We're in the fortunate position of being a company that actually sells a physical product via an e-commerce site.
For the past few months we've had a popup box at the basket stage asking our customers if they have a website or blog where they would be happy to write a short blog about us (with a link) in return for a £30 refund on their purchase.
We have a good look at the sites and see if they are quality and check the PR etc. We also see if there is a suitable 'News' or 'Blog' section where the article could go. We avoid any 'Sponsors' or 'Suppliers' sections that just look like lists of links. We've added a good couple of dozen of these links.
However, we're also outsourcing some link removal to undo a lot of bad SEO that the company has had done in the past, long before we started to do any work ourselves. I'm assuming most people are using the Link Detox software to work out what are 'bad' links? The problem is that some of the customer links are being flagged as bad links...
Why is this? These are exactly the type of links we would get naturally, and they pretty much are, apart from the £30 which Google doesn't know about. We don't use commercial anchor text and stick to branded anchors (http/www/company name) and write a new blog each time. Sometimes the customer writes more as well. If these aren't natural, quality links, I don't know what is.
What to do? Keep building them?
We really thought this was a great idea...