It has been a lot of talk about whether link exchanges are still worthwhile or not. Most reputable SEOs publicly declare the tactic is just not worth the time and effort. But sometimes we see opposite arguments discussed by trusted sources…
The fact that it attracted a lot of attention is easy to understand: a reputable source like this one talking about the link exchange as one of legit tactics can be considered as an “official” approval of the method (which is not of course but still can be viewed so by many people).
The article does not state that it is always a good thing to do but it does allude that it’s one of the best (if not the only) effective and safe link building method for new ecommerce sites.
As long as people… are exchanging links without offering payment, or crossing obvious lines such as breaking captchas and posting spam links in guestbooks or comment forums, they’re following the spirit of Google’s Webmaster guidelines.