The battle of buying links rages on at SES San Jose. I really wish I could have been in the room that was (from what I hear) "standing room only" I can imagine with the panel that was put together. It would have been worth it for me just to listen to GrayWolf go off on the politics of Google. Oh how he does such a great job at that!
For me, something that Todd Friesen (again, since I have posted stuff from him I liked before about the buying links debate) from Range said describes my feelings PERFECTLY;
If link purchases have a positive ROI for a company, they'll continue to make them. If they have a positive ROI, chances are good that they must also be serving the searcher effectively and thus, be good results for the engines.
When are we gonna get past the fact that Google is not the end all save all? Sure, they are huge and we will keep doing everything we can to optimize for rankings on the engine, but there are other sources of traffic.
They need to do a better job of practicing what they preach at Google if buying links is so bad. (Just Google "buy text links" and you will see how Google is getting paid by promoting buying links) I really didn't want to make this a Google bash post, but I do think the whole debate about buying links is a bit silly when Google still endorses buying links with AdWords and suggests signing up for (PAID) directories like the Yahoo Directory.
I guess worthless results because of lack of optimization would prompt more clicks on Google Ads, so maybe it is a good business model?