Given the current day push for linking popularity all kinds of scams have come out of the woodwork. Not all of them obvious. Most of them tacky.
The infamous link farms. These are apparent .... massive pages of links in no order and a ton of ads ? News it's a link farm. Just say NO
Now, on to those not so apparent scams.
Reciprocals: That aren't :(
Almost everybody offers reciprocal linking, however, there is a problem with some sites. You submit to them, and link to them, but somehow they never get around to linking you. Check the sites you link to often. If you can't find your link, send them one letter and if no action is taken, drop them, as you are just feeding their link popularity, at your expense.
You would be amazed at how many companies do this. If they can get you to link to them, even for a few mts. multiplied by all the others they have conned into this, their link popularity soars and it cost them nothing.
These are more insidious, as your link is there. But its so hidden you cant find it without a direct link, which they often send you. But, if you go to the site and find there is no way from the site, to the link page they gave you, you have been had.
These are called blind or orphan pages, they are there, but the only way in is via direct link. Which means, no site visitor will ever see them ! And it's doubtful the search engine spiders will either.
Links can be found but:
Any link page must be able to be searched by the engines, or they don't show or count towards link ranking. The link maybe there, and you can find it. However, if the engines can't , because the site has taken it out of the loop, which is easy to do, your being used.
How to tell ? Take the url of the page and plug it into your faveorite engine, if it does not show up, it may have been taken out of the loop, question it. Yet another version of orphaned or blind pages.
These are 50/50. You are linked for free, for a reciprocal, but it's often in a format that is not good for the engines. A link under your personal name, which is common, that " Name of person" happens to have a web site, is not much use unless someone plugs your name into an engine. Or knows your name to look for it at the site. But most do show up on the engines as your url. Its value is questionable however. Keep track, via your hit counter, if it never shows up as a hit, it's not much use.
What this means is there is a link, the page is there, however it only shows by way of a convoluted series of links with odd names. Check where the links are going when you click, you would be surprised at how many cloke the page with CGI tricks .Which doesn't help you ,as they may have buried it.
You might ask yourself why anyone would do this ? It falls under the mis guided notion that if I don't have outlinks or hide them, you won't leave the site. Which is silly but it's a common thought.
They offer you a link: But
This one is common, they send you a letter saying they have linked to you and would you link to them. Which is a perfectly acceptable practice. If the site is one you want to be associated with, fine and dandy.
Be warned however, check the page once in a while to see if your link is still there. Sounds dis-trustful I know ,but this can be a scam , they do place the link, then a week later drop it and hope you won't notice.
These are the guys who demand that you put their link at the top of your link pages, in some cases they want it repeated on every link page you have. Or you have to put it on your main page, or.... you see the trend. Meanwhile, they bury you in some back page no one will ever see, along with everyone else they tricked into this.
These are tricky, as there is a link, you can find it, but there is no category, everybody is all jumbled together. Most engines tend to see these as link farms even though that is not what the web master may have intended.
Note: Some pages, only have one kind of link(s) or genre they serve so the whole page(s) is a category, which is the exception. If everybody on the page is the same kind of thing, then un-ordered is all right, as long as it matches the whole page category , but individual categories are still preferred.
Check your link popularity often, there are lots of free tools on the web to do this, and see who shows up as a link to you. If the links you have reciprocated never show up, you know what to do.