My Thoughts: As there is no reconsideration request needed, you may have to wait longer before the disavow file is processed.
A: Manual action might be a little bit faster in reacting to a disavow file, but they are very different issues.
My Thoughts: The only time I think there would be any impact is if the webspam team see the disavow file has not started processing for any reason, they could look into it.
A: Any top level domain is equal
My Thoughts: It comes down to marketing in the end and what is memorable.
A: No, every site can come back from penalties it just depends on how much work is needed.
My Thoughts: The task to fix the problems could be so big that it is not worth the effort but John says you can always recover which is a great thing to know that not all is lost.
A: First Click Free is an option but there is not a great deal of knowledge out there about it yet.
My Thoughts: Here is a link to the First Click Free information.
A: Yes, Only if you have fixed the problems as well, but it could be 1-2-3 years until this happens.
My Thoughts: This might be in place for people that have no idea they even have a penalty.
A: Yes, if you clean the site up then you can resolve it.
My Thoughts: Google does seem to be very reasonable on this, however they still need to make a decision if they can trust the webmaster to do the right thing in the future. So maybe if you abuse the system multiple times they might make a judgement call.
A: If you clean up the problems, links, content etc... Then you can recover it.
My Thoughts: It may help to submit a reconsideration request to tell the webspam team what the situation is.
A: The request is not sent to the webspam team and an automated message is returned to you to let you know you do not have a manual penalty.
My Thoughts: This can be a sure way of knowing if you have a manual penalty.
A: Old ones are processed first and the new ones are skipped in the mean time.
My Thoughts: I am not sure this si the best course of action. There may be critical information you forgot to submit and thats why you send the follow up request. It would be best if the same member of the webspam team was made aware of this information instead of the possibility that a totally new person has to look at the issue. Seems like a large waste of time.
A: No, Currently it is paginated and limited to showing the most important things first.
My Thoughts: The most important things show first, but a full list may help fix some large overall problems.
A: The webspam team will need to do a large investigation to decide if they aarea actually selling the links. Only at that time will they issue a penalty.
My Thoughts: It seems like they really have to catch them in the act of selling those links to issue a penalty.
My Thoughts: John makes reference to lots of points that could easily be taken advantage of by companies with large budgets. This has been done in the past and can be a good ROI for many companies.
A: Sort of, They can be turned off by the webspam team, you might have to submit a request form to get it re-evaluated.
My Thoughts: Here is a link to the Rich snippets feeback form
A: Yes, if you are on the line and the first request to the webspam team fails, it is possible that another team looking at it might take a different opinion and lift a manual penalty.
My Thoughts: The team take a sample of links and test them, if it looks good to them your penalty will be lifted. It could just be unlucky that they spotted a few mistakes you made in the file. (Bit of a case of lucky dip, if you have not ensured the file contains all it should!)
A: Yes both are taken into account, there are over 200 different signals to determine what should rank.
My Thoughts: I do not believe Google will ever change this.
A: No, this could be easily manipulated. Also Google Analytics is not used for web search and would not be available.
My Thoughts: Imagine that you have a review site, they would never make conversions, so this site would suffer compared to sites that sell the product.