We've been outranked by a competitor with some of the spammiest backlinks I have ever seen. We're talking over 1000 manual comment link spams on blogs, hundreds of directory sites, a sprinkling of paid content and loads of forum post spam. Not to mention profile spam, foreign sites, which make no sense to me, so I have no idea what kind of spam it is.
As an SEO is makes me sad, because Google clearly doesn't monitor the web or reward best practice. If things are well timed and people are really sneaky, then they can get away with stuff.
The Space Wolves blog actually ranks really well, all from best practice. The problem is that people link to brand sites and fan sites, but very rarely to actual retailers. This has got to change somehow or retail is going to seriously suffer, as will the web as a whole. The battleground between retailers, affiliates and fake seller sites is intensifying. The winner will be the one with the most spam unless google does something about it.
So for now the only solution is to go ninja.