Author: M.Prince (25 Jan 05 10:17pm)
That's a good question, and something we've thought about. I talked to some coders at Google about it at a party and they thought it wouldn't be a problem. That's, of course, not the official answer, but it's encouraging.
While I think the risk of any Google punishment is low, I think the versions of the links that are the least likely to cause a problem are the ones that use CSS in order to be hidden from humans. For example:
<a href="blah.com" style="display:none;">Link-Here</a>
One important note is that you're not trying to promote the site that you're linking to. While Google may punish sites promoted by some artificial linking schemes, I wouldn't think they'd punish the site containing the hidden links. The more likely outcome, I'd imagine, is that Google will simply ignore the hidden links -- which is perfectly fine.
Obviously we can't guarantee what Google or any other search engine will do. We've talked with some of the higher-up folks within Google's Blogger division about helping them with comment spam. I'll try and get in touch with someone in the search engine department in order to make certain that what we suggest doesn't run afoul of their ranking schemes.
For what it's worth, Unspam's site contains several honey pots itself with a number of hidden linking schemes and our PageRank has shown no ill effects. Quite the opposite, actually.