>Which links do you think count the most?<
The ones that Google trusts. Which ones does Google trust? The ones that have never tripped any kind of penalty filter over a certain, (?) period of time. That is why older sites do better. Part of that filter is not having enough time on line for them to establish trust points.
Hence the perception of a sandbox.
Y is moving that way too but not as quickly. What you can see on yahoo is a lot of generic named sites that are 3+years old with a ton of blog and bull**** links on top of 20 to 100 or so old links. BUT, this technique used to take a few days to get you on top and the domains I'm seeing now were re-registered as much as 7 months ago and just now placing. So, maybe it isn't a penalty filter like a sandbox with Y, maybe it just takes them that long to find and index all those links but if that is all it is, then it is a dramatic shift from what it used to be.
Also, I'm seeing more and more authority type sites, (I call them authority sites for the benefit of most readers because that is what conventional wisdom has been calling them for three years now but I actually refer to them in private as trusted sites), in the top of the results which makes me think the days of blog spamming and a million bull**** links beating out the guy with 999,999 bull**** links is coming to an end. They are still there but fewer, (which means it is becoming more difficult or at least less profitable), and fewer with more of the old established, branded sites that you would expect to see if it was a TRUST race.
I'll leave you with a question John.
If an SEO spoke in a forest and there were no one there to hear them, would they still be saying something that no one could substantiate and almost everyone could argue with?