link building is necessary because search engines are counting the number of links. The biggest problem is to find quality backlinks.
Link Building is the most challenging part of SEO. The popularity of website is determined by number of inbound links. But if we follow Black Hat SEO then it must affect our website. Its good to use White Hat SEO techniques for link building.
Yes, when you can creates low quality of backlinks with low quality of content.So always trying to create quality of backlinks with quality of content.
It depends if you are building links to spammy websites then that's the time that the link building strategy is destroying your page. Always remember that due to algorithm update of Google you should build quality links over quantity.
Spammers usually do not contribute but just want links. That is a bad habit.
Yes and no. There are good methods of link building and it doesn't kill the forum communities. Those you were referring to are plain spammers who just slaps links to wherever they think they could and leave.