It's just that, in the course of doing reciprocal link management work for over 8 years now, I have yet to see any real indication that a link is devalued simply due to reciprocation. It still works here, very well.
Dirk Johnson LED #2256
I wrote an article titled "Reciprocal Linking is Dead!" on October 9, 2003 that offended many reciprocal linkers at the time, but I stand by what I said then - even though it was due to deceptive practices by those requesting links - I stopped doing link swaps back then and have never looked back. My reasons have evolved, but I still believe it is pointless to do link swaps.
I still get endless link swap requests and send them all to my "No Reciprocal Links" page.
There is no definitive statement forthcoming from the search engines. We all have our opinions and preferred methods of building links because we all agree (even the search engines) that they are helpful. There is a noticeable lack of comment from Yahoo and MSN on recips. But Matt Cutts has said repeatedly that in his blog that Natural links are best. I have yet to see him clearly say DON'T DO IT, just "don't overdo it."
As in August of 2005 when he said,
"The best links are not paid, or exchanged after out-of-the-blue emails–the best links are earned and given by choice."
Or when he said in December of 2005,
Or when he said in May of 2006,
"sites where our algorithms had very low trust in the inlinks or the outlinks of that site. Examples that might cause that include excessive reciprocal links"
and in the same post, "As these indexing changes have rolled out, we’ve improving how we handle reciprocal link exchanges and link buying/selling."
And then more in that post ... "I think this is covered by the same guidance as above; if you were getting crawled more before and you’re trading a bunch of reciprocal links, don’t be surprised if the new crawler has different crawl priorities and doesn’t crawl as much."
And then again in that post, "Some folks that were doing a lot of reciprocal links might see less crawling."
All of the above comments were found via my Search Engine Gurus & SEO Experts Commentary Search Engine which includes 150 top SEO bloggers and the official search engine blogs, including Matt Cutts. If you want to know what any search engine or top SEO says about linking, including the "Linkbuilding Blog" from "Text Link Ads" dot com. Some SEO's are reciprocal link apologists and claim they still work regardless of what they hear from Matt Cutts.
Here's a WebMasterWorld Reciprocal Linking Forum Thread on the Matt Cutts comments above.
John Alexander of Search Engine Workshops and Online Web Training puts out a great "SEO Tip of The Day" in which he offers great information on a daily basis. On recently that daily SEO tip was as follows:
We all know the importance of building link popularity and link reputation. However, the days of reciprocal linking are over. There are too many pitfalls, so straight reciprocal linking is best left alone.
Are you looking for linking suggestions? Stay tuned, because your next SEO Tip will be sent tomorrow.
john @ searchengineworkshops.com
Search Engine Workshops
Online Web Training
You can draw your own conclusions from all of that - I guess it's rather clear where trends are leading.
I've posted that SEO Gurus and Search Engine Expert Bloggers Commentary Search Engine so you can search for yourselves to see what the search engines and top SEO's have to say on that topic (or any other SEO topic).