Well, everyone has their theory. Mine is simple. The internet and SE’s attempt to behave as honestly as a human based network. As with brick and mortar companies there will always be gimmicks, tricks etc and in many cases will cause sites to flourish and grow while the methods used to gain tha attention might be considered below board.
Its an interesting topc as expecting the internet to only be comprised of sites that just got word of mouth exposure is ridiculous. BUsinesses pay advertising companies to simply advertise their business and become well known. Whether that is due to an extraordinary product or concept that just takes off or an incredibly huge marketing budget each should have their own place. If you dont have any money, have a good idea. If you have the money then you can basically ‘pay’ your way there with links and more links.
The problem should be when the sites dont actually offer anything to its visitor but yet they generte tons of traffic only to seriuosly dissapoint its customers.
Hey, just dont give up, keep reaching out to sites to link to you and keep good content.