Link building or link development (depending on your opinion,) involves approaching other websites and asking for a link. This is a simple business task that many people either blow out of proportion or trivialize while performing SEO for their or a client's website. Many linking experts will argue that the most important factor is to secure a link from a site that is somehow relevant. So what happens when the site you are optimizing is an ecommerce site or somehow otherwise supporting a for-profit venture, and the "target" site is a non-profit?
This question was posed by a member of Search Engine Watch Forums last month, and received few responses. He claims that he was told by the owner/webmaster of a non-profit site that they were wary of linking to a for-profit site due to the fear of losing their non-profit status. Fortunately, the one real answer came from the Moderator of the Search and Legal Issues area of SEW, Ian McAnerin. He stated (edited for brevity):
If the commercial site being linked to is owned or related to a member of the non-profit group, then be very, very careful...The fact that it might be commercial is not an issue by itself, unless the same information or value can be had from a non-commercial source...(and)The standard fund raising rules and expectations apply to links.
So this issue seems fairly cut and dry, but I am curious if there are others who have wrestled with this problem, and what if any problems they encountered if they decided to go with the links. Please add your experiences at Search Engine Watch Forums.