The were sitewide links, so they were not paying "per link." These guys had a $5,000 per month budget that they were spending on links, but a top 5 position was worth $10,000 per day in business.
Originally Posted by Aquarezz
They got hit for buying obviously paid links because the universities were openly selling links, plus G discounted the value of sitewide links.
IMHO, Google does look at sitewide links with suspicion. It draws attention to the links, especially if they are on a large site. If the link is unrelated to the site, they are likely going to correctly identify it as a paid link.
BTW, you do not get 1000 valid links from a 1000 page site selling sitewide links. About 3 or 4 years ago, G discounted the value of sitewide links and 1000 sitewide links is generally considered to be comparable to a single link. You a much better off getting a single link on a site's home page.
When G discounted the value of sitewide links, a lot of sites that relied on sitewide links dropped like a rock in the SERPs.
Originally Posted by bogart
"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." -- Benjamin Franklin